Sunday, 23 February 2014

It’s spring in London!

The last couple of days has done wonders for my garden, it’s like the whole thing has been hung up to dry - and it has helped immensely that it hasn’t rained for a few days. The flower beds are no longer making swish-swashing sounds when I dare to step into them and the pots no longer drip when I lift them. I even had to water the large hanging basket with my tender fuchsias, now renamed evergreen fuchsia! All the fuchsias have started to grow like mad and I am not quite sure what to do with them, normal rules has to go out the window, I have never had evergreen fuchsias before, things like pinching out the new shoots....ehh, how do I do that?

But today I won’t show you one single photo of my fuchsias, I think I have posted enough of them over the winter, today it’s going to be spring flowers. How about some Iris reticulata 'Pixie', almost all of them are flowering now.

Up close they are just as intricate as their bigger cousins which won’t flower for another couple of months.

Iris reticulata 'Pixie'.

It is at the bottom of my garden things are really happening right now, here I have most of my woodland plants and spring bulbs and there has been an explosion of colour the last week.

The blue crocuses Tomasinianus 'Ruby Giant' are all out, I also have just as many white crocuses here, 'Miss Vain' and 'Prince Claus', but there are no sign of any of them yet. Looking back to 2012 and 2013, both years the white crocuses where out and almost finished before the blue crocuses flowered, I hope this doesn’t mean I have lost all my white ones! Maybe the white crocuses are much tastier and has been eaten by the squirrels, perhaps the blue ones are less tasty and has been left? I guess I’ll just have to wait and see....

Moving to the middle of the back bed, there are lots of hellebores, snowdrops, cyclamens and more crocuses. The Lily of the Valley have started to poke out of the ground everywhere and I also have Puschkinia Libanotica and Scilla Siberica 'Bright Blue' to come here.

Moving to the far left, the white daffodils are out of the ground but far from flowering. This is a late variety and in a very shady spot overhang by my tall camellia, so it will be a few more weeks before they are ready.

Turning completely around and looking towards the house, here are more snowdrops and crocuses and the tulips are growing so I can see a difference every day. More daffodils in the background.

Turning back again, the rhododendron is now in full flower, looking so lovely.

Rhododendron 'Christmas Cheer'.

Lots of crocuses, Tomasinianus 'Ruby Giant'.

Tomasinianus 'Ruby Giant'.

The first anemones have started to flower too, Anemone Blanda Mixed.

Crocus 'Golden Yellow'. 

Cyclamen hederifolium.

All the hellebores are in flower, I have so many that I am going to make a separate post about them, this lovely double white will have to represent them all today.

Most of the snowdrops are starting to wilt and die down, they have been flowering for a good few weeks now. These 3 are a new addition to my garden and safely growing in a pot for now, Galanthus nivalis 'Sam Arnott'

I now have 4 different types of snowdrops; Galanthus 'Flore Pleno', G. nivalis, G. woronowii  and G. nivalis 'Sam Arnott'. This photo is of 'Flore Pleno' and I love this double variety.

My path is getting seriously congested by all the pots I have had to place here, but I got nowhere to put them and they all need as much sun as possible. Can you see the pot with the red flower just in front of the tall terracotta pot? It is my new camellia ‘Takanini’ – I bought it a few weeks ago and I have high hopes for it! More info later....

I guess nothing announces the start of spring more loudly than the first daffodils, these in my front bed are always the first to flower in my garden and I guess it is just a matter of a few days before they are in full flower.

The squirrel is back as a frequent guest in my garden, the other day he was almost running around my legs, not much scared at all. Here he is looking straight at me sitting on the bench while taking photos of him. -Hey, did you eat all my white crocuses?! I must admit I enjoy having the squirrels here, but I am fed up with all the damage they do.

My garden seems to change every day at the moment, there is something new to see every time I go outside, something new in flower almost every day. It is at this time of year I really appreciate living in London with a sheltered garden. I spoke to my sister in Norway the other day, they have 2m (6’5”) snow in their garden right now, above all the windows on the ground floor so every time they shovel snow they also have to uncover the windows so it doesn’t get too dark inside. And it is still snowing there, for another month or maybe longer. Yep, I really appreciate living in London right now :-) Until next time, take care.

46 comments:

  1. Yay, for no rain! I know you must be so glad for a dry spell there! We still have tons of snow, but thankfully not as much as in Norway. Your poor sister!
    Your garden is looking so nice already (in February!) I love your irises in the teacup planter - so cute! I love that doubled snowdrop, too. I've heard the Crocus Tomasinianus are supposed to be squirrel resistant - I do hope your white ones haven't become squirrel lunch!

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    1. Thank you Indie, the teacups were new last autumn so I have wondered if anything would grow in them – so happy that all the irises seem to have survived just fine.

      When I said in my post that it hasn’t rained for a few days, I suppose I should have explained what I meant….it has been showers every day, but it has not been this relentless downpour that we have had for months. We are still in for more showers, every day this week, but it will be dry spells and even sunshine in between. It does make a difference from what we have had, even if it hasn’t completely stopped raining!

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  2. Hi Helene, I am so happy for you that it hasn't rained for a few days, after all the bad weather that you were having for such a long time. Judging from your photos it certainly looks like your garden has appreciated it, too. What a change! I love the iris reticulata 'Pixie' that you have planted in the big blue cup with the polka dots. What a beautiful combination of vessel and plant! Your blue crocuses Tomasinianus 'Ruby Giant' are very nice, too. Your rhododendron 'Christmas Cheer' is truly eye candy, what oh so beautiful flowers it has produced! We can't grow rhododendron here, so I always enjoy seeing photos of them in other people's gardens. All the other flower pictures are very lovely as well. Hope the good weather continues and you can enjoy the beginning of spring in your garden to the max :-)!
    Warm regards,
    Christina

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    1. My rhododendron is only 2 years old and it didn’t flower last year – it spent the whole year growing and growing, from a small pot plant to the quite big plant it is now. So I am quite amazed too by the flowers it produces. Not sure about the name though, ‘Christmas Cheer’ is a bit of a misnomer since it usually flowers in March here in UK.
      I have 6 of those teacups with irises, but I am not sure where the bulbs will survive best – in the cups or in the ground, I have to make a decision soon whether to just leave them in the teacups for next year or move them to a flower bed. I know Iris reticulata are notoriously ‘no show’ the following year so I think I have to do some research!
      Hope you have a great Sunday Christina.

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  3. That is great news. Your garden certainly seems to have appreciated the break in rain. It's looking quite lovely with all the colour starting to appear. Fingers crossed the great weather continues on for quite some time now.

    Love that shot of your cheeky garden visitor too!

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    1. The forecast is for showers practically every day the next 10 days, but at least it won’t be that relentless downpour we have had for such a long time.

      My cheeky garden visitor is here quite often, I only see one at the time so I often wonder if it is the same one. Grey squirrels can live up to 20 years in captivity, but in the wild usually only live up to 12.5 years. I have lived in my house for 12 years and didn’t see any squirrels here until after a few years, so for all I know this one can be the same that come every day, every year :-) He is not exactly afraid of me, and not afraid of my cat either – they kind of tolerate each other and neither can be bothered chasing each other.

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  4. What an exceptionally pretty spring garden, Helene. Everything is so different from last year when so many of our plants were suffering from all the snow and ice. I think we have only had 3 frosts here this winter. Our daffs are just turning their heads too. An early spring - let us hope it is followed by an early summer, after all, we surely won't be short of water this year.

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    1. Thank you, it feels different from last year, as last year was a cold winter and therefore a bit late coming into spring – it was the actual spring, from March and onwards that was really, really late, almost never happened in my garden. It was July before some of the May flowers appeared. But compared to more ‘normal’ years my garden is pretty much spot on this year, except for the fact that it has been so mild without any frost so some plants just haven’t got any dormancy period. Hence my evergreen fuchsias :-)
      I don’t think we can expect a summer like last year, that would be too much to ask for two years in a row, but a good summer would be nice.

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  5. Things are starting to happen here too, although being in the North I am still a bit behind you. No sign of anemones yet and no miniature iris, but my tulips are all coming on very well. Rhododendron is not in flower yet and neither is my camellia.
    It will come!

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    1. It will all come sooner or later, we saw that after last year’s late spring – everything came eventually. But it is nice to get some early arrivals too, just to remind us that spring starts in a few days, at least if you go by the meteorological calendar – which I definitely do, it fits very well with the climate in my garden.

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  6. Oh wow, Helene. Spring has really arrived in your garden. Even the rhododendron is in flower. Well, here in Switzerland we have warm temperature too, but I haven't seen a crocus in my garden yet. But snowdrops, spring snowdrops, helleborus and some other early starters have given my garden some color. Just love it.
    Have a lovely Sunday.
    Alex

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    1. Thanks Alex, I hope the snow has all gone from your garden now, soon the rest will burst in to flower too. Have a good week.

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  7. You really have a year round interesting garden! I viewed all the pictures enlarged so much nicer and....not only the flowers of early spring, your garden looks also very tidy. Love the squirrel, he looks so cute, despite the damage in the garden.
    We have another sunny day, today, I hope you can spend some time in the sun too.

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    1. Thanks Janneke, great to hear you enlarged the photos, it does really make a difference :-)
      My garden has bark mulch in all the beds and most of the larger containers, that means hardly any weeding, saving me a lot of work. I like tidy gardens :-)
      I intend to get the most out of this week, even though it will rain practically every day, I will try to dodge the showers and go outside every time the weather is OK.
      Have a great week.

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  8. Things are well on in your garden - is that rhododendron a specially early variety?

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    1. Hi Sue, it is called Christmas Cheer, not sure why it’s got that name, according to info I have found for UK, sometimes Christmas Cheer begin to bloom in late January, but more commonly bloom in February or early March, depending on where you live and how mild the winter is. My other rhododendron ‘Dopey’ usually flowers in April.

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  9. The vieuws of your garden makes me feel happy. You must be verry happy too!!
    Today we finaly had a dry day. The sun was shining the whole morning but now it's grey again. It was great to be outside today. Your photo's are great!!
    Have a wonderful day Helene

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    1. Thanks Marijke, going out in my garden and sit on my gardening stool makes me happy and I smile a lot :-) I have been in and out between the showers today, but got a good few things done. Have a good week!

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  10. Gorgeous Helene. That Anemone is such a glorious shade of blue. Squirrels are a real nuisance around here, between them and the pheasant I have virtually no crocuses this year. But 2m of snow! I don't think I could cope with that. What happens when it all melts?

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    1. I have lots of wildlife in my garden but I haven’t had any pheasants yet!
      The snow in Norway melts over a couple of weeks during spring so usually it is not a problem, only if the weather is exceptionally good so the snow melts too quickly, then they get flooding like here – the rivers can’t take all the water and burst creating flooding. The snow coming down during the winter is essential for the spring, summer and autumn, it is the same precipitation as we here get as winter rain.

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  11. Interesting point about your fuchsias Helene. I have one hanging basket with some in which have survived so far. Once I am sure the winter has subsided, I am going to cut back hard, scrape off as much medium as possible and replace with new, give them a good feed and stand back to see what happens. I am not over optimistic because in my experience they do far better from fresh stock, some varieties in fact don't even grow well from autumn cuttings but it is a bit of an experiment. It might well be worth taking cuttings from your old plants as soon as you get enough growth.

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    1. I have had so-called tender fuchsias in my garden for the last 8 years, mostly in the ground, but some in containers too. Usually they drop their leaves in January or so, during the first bout of cold weather. I am then left with lots of bare sticks which I just leave until new growth starts in May or so – although last year it was such a late spring that it was almost end of June before I had any proper new growth, and October before they flowered properly. Normally, after they all have started growing properly I cut off all the dead branches left. Some will only shoot from ground, some will do that and shoot from up to halfway on the branches.

      But with my 30+ fuchsias all still fit and green and now sprouting and full of new shoots and buds, I just can’t make myself cutting them to the ground. And they are not going to die down on their own accord, I can see that, not this late. So this spring and summer will be an experiment, with evergreen fuchsias. Always learning something new as a gardener.

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  12. Helene this is magical. We only have a foot of snow on the ground but another storm and more frigid temps coming this week.

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    1. Hi Donna, I wish I could send you some snowdrops and crocuses just to give you some feeling of spring! This winter has been relentlessly long for some of you. Hope you have a good week!

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  13. I love it when all the spring flowers start to emerge and bloom - it makes all the difference seeing a bit of colour in the garden. I usually cut my hardy fuschia right back at this time of year and it has never failed to come back even better.

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    1. Hi Elaine, I only have one hardy fuchsia, Mrs Popple, I got it 2 years ago and it is a slow grower, haven’t cut it back yet but perhaps I need to do that soon. The rest of all my fuchsias are more or less tender and either not supposed to survive our winters – which they clearly do in my garden, or they should die back and grow from base in the spring. I haven’t decided yet what to do with all mine that now have just skipped a few steps and gone straight for producing flower buds again.

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  14. Happy spring! It's so exciting to watch the first bulbs popping through. Looking forward to your post on hellebores :)

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    1. Thanks Ruth, the first daffodils flowered today, now it really is spring!!

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  15. Gosh your garden looks lovely Helene! I might have said it before but could it be a candidate for the Yellow Book open gardens scheme?..... (By the way I have to water my primroses in pots on a daily basis at the moment, which seems crazy after all the rain in this part of the world!)

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    1. Not sure if I am a suitable candidate for the open gardens scheme, apart from the fact that my garden isn’t really that special – and really tiny, I don’t have back access so anyone coming to my garden have to go through my house. I am not very keen on that….And what would I do if I did get picked out and suddenly 10-15 people turned up to see my garden, there just isn’t room on my path for more than 2 guests at the time! Nope, I don’t think my garden is suitable for the scheme, but thanks for your confidence in me!

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    2. Totally agree re the traipsing through the house business- not a good idea. In London I have seen some tiny Yellow Book gardens- and not as good as yours- but fortunately we have the "Virtual Yellow Book" experience through your blog!

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    3. Well, I have had almost 80,000 ‘visitors’ to my garden through my blog so far, no way could I have had that in real life – my garden path would have worn down completely!!

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  16. I'm so glad your garden is getting a chance to dry out Helene. I'll bet with few more dry days - the whole garden will be romping away.
    Your Iris are gorgeous, as are your Crocus, in fact everything!
    I'll be looking forward to your hellebore post.

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    1. Things happen very quickly now, the snowdrops are wilting already and there is something new in flower every time I go outside. This time of year is so lovely in my garden.

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  17. Oh it is so lovely to see all those wonderful blooms in your garden. Your gardens are magical Helene!

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    1. Thanks Lee, I really appreciate this special time, it all happens so quickly so it is easy to miss things if there is a few days I can’t get out in the garden.

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  18. Helene, your garden has thrived beautifully despite the wet. I'm amazed at the outpouring of spring flowers. You must feel like you've emerged from a giant sponge – to find a flowering paradise. Congratulations. Welcome back.

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    1. I knew of course the spring bulbs were there, and I hope they would be fine despite having received half a metre of rain in January!! And that’s in addition to all the rain in December and now in February. But to actually see them all come through has been a great relief. The only bulbs I am missing so far are the white crocuses but I am afraid I can’t blame that on the bad weather – if so, all the crocuses would have been equally damaged. I am more inclined to blame my little nosy garden friend for the missing crocuses!

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  19. Oh my! What a feast for the eyes and the soul. Everything is blooming at the same time! You are giving me hope, though, that spring will eventually arrive. This is going to sound weird, but this year I'm glad I'm just a little further north because we have enough snow to protect the plants--some folks a little further south in the U.S. that have terrible cold don't have snow as insulation. And now we're getting another blast this week! But someday, as you've shown us, spring will come. And I can say that I'm glad the snow is only up to the bottom of my windows, instead of covering them. Wow!

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    1. Thanks Beth, and I know what you mean about being glad for the snow you have, I remember from living in Norway how devastating it could be for the garden if we had severe frost in November and December without having had proper snowfalls first. The snow is a great blanket for everything that waits underground to come out. It’s just that some people might have a bit thicker blanket than they strictly need!
      I hope you won’t have to wait too long for spring, I and guess it will be pretty quick and over and done with, once the snow starts melting :-)

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  20. 6'5" of snow!!!! How can anyone under that height survive out there!!!
    Your garden looks fabulous Helene, full of hope that spring is almost here, despite the wind & rain that we've all endured this year.
    Makes you smile just thinking about it! xx

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    1. It is perfectly possibly to survive much higher snow than that – you just shovel a path to wherever you need to go, and leave the rest until spring :-)

      Spring has certainly sprung in my garden, was lovely today, and 4 more daffodils in flower. Yes, I smile every time I go outside!

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  21. Beautiful blue. Those 'flowery' cups really gorgeous. I have been waiting to see your cups on the peak of beauty. Finally I find it.

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    1. Thank you Endah, there are more cups to come :-)

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  22. Hello, garden is looking really good! Well done you.
    Could you please tell me where you bought the log rolled border? Also is is brown like the fence, have you painted it? I really love the colour and so hard to find something like this in the shops. Many thanks

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    1. Hello, and welcome to my blog. You landed on a post I wrote in February last year, for up-to-date photos you can look on my blog archive and see photos from this spring :-)

      The log rolls come untreated, I have stained them with Cuprinol in the same colour as my fence, 'Forest Oak'. I did it before I dug them down in the ground so the bottom part got stained too – this will prolong the life of the logrolls.
      I bought mine online, delivery was free I believe as I bought over a certain amount, here is the company I bought them from but you can find many suppliers online:
      https://www.ukgardensupplies.co.uk/acatalog/copy_of_copy_of_copy_of_copy_of_Log_Rolls_and_Panels.html

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