Monday, 4 November 2013

After the storm

The storm a week ago swept through my London garden with ferocious winds and it rained buckets for about 18 hours. I had prepared my garden for the storm, but you can’t really plan for any possible event, no one knew where the storm would hit hardest. It turned out I was lucky. I had put all my pots on the ground and had lied down the magnolia growing in a container, and hoped for the best. It went better than I had hoped.

After a busy week I was itching to get out this week-end to start clearing up, there were leaves everywhere and some plants were completely flattened. The peonies got an early trip to the compost bin but that’s no disaster, they were heading there soon anyway. I thought the enormous sunflowers I have been writing about all summer were beyond rescue too, they were just a tangled mess of broken branches, but after clearing away what couldn’t be salvaged it turned out one stem is still standing – for now, with a lot of help. The rest of the plants managed pretty well, just a few broken branches here and there.

The main bed on the right side is very empty at the moment, with the huge peony cleared away. Soon the daylilies will be gone too. But in no time this bed will be filled to the rim again with snowdrops, crocuses, daffodils, hyacinths, alliums, tulips and irises.

Speaking of irises, they are already on their way up! They won’t flower until next spring, but the leaves are well out of ground.

Most of the flowers simply blew away, the rose bushes are bare, with just new buds left, and most of the fuchsia flowers ended up on the ground. But this pretty ballerina kept its flowers through the storm. Tough little plant – with huge flowers. This is 'Bella Rosella' in fading, late evening light, looking much bluer than it actually is.

And surprisingly, most of the dahlias survived, even this tall one with striking colours, I have waited a long time to see this flower, after having to cut the plant down to the ground because of spider mites. Now it is flowering, finally!

Dahlia 'Striped Vulcan'

In October a year ago I got a Chrysanthemum as a present for my birthday, this is a picture of it back then. I love Chrysanthemums and used to have several, but they grew very large and I finally dug them up to make room for other plants. This one was just a small pot plant and I kept it in the pot after it was finished flowering. It stood on my nursery shelf through the winter and in the spring I gave it a much bigger pot and some slow-release fertiliser.

Here is the Chrysanthemum 2 weeks ago, just about to open its flowers. Look at the size of it!

I was surprised about the colour of the buds, I obviously didn’t see the buds the year before, the plant I got was in full flower, but the buds I got this year indicated a much darker flower colour than I had last year.

The colour of the buds were almost identical to the dahlias growing next to it, a happy coincidence!

Soon some of the flowers started to open a bit, revealing a more pink colour.

I have no idea what this chrysanthemum is called, it came without a label, but I love the colour of these buds.

And here it is, a few more starting to open.

I still don’t think it looks anything like what it looked like last year, much prettier this year!

I haven’t pinched or pruned the chrysanthemum, I know you are supposed to do that, but I just let it run riot in the pot.

And here is the result of the riot, photo taken yesterday. It still has all the stakes and wire I put in to save it from the storm, seems it worked as nothing got broken. We are not out of the woods yet - as I am sitting here writing I can hear the rain hammering down really loud, I think I will leave the canes and wire on until it is finished flowering, just to be on the safe side!

The flowers are almost open now, but with the temperatures around 12-13 C during the day and 5-8 at night, I guess the chrysanthemum will go on flowering for another good few weeks.

OK, last picture, I took loads, had a real struggle to choose which one to show you!

I have plants in flower every week of the year in my garden, some flowers for months on end, some just for a short time and then I have to wait a whole year till next time. The chrysanthemum was definitely worth the wait. I’d love to have a few more, perhaps one of the more unusual looking, there certainly are many to choose from, in all colours and shapes, only space in my garden stops me from getting loads of them! Until next time, take care.

54 comments:

  1. Those crysanthemum flowers and bud are gorgeous, that one goes through quite a range and so nice that it matches your garden.

    Good to hear the big storm didn't cause irreparable damage. I'll look for your blooms each month of the year now.

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    1. Thanks Shirley, I so appreciate my trusty followers :-)
      The chrysanthemum turned out to be a nicer colour than I thought, definitely a keeper!

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  2. I'm glad that the storm didn't leave you with horrible damage! The flowers of that fuchsia are huge! One of these years I'll try chrysanthemums again. I admire them in other gardens but didn't have a lot of luck with the couple I tried many years ago.

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    1. The storm was well forecasted but a lot of my neighbours didn’t do any preparation, that was the scariest part – I was worried about flying garden furniture and other stuff, could have made a lot of damage to plants in my garden. I suppose luck was on my side, I picked up a whole carrier bag of rubbish this week-end but nothing heavier.

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  3. Hello, Helene, I came here via PlantPostings. You have a lovely garden! I am glad the storm did not do too much damage. You still have so many blooms. I can tell you are a dedicated plantsperson!

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    1. Welcome to my blog! I suppose you can call me a plantaholic, my garden is the most important room in my house and every season has something of interest when gardening here in London. If you look at the ‘posts listed by categories’ on the left side panel I am sure you will find many interesting posts :-)

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  4. fascinating. Your chrysantemum is so stunning. Really beautiful. My pink and purple Chrysanthemum were destroyed by aphids and mites. I have no idea to safe them

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    1. There are many ways to cope with aphids, but I am not sure what the best way would be in your climate. I use an organic pesticide that lasts for 4 weeks which keeps them at bay. It works well and doesn’t harm the environment. You need to research what you can get in your country. As for spider mites, that’s rather more difficult. There are sprays, both organic and un-organic, and you can try to spray the plants every day with cold water, that helps, but I lost the battle against spider mites with my plants this summer and only colder weather revived the plants. Next year I will spray earlier to make sure I don’t get the same problem. Here in UK we can get organic sprays against spider mites which I will try next year. Good luck!

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  5. Helene, your chrysanthemum is enough healthy though you grow it in a pot. I have it blooming in my house and think to plant it in my garden after it fade. But if the soil is frozen I will have to leave it indoors. What do you think is better?

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    1. Hi Nadezda, there are so many different chrysanthemums, some are much more hardy than other, if you know which type you have try to look up how hardy it is. Mine spent the whole winter outside in the pot, cut down to ground level, with no extra protection and we had down to minus 8 degrees C many nights last winter, which is rather unusual for London. It didn’t seem to harm the chrysanthemum at all being frozen solid, but I don’t know what type I have, I would guess it is one of the ‘Late Spray’. Not sure about bringing it indoors, it is quite a shock for a plant to be brought indoors after being outside at this time of year, I have never done it myself, but I would think you need to do it gradually, perhaps putting it in a basement or garage first.

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  6. Wonderful you don't have any damage of the storm. So much color is still showing in your garden Helene. The fuchsia is great. They seem to love this kind of weather.
    Have a wonderful day.

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    1. Thanks Marijke, it has been pretty bad weather since the storm, between some sunny intervals, seems we are stuck with this weather and I guess you have much of the same. The plants are doing surprising well though. Hope you have a great day too.

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  7. Chrysanthemums in pots are often treated to dwarf them so maybe that affects the colour too. I have a couple of pot mums to plant out too but where?

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    1. Yes, it’s the same problem, so many plants I’d love to have, so little space!

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  8. Lovely Chrysanthemum, and indeed the colour of the flowers are much more beautiful than last year, how lucky you are. Your 'Striped Vulcan' dahlia is a very special one too. Glad your garden survived the storm so well. Yesterday and also today we have so much rain again.

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    1. Yes, we seem to be in a pattern of very heavy rain, and there is more to come, my garden have had more than enough by now, really don’t need any more for a while! The ‘Striped Vulcan’ was a mail order buy a couple of years ago, it is a very late bloomer but this year it became exceptionally late as I had to cut the whole thing down in July.

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  9. Helene, it is good to see that your garden survived the storm rather well. I saw the footage on the news in the states and there was some pretty terrible damage. Your Chrysanthemum is stunning and huge! Glad you get to enjoy those blooms!

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    1. Yes, I had a hospital appointment last Monday and was picked up by hospital transport in the morning, while the storm was raging at its worst, it was fallen trees and branches everywhere and traffic chaos through London, even though we were not the hardest hit.

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  10. The Chrysanthemum are lovely Helene and your gardens look like they survived the storm well. Glad it wasn't too bad. Enjoy those nice blooms you have there!

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    1. Thanks Lee, after a clean-up my garden is as good as it was before, much of what was broken will grow out again or replaced next year and all structures, trees and fences still stand – yes, I got off easy I think.

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  11. What a beautiful chrysanthemum riot you have, Helene. I'm glad to know it and the rest of your garden withstood the winds in fine form.

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    1. Thanks, the weather over here has been pretty up and down lately, and there is more to come, but what’s left in my garden seems to cope well.

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  12. Happy to read and see that your garden survived the storm so well. I love your fuchsia... I guess we even got the same kind, but I'm not sure because I can't remember its name. I bought it some years ago by fuchsien-friedl.de... maybe an interesting page for you too :o). I especiall love their hardy fuchsias.
    Have a lovely week with hopefully some sunshine. Take care.
    Alex

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    1. Thanks for the link Alex, I had a look, many lovely fuchsias there! Next spring I have a new fuchsia project in mind and will need to look for some new varieties. All my fuchsias are ‘hardy’ in my garden – even those called annuals, as they all survive the winter in pots and in the ground, very nice :-)
      I hope for some sunshine for all of us, wasn’t too bad today but very cold.

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  13. Extremely glad to read you didn't suffer too much damage Helene. I imagine you are quite sheltered by all the surrounding properties which would have helped.
    That's a pretty Chrysanthemum. I bought a tray of little plugs summer 2012 - I was impressed by how hardy they were and this year they are looking great. The down side is that they are bright yellow! That's a lovely colour, much better than they were the previous year, I agree. We've had our first frost today - I hope the weather is better down there.

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    1. Thanks Angie, it does help a bit being surrounded by buildings and that tall wall at the end of my garden, but it was rather windy still! And last Friday and Saturday we had some pretty high winds again. No sign of frost here yet, I hope we won’t have any for months, or perhaps we could get a frost free winter again, haven’t had that for a good few years now. The rain is pretty relentless, even though it comes in batches with some better weather in between.

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  14. I'm glad your garden survived the storm Helene. For us, the storm THIS weekend was far worse than last. And perhaps also because it reached its peak during the day we saw far more of the effect.
    Your chrysanthemum has done really well! I try to keep them going in the house but they never do seem to come back. Perhaps I should overwinter the next one in the greenhouse.

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    1. Yes, we had some pretty bad winds this week-end too down here, but not as bad as the storm last week.
      There are so many different chrysanthemums but I think the late flowering (autumn) variety I have need to be outside to form flower buds, I might be wrong, but you can try to do some research. I think they need shorter daylight and colder weather to form buds and you won’t get that indoors, perhaps that’s why you won’t get yours to flower again? All the ones I have had have been outside all the time, through frost, snow and storms, never lost any – in pots and in the ground.

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  15. That is a beautiful Mum! I never would have guessed the color would be so pink. It's gorgeous as it opens up, so I can see why you would want to take a lot of pictures! I'm glad you didn't have much damage. You have the healthiest Fuchsias I think I've ever seen!

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    1. Thanks Beth, you just missed the big show-off of the Chrysanthemum when you were here :-)
      My fuchsias are the real troopers right now and for several more months, and as I saw you wrote on your post about my garden, I have them tucked in everywhere there is a little space. They do so well in those dark little spaces between other plants so I keep planting them anywhere there is a little gap!

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  16. I'm so glad that the storm didn't do to much damage do your garden! I love the chrysanthemum color! I'm on the fence about mums in general, but I think yours is the prettiest mum I've ever seen! And the nearby dahlias were so pretty with it, too.

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    1. Thanks, I think it is pretty too! We have had a lot of rain lately, and I haven’t been able to be outside and enjoy my garden much, next week is supposed to be a bit better so I am hoping they are right :-)

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  17. It's amazing how plants can weather a storm of such magnitude. Like your dahlias - how pretty they are! One would have never known they had been pummeled by rain and wind for 18 hours! Your chrysanthemum is just gorgeous! I love how it turns from dark red to light pink! Mine didn't do well this year - fault of the gardener, I think! :O

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    1. Thanks Holly. The bad weather has been relentless the last couple of weeks, every time I plan to get out in the garden it starts to rain again. But the wind has eased off, hopefully no more storms for us for a while!

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  18. Hi Helene,
    I'm glad the storm didn't cause more damage than it did. That mum sure is a beauty! I like the way the buds are a darker color. I enjoyed seeing your garden on Beth's blog post.

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    1. Thanks Sue, I enjoyed Beth’s post too, interesting to see my garden through someone else’s eyes – and camera!

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  19. Good job taking care of your garden through the storm. Glad to hear things turned out okay. Wish I could overwinter chrysanthemums here, yours is stunning.

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    1. Thanks, we have had a lot of 'whether' lately, towards middle of next week we might get a better period. I still have tulip bulbs to plant!

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  20. Thank goodness your garden sustained minimal damage, Helene! That was some storm that hit you (and England is not used to such things) so I'm glad to hear that most of your plants were fine. Even your dahlias which usually are the first to snap in the wind. Loved the colour echoes of the dahlia and the burgundy mum.

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    1. Thanks Astrid, I think it's all in the preparation as for pots and plants to survive, you should have seen the amount of stakes my dahlias were propped up with – and that bottom corner of my garden is quite sheltered. When it comes to trees it's not so easy to predict which ones that will topple over and which one that will withstand the winds, London’s streets were covered with uprooted trees and large fallen branches. The insurance cases will probably run for ages….They called it ‘the storm in a decade’ so no, we don’t have storms like this very often fortunately, although we have autumn/winter storms here every year. Here is a picture gallery from one of the newspapers which gives an impression of what it was like out there that Monday.

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  21. Stunning! I don't think your garden is ever without flowers. I'm glad you made it through the storm without incident. :o)

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    1. Thanks! Yes, my garden has flowers every week of the year, even in the darkest December and January :-)

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  22. Glad you escaped the storm with no irreplaceable damage! Your chrysanthemum is stunning, what a lovely pink! I always have to stake chrysanthemums as they usually flop when it rains. Maybe it's the weight of all the water that collects in those frilly heads? I hope your wild weather is over for now...

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    1. Our wild weather might not be as wild as other parts of the world, but there is one word for the British weather: unpredictable! We have had a lot of rain lately, but this week we have quite cold and nice weather – next week we might even get a few nights with frost, but only just below so it might not actually get that low in my garden.

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  23. Nice to see the late colour, having such a good year and your location helps although there is still a fair bit of colour around up here in Cheshire. Trees like the horse-chestnut have dropped their leaves although we have not had a severe enough frost to force the likes of the acers to part company and they are continuing to give a brilliant display. We were lucky that we were on the edge of the storm so only suffered a normal winter gale which was a relief!

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    1. We have still not had a any frost down here but the forecast for next week threatens with just below zero, we’ll see, it might not happen within London. I was at the hospital yesterday, haven’t been out for about 10 days and the trees have just started to turn yellow although many are still completely green. In my garden my Acer palmatum 'Garnet' is almost finished shedding its leaves and one of the hydrangeas have started too, the rest has barely started the process. A late autumn this year :-)

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  24. What a gorgeous chrysanthemum! I love the way it starts out with dark buds that open to a lighter pink. I don't have much luck with overwintering mums; you must have the right touch, Helene. Your garden still looks lovely in spite of the storm. We had our first snowfall last night, so I know there's nothing blooming in my garden!

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    1. Ugh, snow already! I so appreciate living in London at this time of year – and early spring too. I was 35 when I came here from Norway and being used to 5 months of snow every year I think I appreciate max 5 DAYS of snow every year a lot more than people who are born here!
      As for my chrysanthemum, not sure if there is the right or wrong touch with them, they need a few basic things like not drying out during the summer and light enough, and then cooler weather and darker evenings in the autumn – and then they will flower. All I did was give it a bigger pot and some slow release fertiliser in April and then I just stuck it in with the rest of my plants and forgot about it until it started flowering. It turned out nice :-)

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  25. Oh Helene I think you got off quite well with the storm. I used to imagine that my neighbours trampoline would appear in my garden as they never fastened it down when it was stormy. At last they've got rid of it!

    You've so many great blooms that you've now got me wondering what delights you're still going to have for GBBD. Let's say that I'll have to be creative with my post lol.

    Rosie, www.leavesnbloom.com

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    1. My neighbour had a divan bed base placed on the roof of their ground floor extension, I asked them 3 times to take it down before they finally did it, just imagine what damage it could have done if it had come flying down right in to my garden! I was outside today to start taking pictures for GBBD, lots of flowers in bloom, I am never able to show everything each month as that will be too many photos, I think I have to skip some this month too :-)

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  26. Hi Helene, I haven't been visiting your lovely blog for quite a while, but I am pleased that I stopped by today, again. So glad to read that the storm touched your yard just a lightly! It can be so destructive... Your garden looks very nice even in autumn! I wish I could say that about mine as well, but after a period of neglect I have to work hard to get it back on track. I especially love the dahlia photos in this post.
    Christina

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    1. Hi Christina, welcome back – I never get to visit all the blogs I would like to either, there are so many good ones, and just not enough time. My garden has plants in flower all year round and right now there are lots, come back for GBBD and you’ll see them lined up :-)

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  27. Helene, your sheltered garden faired very well in the storm. I have to say, your Chrysanthemum planted in the ground is looking, (fan dabby dozy)

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    1. Thanks Alistair, the chrysanthemum almost ended up in the bin after flowering last year, but I decided to leave it to see if it would survive in a pot. These autumn bought chrysanthemums picked up at supermarkets are often of lesser quality than those bought in the spring at nurseries, but this one just needed a bigger pot and some fertiliser it seems. I will keep it in the pot so I can move it around where I have open spaces as and when they appear throughout the year, great to have a few fillers.

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