Sunday, 22 July 2012

Olympic weather in London!

We have finally got summer in London! About time you might say, we have had rain almost every day since beginning of April but now it seems it’s finally our turn to get sunshine and warm weather, very nicely timed for the start of the 2012 Olympics in London. By the time we get to Tuesday or Wednesday this week we are expected to hit over 30 degrees Celsius mid-day, I can’t wait! Those blasted jet streams have decided to go north after all, and they can just stay there until Christmas for my sake!

Although all the rain is not good for my achy arthritic joints, it has done my garden good – it is lush and green with surprisingly little greenflies, but some enormously big slugs - I must remember to take a picture of one of them before they go in the compost bin one day, if my readers can stomach the sight of them that is, ugh! After redesigning my garden last autumn and getting rid of the rest of the grass the new path is now winding down to the bottom in an S-shape, and with all the lush green foliage everywhere you can’t even see the bottom of the garden from my favourite seat.

It’s actually getting difficult to take pictures, there is nowhere to stand to take long-shots of the whole garden! But here you can see my Dregea sinensis on the arch, a real star in my garden. It is in full flower now, absolutely smothered in tiny, lovely scented flowers. The flowers are so small that they don’t really show up on this full size picture...

...so here is a close-up of one side of the arch. The scent is the loveliest sweet scent you can imagine, not intrusive at all, not like lilies which I absolutely adore, but are very in your face and can be a bit too strong after a while. The scent of the Dregea is one you can sit next to a whole evening and still not feel you’ve been drowned in. I am so happy I placed the Dregea on this arch, close to my seating area where I can really enjoy the scent :-)

The flowers are tiny, yes, but with masses of them who cares!

And they flower until well into September, sometimes October if the weather is warm enough.

Speaking of lilies, until yesterday, out of all my oriental lilies only my Lilium regale had started flowering. But now ‘Mona Lisa’ has also opened up her flowers. I still have lots of ‘Stargazers’ in buds, 3 ‘Miss Feya’ and I also have 8 mixed oriental lilies which are new this year so I don’t know which colour they will be – all in bud, all very late, but we are getting there eventually!

And my daylilies have finally started flowering too, that is, the ones the caterpillars haven’t eaten yet....here is Hemerocallis 'Burning Daylight', a lovely, slightly scented daylily.

'Burning Daylight' is new this year and I expect it to become a focal point in my garden ones it grows a bit bigger.

And here is another new plant in my garden, or newish should I say, I haven’t taken pictures of it before – simply because it hasn’t really been much to show! It is a Physalis alkekengi - Chinese lantern, or two to be precise. This was a project I almost gave up, as I bought these in a packet in Asda 3 years ago, and thought I would get lovely red lanterns the same year. When I opened the packet I found two dried ‘twigs’ in the box which I duly put in compost and watered. Very late in the summer I got a tiny plant in each pot but no flowers. I had read that these plants can be very invasive so I had decided to have them in a large tub when they got big enough. When winter came the plants died and I was curious if I would get any lanterns the next summer, but I didn’t, just slightly bigger plants. So you can imagine my joy when I discovered flowers this year, after caring for these two pot plants for the third year running! The lanterns are still green though, and have taken on an unsightly brownish colour which I don’t think they are supposed to have, perhaps too much rain maybe…Next year I will plant these two on in a large tub and hope the plants get much bigger with lots of red lanterns, they should be mature enough at least!

Surrounding the Chinese lantern pots are my black mondo grass, which isn’t a grass at all, it has the tongue breaking name of Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens', also called black lilyturf. It grows very slowly in the beginning, but after a few years it spreads quite quickly and I have now started to pull up runners to keep it in shape and stop it from invading neighbouring plants.

The flowers are absolutely tiny but lovely, the black berries that follow in the autumn are even lovelier.

And now to a bit of wildlife in the garden…I have been trying to take a picture of the squirrel that keeps coming here but he is just too quick for me! I love watching him running around, but it’s just like he knows what I am about to do every time I lift my camera! This picture is the only acceptable one so far....

Here is a more docile piece of wildlife, not very wild at all :-) My cat is with me outside every day and he loves using my rubbish tray to sleep in. Every time I empty the tray for weeds and deadheaded flowers he is there asking if it is his turn to use it....

....he really is way too big for this tray, but he looks comfy enough :-)

That was the end of today’s roundtrip in my garden, more to come next time, until then, take care.

22 comments:

  1. Hello Helene!
    Hooray - you finally got sun and high temperatures!! It's about time. You really deserve them.
    Your arch looks beautiful - too bad blogs can't transmit fragrance :) I bet it's divine.
    I have always liked black lilyturf. The small pink flowers are an added bonus.
    And doesn't that kitty-cat look comfy! He's happy to have sunshine too!

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    1. Yes, I wonder when someone will invent scented blog posts - about time! My cat and I have been outside all day today, it's been wonderful weather :-)

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  2. I love your Dregea. I haven't come across it before, but it reminds me a little of a hoya. I have lilyturf or regular mondo grass - not the lovely black leafed version you have - but since it is winter here, mine is smothered in masses of black berries just the same.

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    1. The Dregea is a bit like a hoya, until you touch it - it's nothing like the porcelain flowers and stiff leaves, in fact the leaves on the Dregea are so soft they remind me of the softest tissues. Not advisable to blow your nose in them though, the sap is highly irritant and stains everything including clothes, skin and hair – but very nice to stroke :-)

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  3. I'm not sure I would have had as much perseverance with the Chinese lanterns. I'm glad you did. Your garden looks beautiful.

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    1. Thanks, I am glad I didn't throw the Chinese lanterns in the compost bin last autumn, it was a close call...

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  4. Oh Helene... your garden is so beautiful and makes me want to wander up your path. I haven't come across the Dregea before but you've got my interest now.
    Enjoy the sunshine as it's been a long time since we've seen it! Your cat looks so comfy by the way :-)

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    1. Thanks PJ, the Dregea is absolutely a plant I recommend, and it is now available to buy online and from specialist nurseries here in the UK, or if you are ever in London you can drop me a line and come here and get some cuttings for free :-) I would however not recommend to plant it on an arch like I have done, as it matures it needs more space, it can grow 10’ tall and wide so a south facing wall is better – although I didn’t have a wall so ended up with the second best choice. That means hard pruning in the winter though, and it gets absolutely massive by the end of autumn.

      And my cat and I are enjoying the sunshine!

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  5. Oh my...your cat is adorable, have reposted to Pinterest. At our old house we had those chinese lantern plants, so when we moved here we bought a plant but it just disappeared...but I'm inspired to try again...they are so different.
    Enjoy the sun xx

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    1. My cat says thanks :-)
      And I am so enjoying the warm weather, we had 29 degrees Celsius today!!

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  6. Awww, cute kitty! I'm so glad we're swapping weather! More rain is in the forecast for me during the next few days! Yes! I'm glad you have some sunshine, too. You have quite a nice Lily collection, and that Dregea is nifty!

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    1. Beth, I am so glad too! I hope you can keep the rain for a few months at least...say early November or so, then I'm OK with rain again!
      Yes, my lily collection is growing, still waiting for Stargazer to open up, with this warm weather (30 degrees today again), the process should speed up a bit!

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  7. I wish you the best of weather during the Olympics. It must be so exciting.

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    1. Thanks, I must admit I don't care much for the sports part of it, and as I am house bound I don't notice any difference, but the TV is sending 24/7 about the Olympics and there are lots of events other than sports too so there's something for everyone :-)

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  8. Hooray for sunshine!! What is it with cats and boxes/tubs to lay in? :o) My cats used to do the same thing. Your garden looks spectacular. Now I need that rain to head my way.

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    1. Whenever I get a delivery I save the cardboard box so the cat can play with it for a few hours, great fun! We are going to have showers now and then the next 10 days, wish I could send them your way!

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  9. Hello Helene, delightful post as usual. I am always glad to see these very high temperatures in London, usually gives us a chance of reaching 19c or a little higher. Interesting plant is the Dregea which I am not familiar with. I like the black lilyturf, I am just waiting for the buds to open on ours, I think our one has darker flowers than your one.

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    1. Thanks Alistair, we had 32 degrees Celsius today, nice! But I think we've reached the peak of the week now, it's going down again from now on. Dregea sinensis is not a plant you can pick up in your usual garden centre, mine are cuttings from a plant grown from seeds bought online. But I see them for sale as plants online now. Much hardier than advertised and well worth trying.

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  10. Your garden is looking lovely. Glad you're having some nice weather at last. By the way, I bet my slugs are bigger than yours.

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    1. I tell you what, the slugs vanished with the warm weather, I haven't seen one single slug the last week! I think my garden is just too tidy for them when it is hot and sunny. I bet they are hiding in the neighbour's weeds, just waiting to crawl back when we get some more rain!

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  11. Hi Helene,
    I stopped on this post when I read where you mentioned the Olympics and the weather. I am so not into sports, but for some reason, enjoy watching many of the events of the Olympics. I am watching diving right now. I am usually doing something else at the same time, though. I am finished with lunch, and need to go do some work in my kitchen. I tend to not watch the team games that last any length of time, though.

    You mentioned on my blog that your yard is small. It sure is beautiful, though! I like the way you said people find your blog. Your cat looks like a sweetie, and creature of habit.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by again Sue, we have a short break from the Olympics right now, before the Paralympics starts. I don't notice much to it, even though I live only 3 miles from the Olympic Park, but I can hear the helicopters all day long!

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