Last year my Creative partner Liz and I got serious gardening fever. This year she has again got the seeds planted and is good to go.
I however have been a wimp - while the weather is cold I don't even open the door to my balcony! I have brought in a few choice precious plants for the winter and the rest have to fend for themselves.
Boris (named after London mayor Boris Johnson) the crazy ivy plant has taken over a whole corner of my flat. I never water him. How he survives is beyond me. He has lived with Fiance and I for 4 years now. He really is my baby.
Manwell the mini orange tree ( a gift from my friends Liz and James) spent a lot of last year suffering from a serious case of red spider mite. He required 4 or 5 far too generous doses of chemical pest killer (the spray says only use 2x at most) and a spell out in the snow before he finally shook off his unwanted guests. He is now back in the warm and has burst back to life with a beautiful crop of mini oranges which I won't be eating because after that much chemical spray they are probably poisonous.
Florence the white flowery tree thing (so you might have guessed I'm not big on knowing the correct names of plants) is doing well. She is the latest edition to my front room nursery - a gift from my lovely friend Laura. She requires a lot of watering but then I should have guessed - she looks high maintenance.
Outside on the balcony we have a miniature rose - (a gift from my gorgeous friend Hollie)- Rosalind - after the Shakespearean character from As you Like it. Rosalind was very ill last spring. She was out on the balcony and developed a serious case of black and green fly. After research I found you could kill these pesky quick-breeding creatures with a fairy liquid mixture. She required at least 8 treatments and careful monitoring. Most of her leaves fell off before the battle was won. Maybe it was the lack of places fro the greenfly to go that finally did the trick. She has however come back to life and put in a magnificent effort with her re-growth so props to Rosalind. She's a survivor. I must remember to bring her back inside before the warm weather kicks in.
Bailey the Bay tree has done nothing. NOTHING! Since I had him last summer. He is very small and grew from my Dad's humungous Bay tree. Bay trees are worth a lot of money. Bailey isn't because he's too small and he's obviously home sick since he refuses to grow. Maybe I'll feed him some baby bio...
Then after that we have my climbing passion flower. I had three originally - cut offs from dad again. One has done pretty well. I am very surprised since she survived the snow and all the freezing weather. She looks so delicate and tropical it really is a miracle. She doesn't have a name yet. Probably because I was sure she would die. But maybe I could call her Patricia.
So the plan for this year? Chillies and more tomatoes - like last year. And I will be looking for hardy plants that can survive droughts.