Wednesday, 2 January 2013

It’s spring! uhm...January!

I know this is the time for looking back at the ups and downs in the garden for 2012. I had many ups and downs in 2012, in the garden and otherwise. I am going to run very quickly through 2012 and just say that overall it was a pretty s**t year. The weather was s**t here in Britain most of the time, the wettest on record, and I spent most of it in hospital or recovering at home from various medical issues. That was 2012, and 2013 can only be better in every way! But let's move swiftly on to 2013 :-)

Here is a photo of my garden taken yesterday, 2013 took off on a well behaved note. It was 13 degrees Celsius and crisp sunshine and it felt like a nice spring day. A huge bumble bee kept flying past me while I was taking photos and...what? Yes, I did say bumble bee! No, it wasn’t the only sign of spring in my garden, read on...

My tulips are emerging! Can you believe it? I have them in the ground too, and they are on their way up everywhere.


In the foreground here are iris, to the left and right are daffodils just about to emerge and down in the bottom right corner one single snowdrop coming up.


These green spikes are my Narcissi Jonquilla, I can’t believe they are already on their way up, they didn’t flower until April last year.


More iris, these are between my roses.


And this is from bottom left, two crocuses emerging, a primrose yet to flower and two snowdrops emerging.


This might seem very little interesting to post a photo of, but for anyone growing Hellebores this should just say one thing: lots of flowers on the way! And look at the babies I am getting this year, a wider shot would have showed that there are lots of babies, next post will be about them!


The bumblebee wasn’t the only insect in my garden yesterday, I couldn’t believe my own eyes when I saw a red lily beetle sitting on one of the hellebore leaves I had just cut off!! He was a bit dozy, but very much alive. That just means one thing though, my lilies are on their way up too, the beetles wouldn’t come out of their hibernation if there wasn’t food for them to eat. I guess I have to start my lily beetle patrol very early this year! My patrol is simply walking around the garden with a white ice cream box lid looking for beetles, if I find any I carefully shake them onto the lid where I can see the red beetles clearly against the white and there I squash them with my trowel. No mercy! There is no effective organic or un-organic treatment against red lily beetles and until someone invents one, my method seems to be what is recommended. This fellow got the same treatment...

Just as it was getting too dark to take any more photos and I had decided to go inside, I spotted this one on a Heuchera leaf! I am not into caterpillars so I have no idea what it is and what it will turn into – maybe my readers know? All I know is that where there’s one caterpillar, there is usually more. I didn’t see any of his mates, but I didn’t look too closely, I just tried to take a photo of this one in the rapidly fading light. He kept curling up though, when I leaned over to take the picture, probably thought I was a bird coming to eat him (that would have been a big bird!) I decided not to give him the same fate as the lily beetle, instead I chucked him in the compost bin where he can’t get out but has an ample selection of gourmet food :-) But...caterpillars in January in London??

I don’t mind a nice, warm, early spring, we had one last year, and had people walking around in T-shirts and shorts in the middle of March – but that was it, from then on it just rained. So this year I think I would like it a bit more spread out, thank you very much – summer when it is supposed to and rain in the winter and so on. Just a normal year, no extremes, no weather records to break, nothing special, just a normal year. That would be nice. Until next time, take care.

32 comments:

  1. Wow... spring so soon? I feel like we just got to winter about 2-3 weeks ago... I got a lot of water than needs to go over the dam before spring shows its face here!! Larry
    I do happen to know that we have helebore buds under the two feet of snow that covers the gardens... i'm sure they'll keep until April!

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    1. Winter in London tends to bite back with a vengeance sometime in February or even March, with cold weather and snow – we are certainly not out of the woods yet! But I am enjoying the mild weather at the moment, helps my heating bill too!

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  2. Hi Helene
    Wow! Your garden gives us hope!! I am afraid here in Ontario Canada, this would be my April or May post - not January! Enjoy, enjoy.

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    1. Oh, I do enjoy it, while it lasts - I am out in the garden every day as long as it’s not raining, apart from when I have hospital appointments. We have had more than enough rain to last us for months now so I wouldn’t mind having this weather for the next couple of months :-)

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  3. Wow--so many signs of spring already! Actually, I was seeing signs of spring around here, too, believe it or not. Until the big snowstorm came and covered the Hellebore buds (that looked like yours) and the sprouting Hyacinths and Daffodils with a thick blanket of snow. Hopefully they'll stay nice and warm and still put on a great show in March. And I hope our gardens have a normal cycle and just the right amount of precipitation. Yes, that would be nice. ;-)

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    1. I am sure your Hellebores and spring bulbs are nicely tucked in under the snow and will be just fine when the snow is gone. Yes, it would be nice to have a year without drought or floods for none of us, for a change!

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  4. Dear Helene
    Wow, the bulbs in your garden are on their way up! I had some bulbs in our garden but they haven't shown any signs of spring yet...
    Anyway I've never seen that red beetle. You'll be busy patrolling for such an early spring:)

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    1. Keity, you are lucky if you don’t have red lily beetles in Japan yet, we didn’t have them in Britain until quite recently, they came here with imported bulbs from other countries and spread very quickly to our gardens.

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  5. I know exactly what you mean Helene, I'd rather have the seasons just as they've always been in the past, anything else does not bode well for this planet of ours. I'll be following with you to see what ends up happening with this early Spring of yours.

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    1. I’m not so sure this will last, we have had winters like this before, and then the cold weather has set in and everything has slowed down, but I am enjoying it for now :-)

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  6. Helele, so wonderful photos of your garden growing flowers! I can only dream about spring here. May you have warm and nice spring!

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    1. Oh, I know you still will have months of snow, it is at this time of year I appreciate the climate in London most.
      I often send photos of my garden to family and friends in Norway just to tease them a bit, as they also still have months of snow in front of them!

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  7. Happy New Year, Helene.
    We've had a few bad winters recently, so we're about due for a mild one. Not only are the bulbs appearing early, but the birds are pairing up already as well. We might get an early spring this year. As long as we don't get extreme temperatures like we did last spring, we might also get a 'normal' year. Hpe so.

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    1. And Happy New Year to you too, here’s to a normal spring and summer!!

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  8. Hi Helene, Wishing you a sunny and healthy 2013! We've started off with clear, cold air but blue skies here in the PNW. It's a treat! I hope you are able to get out and putter in your gardens. Does the soul good. Cheers, Jenni

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    1. Hi Jenni, and thanks for your well wishes. My garden keeps me sane, literarily, and I am out there as often as I can, even just half an hour will make a difference to me.

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  9. Hi Helene, thanks for visiting my blog and becoming a follower! Sorry to read that 2012 wasn't a good year for you health- and garden-wise, but I think it is good to let go of the past and live in the present and have hope for the future as you do in this post. And there are so many beautiful things going on in your garden right now! I love all the emerging bulbs that you have planted and the hellebore appears very promising, too! It looks like that you are off to a very good start in 2013!
    Christina

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    1. Thanks Christina, I can’t wait to get out in my garden every day, I have so many plans and things I would like to do. If the weather and my health is behaving better than last year I think this year will be a good one :-)

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  10. I hope your 2013 is much better healthwise for you and you soon get on top of your health issues.
    It's amazing just how spring like it has been. Even this far north things are in a similar state of springness!
    Like you gardenwise - things can only get better in 2013
    Happy New Year!

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    1. Amazing that the warm weather is stretching as far as up to Scotland, I know you have had cold spells that we haven’t had, but even so, spring in Scotland in January is pretty unusual too!
      I don’t mind the warm weather now, but I still want to have a proper summer, so let’s hope for that ‘normal’ year for 2013! Happy New Year to you too Angie!

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  11. I am amazed to see so much growth in your garden at this time of year. Do you worry about frost? You have the right technique concerning those lily beetles- no mercy!

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    1. I don't really worry about frost for the bulbs and plants right now, but if my camellia flowers early, and we then get a night of frost...I have a huge camellia with thousands of flowers every year, they can all get damaged in one, cold night, has happened before!

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  12. I have noticed the bulbs slowly pushing through and flower buds on the hellebores - I just hope the weather doesn't deteriorate into freezing conditions, the poor shoots will get such a shock. I also saw a ladybird this afternoon (and some slugs).

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    1. My slugs don't seem to take a winter break ever...so I just keep on throwing out those slug pellets. They do work! I haven't had much slug damage in my garden the past year, despite being the wettest year on record for England!

      I hope we don't get a really cold period again, I am happy with this weather until we can call it proper spring :-)

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  13. That really is amazing to see bulbs emerging in January. I've seen hellebores quite early but the tulips. wow. Who knows, maybe 2013 will be a banner year? we can always hope.

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    1. Well, I must admit I have never had tulips this early! I hope they will survive any frost that might come between now and flowering. But everything else in my garden was present in January last year too. Fingers crossed for a good gardening year :-)

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  14. Happy New Year Helene!
    I have to admit I've not ventured into the garden yet this year but that's my mission now tomorrow...I could be missing out on something. I hope 2013 is a better year for you, let's forget about 2012 and all the s**t that came with it. Hope it's a good one for all of us with plenty of sunny days x

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    1. I was out today, pretty grey but nice temperature. My aim for tomorrow is to so care for my Hellebores, perhaps pot up some of the babies - I've got so many of them!

      With all the plans I have for my garden for 2013 it better be a good one :-) Happy New Year, and all the best for 2013 to you too!

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  15. Your garden looks lovely. Hope you will be posting some of your new photo collages here in the coming year. Have fun!
    David/:0)

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    1. Thanks David I will, I have been trying out a few designs and have chosen a layout I like :-)

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  16. Weather is the most interesting thing! Sorry you had such a bad year last year, but maybe you'll have a nice early spring, and a beautiful summer to follow. We are having a very 'normal' winter this year - after a couple of very warm winters - so I don't think spring will be early for us. But, you never know what the weather is going to do! :O

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    1. Nope, we never know what the weather is going to do, so true! Exactly one year ago we had severe drought here in Britain, and just look at who got the last laugh on that one!

      We have a mild winter right now, but I hope we are not paying for it with summer staying away for yet another year. I need a proper summer :-)

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