Thursday, 1 September 2011

01.09. Awful summer!

OK, so it’s official, it isn’t my imagination; it has been an awful summer! The statistics are ready and the cold facts (sorry for the pun, couldn’t resist!) are as follows: it was the coolest July since 2000 and with several chilly nights, in terms of minimum temperature it was the coldest July across the UK since 1980. August was even worse, the coolest August since 1993, with 25% more rain than average. I moved to London summer 1999, a so-called barbecue summer, with wall-to-wall sunshine from June to September and 25-32 degrees most of July and August. I thought that was how the weather was in London in the summer. How wrong I was! With 18-20 degrees and overcast most of August and rain half of the days this summer, we had better days in March! Last time we had a really good summer was in 2005. That’s a very long time ago…

We did however have a bit of sunshine today, and slightly more than 20 degrees, in fact, it crept up to 24 degrees at lunchtime. But it gets chilly earlier in the afternoon, and there is a distinct autumnal feel in my garden already.

I took some photos today, here is what my garden looks like right now. Quite green and lush from all the rain, but not a lot of flowers, as the summer flowers are over and long gone, and the autumn flowers have not yet started flowering. I have big plans for my garden for next year, bigger flower beds and smaller paths, and I want to get rid of the rest of the grass, as it is more a nuisance than a joy. The plans will require a lot of work and quite a bit of money so I will need to do it in stages, bit by bit. But it will be a more practical garden when I am finished, and that’s my aim; practical and also better looking hopefully :-)
I bought some very cheap fuchsias earlier this year, some of them ended up in the garden next door and the rest I planted in the central bed. They require very little sunshine to flourish and have done better than I hoped for.  If they survive the winter, despite being sold as annuals, I will move them to the new beds I am planning to make, but for now they seem to be happy where they are. Fuchsias come in all sorts of colours and sizes, and some grow to quite tall bushes, other are just tiny plants barely a foot tall. I have 2 other fuchsias in my garden already which have survived many winters despite being non-hardy, I particularly like the flowers just as they are about to open – they look like tiny ballerinas, and in fact they are often called ‘dancing ladies’.

Some facts: Fuchsias originate from South America, growing wild there and in New Zealand. They were first imported into Britain around 1789. During the late 1800s, hybridising of Fuchsias reached its height, when the plants were highly valued by the Victorians. Their popularity after Victorian times declined only to begin another revival from the 1950s until the present time. Many of the original Fuchsia varieties are still popular today. Fuchsias are often given very colourful names, this one is called Pink marshmallow, cute? :-)

Have you seen that I have given my blog a face-lift? I thought it needed a slight smarten up after all this time, so I have made some changes. I have more modifications in mind, and Blogger has lots of different widgets one can add – just need to try them out first…all in due time :-)

I have updated my web-site the last few days; there are new photos in my PHOTO ALBUMS and in my GARDEN SECTION 2011. Frequent visitors to my blog might have seen some of these photos in different posts here, but if you visit my web-site you will get to see all the photos in chronological order. All my garden videos are now also available on my garden section. Enjoy the photos, until next time, take care :-)

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