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Saying 'Adios' to my summer plants


By balcony


Saying ‘Adios’ to my summer plants

It’s always a shame when the summer bedding has to go! I always hate to get rid of it before October, especially if there is anything I particularly like & has done very well – perhaps it may still be continuing as well!

Pots on balcony railings 29th September:

Looking to the left.

Looking to the right.

Variegated Geraniums ‘Black Prince’ on balcony floor 29th September:

Variegated Geraniums ‘Vancouver Red’ & Marigolds ‘Naughty Marietta’ 29th September:

Variegated Geranium ‘Vancouver Red’ on balcony railings 4th October:

Variegated Geranium (green & white) on balcony railings 4th October:

Geranium (bright red) flowering on balcony railings 16th September:

During the next couple of weeks I will be removing what’s left of my summer bedding plants & reorganizing the balcony once again, putting in my spring flowering bulbs & getting some Pansies & Violas, for winter colour. I’ve already bought some bulbs – at least for the pots on the balcony railings.

Although I’ve given up my allotment,,
I still dug up my spring bulbs from last year & these will be going back out on the balcony to flower, hopefully, again next spring.

Change the compost:

There is something I really have to do this autumn & that is to change the compost in most of my pots & containers. The compost is several years old now. I was rather disappointed by the plants I put in at the end of May, the start of the summer bedding season. They weren’t growing well & it wasn’t until the end of July when they finally got going. I bought a couple of big bags of compost from a shop in town but still needed a couple more.

A couple of big bags of compost:

Unfortunately they no longer had them so my wife & I had a look at B&Q’s webpage online to see if they had any compost in stock at our local store. They did, so we went up there & picked up a couple of bags, the problem though was getting them home. We took a medium sized wheeled suitcase & a shopping trolley we hoped a bag would fit in the suitcase but we ended up putting both bags (50lt each) in the shopping trolley which I pulled all the way home! (3/4 of an hour!)

Here are some of the plants I’ve been growing this summer on the balcony:

Mimulus or ‘Monkey Flowers’:

I’ve never grown these before but my wife & I liked the look of them & so we bought a couple of boxes off at a local market stall.

Unfortunately they are a rather “tender” annual & although the first round of flowers was great, they didn’t really put on a 2nd showing & didn’t seem to like me dead heading them! :( They were also rather smaller than I anticipated & were “lost” amongst other more “robust” plants. They should have been planted in the pots on the railings rather than in the troughs on the balcony floor.

Ivy Geraniums in hanging basket:

The Ivy Geraniums have done exceptionally well in 2 of the 5 hanging baskets.

I put 2 plants in each of the two furthest baskets, (against the walls of the balcony), as I didn’t have enough plants for all 5 baskets.

Petunias & Lobelia in hanging baskets:

China Pinks (Dianthus chinensis):

At the time of buying these lovely plants we couldn’t make our minds up as to which colour to get – we ended up getting all three!

I put many on the balcony railing where they gave a great show for several months!

A week later we had a thunderstorm & I managed to get some pictures of the clouds before it broke with the China Pinks on the balcony railings as a contrast to the black clouds that can be seen behind them!

Sunflower (Self sown) on the balcony:

I’ve no idea where the seed that produced this huge Sunflower could have come from as it’s been years since I grew any on the balcony.

This is a picture from the day the main flower opened up. Several more, smaller, flowers later opened up around it.

It didn’t need Jack with an axe to cut it down – just me & a pair of secateurs!

To bring this blog to an end here are a couple of the very last photos I’ve taken recently of the balcony as seen from the outside:

Balcony as seen from the street on September 29th:

October 4th:

In a couple of weeks I will show you the changes I’ll have made as I prepare the balcony for winter/spring flowering.

More blog posts by balcony

Previous post: Giving up!

Next post: Pansies for winter flowering on balcony



Balcony do you overwinter the variegated Geraniums or take cuttings they are rather nice to bin.

6 Oct, 2014


How nice to see a picture opf the balcony at last - its quite different from what I had imagined. What a lot of plants you've managed to fit in, it looks amazing! I like mimulus and found they self seeded quite readily.

6 Oct, 2014


Stera check out Photo 905...

You are going to be busy for a while then Balcony, bet lugging that compost was a drag on your shoulders, I have my pots to change as well, the past three days of wind, rain and a definite drop in temp has persuaded the plants that autumn has arrived so they're beginning to curl up their tootsies (so to speak) but they did me proud so mustn't complain...

7 Oct, 2014


Autumn is a time to look back on how things did during the growing season, and also a time to look forward and prepare for the spring. I find the second bit exciting :)

7 Oct, 2014


Lics - tried but couldn't get back earlier than 1026!

7 Oct, 2014


Thats weird Stera, click in his pics then above it says more pics by Balcony which brings them up 16 at a time, think posted 11 Sept 2013, there are about 3...I can remember when he first joined threatening to drive where he lived just to have a look, you couldn't miss finding it, have to say I didn't actually do that.....
Easier and quicker way (duh brain in action at first, lol) and it worked, I put Balcony photo 11Sept 2013 in the searchbar..

8 Oct, 2014


Brian, about the Variegated Geraniums, yes I do keep them over the winter. Last year I took a load of cutting of all three types & most survived the winter. I've done the same this year as well. As I took them some weeks ago I think they have rooted by now.

Stera:There are plenty of photos of my balcony in my photos pages! In a few of my blogs I've probably included a few pictures as well!

I've seen Mimulus before but this year was the first time I've actually grown them. But I don't think I will be doing it another year their period of flowering is too short as are the plants themselves. Nonetheless I did like them! :-))

Lincs:Yes it was quite a haul with the bags! As the bag was wheeled it was fairly easy - especially as I had to stop from time to time to let my wife catch up with me!

I agree with you, Hywel. By taking photos regularly you can remember what was growing when & where! I like to look back on my pictures from time to time!

Stera & Lincs: "I put Balcony photo 11Sept 2013 in the searchbar.. "

So did I! But got no results at all! Nevertheless if you can find page 7 of my photos you will find 7 (yes, seven!) photos of my balcony in 2013! There are many more of course but you will get a fair idea of the balcony on that page!

8 Oct, 2014


Thats really strange Balcony, I put that in my searchbar and it came up immediately, there are three if I remember correctly, looked smashing as well.....

8 Oct, 2014


lovely set of pics, so much time and effort and energy invested in your display! do you have other plants to put up for the cold season? how the beck do you find space to overwinter thse in less exposed conditions?

transporting compost etc has always been the big prob for m e - i had a suitcase trolley (without suitacase) that I could get two bags on, but dragging them home once showed me that one at a time was a lot less strain, even though it did double the number of trips. When I went to B+Q I was determined to buy enough to justify their delivery charge ... ended up spending enough to get free delivery! but smaller quantities of compost etc is always a problem.

12 Oct, 2014


Lincslass: You will most often find I have three photos because I usually take three at a time! I take the 1st one from outside the fenced in area of grass (What I sometimes refer to as "our lawn"!) so that is the right hand side view of the balcony. Then I go around (or perhaps climb over!) the fencing & take one from the left hand side & then another right in the centre. I try to get the whole balcony into just one photo without anything left over at the sides or top. It's impossible not to get some grass in the photo as well. Anyway I usually use the grass to put my caption in!

I try to take a series like this at least once a month. That allows me to track the progress of the balcony over the course of a year!

Fran: My plants mostly have to bear the winter cold outside. I have a big, white circular table in the left hand corner of the balcony. This corner is the most sheltered spot on it & it is the place that gets any going sunshine during the winter months.

Just a few days ago I brought home from the allotment an old shelving unit or mini-greenhouse but it doesn't have the plastic surround. Nevertheless we are in the process of renovating the floors in our flat & will be ordering a new carpet for our bedroom. I will keep the plastic from the roll to use and wrap around it to keep out some of the cold & some warmth in. At the very least it will protect the plants inside from cold winds. Anything inside will be kept pretty dry which also helps them to remain dormant & there won't be water to freeze if frost gets to them.

I quite understand your difficulties in transporting compost! Fortunately I'm still healthy & strong enough to transport the sacks home. I very rarely do this sort of thing anyway. Like you I don't have a car so if I can't take it on the bus then I lug it home! In fact my right arm shoulder joint is still hurting! Not enough to make life too difficult but enough to let me know I have to be careful with how I use it for a few more weeks!

Avis: I didn't think of it as determination more like a "gamble". I needed the compost as the compost that was in the pots & troughs was probably "sick" after several years without being changed. Salts from fertilizers all summer & the calcium from the tap water & nothing to turn the soil over, i.e. earthworms, no air gets into the compost except when I empty them out twice a year when I change my displays. In fact for the last two years I've not done that at all no doubt adding to the deterioration of the planting medium. I noticed that this summer's planting took a long time to get going & that was what made me think the soil must be "sick". With this fresh compost I certainty do hope to see a great improvement in my future plantings.

12 Oct, 2014


I bought some fleece sheets from the pound shop for my mini-greenhouse couple of years ago - rather than a proper fleece cover, which would have meant taking the plastic cover off, putting the fleece on, then putting the plastic cover back.

Didn't even take the plastic off - wrapped the fleece sheets around the thing over the plastic, using weatherrproof sticky tape; it held all through winter. maybe you could find something like that, cheap and cheerful, to give the mini-greenhouse some protection - your balcony is inset, so you'd have no rain to contend with.

12 Oct, 2014


That's a VERY good idea, Fran! I could do the same! As fleece is breathable the air would be able to circulate inside & the plants should be alright. I'm thinking of using it mostly for the Amaryllis bulbs I'll have to bring back home from the allotment by month's end. All they will need is to be frost free. As I have no room inside the flat this year for them.

I've already passed the Anglo-American hybrids inside the flat, onto the bedroom windowsills, as part of the start of the "make-over" on the balcony.

The ones on the allotment have been inside the greenhouse on Gerry's allotment for more than a month & are starting to dry out! I want them to hibernate & for that they need to be completely dry. Even though they have had no water in 6 weeks many of them still looked quite well though the leaves had lost their bright sheen & were looking greyish green now. A few had yellowing leaves. I hope by the end of the month when I start to bring them home, the majority will have yellow/brown leaves. I'll cut off any leaves that remain green to force them into hibernation. Then I will stack them, still in their pots, in the mini-greenhouse on the balcony. After that though I'm very much afraid they will have to take their chances!

It's just occurred to me that I could also put the pots in sheets of newspaper to add another layer of insulation round them!

13 Oct, 2014


Thankyou Lincs, I found it easily this time. What a wonderful display. But I did wonder whether it was pretty dark inside the room behind!

14 Oct, 2014


Stera: you needn't worry about the plants blocking out the light - we get plenty of sunlight (when the sun's out of course!) coming in through the balcony windows. It actually comes into our living room & reaches the far wall!

At certain times of the year the sun comes in through the small window, over the kitchen sink, crosses the kitchen, comes out through the kitchen door & shines right into our living room! That happens for a few weeks twice a year! Around the spring & autumn equinoxes.

All year round though we get lots of light in our living room - it's not at all dark, unless there are thick clouds that is.

The balcony faces South-West so we get lots of sunlight all year round! It gets so bad at times it blinds us & we have to shut the curtains! At this time of the year the sun again shines on my computer screen & I can't see anything!

We also have big windows, both in the living room & in the kitchen. While making our midday meal I very often close the Venetian blinds as the sunlight is so strong you just can't see what you are doing! Few plants can live in the blinding sunlight of summer on the windowsill.

16 Oct, 2014


I'd been thinking of lining the insides of my pots with bubble wrap to help insulate them. Of course, that can't be done until repot time, but would it be any use for the future? I do'nt know how that'd affect the plants; would they tend to overheat in summer?

17 Oct, 2014


It sounds wonderful Balcony. Our sitting room faces north (daft isn't it?) so I spend most of my sitting time in summer in the conservatory which faces south and gets too hot...never satisfied are we?
Fran you can put the bubble wrap round the outside of the pots - much easier and just as effective, and easy to remove when the frosts are over.

17 Oct, 2014


Fran I agree with Stera about the bubble wrap - unless of course you are willing to put the plant in its original pot inside another! You could put bubble wrap between the two pots, but that would make for a very bulky arrangement!

Couldn't you just remove the pots from the window during the hottest hours of the day or coldest hours of the night? It's something I do quite often & have done for the 14 years we've lived here! It had never occurred to be to put bubble wrap around them! Any way that wouldn't protect the foliage though it might the roots. It's a bit of a hassle I know but the most effective way of going about things when there are extremes you can't control other ways.

This afternoon has been very sunny here (though very windy) & about 4pm I took a photo of our living room from the windows looking out onto the balcony towards the table, where I often have plants, & the sun was just reaching it! As we were just leaving to go to church, for an hour's singsong, I didn't get a photo from later as when we got back home, just after 5.30, the sun had just left our balcony & was climbing the one above us. I think about 5pm it would have been on the far wall of our living room from the balcony!

About 3pm the sun was bothering me as I sat writing here at my computer! I sit with my right side towards the balcony & my left side towards the table & wall of our living room. I had to lean over the keyboard as each time I leaned back/sat upright the sunlight blinded me! It was pretty warm as well!

19 Oct, 2014

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