Saturday, 15 December 2012

December bloomers

I took my photos for this Garden Bloggers’ Bloom day on Thursday and even before I opened the backdoor to my garden I could see it was cold outside. A quick look at the thermometer revealed a measly minus 1 Celsius, but with the sharp breeze it felt more like minus 10. We have had a cold spell the last week, with minus degrees every night and not many above zero during the day. Britain is freezing in weather like this, with un-insulated houses and many people with only single pane windows or poorly made double glazing windows. I struggle to keep warm in my house despite central heating and I am dreading my heating bill.

But I was determined to brave the cold weather and get my photos so out I went, with layers of clothes in search for this month’s plants in flower. Here is my garden right now, still a lot of green here and there thanks to many evergreen plants, but also because some of my deciduous plants haven’t shed their leaves yet. But flowers? In this garden?? I wrote in November that there were many flowers in my garden then, you just had to take a closer look. Well, today you will have to take a really close look, but flowers, oh yes, I’ve got flowers today too, despite a week of minus degrees and despite that the ground is frozen solid on the top layer! Let me give you a tour.

My roses flower all year round, this is ‘Freedom’.


Another ‘Freedom’.


This is Rose 'Mildred Scheel'.


And this is a miniature rose in pink.


My Chaenomeles x superba 'Crimson and Gold' is flowering already, lots of more buds to come.


And this is Clematis 'Niobe', which has been a bit season-confused lately and started producing new buds very late this autumn!


My Ferrari has started flowering too, OK, it’s not called Ferrari, but I remember it as that, correct name is Viburnum Farreri.


Some of my Fuchsias are still flowering their heart out, despite the cold weather. Here are two Fuchsia, 'Sir Matt Busby' in pots, still going strong.


And here are Fuchsia 'Mrs Popple' and Fuchsia, red and white , both still in flower.


My cyclamens are at their best right now, I have quite a few so this pretty frilly one will have to represent them all.


I have two Skimmia japonica 'Rubella', this is the oldest one, they look best before the flowers are opened, and the buds stay red like this for up to 6 months before finally revealing the white flowers.


Here is a different type of skimmia, Skimmia japonica 'Bowle's Dwarf', with red berries in the foreground. For some reason the birds are not interested in the berries and leave them alone.


My experiment with Physalis Franchettii, Chinese Lantern is still ongoing, they haven’t died down yet.


One of the lanterns has become completely see-through and you can see the seeds in the bottom of the pod.


The process is still ongoing on the other lanterns, but I think they look great even at this stage.


My front garden has got a face lift for the winter, with pansies and primroses bought as plug plants.


The primroses are finally starting to show some buds, seems like I will get flowers through the winter after all.


The pansies are already in flower and will continue until I rip them out to make space for my summer bedding sometime in April or May.


I have flowers every month of the year in my London garden, and what I have showed you today is only what is actually flowering. I also have Sarcococca confusa and Sarcococca hookeriana var. digyna in bud, soon to flower. My 6 hellebores are well on their way up with their new shoots. I have crocuses, daffodils, snowdrops, hyacinths, tulips and irises already above ground - on their way up, and my two rhododendrons, my camellia and my lilac have fat flower buds. All of these are flowers to come the next 2-3- months. Spring is a wonderful time, just need to get through the winter first! The cold spell is over for this time, today we are expecting 10 plus Celsius and rain but next cold spell is probably not far away. So that was what I have in flower in my London garden in the deepest of winter, if you head over to Carol’s May Dreams Gardens you can see what other people around the world have in flower in their gardens right now.

As I am writing this post I have the BBC news on and the sad news from Newtown in Connecticut is streaming in. I don’t think anyone can avoid getting affected by a tragedy like this, whether you live in America or Europe or anywhere else, and as a parent myself I can only express my sadness and sympathy with anyone directly or indirectly involved with this tragedy.

26 comments:

  1. It is so nice to see your roses still blooming and I also like your chinese lanterns. We have gotten a cold snap here as well and all my perennials are pretty much done except for the coral bells and ajuga which last for most of the winter. Its all up to the evergreens now. Happy GBBD to you!

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    1. Thanks, my chinese lanterns almost landed in the compost bin a year ago, after not producing any lanterns for 3 year. Fortunately I decided to let them have one more year :-)

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  2. Hi Helene... I can well imagine how difficult the cold must be if your homes aren't designed to withstand it. My last post was full of snow pics and for the next two days we are expecting 42 degrees and rain. At least the ground is not frozen and will accept the moisture, thankfully. Bundle up and stay warm... take care, Larry

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    1. Hi Larry, I am glad we only have a few days with snow every winter, some winters not at all - suits me just fine after all the years in Norway! But the cold is getting to me, worse every year. I am trying my best to stay warm but it comes at a cost - gas for heating here in Britain is very expensive!

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  3. So many beautiful blooms in your garden today Helene! Your roses are beautiful, and I love the Skimmia. Amazing that they're in bud stage for so long! Your garden is really lovely.

    I hope your cold spell doesn't last too long. It's chillier where you are than it is here in Illinois right now. The weather has been very strange.

    Such a tragedy what happened in Connecticut. My heart breaks for all the families. I want to run to my girls and grandchildren and hug, and hold them all.

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    1. Hello, thanks for yor kind words, I love my 'everflowering' roses too! The weather has thawed a bit today, was only around 10 degrees Celsius so not too bad.

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  4. Helen, you have nice blooming flowers now, in winter time. I see your rhododendrons have the buds too,will open soon. Lovely photos!

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    1. Hi, yes my rhododendrons are a spectacle every year in my tiny garden, 'Christmas cheer' is the first one, it doesn't flower for Christmas but it will flower soon :-)

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  5. Hi Helene, i can't imagine how people feel in those temperatures, I pity those plants too! When we were in Sweden for a month I cannot go out to the other building when it is 6-8C, so i am awed with some of my friends who migrated to Canada which experience at least -34C. But people can acclimatize, as many of my countrymen even work in Alaska, Finland, Canada, Norway. I guess they suffer the most than those who were born there. Thanks for commenting in my site.

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    1. Hello again, yes people can acclimatize, I am Norwegian and has been living in Britain for the last 13 years, I love the mild winters here, we had winter temperatures below minus 30 degrees Celsius every winter for weeks where I lived in Norway. But I still find it cold here in London, different cold, and such poorly insulated (no insulation) houses they have here! I can tolerate cold outside, that's just a matter of wearing the right kind of clothes, but I need a nice warm house :-)

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  6. You have so much going on in your garden despite the temperature. Your Chinese Lantern is very attractive. I have always liked them in dried flower arrangements. I am surprised that fushia are blooming and surviving in such cold. Mine only grow in the spring/summer here. You must have a nice micro climate. Thanks for coming over to visit my blog. You asked about the strawberries...I have had them so long unfortunately, I don't remember the name but they are mostly evergreen here unless we get some really cold weather. I usually cover them with straw.

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    1. Hmm, my strawberries die down in the late autumn and produce new leaves in the spring, but my fuchsias don't shed their leaves and stop producing flowers until January/February. Perhaps the difference between your garden and mine is more down to type of plants than the actual micro climate? I am zone 9 on the American system, although we don't really use it in Europe.

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  7. Even in December there is beauty in your garden. Love the walkway and the flow of your garden.

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    1. Thank you, my garden has evolved over a number of years, I have always tried to have flowers in bloom every month.

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  8. Plenty going on, and lovely photos to prove it. I think the waxy flowers of chaenomeles are amazing, and I agree about skimmia, much prettier before the flowers open.

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    1. Thanks, the chaenomeles has barely started, this was first flush, next one will be much more spectacular :-)

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  9. Love the yellow rose - what colour to have when the days are grey.

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    1. Thank you, it is one of my favourite - and trusty bloomer in my garden.

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    1. Hi PJ, thanks - and I will, I try, not easy when we have cold snaps like this week, but thank goodness it's over now, for this time :-)

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  11. You have quite a few beautiful blooms in your garden! Ahhh, to have Roses year-round. The only thing that's blooming in my garden is Lamium. I'm starting to focus more on indoor plants. Happy GGBD!

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    1. My lamium is also flowering, but I have had it on every GBBD the last 5 times so I thought I would skip it this time!
      Not that long to go before the spring bulbs are taking off, that's what I am focusing on, if we get a 'normal' spring I can have crocuses and daffodils in about 2 months time :-)

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  12. I thought London had colder winters. I'm surprised at how uninsulated the houses are. It's wonderful how much you have blooming/alive right now. My garden has gone to bed!

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    1. We don’t use the American zone system, but London is zone 9 most of the time, some years more like zone 10, thanks to the close proximity to the Gulf stream. So our winters are ‘mild’, but it can get very cold in our Victorian un-insulated houses when it creeps well below minus Celsius, despite central heating and double glazing. The government has lately been giving out grants to have loft insulation added, just a thick layer placed in your loft which means you can’t store anything there. I had one some years ago, but I can’t say it made much difference to the temperature indoors in the midst of winter – and not to my heating bill either!

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  13. Can't believe that your clematis niobe is flowering. Mine is certainly not! I know what you mean about the insulation in these types of houses. I put some stuff behind one of the radiators which reflects the heat back in, it's a bit like tin foil and I got it very cheaply from Screwfix. Prior to that, tin foil was also working ok although I gather it gets worn out by the heat after a bit.

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    1. Hi Claire, that photo was almost 10 days ago, it is still flowering and more buds to come!
      I’ve got those insulation things behind the radiators too, got them for free from British Gas a couple of years ago, for all my radiators :-)

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