Thursday, 31 July 2014

End of Month View - July

I heard on the BBC weather today that here in the south-east of England we have had warmer than average weather for the last 8 months in a row. I can believe that! We had an amazing summer last year, I didn’t think we would get a repeat this year, but here we are at the end of July and it looks like we really are repeating last year’s amazing summer. Long may it last!

Last summer I grew sunflowers for the first time, they were supposed to be 4-5 ft tall. Anyone visiting my blog last autumn will probably remember my 10-12 ft tall monster sunflowers that I gave up deadheading in the end. This year I grew them in pots instead of straight in the ground, hoping that they would not need to ‘stretch’ themselves between the rest of the plants. None of the sunflowers were planted in the ground until they were much taller than the rest of the foliage in the beds. All the 8 sunflowers this year are much taller than me already. I guess I am in for monster size this year too. I wonder why they grow so totally out of proportions in my garden? I haven’t fed them at all, not a drop or grain of anything. Just watered them.

Speaking of monster size plants, the dark pink hydrangea is almost 2m tall now, and the Goliath Lilies behind the fence, which is just over 2m tall, is another foot above.

The Goliath Lilies are in their third year and will probably be even taller next year when fully mature. It’s a good thing all the flowers are facing downwards!

Another monster in my garden, this is a new begonia, with absolutely HUGE flowers! I have 3 of these, and I guess this is an example of how breeding creates results that can’t possibly manage by themselves; all 3 plants have to be heavily staked, since the flowers are so huge the stalks flop by the weight. I have never had a begonia that needed that amount of staking before – but the flowers are beautiful though.

And now, to this month’s video of my garden. Spoiler alert: like the previous months, this film heavily features my cat! But I thought that if Monty Don can show off his Golden Retriever every single week then surely I can have my cat in my monthly ‘End of Month View’ garden videos?! Sorry if you don’t know who Monty Don is, he is a bit of a garden guru on BBC’s Gardeners’ World and pops in to show us how to do this, that and the other in the garden every Friday – along with his dog.
Anyway....here is my End of Month View for July, with my cat and my monster sunflower plants, and look out for my kitchen garden, on top of my nursery shelves – 4 containers with edibles: herbs,  and for the first time, chillies and tomatoes!

As always, if you have the speed for it, my films are best viewed in full screen (button in the bottom right corner) but remember to change to 720p or 1080p, depending on your download speed or else it will get too fuzzy. Here’s 5 minutes and 36 seconds of my July Garden, accompanied of some nice music.





My July garden has that jungle-feel I like and appreciate during the summer – so different to my January garden with open flowerbeds and understated flowers. A garden like mine is never finished though, and I am forever planning new things and changes. My next big project is to rescue those 2 poor clematises that needs much better climbing frames than they have at the moment. I also would like to move one of them to the opposite side so that I can get to enjoy the flowers much more (and my neighbour a bit less), at the moment, most of the flowers are facing south towards my neighbour and if I want to see the clematises at their best I really should pop over to my neighbour. Moving such a large clematis is no small job though, and the opposite bed is full anyway so something has to come out of there first! A job for a nice November day (week) I think.

My garden is lovely on a sunny afternoon, but I use it after dark too - with a combination of solar powered lights, battery powered lights and ordinary candle lights, my garden becomes a magical place after dark :-) I also have a parasol light and depending on which way it is placed it can give subtle light like here, or flood light if turned downwards.

I have submersible battery powered tea candles, some of them are here in the birdbath.

And some of the tea candles are here in the table decoration with flowers from my garden.

That was the tour for end of July, thanks to Helen at the The Patient Gardener’s Weblog for hosting this meme, if you head over to her blog you will find many more End of Month Views.

That’s it for this time, I have lots of photos taken during July that I would like to show you, I just haven’t had time to post them. But I hope August will be a bit quieter. Probably. Possibly. Maybe. We’ll see!
Until next time, take care,
Helene.

56 comments:

  1. Your video and music you've chosen is wonderful Helene.
    I also loved the photos and decided to purchase some Goliath lilies for my garden only I have to find more hardy ones.The picture of tea candles in a birdbath is magical, as a moon light flows up!

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    1. Thanks Nadezda, my waterproof tea candles are amazing, they come in all colours but I like them best in white as that looks most natural. I hope you find some Goliath lilies, here in UK all lilies are hardy enough so I have not had to consider hardiness.

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  2. I don't think any garden is ever finished. My sunflowers are the opposite just knee high. I imagine sitting in your seating area is heaven - do you have lots of scented plants nearly?

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    1. I have around 150 lilies spread around the garden, which flowers from May to late August. I can’t think of any scent better than lilies and whenever I sit down in my seating area, wafts of lilies are coming my way from several directions, especially in the evening. It’s like being in a florist’s shop :-)

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  3. I love your deep pink hydrangea. The ones I have inherited are a bit insipid, yours has so much more character. I don't think I've ever seen your garden looking so lush!

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    1. Thanks, the garden is really lush – borderline overgrown! I am hacking back on a weekly basis. The two pink hydrangeas are exactly the same type, but the one down at the end wall is much paler pink in colour as the lime from the wall is seeping out in the ground and raising the pH. The colour of these two vary every year, depending on how much I have to water during early spring, the more rain water the darker colour.

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  4. Your garden is absolutely gorgeous! I enjoy your videos with the cat and music, it makes the experience of your garden more real. Love the candles and the magical nighttime views.

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    1. Thanks Shirley, I enjoy making the videos too, they give me a nice reference to how my garden develop and I have decided to make a video for every End of Month View for now so look out for the end of September movie :-)

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  5. " my garden becomes a magical place after dark"

    It's magical in the daytime, too.

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    1. Thanks, as I have said many times before, my garden is the most important room in my house.

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  6. All of your plants look so stunning! Especially the Begonia, ya... it's absoutely huge flower. Do you add fertilizer or just using compost for the media?

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    1. I use slow release fertiliser on most of my larger plants once a year, and I use weekly tomato feed only on my vegetables. I am quite a lazy gardener and I can’t be bothered with all this weekly or even daily faffing around so everything that can be done once a year is great!

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  7. Oh my goodness--those submersible tea lights are stunning with your cuttings! I wonder if I can get some of those over here. You have a great design sense, Helene. Every area of your garden has a touch of magic. I would have to agree--summer is a great time in your garden (although every season is, of course)!

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    1. Hi Beth, thanks for your kind words, I wish you could see my garden in real life right now, it looks better than when you were here :-)
      You can get these tea candles on Amazon.com, just search for submersible tea candles and you’ll find them.

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  8. Your garden is looking great as ever Helene particularly with the added bonus of the night views. Very topical music on your excellent video with the Games being on! Is that Dregea sinensis on your arch? I have one but it just doesn't perform.

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    1. Thanks Rick, how lovely to meet someone who has a Dregea sinensis! I haven’t ‘met’ many yet, think you are only the third person by now. Mine is 10 years old and grows like mad, I have to prune off about 80% every February or else I would not be able to pass through my arch!!
      Do you happen to grow yours in a container? That just doesn’t work, it needs to grow in the ground after a few years, I have tried both. Please let me know what issues you have and I might be able to help you.

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    2. Thanks for the information Helene, I would not normally have bought this plant for my garden but got the seed in a society lucky dip, it is in a pot the reason being that I think it needs protection during the winter as I have lost the other two I had even though they were kept in a cold tunnel. My next step will be to plant it out in the garden as I eventually do this with any plant which does not do well when being mollycoddled so that it has to sink or swim. Incidently does yours retain its leaves? Mine dropped theirs at the first sign of frost.

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    3. Dregea sinensis is probably much hardier than given credit for, I have seen it described probably OK down to minus 15 but obviously not been able to test that in my London garden! But I have had it for 10 years and 2 past winters were particularly cold, with weeks on end well below zero and many nights in a row down to minus 7. Mine has never had any frost damage. It loses its leaves every late autumn and the leaves comes back around April, but you can see the new leaves develop already as soon as the old leaves have dropped. I have written A LOT about my Dregea sinensis so if you look for this label on the left side of my blog you can find more info, but here are a few to start with, and look out for the video that shows how the Dregea has grown from 2 small cuttings to the monster it is today:

      http://graphicality-uk.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/dregea-sinensis-part-1.html
      http://graphicality-uk.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/dregea-sinensis-part-2.html
      http://graphicality-uk.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/aphis-nerii-extraordinary-aphid.html

      Incidentally, I have only had aphis nerii infestation 3 years in my garden, nothing last year and nothing to see so far this year so maybe they have vanished from UK again :-)
      I would recommend you to plant you Dregea in the ground on a south facing sheltered place that doesn’t get waterlogged in the winter and with other plants around sheltering the roots, like you would plant a clematis. It might not need that, I have mine in the middle of the garden on an arch, but my garden is possibly warmer during the winter and gets regularly watered during the summer. I certainly don’t mollycoddle my Dregea, I don’t do that with any of my plants, I have no greenhouse or garage or even a shed, what survives gets stronger every year, what dies was probably not suitable for my garden anyway – that’s my philosophy :-)

      Would have loved to see a photo of your, does it flower? How big is it? Do you prune it every year?

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    4. Thanks for your detailed advice Helene, you are certainly a Dregea enthusiast:) I have watched your video on You Tube, its funny really when I look back at my garden all those years ago how much it has changed and yours certainly has, although I can see the embryo of what you have today developing. My two year old (third season) plant is in a large pot (approx.10") at the moment and only about 3-4 feet high although to be honest I have never really held out much hope so it has not been a major priority and just left to get on with it other than a prune to get it to develop side shoots. I am going to plant it in the ground against a wall to see how it gets on but I am still of the opinion that the winters here will prove too severe compared with the those with which you are blessed, -5° with you will be nothing compared with the conditions we get, it is not just the temperature but the wind chill and damp which are the killers here.

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  9. I love the seclusion you manage to achieve in your garden Helene. It looks cosy and very welcoming, especially in your evening shots with the light and the way it reflects on the plants.
    Having moved a rather large Clematis last spring - can I offer some advice. I do hope you don't mind. Best time to move Clematis is just when they break bud in springtime. Apparently you have a better chance of success and the species Clematis are much more trickier to move. Dig a far bigger hole than you anticipate, the roots on mine were humungous (7 years in the ground) and the advice is to plant deeper too. My one should come into bloom soon. The buds are fattening up as I speak.
    Cat's have a great life don't they?

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    1. Thanks for your advice Angie, really appreciate that as I had not yet looked into details about moving my clematis. If we get a proper winter this year, my clematis will get a dormant period, if we get a winter like we had, none of my plants, including the clematises got a dormant period, they just grew and grew through the winter and when I pruned them – in early February (!!) they were full of buds! Madness. I hope mine won’t be so humungous to move as yours, it has been in its current position since autumn 2011. I have been promised help to dig and move it so won’t be doing it alone, we will be two, but it will still be a big job I think.
      And yes, my cat is loving my garden too, at the ripe old age of almost 13 he is happy to have left his roaming life and stays mainly in the garden, sleeping in one of the chairs or on the sofa.

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  10. Your garden is so magnificent in the daylight, and so magical at night with all your lighting and placement of outdoor seating. I love the design of your outdoor room. If I were you, I would spend all my time out there! I'm also in love with your hydrangeas - we are mostly deprived of them here in Texas with it being too dry and hot. So, I'll just live vicariously through your amazing photos and videos.

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    1. Thanks Rebecca, my garden is the most important room in my house, and I do spend every day out here, as long as it doesn’t rain too much.

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  11. Your garden looks like a fairytale at night, beautiful. i am very impressed by your Goliath lilies, so beautiful. I wish you a lot of success with transplanting your clematis, they are often very tricky. I still have a reasonable quantity clematises doing very well, but the losses of clematises in my garden were too many in the past.

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    1. Thanks Janneke, I was also very impressed with the first Goliath Lilies I bought, the ones in the photos, so this spring I bought 2 other and I think I will need to buy a few more! They do take 3-4 years to reach their full height, but they really are amazing when they are fully mature, and so easy to find space for between other plants as they reach far above everything else.
      I hope my clematises will behave when moved, time will tell!

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  12. Hi Helene, I was flying from one blog to another and stopped by to visit your London garden. It's beautiful! What a great idea to make end of months videos. Must leave now, have to find those tea candles on Amazon lol!
    Have a nice summer and do stop by for a virtual cup of tea in my garden!
    Martine

    http://jardin-alsace-vignoble.blogspot.fr/

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    1. Hello, and thanks for stopping by in my tiny London garden, I love to see new visitors and I thank you for your invitation – I’ll come for tea!

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  13. Yes!!!! Have just ordered thes LED candles with remote control and they're delivered in France. Thank you so much for this idea!!!!!

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    1. Excellent, you are very welcome!

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  14. What a magical place your garden is after dark! Thanks so much for showing these night photos, Helene--your garden takes on a whole different look, and has a beautiful "dark side." Loved strolling through your garden via the video--the zebra pillows complement your cat so well:)

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    1. Thanks Rose, my cat likes the pillows too, as they are made of velboa material and quite soft. I also have a matching fleece throw with zebra pattern (of course!) and it is my cat’s favourite place to sleep whenever I take it outside.

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  15. Hello Helene, as I don't have your email address, I've posted the BAHCO address here for you, you can contact them about the secateur. It's on this page in their english catalogue:
    http://extranet.snaeurope.com/prodblock.aspx?SectionID=122&CatalogueID=5

    look for P64 Tradition secateurs

    SNA Europe [UK & Ireland]
    Country: United Kingdom
    Telephone: (01709) 731 731
    Fax: (01709) 731 741
    Email: info.uk@snaeurope.com

    good luck, best regards Martine
    http://jardin-alsace-vignoble.blogspot.fr/

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    1. Thanks, I will look into this!
      I found the secateurs on Amazon, but it is unavailable at the moment so I have put it on my wishlist in case it comes back for sale there.

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  16. Helene I think your cat is now a definite film star and particularly likes the camera...I am just blown away with the variety of plants right down to a veg garden in pots. And I want to claim a spot on that couch with the zebra pillows. I wish I could use mine at night but we would be eaten alive by mosquitoes. Definitely a jungle paradise there!

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    1. Thanks Donna, my seating area is a lovely place to sit all year round, I even use it in the winter with a thick fleece throw over me. There are mosquitoes here too, but not so much during high summer, more later on in the autumn. I use a very good ‘Jungle Mosquito Spray’ from 3M when the mozzies are too keen for my liking.

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  17. Helene, I loved the video! I am afraid your cat stole the show. I also loved the music. Of course, your garden is fabulous. Thanks for a thoroughly enjoyable experience!

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    1. Thanks, my cat is used to being filmed and sometimes I could swear he is posing for the camera! There will be another movie at the end of this month.

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  18. Helene, everything looks gorgeous as usual, but that huge Begonia...wow! That's definitely a bloom worth having. As for your patio area, well that is just magical with all the lights on, I bet you've been enjoying sitting out there lately with all the warm evenings we've been having. I hope you're having a great week. x

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    1. Thanks Paula, I got the begonia from Bakker as corms, they took a long time to emerge but boy do they produce huge flowers. I hope they coma again next year too. Look out for my GBBD post on the 15th where I will present all 3, they are all different. The weather has surely been on our side here in London this summer, I didn’t think we could get a repeat of last summer so quickly but we have. Hope you have a good week too, and fingers crossed the storm on Sunday lands in France instead of here!!

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  19. Dear Helene, I loved seeing the video of your July garden! It is a jungle indeed :-)! You are truly unbeatable in showing how much you can make out of a small garden and one can truly feel the love that you put into your green oasis (I am sure there is a little bit of hard work and money in there, too though ;-) ). Your white lilies are real standouts for me, they are so gorgeous.
    The photos of your garden that you have taken at night are completely stunning. Lightening up a garden brings a whole new level of enjoyment. I would love to sit down there and just relax and take in the atmosphere. Wishing you a nice rest of the week!
    Christina

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    1. Thanks Christina, yes there is a lot of love going into my garden, some work and erhm…more money than I actually can afford. But I rather spend my money on the garden than anything else so when other people go on holiday, I buy some new plants – and go on holiday in my garden.
      If you are ever in London please let me know, you are welcome to come and have a stroll in my garden and relax under my parasol :-)

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  20. Wow...your gardens are absolutely stunning Helene and I loved your video and music. The night time lighting is beautiful and so inviting. Your gardens are always a pleasure to visit and just keep getting better and better!

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    1. Thanks, lovely to hear you enjoyed the video and the music, my garden is evolving, I keep getting new ideas and I see so many nice plants on blogs that I just have to have! I thought my garden was full 2 years ago, but since then I have added at least 100 plants or so, and I have plans for more.

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  21. Helene, your garden at night is absolutely stunning. I love this sitting area with the lights and the umbrella. So cozy at any time of day. You have created an oasis.

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    1. Thanks Marguerite, my garden is so important to me and I use it a lot.

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  22. Your garden is positively magical at night. I love the way the light illuminates the lilies and bet that the fragrance must be wonderful in the evening.
    I need your advice please. I purchased some fuchsia at a clearance sale only to discover that the underside of the leaves were covered in scale. I sprayed them with insecticidal soap, which got rid of the sale, but the lower leaves all dropped to the ground. Now they are leggy. I was thinking of taking cuttings and starting over. What do you think? Thanks Helene!

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    1. Thanks Jennifer, the last of the lilies went with the storm we had on Sunday, the end tail of hurricane Bertha. No more lilies until next year, but I plan to buy a few more late flowering this autumn so next year the season will last even longer :-)

      As for your fuchsias, are you sure they had scales? I have never heard of any fuchsias getting attacked by scales and certainly not young smaller plants if that’s what you have. Before you take any cuttings you need to know the plants have recovered properly and are healthy so I think you should wait for a while and see if any bugs come back. Scales are difficult to get rid of on certain plants and easier on other plants, but have a look online and you will see exactly what they look like to compare with what you had.
      To make fuchsia cuttings you will have best success with new healthy shoots, so for that reason you should maybe wait for a while too unless you have some good growth to take from still. You can put lots of cuttings in the same pot, put them around the edge and place a clear plastic bag over – and for that reason you need to make sure you don’t still have bugs crawling around, or else the cuttings will soon wilt and die. Fuchsia cuttings are very easy to take, here in London I keep everything outside during the winter, but I am not sure what you should do, do you have a greenhouse? They don’t like it too warm either so if kept indoors keep on a window sill in a cool room until you can take them outside. They will root in around 8 weeks and can them be potted on in individual small pots and only pot on when the roots reach out of the bottom.
      Hope this helps, good luck!

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    2. Thanks for the advice Helene. I am no expert so I looked around online and maybe you are right. They might be white flies or mealy bugs. Whatever they are I did not want them to spread so I isolated the fuchsias from my other plants and sprayed them with the soap.
      They dropped their lower leaves and have since recovered so I am hoping that I can take cuttings as you suggest and start over.
      As to overwintering, I know one friend leaves hers in a garage. I don't have a garage (or greenhouse) so I will have to try to figure something out. Based on what you are saying about your experience in London, it sounds as though they need a winter dormant period.

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    3. Hi again, fuchsias don’t need a winter dormant period, last winter was so mild here in London that my fuchsias have flowered the last 13 months non-stop! I have fuchsias both in pots, and in the ground permanently. Normally they all lose their leaves in the winter here as we usually dip down to freezing at some point during the winter and I have both hardy and non-hardy fuchsias. But from your blog it seems you have a 6b zone climate, so it all depends on what type of fuchsias you have bought. If they are frost hardy you can keep them outside, make the cuttings as soon as possible so they have rooted before any frost appear and they should be fine. If your fuchsias are not frost hardy down to your climate zone you will need to find shelter for them.

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  23. Wow, I love that your sunflowers love you so much. They are such good company in the garden, their big heads turning this way and that! You have made your yard into a little piece of paradise, it's just beautiful day and night :) Oh, I wanted to ask how you're finding posting your photos on Fine Art America. Are you satisfied with the way they run things there?

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    1. Hi Rosemary, I posted quite a few of my pictures and cards on Fine Art America 18 months ago, didn’t realise I had to do all the promotion myself, I guess I should have thought about that side of things first. There are so many people there with so much art and each and everyone just drowns unless you successfully manage to stand out from the crowd. I have done absolutely nothing to stand out so can’t blame them. Once I get a bit more time I will look into it more, there are several tutorials and lots of info about this topic, I just wish the day had a few more hours! I have just finished book number 7 and have already started planning book number 8 (through Blurb) so this is more a priority for me these days. I would have liked to buy some of the prints myself but they charge extortionate postage to Europe, much more than for example Blurb who sends from Seattle, so I can’t justify buying from them, perhaps why sale has been slow (none existent!). I will continue to pay for my yearly fee though, and pick this up again later on. Have you looked into Greeting Card Universe? http://www.greetingcarduniverse.com, their site is down right now but they are worth looking into too, I haven’t got as far as getting any cards there yet but I have them in mind too – when I get time!

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    2. Thanks for letting me know about your experiences with Fine Art, Helene. I love their web set up for the photos you submit but agree with you that we are but a drop of water in an ocean of photos already out there. Marketing does take a lot of time and energy away from doing what we love - gardening and picture-taking :)

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  24. I LOVE those pictures of your garden after dark! It looks really secluded and intimate. I've got to get some of those submersible candles, I'd never heard of them before but they look great! Do you get much wind in your garden? One thing that stops me spending as much time outside as I'd like in the evenings is that we get a cool wind that blows up around 4pm in summer.It always blows over my umbrella! Maybe I should put some lights in the trees like you've done... I'm going to pin your photos for inspiration :)

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    1. Thanks Ruth, I use my seating area a lot, even after dark as there isn’t much mosquitoes in London and the little there is can be held at bay with a good mosquito spray. We do have some windy weather at times and if it gets too windy I have to fold down my parasol to protect it, but in my corner it is quite sheltered so it doesn’t happen too often. My parasol has a very heavy parasol base which I have dug down in the ground for extra stability as the parasol is very big and heavy. It is also great to have an ‘underground’ parasol base since my garden is so small, the base would have been too big to have standing next to the table if I had not dug a hole in the ground for it. I hope you find the submersible tea candles, I bought them form Amazon here in UK but I don’t think they send to NZ, perhaps you can buy from US? They sell them at Amazon there too, if they don’t send, perhaps you can find them somewhere else? Good luck!

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  25. I enjoyd Mr Buble singing during the tour;) The lights make a lovely accent to your garden at night, it looks like a fairytale scenery. I love lilies too. We went on two weeks holidays in the worst possible time July/August and as the lilies started blooming a week before they all had gone when we came back. I have 50 and will get more next year!

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    1. I am glad you enjoyed the video and the music. I love lilies and my 150 or so is not enough for me, I will be planting more this autumn and I am also sowing seed from this year’s lilies. One can never have too many lilies!

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