Saturday, 1 September 2012

Discovering my garden again

I have finally managed to take some photos of my garden again, I don’t think I have ever had such a long break from taking photos of my horticultural hobby. The last photos on my camera was from 6th August, the day I dislocated my hip and since then I have found it very difficult to stand and take photos since I am on crutches. But yesterday and today I have been outside with my tripod and a chair and taken a few, just to get some of the things flowering in my garden right now recorded. I can’t believe autumn has arrived already. I waited patiently for spring to arrive, but it was so cold and most of it rained away. Summer didn’t really arrive either, although we have had days here and there with nice sunshine and warm temperatures. The longest spell of warm weather was when I was in hospital, typically. And now it’s all over and my garden has started to put on autumn colours. The big tree outside in my street have already started dropping its leaves. Yes, autumn is here, and it will be a whole year until next summer.

All the rain and cold weather has meant that my garden is more lush and green than normally at this time of year. My garden has pretty much had to take care of itself the last month, and apart from a few plants that have died from lack of water, most plants will be OK with a bit of care and attention. Can you remember my Dregea sinensis that I have written about before? The one on the arch, which I pruned so heavily in January that I was afraid I had cut off too much this time? If you go back to my posts for January this year you will find two posts about the pruning of Dregea, a big job I do once a year, but seriously need in order to keep this much loved monster at bay. It turned out I didn’t have to fear I had pruned it too much, look how big it is today, and it’s only 1st September yet, the Dregea will still grow for another 2 months or so!

The Dregea has roamed wild the last month, since I haven’t been out here and tucked in and twined the wines like I usually do. It is still smothered in highly scented flowers, but it has managed to build a bridge over to the big holly tree next to it, so now I have Dregea flowers growing in the holly tree too, in between the green holly berries! Incidentally, the holly tree is soon coming down, I am waiting for the housing association to send me a tree surgeon to cut down the whole holly tree. Long story, I will write about it when it happens, I am not sad to see it go, it has been something I have wanted to do for years, and I am glad I am finally getting rid of it – the holly is really not suitable for such a small garden as mine and it is covered in scales which is impossible to spray for, on a tree more than 6 meters tall. Well, more about that some other time!

The bottom of my garden has filled in nicely over the summer and the brown painted log border is now less dominant. In the middle of the right hand bed you can see my Sedum Xenox and Sedum erythrosticum 'Frosty Morn' almost ready to flower, I hope they will be just right for a photo show by the middle of the month. My two clematis’ on the obelisks to the left have sadly died from lack of water, hopefully they will have time to make some new shoots before winter sets in if they are cut down next week. It’s on the ‘to-do-list’ for when my new garden helper comes on Monday :-)

All my fuchsias have done well without my attention, all they need is a bit dead heading. This is ‘Annabel’, a fuchsia bought as annuals, 6 for £3 as far as I can remember. Five of them have survived the winters since I bought them in 2008 so non-hardy fuchsias are pretty touch it seems. I don’t lift them or cover them or do anything with them over winter, and we have had some pretty cold winters lately so I am quite chuffed about that.

Fuchsia ‘Annabel’

Fuchsia ‘Annabel’

This is another so-called non-hardy fuchsia, a trailing type called ‘Sir Matt Busby’

And this is my pretty ballerina, with its huge buds, ‘Bella Rosella’. No open flowers today but plenty of nearly-there buds.

My non-stop begonias look a bit leggy by now, normally I would have pinched them earlier in the season but they were so late to even emerge this summer that I didn’t really know what to do this year. 7 of the 8 begonias I have are in pots so I can move them around and fill in empty spaces. Here they are placed on top of tubs that earlier in the season had tulips and daffodils – long gone by now. In the winter the begonias die down and I place the pots in the flower beds with a thin layer of bark mulch. I don’t have a shed or a garage, what doesn’t survive outdoors here isn’t suitable for my garden. Nothing gets lifted, nothing gets taken indoors. No fussing around!

Non-stop begonias have both single and double flowers on the same plant.

My roses are really suffering from not having been seen to the last month. Most of them have black spot, all of them have greenflies, they need some serious dead heading, they all suffer from lack of water and have lots of dry leaves and some of them should have had their summer pruning weeks ago, to encourage flowering well into December. More jobs for my to-do list! Despite all that I found this pretty rose today, supposed to be Rosa ‘Betty Uprichard’, but from photos I have seen it is supposed to be salmon coloured so I think it must have been a wrong labelled rose I got from the online company I bought it from. It doesn’t have any scent either, which was even more disappointing than the wrong colour, but the deep pink colour on this rose is striking enough to keep it from the compost bin. I have no idea what its name is so for now it is still called ‘Betty Uprichard’ on my plant list :-)

This last photo is of the area at the bottom of my garden where the four paramedics did some ‘gardening’ on the 6th August in an attempt to get me on to a stretcher to get me to hospital when I dislocated my hip. They had to cut down my new David Austin rose and several other bushes so they could get to me, as I was lying right here in this bed. The stretcher idea had to be abandoned, as it turned out they could not get the stretcher into my house and out again, I have no back access to my garden. They ended up lifting me up and placing me on a carrier chair and carried me through my garden, through my house and out to the ambulance. But look at the bed now, the rose is already on its way up again and so is the astilbe. My garden is getting back in order :-)

I am not showing you any photos from my front garden, just going to tell you it is a pretty sorry sight. All the plants in the window baskets have died from lack of water. But most of those plants were annuals anyway and yesterday I ordered the winter plants so I am going to change over a bit earlier than I normally do, hopefully with the help of my garden helper. I’ll let you know when they are ready for presentation :-) Until next time, take care.

19 comments:

  1. Lovely photos and I'm so glad that you are able to take them now... gardening season is a difficult time to have health issues... best wishes, Larry

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    1. Thanks Larry, I do get a bit of withdrawal symptoms if I am away from my camera for too long!

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  2. It's good to hear that you are on your way to being mended! I'm always amazed when my garden carries on without me and don't know whether to feel thrilled or offended :)

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    1. Oh, I know what you mean, but I am just happy for everything that has survived this time!

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  3. My baskets are looking very sorry for themselves too Helene.
    Your fuschias are lovely and I still can't believe how many plants you have collected!

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    1. More than 120 different species in my tiny garden, some of them I have just one of, others I have many...like the Lilium regale which I have around 80 of - lost count by now! And I have still room for more, I think :-)

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  4. What a trauma you have had Helene, hope you are recovering as well as your plants from the lack of summer. It is a testament to your gardening skills that they have more or less got on by themselves. Was impressed with your roses in your film (previous post) - not a greenfly in sight. Your pots on top of pots made me smile - I do that too

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    1. Thanks, I spray with a special mix of herbs which keeps the greenflies away for up to 6 weeks at the time, great for someone like me who can’t attend the garden on a daily basis. And all my beds have a thick layer of bark mulch, so I hardly ever do any weeding. I have designed my garden specifically so I can garden when I want to, not when it needs to – as long as it gets watered enough. But I got behind with the greenfly spraying so the green flies have moved back in, another task for next week!

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  5. So glad you've been able to take lovely photos in the garden again, Helene. Love the third photo of your garden. I know that must be such a magical stroll down that path through the beautiful garden. All the best! :-)

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    1. Thanks Beth, yes the garden looks so different now when it is filled to the rafters, I have to keep snipping off here and there to keep the path clear enough to walk on it. I am working on another movie showing how the garden has changed from when it was a big lawn with small beds through to no lawn at all. I will post it later this week :-)

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  6. Glad to hear you're feeling a little better. And how nice that the plants that were 'pruned' are now recovering also. Weather forecast looking good for the next few days, so you should be able to get out and enjoy your garden, but don't overdue it. Take care.

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    1. Hi Crystal, I am waiting for our promised ‘Indian Summer’ seems like we might get a whole week of nice weather :-)
      My garden helper was here today, we attacked the greenflies, black flies and black spot with multiple sprays plus did a bit of dead heading. It was great to get started on the long list of tasks!

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  7. That must be a good feeling to get out and enjoy the fresh air and your garden again. I'm a big fan of Fuchsias, so I especially enjoyed that part of your post. Your entire garden is looking fantastic! Apparently you've done a good job of setting up a low-maintenance garden. Simply lovely, Helene! Take care.

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    1. Thanks Beth, I am so pleased with the bark mulch I spent a fortune on, it saves me a lot of weeding and also conserves water. My fuchsias have done well on the shady side, but the ones at the bottom of the garden have suffered from lack of water. Hopefully they will survive now that I have started watering again.

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  8. I really enjoy gardening. Also, it is real fun to watch the veggies grow

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  9. Glad to see you fighting back Helene, as if you wouldn't. Tender fuchsia surviving outdoors, not likely to happen up here. Oh, and thanks I have been misspelling fuschi---- for years.

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    1. Hi Alistair, being from Norway myself I am still amazed at what survive winters here in London, especially these last few where it has been really cold – well, relatively speaking! As for spelling of plant names, I think we all have done that so don’t beat yourself up too hard :-)

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  10. So sorry to hear about your hip. The accident sounds very traumatic. I am glad to hear you are on the mend. You will be surprised at how well your garden will do without you. Maybe you can even eliminate some chores next year!

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    1. Thanks Carolyn, as long as my garden gets enough water it can survive on its own for a long time, but we have actually had some nice warm weather in August – finally – and that resulted in some unfortunate casualties. Nothing very valuable or irreplaceable though, my next online plant purchase is already placed :-)

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