Tuesday, 15 January 2013

January in London

It’s that time again, the 15th of the month, when we gardeners show off our gardens – and all our beautiful flowers. So you’d probably think you could run quickly past a garden from London then, not much in flower at this time of year you might think, but hang on, I’ve got flowers, lots of flowers, come and have a look!

Well, at a first glance my garden might not exactly look like it is filled to the rafters with flowers – like it does in May! But my garden got this serene, calm look right now, I’m not sure if I can call it tidy, because it’s not as if it’s untidy the rest of the year, it is just a lot more busy if you know what I mean. Having a garden the size of a postage stamp means I have of course crammed in way too many plants, hence the busy feeling most of the year, but in January a lot of the plants are quietly sleeping underground, waiting for a teeny bit of warmth and thus making this open, quiet, serene feeling I never have the rest of the year. Don’t get me wrong, I love it when my garden is filled to absolute bursting point with flowers! But I do actually enjoy seeing it like this too, for a few weeks every year :-) (Click on the photos to get a much better view)

Some of the slumbering plants are about to wake up from their beauty sleep. This is Hyacinth ‘Woodstock’ in dark purple, or it could be a 'Fondant' in pink, hard to tell at this early stage. From here on it is just a matter of day temperature, the higher it gets the quicker these beauties emerge and flower. I had originally 14 hyacinths, but there has been some loss every year, with bulbs rotting and not coming up. I think I had 9 hyacinths coming up successfully last year so I think I need to start replacing some of them because they are absolutely gorgeous and the scent is heavenly. I have them very close to my seating area so I can smell them whenever I sit down.

And here are some of the many different daffodils in my garden, well on their way up. The tiny shoots to the left are Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’.


The primroses I bought as plug-plants in October are finally flowering and are ready to be planted out in the garden, the frilly pansies does not show any signs of flower buds yet so they will need a bit more time.


But here are some showstoppers in my garden that just keep on flowering! I have a good few cyclamens, so these 3 will have to represent the whole bunch today.


This is Chaenomeles x superba 'Crimson and Gold', such a wonderful and surprising flower display in the deepest of winter, but January is the normal month for this one to start flower. I usually get a second flush of flowers in late February.


And here is another red lady in the middle of winter, this is Rosa, 'Mildred Scheel’.


All my hellebores are emerging, this is the only flowers so far, on one of my Helleborus niger.


And this is Viburnum 'Farreri', or my Ferrari as I call it, much easier to remember!


The 3 sarcococcas I have in my garden are all flowering right now, they have the sweetest scent you can imagine! Here is Sarcococca confusa with berries from last year and flowers just opened.


This is a picture from my front garden, I don’t show it very often, but here is a Garrya Elliptica 'James Roof’ growing in a container. This lovely evergreen bush will be 4 m tall and 4 m wide when mature, which according to what I have read on the Internet is 10-20 years. Mine is 9 years old now and hasn’t really grown much the last few years, so my plan with putting it in a fairly small container seems to have worked! I have of course nowhere to put a 4 m tall and wide bush – not in my front garden and not in my back garden either!

The reason for keeping a Garrya Elliptica  is partly because it is an evergreen bush, but mainly because it gets these lovely catkins in the winter, they look like pearl necklaces hanging from the branches. This is the first catkin to open, there are plenty more to come.


Under the Garrya Elliptica I have planted some primroses. The squirrels keep chucking them out so they can hide their peanuts here, for some reason this is number one hiding place for squirrel food this winter! The poor primroses have been thrown out of their bed so many times it is a wonder they are still alive. I keep putting them back every time I find them on the ground, but I don’t remove the peanuts, I have learned my lesson, I did remove some peanuts 2 years ago from a different pot and the squirrel came back over and over to look for the peanuts it had hidden – they have fantastic memory! Finally I had to buy some peanuts as a peace offering, but apparently they weren’t good enough, they weren’t the peanuts the squirrel had hidden, he kept digging in the pot and finally ruined the plant. The plant, a red primrose, is now in the ground in my back garden recovering and the pot is used for something else, and I have learned my lesson – don’t remove the peanuts, or the squirrel will never stop looking for them.

And in the window boxes in my front garden I have pansies, not exactly a full show of flowers, but there are some here and there. A bit more sun and warmth and they will spring into action again.


And finally, I have bought some lovely garden jewellery, or that’s at least what I call them :-) They are metal butterflies and insects fitted on to ground spikes with either a coloured glass bead or a globe. The globe glows in the dark, it has some stuff inside it that enables it to do that, and so does the wings of the butterflies too. Yesterday, when I took theses photos I discovered that the globes also glows in direct sunshine, haven’t seen that before as it hasn’t been proper sun since I bought them. I have put my garden jewellery in between the plants in the garden, I think they look best when they are slightly hidden among leaves. (Click to get a much better view)


As I am writing the last bit of this post it is now late night and I have just been outside to check again for any snow. Nope, no snow, so that means we actually didn’t get any of the much hyped up snow which has been the talk of all last week! It is a crisp clear night and there is no more risk of snow for now, but possibly next week-end, maybe. That’s a long time till, lots can change by then. I won’t be sorry if we dodge the snow this winter, perfectly fine by me. It is very cold still though, so I hope we get back to our nice early spring as soon as possible!

Now that you have seen what I have in flower in my London garden right now, in the middle of January, why don't you head over to Carol’s May Dreams Gardens where you can see what other people around the world have in flower in their gardens too. Until next time, take care.

52 comments:

  1. Wow, I didn't realize Primroses were so hardy! They certainly are colorful. And your Cyclamen re stunning, too. Happy GBBD!

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    1. Primroses are the backbone of winter planting here in Britain, you see them everywhere, but I like them anyway :-)

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  2. Nice to see that you have such nice color in your winter garden. Here in Colorado we are in the grips of a very cold spell. Months away from any pretty little plant poking its head trough the frozen ground.

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    1. We have had a cold snap for a few days and it will last for at least another week, although temperatures are hovering around zero Celsius so it's hardly frost in the ground. The plants here are just taking a short break :-)

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  3. Beauties for the winter garden and you have more blooms than I have in my warmer climate. No snow is good.

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    1. Yes, no snow is fine by me!
      It usually doesn't last more than a day or two though, and that would be it for the winter, in the 13 years I have been here in London only one winter have we had more than one snowfall, and only once, in a different year, did the snow lay for a whole week.
      But it can be very cold! Last winter we had week after week with well below minus.

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  4. That Chaenomeles is something special. That's a gorgeous colour. The Cyclamens are beautiful. How wonderful to see a Rose bloom as well. You do have quite a bit going on in your garden right now. Adored the garden jewellery too! (love the name!) Those pesky squirrels obviously choose certain peanuts, and those are the ones they want to eat! Loved that little story.

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    1. Glad you liked my garden jewellery :-)
      My Chaenomeles is actually an 8 year old mature bush that I prune very hard to keep in that small space I got for it, as a result it awards me with lots of flowers! And yes, I have something flowering in my garden at all time, all year round, I have made sure of that :-)

      The squirrels are going to drive me nuts one day....

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  5. You have a wonderful variety of plants coming up and already in bloom. I am especially in love with the cherry red blossoms of your Chaenomeles (first time I'm seeing one.) It drives me crazy when the squirrels insist on uprooting the same plant in the same spot day after day. They are persistent! Your "garden jewelry" is beautiful and I think it's a great idea that they also glow in the dark.

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    1. The squirrels....yes, I have kind of made peace with them, I allow them to do some damage, but prevent them from doing absolute havoc and wild west by taking some preventative steps. But sometimes they don't play by the rules...

      I am so happy with my garden jewellery, although I have noticed they have started to rust already, even if it hasn't rained yet since I put them out. So far I think the rust is just adding to the charm, but if it gets too much it will eventually break the pieces apart and ruin them. They weren't expensive but I did expect them to last for a while!

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  6. Your garden looks wonderful at this time of year and so many blooms! The Chaenomeles and roses are beautiful and even the daffodils and vibernum are coming up...wow! Happy GBBD and enjoy your winter beauties!

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    1. Happy GBBD to you too, I am enjoying my garden even at this chilly time of the year, as long as it's not raining I will be out for a little while taking photos and pottering about :-)

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  7. You have some beautiful blooms and so much potential in those emerging bulbs. Love the garden jewellery too.

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    1. Thank you, I bought the garden jewellery from Amazon, have been looking at them for a while and they were kind of a Christmas present from me to me :-) Really happy with them.

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  8. Eek Garrya, Haven't seen one of those beauties since I leave London almost 10 years ago. I remember planting out all those beauties (used to work at Clifton Gardens and Fulham Palace Garden Centre). Thank you so much

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    1. I am quite fond of my Garrya too! I had no idea if it would thrive in that container, but it seems to have settled into this size.

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  9. WOW, Helene! Are you sure you're in London in January?
    The primroses are blooming.

    I have something for you here:
    http://northern-garden.blogspot.ru/2013/01/walking-at-weekend.html

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    1. Primroses are quite tough plants :-)
      I will respond to your questions in a separate post, thank you for the invite!

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  10. It's always exciting to see the signs of spring in our own garden. I love hyacinths, but mine seems to be rotted this year... So, I'm looking forward to seeing your 9 hyacinths bloom here!

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    1. We had a dreadfully wet past year, I am wondering how many of my hyacinths that will come up. I can see 3 so far, but hope for more!

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  11. Wow! such a nice blog. It seems like, from your photos, that you are a professional photographer. I love photography, gardening and nature. I am going to write down the names of all these flowering plants that flower in winter, and will look for them here in the US. If they can grow in London's winter, they will definitely grow in the New Jersey weather :-).

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    1. Hello, and welcome to my blog. I am not a professional photographer, just an amateur who enjoys taking photos. And as for gardening I am an amateur there too, doing most things by trial and error.
      I don’t know much about the New Jersey weather, but I think it is colder than London, possibly zone 6 or so? London is zone 9a and some winters even warmer, with no frost at all, so some of the plants I can grow in my garden might die over winter in yours, but many of them will happily grow in colder climate. You just have to check each of them. I have a plant list on my blog for all the plants in my garden, feel free to copy!

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  12. Beautiful blooms!
    And I love your garden jewelry too!
    Happy Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day!
    Lea
    Lea's Menagerie
    USA

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    1. Thanks!
      I love my garden jewellery too! Happy GBBD to you too!

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  13. Pretty blooming show! I most like the butterflies and insect decor. I had one like you have in your garden, but it did not last despite being brought inside in winter. I wish I could find another.

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    1. I bought my garden jewellery at Amazon, seeing how quickly they have started to rust I don't expect them to last for years to come, but they were quite cheap so I don't mind if I have to replace them every other year or so.

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  14. I am envious because your garden looks so exquisitely groomed and ready for spring (mine is a disaster today), and rather ashamed I'm not growing a Garrya, since they are native to my own area.

    Really enjoyed your post, thanks! Happy GBBD!

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    1. The groomed look comes partly with me being quick to pick up falling leaves but the chipped bark in all the flower beds also add to the groomed look I think. I like the nice, tidy look, I am a tidy person, I have a tidy house - and a tidy garden :-)

      I didn't know Garrya Elliptica was native to California, learned something new today :-) Happy GBBD!

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  15. Hello Helene, today I started the day from your blog and got a huge dose of nice emotions. Your garden is full of hidden treasures. Beautiful plants and lovely photos! Chaenomeles is just unbelievable. I knew that they are beautiful, but these red flowers in the middle of January... captured my heart :)

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    1. Hello Aistė, and welcome to my blog. Thanks for your kind words, my Chaenomeles is also one of my winter favourites, it lights up in a rather colourless garden :-)

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  16. Goodness - you have plenty of plants in flower with plenty more to come from the look of it - being that much further south does seem to make a difference.

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    1. Some plants are a bit early this year, having had a quite mild winter so far, before this cold snap - but most of it is just right on time. I have a quite sheltered garden, with a tall wall at the end of it, that makes a big difference at this time of year I think :-)

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  17. Hi Helene
    I just adore the colour of your cyclamen and that beautiful Japanese Quince. Very lovely! And your primroses will look great planted out and around your other plants. So glad you were able to post on GBBD! I will need to wait till March or maybe even April….

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    1. I have something in flower all year round, every year :-) In fact, I have often more in flower in January than in August, when everything is a bit tired and dry! That's the advantage of not having snow!

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  18. You certainly do have flowers! Wow! Just beautiful.

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    1. Thanks, Dorothy, I enjoy my garden, and even on a cold day like today I have spent 2 hours outside pruning my Dregea sinensis :-)

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  19. I think your garden looks wonderful right now too. The green is very restful and quiet. I was delighted to see you have one of my favourite plants - sarcacocca. that is definitely a very green and restful type plant. and oh the scent of those in spring, absolutely divine.

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    1. I love the sarcococcas too, I have 3 of them dotted around the garden and they smell fantastic. I have deliberately chosen a lot of evergreen plants for my garden so there is something green all year round, although I do have flowers all yaer round too :-)

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  20. Your garden is beautiful in winter as the structure is revealed - you obviously designed it well! I read stories like your squirrel story and think, I wish we had squirrels in New Zealand! Even though I know they are pests. But they are cute pests!

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    1. They are cute, but....not in your own garden!!
      I designed my garden so I could enjoy it all year round, even mid winters. The garden is the most important room in my house as I am disabled and housebound.

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  21. That's a very nice Viburnum, lovely pinkish color. We came home from England several years ago with the idea of planting primula vulgaris around the yard. For some reason the clumps grow well but they spread to the pastures the way we saw them in England. But they are lovely little critters, so I've started dividing and spreading now by hand. No problems with the squirrels here...

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    1. I think primula vulgaris is a prolific self-seeder, I try to pick off seed heads where I can reach them, but those I plant out in the beds often get left to their own device.

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  22. Such pretty blooms Helene. You've made wonderful use of the space in your garden.

    I love the brilliant red of your 'Crimson and Gold,' and the bright pinks of the cyclamen. Love the Garrya Elliptica, and all of your blooms. Happy Bloom Day!

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    1. Thank you!
      I like the bright colours in the deepest of winter, makes me smile when I go outside :-)
      Happy GBBD to you too!

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  23. I'm loving your garden 'bling' those are just gorgeous!
    You've got lots going on - I've not 1 single bloom in my garden :(
    I planted the same Chaenomeles last year - it's tiny, I must have a look tomorrow.
    Can I ask what size the pot you keep your Garrya in please - I'd love one but as they get so big I wasn't sure where to plant it. Kept like this, I could have it on my driveway by the front door.

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    1. The container is 38cm high and 50 cm in diameter on top (with an edge). If you go to your nearest B&Q store you can get an identical container to what I have, in the same colour or in a different: http://www.diy.com/nav/garden/garden-d-cor/pots-planters/external_pots/-specificproducttype-red___brown_pots/Grosfillex-Cortina-Planter-Burgundy-50cm-9297880
      (Just remember to drill holes in the bottom)

      I used a mix of John Innes, ordinary compost and soil from my garden. I have never fertilised the Garrya, never in all the years I have had it. It is supposed to thrive on neglect so I have neglected it! But I have pruned it lightly in to shape a few times, as some of the branches became a bit bare from leaves drop. I don’t water it specifically, when I have annuals in the container they get water if they need it, apart from that I leave the Garrya to get what it can from when it rains. A great plant for the driveway!

      Your Chaenomeles will pick up the pace over the summer, mine took a few years before it got going properly. Now I have to prune it hard twice a year to keep it in its place! If you have a look at my plant list you will find several other plants from my garden that will do well in Scotland that flowers now, Sarcococca for example, which also is evergreen :-)

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  24. I see what you mean about using bark chippings as a groundcover.Your primroses look so fresh and healthy, I'm rather taken with the black berries and white flowers too.

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    1. Thanks, the bark chippings started out because I couldn't attend to all the weeding, but it has turned out useful in so many other ways too - and I find it decorative too, especially now in the winter, in the summer you can hardly see it for all the plants.

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  25. I just love your cyclamens - so pretty! That is quite a lot that you have going there! I don't usually have very much that blooms this time of year. This past summer's heat and drought killed off my winter blooming red camellia's, sadly, as I wasn't home at the time to water them. They were supposed to be the mainstays of my winter garden!

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    1. Oh, that's too bad with the camellia, and they grow so slowly too! Cyclamens are great winter plants as they die completely in the summer anyway and don't really require much water to keep the corms alive underground. Some of mine are 7-8 years old.

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  26. I had no idea squirrels could remember where they planted the peanuts! :O What a funny story, although I'm certain it wasn't funny to you at the time. I am amazed at all that is blooming in your garden. And I love the 'jewelry', too!

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    1. I can't really make up my mind if I think the squirrels are a pest or a nice addition to my garden...they are cute, but boy do they make a lot of mess and damage! And yes, their memory is apparently so good that they can remember from one winter to the next where they buried food, but they also forget often, something that the trees rely on, the way squirrels bury their food is apparently the very same way acorns are supposed to be planted. Smart!

      And I am glad you liked my garden bling, they probably won’t show up much when the garden gets filled with plants and flowers but at this time of year they are a nice addition.

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