Pots and Boxes Back to Their Places

Every autumn we prepare the plant boxes and pots for winter: we put them beneath the wall or on the floor in defence of the balustrade, some are wrapped in newspapers or bubblewrap. We want them to protect this way mostly from the winter wet.
And today we put everything back to the place, to get more light. Later in spring I 'm going to bring back those plants which have spent the winter in the staircase or in the cellar.
This winter managed to kill many of our plants. Many times all the balcony was covered with snow, followed by thawing and then freezing, and I can see the consequence now. Last winter only one Pulsatilla died, but this year the plants blighted by frost or simply rotted are countless. Pulsatilla, Hepatica, Draba, many bulbs, and who knows what else. We will see soon.
I'm trying to see the better side: there are now many emptied places to fill in with seedlings when time comes...


The First Blackbird's Song Today!

I just had got to register this! :-)


Thawing. Spring is Behind the Corner.

Well, well, the snow mounds from last weeks became planters:

They are awful now... But hopefully they will produce a better show in a few weeks.
From now on I will water regularly, mostly the alpines and those bulbs which show some growth above ground.
We could not enjoy too much sunshine this February.

Some pictures taken yesterday:

Cyclamen purpurascens - two weeks ago the plants in this pot were frozen, but all seem to recover now.

Calluna 'White Lawn' - de soil was also frozen here, but the plant looks as well as in the Autumn.

Primula marginata - it becomes so "leggy" every winter, but later on will have many new shoots. I haven't seen its flowers yet...

Yes, in the background there is a newspaper used for covering the Cyclamen hederifolium, and I forgot it there before taking the picture.
And last but not least:


A New Sign of Spring

Last Autumn I got 8 Iris 'Katharine Hodgkin' bulbs fron a kind SRGC member (in return for Ranunculus glacialis seeds). Three of them I gave as a gift, and 5 were planted in a clay pot. These are not dutch bulbs, he bought them in the Wisley Gardens. At the beginning of January the compost was frozen solid, I wondered whether they would survive. Anyway, I brought the pot inside in our "glasshouse" (= unheated staircase). And now I can see 4 little darts above the grit. I hope it will appear also the 5th. In mid November there were all healthy:

I made this picture taking off half of the compost, because I was so very curious :-)



Today I watered almost everything on the balcony, and removed the shading net from the miniature rock gardens to get sunshine if they would like to. Only the Lewisias and the other succulents did not get water. Every compost was bone dry. It has been above 0°C for a few days  now, and is no frost forecasted as well - as much as you can trust "those" forecasters.

In one box with mostly Hepaticas there has been absolutely no sign of life yet. I will come back to this in a few weeks to tell what happened.



It snowed again!

No picture this time. Last night we got a big quantity of snow again. It is a kind of wet snow, worse for trees because it is heavy.

Growing Helleborus niger in a pot is not a good idea. Last Winter it begun to rot in the frost free staircase, but I brought it back to life. This time I left it outside on the balcony and it is dead now.


Searching for Spring

You can find it already, but must search carefully. It is +3°C now and still big snow. And "they" say we will get some more in the next few days.
Until then:
Hepatica nobilis

More detailed

I must get rid of the everywhere popping up shoots of Campanula raddeana!

Dianthus glacialis
I hope it still lives...

When the weather gets warmer I'm going to try to cut the dead leaves.

Leontopodium nivale
It is dead for shure. Had got too much rain in the Autumn.

Saxifraga 'Leonardo da Vinci'

And finally a snowdrop -  At this stage I don't know which one, Galanthus nivalis or G. elwesii.
I could not manage to take a really sharp picture despite of freezing my hands on the camera. The light was too bad and I don't like to use the flash of this camera from such a short distance.


At the beginning of February

Let's begin February with some pictures from December:

There are some planters out in the garden of the house:

At the beginning of January there was a thawing period, then snowed again and again and again...

On 14th Jan. I received the SRGC seeds:

  1. Androsace cylindrica
  2. Androsace vandellii
  3. Campanula alpestris (I've got and sowed this species last year too, but it came something else out.)
  4. Cyclamen mirabile
  5. Cyclamen mirabile 'Tilebarn Nicholas'
  6. Dianthus glacialis
  7. Dianthus glacialis gelidus
  8. Dianthus myrtinervius
  9. Dionysia involucrata
  10. Edraianthus pumilio
  11. Primula farinosa
  12. Primula hirsuta (ex Pyrenees)
  13. Pritzelago alpina
  14. Saxifraga oppositifolia
  15. Soldanella carpatica
  16. Soldanella pusilla
I sowed them on 17th January. I've got no Saxifraga caesia and Androsace alpina.

On the balcony some are preparing for the Spring:

One of the members of Saxifraga x elisabethae group:

Draba imbricata