Wednesday, 15 August 2012

GBBD post from my sickbed

I am writing this GBBD post from my bed, sorry if you have wondered why I haven’t posted for the last 10 days, but I have been in hospital for a week. I managed to dislocate my hip whilst working in my garden on Monday the 6th August and today is the first day I am looking at my blog again. I know this is going to sound unbelievable, I can hardly believe it myself and I have had a hard time explaining this to all the doctors I have seen over the week I was in hospital, but I was standing in one of my flower beds, cutting off spent roses on my new David Austin rose Wildeve, when some of the petals fell to the ground. I bent down to pick the petals up and then my hip popped out; the hip replacement I got 14 months ago. That’s all I did. No fall or any force applied. I knew straight away what had happened, I felt it pop out, I heard it pop out and one second later I got an excruciating pain in my hip and groin and although I have experienced really bad pain in the past with 7 prolapsed disks in my back and neck and numerous surgeries to my spine, hip and stomach – this was pain like nothing I have experienced before.

I always bring my phone with my out in the garden, but it was on the table at my seating area and I was at the bottom of my (very small) garden. I screamed for help, but no one heard me, I tried to crawl to the phone but couldn’t even move an inch, my garden could just as well have been a mile long that day, I just could not get to my phone. I just had to continue screaming for help and finally my next door neighbours heard me and came outside. They called for an ambulance and were a great help to me, but the ambulance crew had a tough job getting me out of the flower bed I was lying in, they had to call for another ambulance crew so that they were 4 people that could lift me. At some point they were discussing getting a helicopter to lift me out, but there had been a road accident somewhere so it would have taken a long time before the helicopter would have been available and it had started to rain, I was getting cold and the 4 of them decided to do it quick and brutal instead. It was brutal. And painful. They had to cut down my lovely rose to the ground and also cut off a large part of my mature Acer Palmatum in order to get me out, as that’s where I was lying. Right in the ‘room’ I WAS WRITING ABOUT only a few weeks ago. I have been out in the garden for the first time today since the incident, hobbling out on crutches I just had to get down there to have a look at the damages. I haven’t got a photo for you, but if you look at the overview photo on the post I wrote about this room, the second photo on the post, I can describe to you what it looks like now – pretty empty. The rose is gone, cut off at ground level. The astilbe is pretty much gone or trampled down and half of the beautiful Acer Palmatum has been chopped off, I almost cried when I saw that, although I do understand why it was necessary – but it took 10 years to grow to that size! Two of the hellebores are also pretty much trampled down so the bed is just an open space now. Most of it will grow back, including the rose I hope, but the Acer will not. I will have to trim it into some sort of shape and try to rescue what is left, although trimming the Acer is not exactly top of my priority list yet, I have been banned from doing any gardening for at least 8 weeks until my hip is a bit more stable! It’s going to be hard to watch my garden without being able to do any work, but I am not allowed to sit on my gardening stool as it is too low and the risk of dislocating again is very high, even after the first 8 weeks. I have been told that I will have to make permanent changes to a lot of things in the future, including how I work in the garden. No more bending down for me – ever.

I haven’t got any recent photos for this Garden Bloggers’ Blooms Day post, but I thought I would post the photos I took on Monday the 6th, just an hour before everything turned so horribly wrong. These are the last photos I got on my camera and from my very short walk in the garden today I could see that these flowers are still here, although not looking as great as 10 days ago. The first photo was of my Stargazer lilies, which I have posted photos of before, but this photo is of the whole bunch in full flower.

Stargazer lilies close-up.

And here are the last of my lilies to come into flower, my Goliath lilies. I bought these in February and they are not very impressive in size yet, but give them another year or two and they will be up to 2.5m tall with as many as 40 flowers on each stem. I love the colour of them, and they look great next to the hydrangea which has a deep pink colour this year. These Goliath lilies are called Miss Feya.

Lily Miss Feya close-up

My garden is filled with flowers right now, but I just can’t manage to get any photos taken, I can just about hobble around on two crutches out to the seating area, but that’s it. I have no hands available to take photos when I have to lean properly on both crutches, so more photos will have to wait for a while. But I can tell you that the Dahlia ‘Striped Vulcan’ is looking spectacular, all my sedums are coming into flowers and the Echinacea Purpurea has finally started flowering. All my begonias are in full flower, so are the roses – they are doing their second flush now and are looking really pretty. Sorry, this isn’t really the same as posting photos, I would have loved to show you all this!

Before I finish this post I do have one more photo for you, taken a few days before I was sent off to hospital. Can you remember my summer flowering hellebore? I wrote about it last summer, SEE THE POST HERE. The hellebore is flowering again this summer, and started emerging late May. The photo is about 2 weeks old and when I saw the hellebore today it had even more flowers than on this photo.

Summer flowering hellebore

I have often wondered about my summer flowering hellebore, and thought that this clump probably had two plants, one that flowers in the winter with maroon flowers and one that flowers in the summer with pink flowers. A couple of weeks ago I decided to send off an email to one of the companies I buy plants from online to ask if they had ever heard about summer flowering hellebores and explained that I got my hellebores from Broadview Gardens National Collection of Hellebores in 2004. I got a reply from them and here is what Lewis Normand at Coblands answered:

Dear Helene,
I taught at Hadlow College and the University of Greenwich in Garden Design and Horticulture for ten years and know the Hellebore collection very well.  From what you have described and knowing that propagation of H. x hybridus (what was H. orientalis) at Hadlow is from seed, I think it probable that you have two different seedlings growing as one plant.  Summer is uncommon for any 'colourful' hellebore, but perhaps a mixture of competition from the main plant and a predisposition for later flowering is leading your summer hellebore to do its thing that bit later then we'd expect. 
Looks good though and great to have an extension to the season.
~~~▪~~~
Have any of you readers got a summer flowering hellebore? I would love to hear about it if you do. I do wonder how ‘uncommon’ my hellebore really is :-)

That was it for my rather unusual GBBD post, I will write again when I can, but it might be a while till next time, in the mean time you could have a look at Carol’s blog, she is hosting the GBBD and there you can find blogs from all over the world and see what’s in flower right now. Until next time, take care. 

40 comments:

  1. I'm sorry part of your garden was cut back but your health is so much more important! I am so glad someone was able to help you. What a scary experience. Do the doctors know what made your hip pop out?

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    1. My hip has been unstable and not very good since my hip replacement 14 months ago, because of my main condition, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. The hip replacement operation has not really been that successful so it has already been decided that I am not doing the other hip which was initially planned. But I don’t think anyone anticipated a dislocation after 14 months – I was kind of over the risky period for that!

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  2. Oh Helene - how awful for you!! I feel so bad that you had that terrible accident, that you couldn't get help for awhile and then that your beautiful garden suffered damage while they tried to get you to the hospital. I hope it helps to know that your flowers and your garden are among the loveliest I have seen among the many blogs. Please take care and know that your Blogger Friends are thinking about you and wish you a very speedy recovery.
    Astrid

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    1. Thank you for thinking of me and for your kind words, it does help :-)

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  3. Oh, that sounds so frustrating! Well, I'm glad you're on the mend, mostly, and your lilies are spectacular!

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  4. Beautiful lilies! Hope you are feeling better soon!

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  5. So sorry to hear of your trip to the hospital and the plants you lost in the process. Hope you are mending well.

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  6. Oh my you must have been so worried when no-one was coming to your aid at first. I am glad you are doing better now.

    At least you must have a happy heart to come and see some of those beauties in your garden. My hellebores might very well be in flower now but come summer they are quite pathetic. I studied for a time at Hadlow, there plant knowledge is amazing.

    Hope you feel better soon

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  7. What a terrible time you have had. I hope both you make a speedy recovery.

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  8. Ouch.

    The plants will recover, make sure you do the same.

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  9. I'm so sorry to hear about your infirmity and the damage to your garden. I'll keep you in my thoughts and send positive energy your way. Your lilies are stunning!

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  10. Oh, my goodness, Helene! What a time you've had! I'm so sorry for all you are going through. I hope you are on the mend and will be back out in the garden soon.

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  11. Poor You! It must have been so frightening for you :-(
    Take care and try not to worry too much about your beautiful garden.
    Big hugs (( Helene ))
    x x x x x

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  12. Oh, what a horrible ordeal! And the worst part is you were just bending over! And now you'll not be able to garden for some time. :( I hope while you're recuperating the lovely blooms in your garden cheer you up! The lilies beside the hydrangeas are wonderful! And what a wonderful surprise to have hellebore blooms in summer! Take care.

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  13. I hope your hip recovers quickly and your garden will also come back, although this might be time for something new, - always a silver lining. -I also studied at Hadlow, and a Hellebore that I have flowered last summer, - it didn't stop it flowering again this Spring, so I think it was just slightly out of sync.

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  14. Oh my goodness!!!I wish I lived closer & could help you out...what a complete nightmare. Am sending some bubble-wrap & cotton-wool clothing for you to wear from now on!!!
    xx

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  15. I'm so sorry to hear that you were out of commission. It sounds agonizing. I'm glad you're back at your home again and are able to enjoy your garden even if you can't work in it. The Goliath lilies are beautiful as are the stargazers. Wishing you a speedy recovery.

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  16. I am so sorry to hear about your injury, Helene. What a shame that your flowers were chopped and trampled. You're the most important flower though. :-) Hope you're feeling much better soon.

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  17. Thank you all for your very kind well wishes, it means so much to me!

    Jane: I am happy to receive some bubble wrap, it has been suggested to me already….
    I am now getting a personal emergency alarm installed so if something like this would ever happen again (touch wood it won’t !!), at least I would be able to call for help, it is worn like a wrist watch and connected to a 24/7 service. I will feel much safer outside in the garden with it.

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  18. Ugh. That's really scary, to be that incapacitated and unable to call for help. So glad that your neighbors heard you. Here's to a speedy recovery, sometimes you just have to let the garden go and focus on being kind to yourself. Sometimes plants come back that you've forgotten about completely, when you finally get around to clearing the weeds.

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  19. Oh my goodness, Helene! So sorry to hear about this. I'm especially sorry that you had so much pain. Yes, please be very careful when you go out. I wish I lived closer so I could stop over and visit while you recuperate! (The plants will wait. And most will grow back just fine.)

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    1. Beth, I wish some of you online gardening friends lived a bit closer too! Around where I live I have no one with even the slightest interest for their gardens, most of my neighbours use their back gardens for drying their washing and store bikes and rubbish. But my window cleaner came by today and he felt so sorry for the window baskets in my front garden so he asked if I wanted him to water them! I said yes please of course, and he carried water through from my back garden to the front and watered all of them. I am not sure if this rescue operation was in time, they are all in a pretty sorry state, but they are just annuals and it’s soon time for the winter pansies anyway so it’s OK if they don’t survive.

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  20. Helene, I am so sorry to hear about this terrible misadventure. (I still remember the moment that the medical personnel used the "quick and brutal" method to move me from the gurney onto my hospital bed after major surgery, and I have a feeling that pain was only a small fraction of what you experienced.) There's probably a cautionary tale here for all of us who are getting older about keeping a phone readily at hand (NOT in a pocket) when we are in the garden. The acer will not be the same, but all the other plants will probably be back as good as new next year.
    It sounds as though you are a very resilient person, well used to adapting to health problems and physical limitations. At some point in the future, after you have developed strategies for gardening without bending over, it would be wonderful if you would write a post sharing some of those tips with those of us who are going to need them sooner or later. (There might be a whole book here -- easy-on-the-body gardening.) Be well. -Jean

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    1. Hi Jean, thank you for your well wishes, and you are right, over the years I have had to get used to adapting to my increasingly long list of health issues. I got medically retired at the age of 30 and now, almost 18 years later thinking back, I was actually quite well at 30 compared to now. But my garden is literarily keeping me sane and is the most important ‘room’ in my house, I might very well write a book in the future about how to do gardening with physical limitations – great suggestion! At the moment I am working on book number 7, with a working title ‘Roses from my Garden’, as always there is no deadline, I never set deadlines for my work, I never know what turns up and when I end up in bed or hospital again! The book will be finished when it’s finished :-)

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  21. Hei, nydelig hage du har. Engelsken min er ikke så god, så jeg får prøve og følle med så godt jeg kan. HIHI. ;)))

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    1. Hei, du kan alltids bruke Google Translate for å oversette, bare klipp og lim inn hele avsnitt eller hele posten, blir ofte litt rare setninger (morsomme setninger!) men du forstår nok meningen :-)

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  22. Oh how dreadful for you. I was getting so upset reading through the first couple of paragraphs, thinking of you lying on the ground screaming for help for so long. How awful. Thank goodness you were finally heard and got the help you needed.

    I know it's upsetting that your garden was destroyed in the process, but as you say, most of it will grow back. It is such a shame that your beautiful Acer is reduced to a former shadow of itself though. It sounds to me like you might be needing a garden helper to come in from now on. You have to make sure you follow the advice you've been given and resist the urge to be bending and dropping down to work on the garden beds.

    The Lilies are spectacular as usual, and so is that lovely Hellebore. Look after yourself and I do so hope you're starting to feel a little more comfortable moving around soon.

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    1. Thanks for your concern Bernie, it is really difficult not to grab the secateurs and do some dead heading! I was outside today, in 33 Celsius degrees heat, trying to rescue the rest of my plants from dying. They haven’t been watered the last 12 days and I sat on a garden chair in the middle of my garden and just pointed the hose in all directions as best I could. It did help!
      I am going to try to find out if there is any voluntary organisations here where I live that might provide some help with gardens, failing that I might have to pay for help now and then – but when we have really hot summers, like right now, my garden needs watering every day so that’s going to be difficult. Finally we have summer too it seems :-)

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  23. OMG...I'm so sad for your garden...but so GLAD you're ok! I hope you mend quickly and are able to make the necessary adjustments so you can continue to enjoy your garden. I really have to find hose Goliath Lilies...they are amazing!

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    1. Thanks for the well-wishes, I am itching to attend to my garden again and have to restrain myself for now! I bought the Goliath lilies online, they were called Giant Goliath Lilies, if you Google them you will find several companies that sell them, in different colours. Mine are called Miss Feya.

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  24. So sorry to hear about your awful escapade. Glad to hear you're on the mend, albeit slowly. Your plants should all recover, drastic pruning will only promote more growth at this time of year. Take care.

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    1. Thanks Crystal, I was out in the garden again today and guess what, the rose has already made some tiny new shoots :-)

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  25. Helene, as if you didn't have enough to put up with as it is what with all those prolapsed discs and the likes. You are extremely brave and I will be wishing for you to have a quick recovery. On a happier note, a Summer flowering Hellebore, I have never heard the like of this before
    Nurture it, perhaps it will make you rich. Look after yourself, Alistair

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    1. Thank you Alistair for your well-wishes, it means a lot to me that all of you gardening friends are thinking of me.
      I am not sure if my summer flowering hellebore will ever make me rich – wish it could, but it has been a great delight and a talking point every summer since it first produced its summer blooms in 2005. It has flowered every summer (apart from one) since then and I hope it will continue and possibly make some babies that also do the same.

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  26. Hi Helene
    So sorry to read about what happened to you. I can understand how difficult it must feel not to be able to look after your garden. If you are anywhere near E5 I could help out with a bit of watering.

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    1. Hi Claire, and welcome to my blog. Thank you so much for your offer of help, I live in East Ham, a bit far from you with public transport, but not far if you have a car. Would you like to get in touch by email so we can have a chat?
      contact at graphicality dot co dot uk (sorry, have to write it like that to avoid spam, hope you understand....)
      Cheers!

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  27. Hi Helene, unfortunately I don't think I could make it that far. I was hoping you might be in Hackney somewhere I could pop round on my bike. You have a great blog and garden and I sincerely hope you find someone.

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    1. Thanks anyway Claire for offering :-) And I might have found help for my garden, have a look at my post for 28th August!

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  28. Good heavens, Helene, I am so sorry you had to experience that! I'm sorry you've had to experience so much illness over the last 18 years, too. Hang in there. You seem to have become an expert at bouncing back! I hope you are not feeling discouraged but are already thinking of ways and means around this latest setback so that you can continue to enjoy your beautiful garden.

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    1. Thanks, yes I am already outside enjoying my garden even if I can’t do much, and I will get back to doing some work when I get a bit better. It’s hard to keep me away from my garden :-)

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