Monday, 18 February 2013

Promising, promising…

The one and only question on most gardeners mind these days, if they live in the northern hemisphere, is when will spring arrive? Officially we all know when spring arrives, according to the calendar, or do we?? Depending on what you choose to follow, spring arrives here in Britain either on 1st March or 20th March, but when is it really here? When the first snowdrops flowers? When the first crocuses flowers? Or the first hellebores? Or what about when the daffodils flowers or the cherry trees? Whatever you choose to pick as your sign, spring doesn’t appear from one day to another, it’s more a slow process.

In my garden here in London there has been a slow process going on for a looooong time. We have had rather cold weather for 4-5 weeks and even though all the plants have continued to develop, it has happened at snail pace. The last 4 days we have had really nice weather with 10-12 degrees Celsius, and everything has done a big jump forward. Incredible what can happen in just a few days. Look at all the emerging plants, all so promising. Here are the first leaves on my roses, despite being cut down only 10 days ago. Here are daffodils, rhododendron bud, hyacinths flower out of the ground, alliums, day lilies, tulips, crocuses and more daffodils.


But I’ve got more than just greenery emerging. Today many of my crocuses opened up, and the snowdrops have been going for a while.


And the Primula vulgaris, primroses are for me the quintessence of early spring, like rays of sunshine!



All my roses were cut down 10 days ago, this time of year is the only time in my garden without roses, as my roses flowers even in the middle of winter. While I wait for the first flush of roses to start in late April I have the lovely Chaenomeles 'Crimson and Gold' to look at, pretty showy for a plant that starts to flower in January and just goes on and on until late March.


My Bonsai tree looks promising too, with tiny leaves emerging. I have 2 of these Bonsai trees, which I have made from Parthenocissus henryana cuttings.



And finally, the window boxes in my front garden are perking up a bit, now that the temperature has been a bit higher. Pansies might not be the most exciting plant in the world, but they have been flowering all winter, all by themselves, with no care or attention – not bad at all. And they are pretty enough to make people passing by, stop and have a look. I can see them from my living room window, it makes me smile when I see people stop and admire my plants (I can see them but they can’t see me through the blinds). The pansies are there just for the winter, by early May they will all have gone, replaced by summer flowers.

That was my promising bunch of spring flowers. It’s not really spring in my garden yet, but not far away, by 1st March – another 10 days, it will definitely be spring. Before that, we are supposed to have yet another cold spell, and even a slight threat of more snow. I suppose it will be like the last snowfall we had, a light dusting that was gone the next morning. And if you are still having tons of snow in your garden or just a brownish look everywhere, don’t despair – spring will come, before you know it! Until next time, take care.

I am joining Mary at Little Red House for Mosaik Monday.

54 comments:

  1. Any sign of spring is more than welcome! I love your photos of the bulbs first appearing. I'm visiting from Little Red House. Have a blessed week.

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    1. Hello Gayle, and welcome to my blog! Spring is my favourite time of year :-)

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  2. I love pansies too, because they bloom all winter. Such cheerful little plants. Your spring beauties are lovely, and your quince is gorgeous. It reminds me that I have one - guess I need to check on it - perhaps it's dead!

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    1. Chaenomeles is quite a touch plant, not sure what would kill it, except complete lack of water for months perhaps.

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  3. The ground here is still frozen solid at the moment. I love your Primula, they are outstanding - got to get me some.

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    1. It is at this time of year I really appreciate living in London – and not for example in Norway, where I am from and lived until I was 35. They still have 1.5m snow where I used to live and expect to go skiing until after Easter.

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  4. Great post Helene... personally I am no where near ready for spring, especially considering that last year the early 80 degree weather followed by freeze pretty much destroyed the magnolia bloom on many of my 50 + trees. My sincerest hope is for a normal year with a gentle warming mid-April! Larry

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    1. Let’s hope for a normal spring for all of us this year, no drought, no flood, no extreme weather. That would be lovely!

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  5. Oh, thanks for the reminder about Mosaic Monday! I must join in one of these days! Since I live near Larry, I must echo his sentiments for our part of the world. As much as I look forward to spring, I will have to be content to view it on your blog and others until late March or early April. How sweet that people stop and admire your blooms--wish I could stop by, too!

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    1. This is only my second time on Mosaic Monday, I will join in when it fits in, but I don’t like to commit to a set week day every week. I guess people stop and look at the window boxes in my front garden because I am the only one in the whole street that has any flowers in their front garden! A lot of people sadly just fill it with rubbish, despite it being forbidden by law and that you can get fined. The rest in my street, and most streets around here have maybe a green, neglected bush, and nothing else. Surprisingly, my window boxes are left alone, never been stolen or damaged. Hurray for the small miracles!

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  6. Spring is a way off for us but tomorrow will be nice and my daughter has been conscripted into helping me with a small project. :o) I love all your spring flowers. I have a primrose that looks just the same as yours. :o)

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    1. I love primroses, mine have been flowering since early December so I am not sure I can call them ‘spring flowers’, but they do look cheerful in the bleak sunshine we have right now – whilst waiting for the daffodils to come out :-)

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  7. The first is the meteorological calendar isn't it as they need full months to work on. Our pansies were devastated by slugs - are the white granules to repel them?

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    1. Yes, the meteorological seasons are divided into 4 equal parts, all starting on the first day of the month – 1st March, 1st June, 1st September, 1st December. I think that fits better with London climate than the astronomical calendar which is much later.

      The white gravel in my window boxes are not slug pellets, my slug pellets are blue and tiny and you can just about see two of them in the first photo, next to the hyacinth. The gravel is to prevent squirrels digging in the window boxes and ruining my plants, and it works! I have been at my wits end about what to do for years, the squirrels come with peanuts they find in bird feeders around here, and they bury them in my window boxes, and chuck out the plants in the process. A few days later they are back for the peanuts – or back with more nuts to bury. But a thick liner and the layer of gravel stopped them, no more digging for over a year! My pansies are mainly ruined by aphids, they have already arrived and I have done first spraying – first of many!

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    2. I wasn't really meaning slug pellets Helene but a mulch that deters slugs from walking across it. WE had something called Slug Stoppa granules once which seemed to work but was fairly expensive.

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    3. Oh, OK, I had never heard about that before, I just looked it up, but there was no picture of the granules, just the box. The review was not very good though on several sites. Good it worked for you then, seems like an expensive treatment since you have to keep replacing it.

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  8. Beautiful spring flowers. It's hard to go by the calendar here so spring for me is when the bluebonnets or native lupine blooms.

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    1. Thanks Shirley, seems we all have different flowers we regard as sign of spring!

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  9. For me the sight of those bright pansy faces is a definite sign of spring. They are always the first bloomers here and it's a sight for sore eyes.

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    1. Here in London we are lucky enough to have them in flower all winter, although not as prolifically as from February and onwards.

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  10. I love your bonsai tree - seeing it in bud is so exciting!

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    1. Thanks PJ, I thought I would show it off in a bit unusual way, normally it is the red leaves in the autumn that is the most exciting feature.

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  11. It's important to appreciate each tiny sign of spring's arrival and that's exactly what your photos are reminding me to do :)

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    1. Thanks Rosemary, not long to go here, but I suspect you have a bit longer wait :-)

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  12. It looks like spring has definitely arrived. My garden looks much like yours, a few things in bloom, but I really really miss the roses....

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    1. So do I, my garden is not really complete without the roses, but soon my camellia is going to flower, I have a huge camellia that flowers for weeks on end, it’s not exactly the same, but a nice feature when waiting for the first roses :-)

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  13. Pansy grows in London during winter!!?? Darn Indian schools -- we were given the impression that London is a very cold and frigid place with weather changing at any moment notice and all the time raining and gloomy!!! That's what we have been told in childhood. So, I'm finding it incredible to see pansy in winter as it will grow here only during hot, bright summer.

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    1. London might be cold compared to most parts of India, but it’s much warmer than New Jersey, it seems like that’s where you live from the info on your blog. Most of New Jersey is hardiness zone 6 and London is hardiness zone 9. It rains less here in London than in Dubai and in Barcelona, well that is in ‘normal’ years, we had nothing like a normal year in 2012 – it rained almost non-stop from April and onwards! But this is a new year, and we have high hopes for 2013!

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  14. O yes, I am really looking forward to spring. Yesterday we had a loverly sunny day and I spent the day outside in the garden pruning on the pergola and cutting old leaves of the Hellebores. Today it is colder again and the forecast is again frost. O no! May be in London your garden will be a bit sheltered against cold winds. Love your delicate pale yellow primulas and the Chaenomelus.

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    1. My garden is quite sheltered, it depends which way the wind is blowing. The mild weather has gone, though it is sunny today it is cold and towards the end of the week it will be freezing again, poosibly even snow. Ugh!

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  15. Hi Helene, pretty much the brownish look here at the moment unless you get up close and personal. Certainly a lot more going on in London. I was just having a look at your garden picture show, I try not to say wow too often but how impressive to see that a garden doesn't have to be huge to be beautiful.

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    1. Thank you Alistair, I assume it is the picture show on the Tab 'My Garden' you have just seen, showing my garden from 2005 to 2012. My garden is the most important room in my house so I spend a lot more time taken care of it than the rest of the house - like most keen gardeners!

      My garden is very small, even for London standard, and I don't think I could take care of a huge garden anymore, my health don't permit that. But I wouldn't mind if my garden suddenly grew to double size over night, I am sure I could manage that and find lots of things to plant there!

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  16. Le printemps s'annonce vraiment dans votre jardin. Crocus, primevères cognassier, que de couleurs resplendissantes. les pensées donnent de belles couleurs originales.
    Belle journée jocelyne

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    1. Merci, Jocelyne, il fait froid ici à Londres en ce moment, et il sera encore plus froid des prochains jours, mais le printemps est sur son chemin quand même!

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  17. A beautiful blog Helene - I'm just beginning to find out about these meme things, I don't think I could commit very week to them all - it takes up so much time! I'm busy catching up with this weeks blogs.
    Your crocus are much further on than mine and my Camellias are a while off flowering yet. The buds are fattening up so that's all good!
    Like Sue above, if find that the slugs just devour pansies in my garden and not worth the bother growing. I usually start my slug control on Valentines Day - I find it gets rid of the first batch coming out after the winter slumber but I have held of this year as I have seen no signs but as soon as I notice damage on the Dicentra foliage - I'll be at it again no doubt!
    Your primulas are extremely healthy looking. Are you going to plant them in the garden or keep them in pots?

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    1. Thank you Angie, I can’t commit to all the different memes either, but I have tried to do the Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day every month, it is a great way of keeping a record for my own sake too.

      The slugs in my garden have sure woken up! I use pellets, and they are quite effective, I know it is not as biological as perhaps it should be, but I do pick up dead slugs whenever I see them! I think my pansies are left alone because I have them mainly in my front garden and in window boxes, never had much slugs out there. I do have a few pots around in the back garden with pansies, but they are not standing on the ground, but on tables, shelves etc. And I sprinkle slug pellets around my pots too! I have already started doing it, I start first week of February usually, and even if I don’t see one single slug I always find dead slugs after the first sprinkle, no matter how early I start. Perhaps I should just do it throughout the winter too…

      My primulas are now all in the ground  They were never meant to be in the small pots permanently, but I bought them as tiny plug plants back in October and they were just too small to get in the ground so had to have a stop-over in pots. No doubt the slugs will find them and attack them in matter of days…

      My Camellia is going to be late this year, compared to most years, usually I would have some flowers opened by now, and the crocuses are a bit late too, it has been so cold here for such a long time!

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  18. Hi Helene
    Every one of your plants is just beautiful and I'm so pleased that you get to start the wonderful season of spring soon. The rest of us are right behind you (hopefully!). I am truly getting tired of the cold winds and snow. I just wanna get gardening!!

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    1. Hi Astrid, it might look spring like on the photos, but we have e measly 2 degrees C today, it is very cold and everything has slowed down again! It seems these cold arctic winds are to stay with us for at least another week.

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  19. Hi Helene
    Oh, how I evny you :o)! Our Snowdrops and Co are still under a thick layer of snow. I heard in Britain are gardens to visit who are full with snowdrops and all differend kinds of. In my part of the world you can buy only two sorts of snowdrops: Filled and unfilled once. However, I'm already happy when they finally appear in my garden :o).
    Have a lovely day!
    Alex

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    1. Hi Alex, snowdrops are everywhere here at the moment, there are 20 species of snowdrops but hundreds of different cultivars. Are you sure you can’t order online for more unusual types? They might cost a bit more than Galanthus nivalis, but some, like the ones I have, Galanthus elwesii are not much more expensive. Soon spring will come to your garden too, and your snowdrops will emerge :-)

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  20. It is wonderful to have this little preview. Spring is still a good few months away here in Canada. The back garden still sleeps soundly under a blanket of snow. Perhaps because it is shorter, our spring is sometimes more dramatic a shift. Suddenly, or so it sometimes seems, the days are warm and the snow is gone. I can hardly wait!

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    1. I know exactly what you mean! I am from Norway originally, spring lasts about 5 days there and then it's summer! It's not this longwinded will it - won't it thingy we have here in London that takes 3 months. Not sure what I prefer, but I really like having crocuses and snowdrops in February - and hardly ever any snow :-)

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  21. Isn't it funny how we all have a particular flower that speaks personally to us and says, "Now it's really spring" -- and which has nothing to do with what the calendar says about spring. For me it's the ipheion and sand cherry, but in Vermont it was the trillium. Your flowers are all absolutely lovely, Helene!

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    1. Thank you Stacy, I had to look up ipheions, they are now on my wish list for next year, thanks for the tip!
      I can't wait for my trilliums to start flowering, that's part of second-stage-spring :-)

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  22. Spring arrives here generally by the calendar. We can have snow then or even into May covering all the flowers that braved the cold to open. It is so nice to see flowers again on your post and you arranged them so nice in a mosaic. Like Jen said, it can be so quick the change from winter to spring, but sometimes it seems spring misses us altogether.

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    1. As I said to Jen, I know very well how spring like that feels like, I must admit I don't miss the snow at all, if I never have to shovel snow ever again in my life that would be perfectly fine by me :-)

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  23. Helene, great picture of bonsai Parthenocissus! It wakes up, feeling spring. Its pot is so small, did you cover with something its roots for cold time? I love your blossoming Chaenomeles! Mine one is under the snow and I don't know when it blooms.
    Have a nice weekend!

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    1. Nadezda, I don't do anything with the Parthenocissus Bonsais, they stay outdoor all year with no protection and hardly no care at all. They get a root trim every 3-4 years and a top up of compost once a year. I have Bonsai honeysuckle and jasmin which gets the same treatment, very low maitenance, as most things in my garden!

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  24. Definitely not spring today in this area of London. Minus 1 and snowing! My bulbs have been frozen in time for what seems like weeks. Unfortunately the iris reticulata I bought at the RHS show on Tuesday has withered in the cold :-(.

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    1. Isn't it amazing what a difference a few days can do, it's freezing out there now! It's actually snow flurries in the air as I write this, although it won't mount to anything, it shows how cold it is. It will be another week before it warms up a bit...ugh. Sorry to hear about your iris, hope it will recover when the weather gets better.

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  25. Hello Helene,
    I arrived ad your blog from Piece of Eden. What a lovely blog you have. Overhere my little garden is coverd with snow again, brrr. I wish king winter went on holiday to anouther country hahaha. I love your blog about the roses. I have only a garden of 100 m2 but I can't stop buying roses. I think roses are dangerous it makes me a roseaholice.
    Stay warm and have a wonderful sunday.

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    1. Welcome to my blog! Well, King Winter has done short stop in London this week-end, it has snowed again! Not a lot, but enough for all my spring plants to stop and shudder I think :-)

      My garden is only 60 m2, and I have squeezed in as many plants as I can, wish I could have more roses too!

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  26. Hi Helene,

    I'm so ready for spring to arrive and can't wait for the crocus flowers to appear. Your mosaics are gorgeous!

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    1. Thank you Donna, it is still very cold in London, this cold spell has lasted a long time. Friday this week is first day of spring but everything is rather late. I am sooo ready for spring weather!

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