Friday, 31 May 2013

Dopey has finally woken up!

OK, so it’s official, as if we didn’t already know, the news have been filled with it today: Britain has just had its coldest spring for over 50 years. My garden is still very behind and despite two very nice May Bank Holiday week-ends – when did we last have that?! – it didn’t help much in catching up with everything as all the days in between has been oh so cold.

Tuesday was a nice sunny day, although cold and windy, but I got some photos, the rest was taken Wednesday and Thursday, dodging the showers. I know this photo looks like a nice sunny summer’s day, but what you can’t see and feel in this photo is that bone chilling wind we had Tuesday that made sitting down for more than 5 minutes a rather cold experience. Taking photos in such a windy weather is also rather challenging, I keep chasing the flowers in and out of focus and hope for the best. It is really nice to have a camera with image stabiliser, it is meant for camera shake but helps really well with ‘object shake’ too!

My rhododendron is finally flowering! I have waited a loooooong time for ‘Dopey’ to open his gorgeous flowers. I suppose this year he really lives up to his name ;-) This rhododendron is a dwarf and part of the Disney series, hence the name, I have had it for 9 years and although it seems to get a bit wider every year it hasn’t grown in height the last 5 years or so. I would love to have all 7 of them, I just have nowhere to put them, although I might be able to squeeze in one more, at the bottom of the garden, next to my camellia, so Dopey might be joined by one of his brothers soon.

Rhododendron ‘Dopey’ in the sunshine.

Rhododendron ‘Dopey’ just after the rain.

And my evergreen azalea has just started to flower too, this is 'Geisha Purple', soon it will be completely covered in flowers.

All the alliums are out now, I planted a few more last autumn in addition to those I had from before, Allium aflatunense 'Purple sensation' and Allium Superglobe Mix. Look at the bumble bee hanging upside down, only attached by its tongue! It was not moving its wings, just hanging there collecting nectar.(Click to enlarge, you really get a much better view)

Next to the alliums are my peonies, they should have started flowering by now but as you can see, they need a few more weeks at least. But it seems I will get more flowers this year than I had last. I just hope they won’t be ruined by rain like last year, all was caught by balling the day after they started opening so I never saw one of them fully open without damage. Fingers crossed for that nicer weather we are being promised!

And in front of the peonies are the rest of the irises, finally making an entrance! The leaves started to emerge in December, some of the irises are still in bud, it has been a long wait.

And here is the whole bed, this is the right side of the garden, the sunny side, next to the patio area. There are lots of green leaves in this bed at the moment, some are dying daffodil leaves but the rest is what is going to take over when all the blues, purples and creams have died and the pink peonies have finished flowering. Then it is the time for the hot colours! At the front I have daylilies in zingy yellow and burnt red and the tall spiky leaves at the back are fiery red crocosmias. There is also a hot-red trusty old geranium in the middle of this bed, but it hasn’t emerged yet, not sure if it has survived the cold winter we have had. The 3 geraniums I had in pots died, but they are actually the only casualties of the winter so far, everything else seems to have survived. Even my 5 dahlias which overwinter in the ground have survived and are now emerging, late but alive, incredible, I was so sure they would have succumbed that I bought 3 new dahlias earlier this spring, now I need to find a home for them as all the others are still alive and kicking!

When I wrote my GBBD post on the 15th this month I had so many plants just started to flower, now 2 weeks later they look much better. All the Lily of the Valley are flowering, I have so many of them I actually have started to pull them up as they are a bit invasive. Fortunately they are easy to pull up, with shallow roots.

Lily of the Valley.

On my GBBD post I also wrote about my roses, or lack of roses, and showed this bud. I am sorry to say it is still a bud! It is certainly taking its time. This bud is on a cutting in a pot, the mother plant is further behind with no buds showing any colour yet.

This is the only rose I have so far, from my cream pot rose, it is tiny and hidden among the leaves, the rest of the buds are weeks from flowering.

This is what my roses look like, green buds all round. And it is 1st June tomorrow. Unbelievable. I usually have roses in mid to late April.

Let me finish with some cheerful pictures of something that is flowering, my pansies Can Can is still going strong. Normally this is the time when I throw out my winter bedding plants and put in the summer bedding, but the plug plants I bought in March are so small still that they are not really ready for planting out so the pansies will have to do for another few weeks.

The weather for the next two weeks are promising, with higher temperatures and more sun, we could even get temperatures well above 20 degrees C. After all this time with a thermometer that seems to have been stuck on 12 or 13 degrees I would love to have something more summery, for more than 2 days at the time. Maybe I can get some roses for June GBBD? Or July??

Before I finish, let me pick up something I wrote about on my GBBD post on the 15th May, the Green Plant Swap website. If you are located in the UK, have you had a look at this yet? Maybe signed up? If not, it is well worth looking into, the more members we get, the more likely it will be to find people in the neighbourhood to swap plants with. Here is the address again:
www.greenplantswap.co.uk
Until next time, take care.

42 comments:

  1. Your garden looks so fresh despite the cold. I was in London last week and some of the days were bone chilling.

    Your allium make a nice tableau.

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    1. Thank you, glad to hear you got to London and Chelsea Flower Show, despite the dismal weather we had. This week would have been a better week to come and see London :-)

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  2. Such beautiful shots of spring flowers, Helene! "Dopey" is the most amazing colour - very lovely. And yes - warmer temperature will certainly bring so much more of your terrific garden to life. I can hardly wait for more pictures!

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    1. I can't wait for better weather, I need some sunshine, for many days. And more pictures will follow!

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  3. Finaly we had 2 beautiful days this week. I hope it was not our summer! Your garden looks lovely. I like your Dopey. Helas they don't like to grow on the clay I have in my little garden. And yes the roses are so much later as they were before. We just have to be patient to see them blooming.
    Have a wonderful weekend Helene

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    1. My roses are getting there, slowly slowly!
      It seems like we will be getting the nice weather as promised, almost 2 weeks with pretty good temperatures will do me good. Have a nice week-end you too!

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  4. I wish my lily of the valley would take off - just one flower this year! Our irises are only just now producing bud but the rhododendrons are almost over.

    I have the same trouble photographing flowers - it's amazing how little breeze there seems to be until you try and take a close-up. Then the flowers decided to do an energetic dance!

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    1. I have learned to rely a lot on the image stabilizer, I didn't have that on my old camera but I have found it tolerates quite a lot of movements. Great when there is a bit if wind but useless in high winds.

      My Lily of the Valleys are about 5 weeks late, everything is still later than normal.

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  5. It's lovely to see Dopey looking so good. Love the colour of the Azalea as well. I do hope you get a break from the cold, the wind and the rain soon, although your garden is looking pretty good given the long wintery conditions.

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    1. We are promised better weather, the start of it came today but it will take until middle of next week before it has warmed up enough to call it 'warm'. We are not expecting a heat wave, just lower 20s C, but that's better than anything we have had so far!

      Dopey is a star in the garden for as long as it lasts, and then it is a whole year till next time :-)

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  6. Gee, with so many wonderful blooms you would have never known it was the coldest spring in 50 yrs. Beautiful Allium and Irises. Everything looks amazing Helene.

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    1. Thanks Donna, but you can see it has been the coldest spring in 50 years by the fact that everything is about 6 weeks late. I have plants that have barely started to emerge that normally would be in flower by now!
      But we're getting there :-)

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  7. Beautiful images of your garden! Things are looking quite lovely and although they are a little behind due to the cold spring I bet they'll catch up when the heat of summer arrives. If the heat of summer arrives:)

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    1. Well, that is a big if...it never did last year! We haven't really had a hot summer in many years, so I hope we are due one this year.

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  8. Wow, your patience is truly being tested! At least the flowers are performing, slowly and surely. Dopey is so beautiful and full of blooms. We've gone from a few days of scorching sun to a week of cold rain straight into tropical forest heat and humidity. Yikes, don't know what it's going to be from one day to the next.

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    1. That sounds like the British weather, no two days are the same, although we haven't had many scorching days...
      But yes, getting there eventually, I don't really think my garden will 'catch up' I think everything will just be later than normal throughout the summer, unless we get many weeks of very high temperatures, not very likely!

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  9. Helene, your Dopey is excellent! I love this color! I have the rhododendron "Maurits", the same color, is very low and very hardy, is finish bred. I love the rose, I think this bud will soon open and will be purple.Won't be it?
    Happy gardening!

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    1. Thank you Nadezda, the rose is called Crimson cascade, it is very dark red when in bud, almost blackish red, and when fully open it is dark red, my absolute favourite colour. You can see the roses in a post I wrote here:
      http://graphicality-uk.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/i-just-love-red-things.html
      I had a look at your Finish rhododendrons, they are lovely, wish I had room for one of them but they get very big!
      Happy gardening to you too :-)

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  10. What will they think of next! I never knew there was a Disney series of rhodos. Despite your cool spring the garden is looking great. I am sure with a bit more warmth the roses will bloom more.

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    1. The Disney series are all dwarf rhododendrons, the seven dwarfs, fits perfectly! They are all lovely and I wish I could have them all, robust, neat and compact, none of them get taller than around 80cm when mature. I need a bigger garden!

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  11. I really like the way you have organized your plants. It really seems to accentuate each plant as well as the entire garden. 'Dopey' is more beautiful than I ever remembered as a child. :) Just gorgeous!

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    1. Thanks, he is certainly prettier than the Disney version of Dopey :-)
      I am very fond of Dopey too, he has lived here for 9 years and I can't wait to see the flowers every spring.

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  12. Hi Helene

    Also have lots of alliums out here which are saving the entire show as far as the cold weather goes as I don't have much else. Were yours from Geetee like your other bulbs?

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    1. Hi Claire, the alliums I got last year were from J Parker's, 25 Superglobe Mix and they were free as I bought something else from them too. They are lovely, all of them came up :-)

      I haven't bought anything from GeeTee this year, they have turned their prices up since I bought from them, now they are not as cheap anymore :-(
      I hope we get the nice weather we are promised, your garden will soon have lots of flowers!

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  13. Hi Helene
    Wow, your garden is exploding with colour! Wonderful. I especially love the pansies. Very sweet! Huuu, I'm a little bit jealous, because I see the sun in your garden *LoL*. Here it's purring down heavily and I can watch how the water is running into the boiling room. But don't worry, it can't do great damage there because we've got an outlet close by. But it's annoying anyway.
    Have a lovely weekend
    Alex

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    1. We had the pouring rain only a few days ago, I hope we all get better weather soon!
      Hope you have a lovely week-end too.

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  14. I had to chuckle when I read your line about "object shake" because I know it so well! Actually, the image stabilization feature on my camera is helpful both for that purpose and for the operator's (me) movements. ;-) It appears our gardens are in about the same stage--except that's "normal" for my garden and delayed for yours. In past years, I've always been jealous of Britain's earlier spring weather! But everything looks fantastic in your colorful, graceful garden, Helene. Enjoy!

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    1. I am not that steady on my hands anymore either, and I often use a tripod as I can't manage to both hold my camera and take pictures with only one hand - whilst the other hand is holding a crutch. But I often find a tripod is a lot of work, and not that handy for low plants, it's much better for me to sit on my stool so I don't need my crutch, and I also then find that my hands are steadier when I sit than when I stand. Even so, image stabilizer is a really nice feature, wouldn't be without it!

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  15. Despite being behind as you say Helene, you are still ahead of us up north. I hope that cheers you up :)
    Your Rhoddie is a lovely one - I prefer when they are wider rather than taller. I'm quite short therefore can appreciate them a bit more!
    Lily of the Valley - a weed in my garden. It grows under the fence from next door. Easy to remove as you say. Kerria japonica is another.
    I hope your weather is improving, I don't think our central heating has been of for more that 2 days.
    Your rose is a lovely delicate shade. I hope it's not too long til you can enjoy all your roses.

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    1. My central heating hasn't been off at all, it is set on 22 degrees during day en evening (off at night) and it kicks in whenever it drops below, it hasn't been quiet a single day this year. It shows on my heating bill!!

      I got rid of my Kerria some years ago, I was so fed up with all the yellow petals everywhere...

      I know you are a bit behind further north, I hope you soon get some lovely warm weather so everything can really take off!

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  16. We also had a very slow spring, then - boom! Everything was sprinting to catch up. I really like the look of those allium and iris together.

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    1. I hope we get a boom too! The weather has really picked up this week and is set to last till the end of this week.

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  17. Your garden is so packed and lush that it always feels so much bigger to me than it really is. Everything looks gorgeous. Dopey is such a funny name for a plant. Hopefully, you'll have a warm summer to offset that miserable spring. :o)

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    1. Thanks, yes we are really due a gorgeous summer, haven't had that for a while, fingers crossed!

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  18. Beautiful!
    I especially love Iris!
    I just recently moved some of mine to a sunnier location because they did not bloom.
    Love the pansies, too!
    Have a wonderful day!
    Lea
    Lea's Menagerie

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    1. Thanks Lea, the pansies are going in the compost bin soon, as soon as my summer bedding is a bit bigger, at the moment they are so small you can hardly see them but I hope they will really take off this week. Pansies are winter flowers here in Britain, they are coming to an end now.
      Have a great day!

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  19. Your garden looks great with many plants producing flowers, Hellen. Love purple flowers, especially interested in azalea. Is it called 'Geisha Purple'in your country? It's popular in Japan, too:)

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    1. Thanks Keity, the azalea I have is called 'Geisha Purple' here in UK, there is a whole series of Geisha and I know at least of Geisha pink, Geisha orange and Geisha red. Would love to have them all as I have perfect condition for growing rhododendrons and azaleas, but I am running out of space, need a bigger garden!
      I suppose they are popular in Japan since they come from your country :-)

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  20. That rhododendron is beautiful, Helene, such a lot of blooms on it. I'm with you on the weather, we had some really cold days didn't we. I hope you've been enjoying the beautiful sunshine we've had since the weekend though, I'm sure your garden has appreciated it.

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    1. I have been enjoying the weather this week, and I have got so much done - so lovely when it's not raining half the time!

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  21. Those Rhododendron blooms are beautiful and just think... since the season started later it wil also last later! Enjoy your lovely gardens!

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    1. Thank you Lee, I really am enjoying myself now, and this weather will last at least till Sunday :-)

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