Friday, 15 March 2013

March flowers – or should’ve been

It’s Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day again, can’t believe it is a whole month since last time! On last month’s GBBD I wrote: “It has been very cold the last month here in London, and in the whole of Britain, and although we haven’t had much snow here in London, it has actually snowed 3 times – which is 3 times more than many other winters I have been here. The last snowfall was only a few days ago but fortunately the snow didn’t lie for very long. But the cold weather has slowed everything down and the emerging bulbs and plants have been painfully slow, seemingly doing nothing from week to week.”

I am copying in what I wrote last month because it fits exactly for this month too, can you believe it?! We had last snowfall only a couple of days ago, and although it didn’t stay on the ground here in London for very long, it brought the rest of the country to a standstill through rush-hour traffic and the usual main roads and airports were closed or had severe delays.

Here is my garden today, on a distance pretty two-tone in brown and green but if you go a bit closer you might see a colourful dot here and there. But last year I had so many plants in flowers that are weeks away from flowering this year. I had tulips, hyacinths, anemones, and my lovely  Rhododendron Christmas Cheer, all three Skimmias, I had lots more cyclamens in flower, the trillium flowers were open and my big camellia was in full flower. Here is what my garden looked like in March last year, on the exact same date. My garden was neither particularly early nor late last year, it had been a pretty average spring up until then – it was only from April and onwards last year everything went really downhill! This year I recon my garden is 3-4 weeks late, which is quite a lot!

It is at the bottom of my garden most things are happening at the moment. Here is my woodland corner, the white crocuses are almost finished, but if you compare it with last year this corner looks very empty because the anemones have hardly emerged yet, and none has started flowering. I have also lost a lot of crocuses, I am inclined to blame the squirrels and assume they have dug them up and eaten them, but I don’t know of course, I haven’t manage to catch any of them in the act yet - although I see the squirrels digging down there in that corner quite often so I think I can safely blame them!

Crocus Tomasinianus 'Ruby Giant'


Crocus Biflorus 'Miss Vain'


Crocus 'Golden Yellow'


Narcissi 'Golden Ducat'


The clump of trilliums has grown since last year, they haven’t really opened up their flowers yet, but don’t they look sweet already?


Trillium cuneatum


My Sarcococca hookeriana var. digyna is still flowering, thanks to the cold weather.


The Chaenomeles x superba 'Crimson and Gold'  has already flowered once this year, but now it is doing its main flowering, the first one is always a bit more sparse.


Chaenomeles x superba 'Crimson and Gold'  is such a beauty in the garden when bright flowers are few and far between.


Last year the first camellia flower opened on 19th February, pretty normal time, this year I haven’t got one single flower open yet, these are the closest I got and I don’t count these as ‘open’, but with another week maybe they will – which will mean a whole month later than last year!


My primula vulgaris are still going strong, not faced by neither ice cold winds nor the occasional snow fall!


And this will probably be the first tulip to flower, sometime next century – OK, next month more likely, but last year it was in full flower in mid March.


And here is my lovely new hellebore, Helleborus hybridus 'Double White Spotted'


And this is one of my oldest Helleborus hybridus.


Compared to a normal year I should have had lots of colourful flowers in my garden right now. They are on their way, but it’s going painfully slowly in this cold weather. There are lots of websites that predicts the weather long-term, some with more accuracy than other, I have been using one for a long time and they are pretty good in getting it right for south-east of England. According to them we are in for cold weather with single figured temperatures until the end of March, and April will be colder and wetter than average but May could be slightly warmer and drier than average. So there you have it, not a very promising start to the spring – but they might be wrong of course. If you want to see how spring is getting on in people’s gardens around the world you can go to Carol’s blog at May Dreams Gardens where you will find lots of other gardens to visit. Until next time, take care.

70 comments:

  1. Hi Helene
    Every year is different - your post and garden can attest to that. Enjoy your gorgeous crocus, hellebores, daffodil and the rest - you are still months ahead of most North American gardens :)

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    1. Oh I will, as soon as the weather is well enough to be outside again, today we have had rain all day and no let up in the rain until possibly Wednesday next week!

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  2. One thing we gardeners learn very fast is that Mother Nature is the boss and patience is something we all struggle with :) Speaking of patience... I can't wait to see the flower your trilliums produce!

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    1. They are gorgeous Rosemary, dark red. I also have a yellow trillium, but haven’t seen it yet, it is a bit later to emerge, Trillium luteum.

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  3. It's absolutely beautiful, Helene, even if not much is blooming. Nothing, absolutely nothing, is blooming in my garden because it's still covered with layers of snow. So...it could be worse. Just think, in a few days you'll probably have Camellias blooming!

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    1. I feel for you Beth! But I guess you have that kind of spring we had in Norway, just a few warm days and then the snow is all gone and the spring flowers are in full flower.
      Over here spring is a rather long, drawn-out process that takes 3 months of on-off, is it - is it not kind of thing. I appreciate not having snow but in years when we have a very cold spring, like this year, it seems to go on forever. But yes, it could be worse, I could have to wait another month for my camellia, glad I don’t have to!

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  4. Beautiful blooms!
    I especially like the purple crocus, and 'Crimsom and Gold' is really stunning!
    I think my flowers are at least two weeks later this year than in years past. Thankfully we've had sunny weather this week that has helped my blooms get ready for GBBD.
    Happy Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day!
    Lea
    Lea's Menagerie

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    1. Thanks Lea, I guess it’s not just here in Northern Europe we are having a late spring then! Happy GBBD to you too!

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  5. We haven't had much snow here around Wakefield either. I sometimes think the news over exaggerates as it picks out areas that are badly hit. It will say that Yorkshire is badly affected when really it means up in the Pennines or North Yorkshire. We have had just one spell of 'real' snow the rest have been flurries that caused a dusting or quickly disappeared. It as been very cold and dull and I think the lack of light has affected the flowers more than anything. Dark and cold equals winter.

    Our garden is much like yours and our camellias are also very late. March was warm last year and I think maybe counted as summer for us.

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    1. I have also stopped listening to the snow warnings we get, certainly within London it rarely settle for long. Although, Monday this week, when we had snow, we had a few flurries, but only in Kent, less than 1 hour from me, they had severe delays on the roads because they got so much snow. Incredible what a difference those few miles can make.

      I agree with you, what my garden needs most of all is sunlight, lots of it. So does the owner of the garden too :-)

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  6. I think that you have done extremely well considering the weather of late. I do wish I could grow Trilliums like the splendid examples you have. Our weather in Somerset has been horrendous over the past couple of weeks, I have even lost hellebores this year due to the sub zero winds that we have been getting. I can only assume that our summer this is going to magnificent !

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    1. Thanks Bill, I haven’t really done anything for the trilliums, except put it in the ground. I got one, single tiny trillium in 2004, and this is the result! But I do perhaps have a nice environment for them, dapple shade, under a cedar tree in slightly acid soil.

      I hope you are right about getting a magnificent summer this year, we are certainly due one!

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  7. Beautiful blooms, i'm especially drawn to the Hellebores right now, they certainly add some colour.
    I have one camelia kept in a polytunnel and that is very late this year too.
    Fingers crossed we have a fabulous summer.

    Linda

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    1. Hi and welcome to my blog, yes I am hoping for a great summer too, it is years since last time!

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  8. So many spring flowers. A feast for the eyes. I have not seed trilliums since we lived in Canada. Remember walking in the woods when the floor was covered with their blooms. Happy Bloom day.

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    1. I love the trilliums, I used to have a clump of Trillium grandiflorium too but they vanished years ago, before they got properly established. I have wanted to replace them, they are just a bit expensive if I am going to buy a few, not just one.
      Happy GBBD to you too!

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  9. That's amazing that your garden hasn't changed in the past month with the cold keeping the lid on. Wow, what a difference there is with last year's garden!

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    1. Yes, the British spring can vary a lot! My garden has changed a bit, but not much - you wouldn't think it had gone a whole month really. I am longing for some sun and warm weather :-)

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  10. You are experiencing good old Scottish weather Helene!! You are describing your garden exactly as it is here every year.
    You've still got lots going on - I do hope you'll show us your Trillium in full bloom.
    You may remember we spoke about Trillium last month and I was inspired by your pictures into purchasing the one I had been covetting for ages. I was given a voucher for Mother's Day and use it to buy one.
    You're Camellia isn't far off is it

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    1. Hi Angie, I suppose being as cold and late as spring is this year it probably is more like the Scottish one! I prefer the one we usually have though, this is too cold for me :-)

      Of course I will show you the trilliums in full bloom, and I hope my Trillium luteum will be out of the ground soon too. Congratulations on yours, hope it will multiply for you quickly. Which type of trillium did you buy? If you mentioned it I have forgotten, sorry! Did you buy Trillium grandiflorum snowbunting?? If you did I will be soooo jealous!!

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  11. Maybe later than last year, but you have many beauties in your garden. The Trilliums are cute! I don't think they grow here. I enjoyed all your photos; thank you, and happy bloom day!

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    1. Thanks! I know how many beauties you have in your garden though :-) Wonder when my first rose will flower this year...July??
      Yes, the trilliums are cute, not something everyone has in their gardens. Happy GBBD to you too!

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  12. Your flowers look so exotic and different compared to what I grow in Texas. I did recently discover that hellebores will grow here, but the lack of rainfall may make them a little challenging. They would certainly be worth the extra effort, since they are very beautiful. Here's hoping that by the next bloom day you'll be warmer and we'll be wetter. Happy Bloom Day!

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    1. Exotic? Erhm, to me your flowers are exotic, so there you have it. I guess whatever we are not used to becomes exotic, I'd love to grow cacti in my front garden but no cacti would love it!
      Hellebores are tough plants, they can deal with very little water once they are established. Well worth a try.

      We are having rain the next 7 days, I'll be more than happy to send it off to Texas :-) Happy GBBD!

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  13. Helene-you are actually a bit ahead of us here in the northeast US. Things here are also behind last year but the crocus and hyacinth are finally coming up. Your Hellobores add some nice late winter/early spring interest and love seeing the crocus!

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    1. Thanks, last year was warmer than usual at the start of the year, but by the time the spring bulbs came out it ended up a pretty ‘normal’ year in my garden. This year is definitely a late one. But we’re getting there, eventually!

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  14. You have Trilliums in your garden, and indeed even without flowers they look so nice. I tried them twice, but they won't do in my garden. You also have some nice Hellebores, within a few years you also will have many of them. At last we have our first day in a week without falling snow and temp. minus C., it is just raining now, let's hope this is the end of winter.

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    1. I know you can get trilliums for just about any hardiness zone, so you should be able to find one that suits your climate, but perhaps you gave it too much sunshine? Trilliums like shade, under a tree is best, and they need quite a lot of water or they will disappear very early in the spring. And they like neutral to acid soil. I don't do anything with mine, except give them a bit water if it doesn't rain enough - haven't been a problem the last couple of years!

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  15. Your garden is lovely with or without flowers! Indeed, you have some quite pretty blooms. The weather gets weirder every year, but hang in there - spring will come.

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    1. I know, I am just so fed up of the cold weather, I am outside working in my garden every day it’s not raining, but I want to be able to sit down, eat my lunch and just relax as well, too cold for that at the moment!

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  16. Helene, I adore the look of your blog...sorry to hear about your flowers not blooming...we are still have a very cld snowy winter here. And I bet it will last until after Easter. Your trilliums are spectacular. Well the birds are active and so I hope to see more signs of spring soon.

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    1. Thanks Donna, spring is letting us all wait this year, we could hope that means we will get a fantastic summer…but I am not betting on it!

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  17. Happy Bloom Day from over-the-seas in USDA Zone 6a Michigan! Your little garden is lovely. I really enjoy the photos of the hellebore and the trillium is already looking wonderful. It is always such a pretty plant. Our Lot also is quite behind this year, but I believe it may be more "on schedule" for spring than it has been in a couple of years.

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    1. Thanks, I love my trilliums, not a very common garden plant over here, it’s nice to have something not everyone has in their gardens. Happy GBBD to you too!

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  18. Your garden lookes lovely already. I am currious what it will be a couple of weeks later.
    Enjoy your sunday Helene.

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    1. Thanks Marijke, and have a nice Sunday you too!

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  19. Helene, I am in love with your hellebores! Gorgeous! The white double is a stunner. Last year, your weather seems quite warmer than normal, and this year..is it colder than average? Happy GBBD! Cheers, Jenni

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    1. Yes, that double one is lovely, got it just last autumn so it is the first time it flowers.

      Last year it was a warm start to the year, but then it cooled down and by the time the spring plants emerged everything was pretty much on time, not early and not late. This year there is just one for it: LATE! But I bet we’ll get there eventually. The next 2 weeks doesn’t look much promising though, just cold, cold and more cold. Happy GBBD to you too!

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  20. I love your crocuses! Mine didn't bloom this year - very disappointing. But, of course, my favorite are your camellias. And you still have one just beginning to bloom! This year and last are certainly very different.

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    1. Thanks Holley, I have less crocuses than last year so I think I need to top it up this autumn, to replace what’s been lost.
      Last year my Camellia flowered for more than 3 months, but it started middle of February. It depends now on what weather we get in April how long the camellia will flower this year – late flowering usually means short flowering, unless it keeps on being really cold! (I would rather have nice, warm weather now and sacrifice a few weeks camellia flowering!!)

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  21. The trilliums don't even need blooms to entice me. Those leaves are fascinating in their own right.

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    1. Thanks, I agree, I wait a whole year to see them emerge, and they only last to around early July and then they are gone again – until next spring.

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  22. Your flowers are beautiful. I am quite impressed with your clump of trillium which can be very hard to grow. Trilliums won't even be emerging from the ground for quite a while here.

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    1. Thanks Carolyn, I haven’t really done anything to deserve praise for my trilliums, all I did was plant one single plant back in 2004, never done anything except water them when they look a bit sad - and this is the result. I also planted one trillium grandiflorum at the same time, but it only came back the next year and then I never saw it again. I have wanted to get some more of them too. And finally I also had one trillium luteum, which sadly had an accident the first year, someone trod on it and it broke. It never appeared again and I thought it was lost for forever, but last year, after 8 years it came back! I hope I will see it this year too :-)

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  23. Helene, your spring garden looks very pretty, I love the crocuses, especially the yellow ones, they are sunny.
    The Chaenomeles is blooming- wow! Do you eat its berries? Or do you make some jam?
    Happy weekend!

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    1. I have never tasted the fruit from the Chaenomeles, I know it is supposed to be edible and you can use it together with apples to make jam, but I have never done that. Might have a try :-) Hope you have a good Sunday.

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  24. I don't know trilliums, but yours look intriguing already. I'll wait to see what the flowers look like.

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    1. Trilliums are lovely, something a bit unusual, not found in every garden at least here in Britain.

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  25. I just love all the colors in your crocuses...so beautiful! My trilliums are budding, and I am looking forward to seeing them. All the lovely color of spring in your post is beautiful.

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    1. Thank you, it goes painfully slowly over here, 3 days of rain now, and still cold, although we had an hour of let-up yesterday before it started hammering down again.

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  26. It may be a little later than usual, but your garden is just lovely. I especially love the blue/purple crocuses, and the hellebores are stunning.

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  27. Hi Helene, I am very impressed with all you have in flower in spite of the cold weather. Even as far north as we are, last year we had a tub of tulips starting to bloom in late February, this year the Crocus as yet are not showing colour. Probably the squirrels are getting at your bulbs, but apparently birds eat the blooms of yellow crocus. I like the look of your Trillium cuneatum even before she opens her blooms.

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    1. Thanks Alistair, can you believe how late everything is?? Fortunately we don't have to battle with snow, I know there are parts of the country that has had snow for more days than not since Christmas...madness.
      My trilliums are coming along, not long before they flower I think, and I have 4 camellia flowers open :-)

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  28. My garden is behind where it was last year, too, but last year was way too warm. This year has been more normal for us. Your hellebore is a real beauty! I had no idea triiliums grew in England. They are a North American native wildlflower. :o)

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    1. I know trilliums are native to North America, but the climate over here isn't so different so they thrive here too. The only thing is, over here we have to go and buy them – they are not found everywhere in the wild, and some of them are very expensive, at least the unusual cultivars. Have you ever seen Trillium grandiflorum Snowbunting? Try Google it, if I had plenty of money to spend (as if!) I would buy lots of these and spread them under my big conifer.

      Last spring here was pretty much normal, even though we started very early, the cold weather slowed things so by the time we got to March things were pretty much 'normal'. This year we are definitely not having a normal spring.

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  29. We are even further behind here. There is snow on the ground that seems to have no plans to leave. Your early spring flowers are just beautiful! Love that maroon hellebore! (fantastic picture BTW) The foliage on the trilliums are quite interesting. I look forward to seeing your pictures of them in flower.

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    1. Thanks Jennifer, the maroon hellebore picture is taken with a close-up lens, see my post earlier this month called 'From a different perspective'.

      The trilliums are soon ready for a show, just need some warm days - not much chance of that the next week or so here in London, the forecast is almost ridiculous!

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  30. Your last year and this year's garden are indeed very different. Did you notice such difference before in London or is this year very strange? Do you blame this on global climate change? I am getting really worried.

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    1. The weather in London has varied a lot the 14 winters I have been here, but I can't remember spring being as late as this before, or as persistently cold as this, or with as little sunshine as this - all three factor makes this spring rather unique.

      I am sure global warming has at least something to do with this, not sure if it is the whole explanation. The earth is getting warmer, but here in the northern hemisphere we are getting warmer winters and colder, wetter summers. We are also getting more freakish weather here in Britain; drought, flood, rain, snowstorms, tornadoes etc. That trend can be seen all over the globe. I think we all should worry, not so much for us - we need to worry more for our grandchildren and beyond; the global changes is a slow process and much of what we see today is just merely a nuisance. If things continue the way they are now it will be a real problem for our grandchildren, not just a nuisance.

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  31. All your spring flowers are so lovely. You didi a great job with your arden. The crocuses have such a sriking purple colour.

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    1. Thank you, spring is still not really taking off here, we are expecting only plus 1 degrees Celsius tomorrow mid day and many places will get upto 40cm snow! Not here in London though, but we might get some sleet.

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  32. hi helene. in spite of the cold, you have some lovely spring flowers. It is very interesting comparing year by year like that, because it is instructive even if alarming to track the effects of climate change in the garden. When growth is slow, it must be confusing for the insects that are used to more or less regular cycles.

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    1. Thanks, the freak winter weather is just going on here, no let up for another 10 days and we will have more sub-zero temperatures at night. It's last week of March! I saw a bumble bee in January, no insects since then.

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  33. Hi Helene, last year we were able to sit out on our deck 12 times during March. This year we've only had one Happy Hour out there and we were wearing jackets. I did manage to get the roses pruned and fed yesterday. But I'm ready for some blooms and warm weather!
    Cheers,
    Lynn

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    1. Yes, I've heard on the news that many parts of US is suffering the same way as we are. I am outside in the garden working most days when it's not raining, can't keep away! But it is with layers and layers of clothes and I don't sit down, it's just too cold. I pruned my roses first week-end in February, as I always do, thinking we would get a reasonably normal spring – how wrong was I...those roses have been shooting for 6 weeks, and the new shoots look rather miserable.

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  34. Where art thou :-)? I hope everything is alright as your blog has not got updated for quite a while now.

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    1. Hi, thanks for asking, I am OK, just very fed up with the winter weather we are having, not being able to do any gardening. The cold weather is affecting me, I wish I was a bear that could hibernate until we got a proper spring - no spring in sight in Britain yet, more of the same really, just hovering around zero Celsius. Apparently not had such a weather since 1968...
      I am writing on a post, hope to post tomorrow.
      Take care, stay warm!

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