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Winter on a balcony


By balcony


As I would hate to lose all the Fuchsia plants I bought last year to go in my hanging baskets.

From what I can see of the baskets at present they seem to be OK. Nevertheless, I can’t be sure as the damage may not be visible for some time.

The trouble with having such a small balcony & so many plants is what to do with the plants that won’t stand the long, frosty periods without protection. I’ve left the Fuchsias in their baskets but I’ve moved them deeper into the balcony. All summer they were on the outside edge so as to get as much light as possible. Now I’ve moved them in till they are almost touching the windows.

I have a small greenhouse covered in plastic but it’s not possible to heat it, not even enough to keep it frost free. As the original plastic started to break up a year ago I have since covered it in the plastic coverings that a couple of mattresses came in a couple of years ago. As one alone doesn’t quite cover the greenhouse frame I have had to use both of them. They are very long & so the excess I’ve raised up so that the hanging baskets above the greenhouse also get some protection.

Every year since moving here (8) I’ve kept the plants I’ve wanted to save on a table in the most sheltered corner of the balcony.

I put them inside a very big, thick plastic bag I got from where I used to work. The top is open so there’s little condensation. Its sides are nearly a metre (3ft) high so the plants are well protected from the cold wind & I’ve had a lot of success with this over the years.

This photo I took on December 15th 2009, just a few days ago, just before the snow & frost came along! Although it’s not the prettiest thing in the world to look at, so far, (today’s December 20th), it seems to have proved effective as I can’t see any plants that have died after several very hard frosts, -3ºC & -4ºC!

If I lose any plants it’s more to do with the little circulation of air & fungus diseases than the cold. I’ve kept two Fuchsia standards over 5 or 6 winters by standing them on this table, even though their heads poke above the walls of the bag. They are in the most sheltered spot of the balcony right up against the windows. They have the company of Geraniums & other Fuchsias & whatever other plant I have that won’t come through the winter without this minimum of protection.

This last photo I took just 2 days ago, after the first night of snow that we had.

I´ll end this blog on my balcony in winter with a picture of a sunset a few months ago, in September.

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I'll cross my fingers for you, Balcony! I hope you don't get too many casualties - you've certainly done your best for the plants.

20 Dec, 2009


Thanks very much, Spritz, I hope there aren´t ANY casualties! Well, you can always hope!

20 Dec, 2009


agree with spritz, at least you have done your best before the frosts. sadly I didnt get mine sorted before the temp dropped.

20 Dec, 2009


I hope it works for you Balcony. Is it possible to have a glass concertina type door on the edge of your balcony to close in winter and fold right back all summer?

20 Dec, 2009


Fuchsias are rather tougher than we think. I hope they survive for you this year. Your balcony must give quite a bit of protection.

20 Dec, 2009


good luck balcony i hope they survive, you have done your best to shelter them :o)

20 Dec, 2009


Admire all the care you are taking to protect your lovely plants, hope they come through without too many losses xx

20 Dec, 2009


Hope they all survive for you I managed to tuck my Fuchias down the side of my shed just before the weather changed.Can you buy a replacement cover for your little greenhouse I think you could get them.

20 Dec, 2009


Good luck with all your plants, although i have a greenhouse it is only small so i use one one of the plastic ones aswell, but i managed to get a fleece for mine this year, and my greenhouse is bubble wrapped i also cover all the plants with newspaper aswell.

21 Dec, 2009


I'm afraid not, Drc726. The flat isn't ours, we rent it from a housing association.

Thank everyone for your best wishes, I'll let you know in the spring - now only 3 months away - how they fair.

22 Dec, 2009


hope all your plants survive the must look lovely in the summer with all your plants ..........

22 Dec, 2009


Hollyeyes, for a view of what my balcony looked like in the summer you need only go to my photos page & you will see many individual plants but also views of the balcony as a passerby would see it. There are two photos on page 3 of my photos.

I have had to water the baskets today as they were so dry! They seem to be surviving the frosts but it won't be for a couple of more months before any potential damage can be assessed.

Thank you all for your kind comments & best wishes. :-)

22 Dec, 2009


i will go and have a look.........

23 Dec, 2009


Thank you everyone for your best wishes for the successful overwintering of my Fuchsias. When I came back from Spain on Tuesday 4th Jan I noticed that the baskets of Fuchsias were all killed off - well the foliage anyway. The next day I got the baskets down & cut all the branches back by at least half. The thicker stems showed some green so I'm hoping it's only the foliage that's been killed back.

I then cleared away all the dead flowers & leaves that had accumulated in the baskets & put them all under the table in the corner of the balcony then I covered them with several sheets of newspaper. I hope they will survive the treatment. I have never experienced such long cold spells since I've lived here. Other years my plants on the table in the corner of the balcony have come through the winter unscathed but not this year as the plants towards the exterior of the table have been killed off by the cold particularly some Ivy Leaf Geraniums. I don't expect them to recover. :-(

I covered all the plants in the greenhouse with newspaper, too. Some of the plants had shown effects of the tremendous cold we have been having.

10 Jan, 2010


hope all your plants will be ok....... i had a look at your balcony in the summer it is beautiful...........

10 Jan, 2010


Thank you very much, Holly, I'm glad that other people appreciate my work, though it´s mainly for my own pleasure but if it provides pleasure to others then I´m doubly pleased!

10 Jan, 2010


im sure people must stop to admire your balcony in the summer...........

11 Jan, 2010


Oh, they do!!! Sometimes people come up & talk to me, other times they just say well done or it looks very nice from the street.

14 Jan, 2010


makes it all worth while doesnt it.........

15 Jan, 2010


I quite agree, it does make all the effort worth it! I'm just so glad that it makes other people appreciate what can be done even if you only have a few square metres.

Only once in our 8 years here has anybody else grown some plants. That was about 3 years ago when the flat opposite ours was conditioned & finally occupied. The couple that moved in were quite young & they started to fill seed trays on their balcony with herbs & tomatoes. Then we had a few weeks of very hot, dry weather & I watched the poor seedtrays dry up while the tomatoes struggled & eventually died. A couple of months later they left. The next couple to occupy the place showed no interest in growing anything & they also moved out of the flat after half a year. Nobody else has ever shown any interest either.:-(

15 Jan, 2010


Its a shame more people dont grow things on there balconies .....we have flats up near the sea front and lots of people have plants growing on there balconies... which is surprising as its very very windy......

16 Jan, 2010


The wind must be the greatest bane a balcony gardener has to deal with! My balcony is exposed here & the winds do some cruel damage to my plants. Although the balcony is enclosed by walls on either side, only the right hand side, as you look out from the house, is there any real protection. So there I try to put the most vulnerable plants for protection. I also have a table in that corner where my plants are overwintered.

Nobody follows my lead here even when some of the neighbours upstairs congratulate me & say how nice it looks.

16 Jan, 2010


I suppose there just not into gardening and flowers as you are...... my neighbour on the right just has a lawn and the children who are now teenagers just use it to kick a ball about on.... and they sunbathe in the summer...... they can be a nuisance when the ball comes over and breaks my plants which it has done before.......

17 Jan, 2010

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