After a short hiatus – call it winter, call it the blues, call it whatever you want – I’m back! Here’s a bit of reminiscence on when we, here up North, notice winter is not to stay for ever.
Valentine’s day is usually the day I notice the light is coming back. This is usually the day, even in a pathetic winter such as last winter, when I can go on the balcony with a cup of coffee and bask a bit in the sun.
We have a closed off balcony, as do many apartments in Finland. There’s a sort of curtain of glass panels which you can open and close (usually they’re closed) at your convenience. This turns the balcony into a sort of a conservatory, or a giant cold frame. It protects plants a bit from frost (I don’t know how much – every year I think I should measure the temperature, but I haven’t managed to do so, and then along came this pathetic joke of a winter).
I do know that conditions are quite a lot milder than if the plants were out there without the glass; a particularly nice climbing herb called ‘Jiaogulan’ (Chinese immortality herb) which is supposed so be an annual is alive and thriving now, as well as a snapdragon, which I pinned to the side of the container (which has gaps along the sides) last year. I cut the flowers, so it’s looking nice and bushy now.
I’ve wintersown some perennials (lupins, delphiniums, some herbs), and did the unthinkably stupid thing by taking them indoors (why, I’m not so sure – maybe to grow them on indoors so they’d grow nice and strongly, on a windowsill with half an hour of light a day), when halfway through January it looked like we actually may get some deepfreeze conditions. Not so. There was a flush of germination, and then off they damped. Lesson learned: leave those seeds the f*** alone.
So, on Valentine’s day, I sowed some of them again, and let them be. A month later, and they’ve germinated happily. Same for the lupins (both annual and perennial). The balcony is full of growing stuff, and it makes the heart sing.
Anyways, I hope you are happy and thriving, and I’ll be back soon. Here’s a picture of some snowdrops: