Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Daffodils and tulips, a short visit

The winter has been oh so long, the spring very reluctant to even start but when we finally got spring here in London it came with a bang and the last week we have certainly been enjoying spring – and even summer like temperatures. Today it was 21 degrees in my garden, tomorrow we are promised even higher temperatures – before everything comes crashing down and Friday will arrive with 12 degrees and perhaps night frost. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, I just hoped it would have lasted a bit longer...

My garden really exploded in colours this week, finally the rest of the daffodils and tulips opened their flowers, although I still have a few daffodils in buds, a bit hesitant to believe spring has arrived perhaps. My camellia is in full flower, 2 months later than last year and even later than some early years before we started getting arctic winters. My rhododendrons show no signs of flowering yet, in fact, one of my rhododendrons show no signs of flower buds – it seems it has just skipped the whole thing and is now just producing new leaves. It is a new rhododendron I got last year, in flower when I got it, but it should have flowered this year. Not sure what has happened to it, and it is a bit too soon to tell, but from what I can see there are no flower buds at all. My trusty old Dopey has lots of fat buds, he is just taking his time, waiting for the right weather I guess, but normally he would have been finished flowering by now. He is worth waiting for though, the flowers are just gorgeous!

Here are my Tulip 'Madame Lefeber', they are Fosteriana tulips and this is the second year they have come up. I was wondering if they would flower at all and was not disappointed, of 25 tulips, 24 flowered. I will keep them for another year, hoping they will go on and perhaps naturalise.


Tulip 'Madame Lefeber'


New of this year is Tulip 'Apricot Beauty' they are also Fosteriana tulips so I hope they will come back next year.


Tulip 'Apricot Beauty'


This is Tulip 'Purissima' , yet another Fosteriana in their second year, out of 25 tulips I have only got 4 flowers, these are going in the compost bin.


My daffodils are looking good, finally flowering. These are new this year, planted last November.


Narcissi 'Golden Ducat'


Narcissi 'Golden Ducat'


Narcissi 'Falconet


These were bought as Narcissi 'White Lion' last year, but they can’t have been labelled correctly because 'White Lion' should be double. I think I have been cheated here…pretty enough, but not what I expected.


The tulips and daffodils are almost gone, the warm weather we have had this week have polished them off so quickly I hardly got to enjoy them before they were off. Some of the daffodils have actually lasted a lot longer than the tulips, coming out long before and still looking good, but they are in a shadier area. That’s the price to pay for a few days of good weather :-)

At this time of year I normally would expect my first roses to bloom, but this year my roses are still busy putting out their first leaves! The next 10 days, from Friday and onwards, we are expecting temperatures around 12 degrees so I am not hoping for a miracle with my roses, they will just have to take their time like the rest of my garden.  I am making myself busy with lots of chores though, lots to do, and even though I haven’t been writing as often as I used to it doesn’t mean nothing is happening in my garden – it just means I am being busy in my garden :-) Next time I hope to tell you about a big purchase I have made, big in terms of cost, but first of all in size. I am talking about a tree – in my tiny garden! Saying no more....Until next time, take care.

52 comments:

  1. It's lovely to see your Tulips and Daffodils put on a great show even if it was for a short time. I particularly loved 'Apricot Beauty'. They are simply gorgeous.

    Hopefully those Roses and Rhodos will bloom soon for you. The new purchase must be something special!

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    1. Thank you Bernie, it's been a great week, albeit short - a mere 11 degrees today! My new purchase is special, at least to me, I have wanted one of these for years!

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  2. Beautiful tulips, Helene, Apricot Beauty is stunning. My rhododendron has nice buds waiting to burst open...I can't wait! Maybe your newer one will catch up in the next few weeks? Intrigued to find out what your tree is!

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    1. I have taken photos of my new tree today, was hoping for something more to show but because of the cold spring we have had it is still in bud. I will leave it for another few days and then take some more photos so you might have to wait until towards the end of next week before my next post :-)

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  3. One of our rhododendrons is just opening. I prefer the single to double daffodils so I would be happy with your white variety. We have Thalia which is a lovely white.

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    1. I looked up Thalia, it is a lovely daffodil, still, I was expecting a double white so am a bit disappointed.

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  4. Helene, awesome tulip 'Apricot Beauty'! I'd like to have it in my garden too.I've been cheated with plant of some varieties, roses for example. I can't wait to read about your new big tree,
    have a nice weekend!

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    1. Oh, I have been sent roses in the past too, with wrong label, in fact, I have 2 roses in my garden that I have no idea what is, as they definitely are not what the label said!
      The post about my tree will come next week, I am just too busy to sit down and write thses days, too much to do during the day and too tired in the evening :-)

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  5. Lovely daffodils and tulips in your garden, especially the Apricot Beauty. I wonder what kind of tree you bought, but we have to be patient. With this beautiful warm weather of the moment gardening is such a joy I think. In my garden Tulips always disappear after one or two years, Our soil is too wet and not sandy enough, so we never have many tulips because I do not want to buy every year new ones.

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    1. I think most people find that tulips don't come back with flowers after a year or two, so here in UK tulips are treated as annuals and you just dig them up and throw them away after they are finished flowering. One exception is Fosteriana tulips, which are more reliable repeat flowerers. I have had mixed success with mine though but I might leave those that didn’t flower one more year and see if they flower next year.

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  6. Hello Hélène.... Your garden looks lovely right now. It is still rather dreary here and not a whole lot is blooming. We are supposed to start having very nice weather this weekend. If you read my latest blog you may realize that I am scheduled for surgery next Thursday and possibly the following Thursday. That wouldn't be a big deal except that I am in considerable pain and cannot work in the garden at all because of Dr.'s orders. I think I am actually going to sit back and enjoy what's happening in the garden and not to worry about the work. Both of my early to mid may bus tours that have been arranged months ago have canceled for variety of reasons. While I am disappointed it is for the best and it takes a lot of pressure off me While I try to get over my health concerns

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    1. Hi Larry, sorry to hear you are under the weather again, as you know, I can fully sympathise with your situation, and I hope you manage to just sit and enjoy your garden, not doing any work - as hard as that actually is!! I haven’t got around to read any of your blogs yet, been very busy here, but I will try to leave messages to all of you over the next couple of days. Hope everything goes well on Thursday and that you are back in your garden soon, take care :-)

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  7. Helene... I apologize for the poor grammar and spelling and so on and my response just previous to this one I'm using dictation on the computer in the thing locked up and I didn't have time to start over take care Larry

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    1. No worries, Larry, I have dabbled with speech recognition myself on my PC, it is actually quite hard to get the program to write what you say, in perfect English... :-)

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  8. Love those red tulips with the black mondo grass. super combination.

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    1. Thank you, it is a brief encounter, but worth waiting for :-)

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  9. Your garden looks great! You are well ahead of us, our daffs are just starting to bloom. As I've said before, I love that path. And oh, those red tulips!

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  10. Your garden has indeed burst in flowers and they are looking so pretty. Your daffodils are blooming now; mine are dying here after blooming for two-three weeks. World's weather pattern has indeed changed. Isn't tulip a perennial? So, why do you say that many of them are not blooming? Thanks.

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    1. You’re right, tulips are perennials, getting them to bloom in your garden year after year is no problem at all if your garden happens to be located in the foothills of the Himalayas, or the steppes of eastern Turkey. For all of us who don’t live where tulips are from originally, getting tulips to re-bloom is quite a challenge, unless you choose species or botanical tulips, like for example Fosteriana tulips, also called Emperor tulips, like I have.

      The reason why tulips bloom at all the first year after we have bought them is because professional growers subject their plant stock to an ingenious series of heat and humidity treatments each summer before planting. Developed over the past 400 years, this manipulation of temperature and humidity levels allows growers today to perfectly replicate the tulip's native habitat giving us tulips that flowers perfectly the first year – but not much in subsequent years.
      I hope that answered your question :-)

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  11. oooh what a tease, making us wait about your latest acquisition! Have to admit that gardening in 12 degrees was far more pleasant than 21. I don't 'do' heat. Have got the tulip bug so hoping to plants loads this autumn...you're photos certainly inspired me x

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    1. For me it's not too hot until it is well over 30 degrees C, so the 23 I had in my garden today was just perfect for potting on my fuchsia plugs :-)

      Not revealing anything about my tree yet....or perhaps I should? I can reveal one more thing: it is not just one tree I have bought, it's two! Now you might perhaps question the wisdom of two new trees in my tiny postage stamp garden.....well, all will be revealed next time!

      I am hooked on tulips too, will get some more in and fill some tubs this autumn, I would love some paeony tulips, they are gorgeous.

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  12. It looks like spring in your garden! Your tulips and daffodils are beautiful, but oh! - the camellia! Such a beauty! My roses are reluctantly starting to bloom. I've been anxious for them, too. I guess we will all remember this year as the year of anxious anticipation.

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    1. Yes, my camellia is in full flower now, 2 months later than last year and almost 3 months later than early years. "The year of anxious anticipation" ....indeed, and I am still anticipating, lots more to even emerge out of the ground here!

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  13. Your Tulip 'Apricot Beauty' is so ethereal looking. All your other spring flowers are lovely as well.

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    1. Thank you, it's been a long wait, now I'd like to see my roses next :-)

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  14. Hi Helene, I always love looking at your garden, I like the way you have designed it, and the plants you have used. Weathers been a bit weird everywhere for a while now, nothing surprises me. Loving your tulip shots, I really like Mdme Lafeber, beautiful.

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    1. Thanks Karen, my garden has been a long project over the last 10 - 11 years, and I am not sure I am finished yet, are we ever finished with our gardens?

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  15. It's lovely to see so much colour in your garden and you have such an interesting collection of daffodils every year I try to add more varieties to the garden - love those apricot tulips

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    1. Thanks Elaine, some of my old daffodils have stopped flowering, just producing leaves. I think they don't get enough sun so they are going out this year. The new ones are in full sun so I hope they will last for years to come. There are so many interesting daffodil varieties, I'd love to have some more :-)

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  16. I love Tulip 'Madame Lefeber' and it is up in my garden too. Purissima is just starting as well. You garden is very colorful, lovely.

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    1. Thank you, after this long winter it's great to get some colours again!

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  17. I'm amazed at the transformation in your garden. The tulip Madame Lefeber looks very good with the little black grass whose name escapes me right now. My garden is also very confused, spent ages choosing bulbs for succession flowers and now everything is coming out in one go and clashing colours...gggrrr! Can't believe how cruel this weather is to give us a lovely taste of warmth and then take it all away again.

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    1. Thanks Claire, that black grass has the tongue twisting name of Ophiopogon planiscapus nigrescens, and yes, I have also tried planting bulbs for succession flowers, just to get huge colour clash when they didn’t flower when they were supposed to...I have learned to play it safe now, colours that go together in the same area!
      Have been out today, in 11 degrees, brrr...after 23 degrees C on Friday it felt rather cold.

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  18. Like other the comments I simply love the apricot tulips - they'd be stunning as a centre piece or hand tied bouquet for a spring wedding.
    I was expecting good weather this week but we've had more wind, frost and even hail... I'm glad you've managed to enjoy some of the sunshine and your beautiful garden is certainly ahead of mine Helene. My daffs only came out last week and my first tulips are now in bloom.

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    1. The nice weather didn't last very long here in London, only a few days, we are back to 11-12 degrees here too, and we had hail yesterday evening! I can't wait for a good few weeks of warm weather, these couple of days here and there are just like a tease!

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  19. Your tulips and daffodils are gorgeous. I never recorded the names of any of mine and wish I had. Unless my conversion calculator is off 12 degrees C is 53 degrees F. That's warm and shouldn't damage any plants. Around here that would be a beautiful spring day and temperatures would be in the low 40s and even upper 30s at night. I guess it's all what you are used to.

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    1. Oh, 12 degrees C is a huge improvement from what we had last month, but a big step down from the 23 C we had only two days ago. That's spring in Britain for you, big contrasts, and we still have night frost now and then so I am still taking in my seedlings at night - big job, I have many of them, and no green house, so they are just on my kitchen floor at night whenever frost is expected.

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  20. Very pretty!
    I especially like the 'Falconet'
    Have a wonderful day!
    Lea
    Lea's Menagerie

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    1. Thanks Lea, the daffodil and tulip season is short and sweet, a whole year till next time :-)

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  21. The Narcissi 'Golden Ducat' are especially pretty Helene, and even though you were disappointed because it was not what you expected, the Narcissi 'White Lion' is quite lovely.
    I tend to spend too much money on perennials to the neglect of trees and shrubs. Like you, I am thinking of making at least one big purchase this year. I will be curious to see what tree you choose.

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    1. I have tried to have a fair mix of most type of plants, and I have a good few evergreens, which makes my garden nice and green in the darkest of winter too. Unfortunately, with such a small garden as I have, I really have to be choosy with type of plants, and trees for that matter - there simply isn't room enough for all I would like to have :-)

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  22. Hi Helene
    I guess this is the time of year when there's not as much time to blog: we're all too busy gardening!! And so it should be. I used to have Apricot Beauty and Purissima. I loved them but tulips don't last the way daffodils and the small bulbs do. I can hardly wait to hear all about your tree!

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    1. I can't wait to get out in the garden every day, even though I still have to pile on the clothes, only 12 degrees today and a chilly sharp wind. So when the evening comes I must admit I haven't got much energy for blogging - but it feels good beeing out in the garden :-)

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  23. Doesn't it feel good to be busy in the garden? That's where I've been as well :) Gorgeous colours in your spring flowers. I love the red of your tulips, so velvety and bright. Your Apricot Beauty is gorgeous, as is the Narcissi Falconet. I hate being disappointed when the tulips send up a ton of full-sized leaves and hardly any flowers. I always forget to put a marker in the bunch to dig them up and end disappointed again the next year.

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    1. I know what you mean about the tulips, I have lots of daffodils that now are producing just leaves, they are coming out this spring. I hope I find them all :-)

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  24. Hi Helen
    Lovely photos. I love especially the tulip Apricot Beauty and the daffodils Golden Ducat... they are just gorgeous. Wow, a tree in your garden? Sure the birds gonna love it as well as your cat. Can't wait to see your next post.
    Have a lovely week
    Alex

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    1. Hi Alex, my cat has been banned from several of my large bushes, I have placed plastic wrapping around the stem, as he kept scratching off all the bark!
      I am going to protect my new purchase too, as I can't have him using it as a scratch post. He has got one tree in my garden he is free to use though, a huge almost 10 m tall conifer which you normally only see the trunk of in my pictures, it is in the bottom right of my garden, my cat often runs half way up the trunk, uses it to scratch and he loves that tree.
      Have a lovely week you too, hope you are getting some great gardening weather :-)

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  25. Ahhh ... such beautiful signs of spring Helene. Your garden is so quaint with gorgeous bulbs.

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  26. I like the funnel-shaped trumpet of "white lion". Your garden is like a magic hat - you keep pulling more and more blooms.

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    1. Thanks for the description, I like it - a magic hat :-)
      I have put a lot of effort into succession flowering, I must admit not always as successful as I hoped for, the seasons are not always playing ball! I have for example some hardy geraniums coming up in the middle of an area of daffodils that should have been a pile of dying leaves by now, the daffodils are still in flower thanks to the late spring….
      I did a count once, counting every plant, tree, bulb, every crocus, every lily, every big and small plant – I have well over 1000 plants in my tiny garden so yep, a magic hat it is!

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