Sunday, 31 August 2014

End of month view – August

August in London has been unusually cold and windy with some really heavy downpours, some spectacular thunder and lightning and all I can say is; we have had a lot of weather. After the amazing spring and summer, August came crashing down and the temperature never really got much above 20 degrees C or so and some nights were much colder than in January and February. Yep, August has been a disappointment so, upwards and onwards, September looks more promising!

Despite the cool weather, or perhaps because of it – my garden has grown like mad. Welcome to my jungle!!!

Many of the plants grow taller every year, but even so, everything is just that bit more vigorous and lush this year. With a warm start to the summer and without the hot, dry end to it we usually have, the plants have really had optimal conditions.

Here is a funny thing that has happened, this is a photo of my Dahlia 'Striped Vulcan' from mid July, I have always thought this one was wrongly labelled as it hasn’t got any stripes. The name is correct, I copied it off the invoice, but I can’t really remember how it should look like, only that it was supposed to fit in with the yellow dahlias next to it.

And look here! After 3 years in the ground, the dahlia has found its stripes! This flower comes from the same stem as the flower from July so how that is possible beats me, but this is probably how it was supposed to look and what I saw in the catalogue when ordering it. Funny! I just hope it will continue to produce flowers like this from now on, I never liked the orange flowers that much, I only kept the dahlia as it was such a prolific bloomer. Gardening can bring some nice surprises from time to time :-)

And here are two other dahlias, no surprises here, these are Dahlia 'Mary Eveline', my favourite dahlia. I have 3 of them and they are now almost as tall as I am (I am 175cm/5’9”).

In my last post I promised some photos of my giant begonias so here they come.

I like this ruffled one best, although my camera struggle to capture the colour properly.

And I have to show you some fuchsias too of course, by the time you read this, these 'Annabel' fuchsias are into their 15th month in a row flowering! I keep deadheading and there seems to be no end to the production of new buds despite only having had one lot of slow-release fertilisers in early April, last year!! Since then I haven’t been able to get to the base of these 4 plants to top up the fertiliser, but they don’t really seem to lack nutrition!

I have made a movie from my garden this time too, 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 24 seconds of my August Garden, accompanied by some nice music.





For UK visitors, the music was probably familiar, made famous by the BBC series ‘The Apprentice’ but have you ever heard the whole piece? The music was ‘Dance Of The Knights’ by Sergei Prokofiev from the 1935 ballet ‘Romeo and Juliet’.

I have made many movies from my garden over the years, taken first with my Canon Powershot and then with my Canon EOS 600D – and more recently with my iPad mini. But none of these devices are made specifically for taking movies – and it shows, so I have wanted something better to film with for ages. And now I got it!

I have bought an early 50th birthday present for myself, my birthday isn’t until beginning of October but the Camcorder was on offer right now so I decided to go for it. Look how tiny it is! The movie you just saw was my first attempt to play with the camera, I filmed many small pieces over 2 days and then put them together using Windows Movie Maker (free to download). I am impressed with the camera so far, but I am afraid you won’t be able to see the amazing picture quality it actually is able to produce, it would not be possible to post files like that on the net, those movies are better burned to a Blue-ray disk. But I am able to do things I could never do with my cameras and iPad, and as I fiddle with learn more about the camera I hope the movies will get better too!

That was the tour for end of August, thanks to Helen at 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.

Sorry for being so absent here in the blogosphere in July and August, I have had more family visiting me during this summer than combined the past 15 years I have lived here in London so it has been very nice but busy. I have also finished my 7th book, you can see the whole book here, it is in memory of my father who died in February. I have already started planning book number 8 so I’ve got plenty to do in the autumn too, but I will try to come and visit you all soon to say hello and leave a message. Until next time, take care.

34 comments:

  1. Hi, Helene!
    Lovely dahlia 'Mary Eveline', I'd like to have one as yours.Fuchsias, begonias are very pretty. I love your video and the music by Prokofiev from my favorite ballet, great!
    I will come to London on the second week of September. If you would like to
    meet, write me your email in comments. As I have moderation, it won't be published.

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    1. Thanks Nadezda, I am so happy you liked the music, I really love this piece of music and have been ‘saving’ it for a long time for an autumnal movie with spiders! I would absolutely love to meet you when you come to London, I have just posted a message on your blog with my email address so let’s make some plans :-)

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    2. Thank you Helene! I agree to meet you, I could not see your your email....

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  2. That Dahlia ´Striped Vulcan´ is a real miracle in your garden by changing of colour. The other Dahlia ´Mary Eveline´ is a beauty, can imagine it´s your favourite one. Your video is lovely so is the music. So nice to have a new Camcorder, it gives you so much possibilities to try.
    Wish you a nice new week with hopefully lovely late summer weather.

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    1. Thanks Janneke, I am so impressed with my camcorder, I haven’t used one before, I haven’t filmed with a proper camera since I used to rent SVHS camera for the odd occasion – those cameras were hugely expensive and I could not afford to buy one, I only used to rent one for a week-end or so now and then. And the cameras were huge, those kinds you would carry on your shoulder, this is about 25 years ago – talk about technology going forward!

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  3. Hi Helene
    At garden club they were talking about dahlias misbehaving. Someone had a red and white stipey one either called tartan or York and Lancaster (there was a difference of opinion on the name). Anyway the same plant produces white, partly striped and very striped flowers. Apparently this is common and people say they have known of this behaviour for some 30 yrs. I suspect that whatever causes the stripe isn't stable so it's more luck than anything.
    Thanks for joining in again with the meme

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    1. Misbehaving dahlias! Yes, I can believe that! I hope mine has learned its lesson and will behave from now on. Thanks for the info :-)

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  4. My goodness, Helene, you have stunning dahlias and begonias...and my those are big spiders....ewwww. But I love your cat the best...what a great life as the garden helper there....nice gift to yourself with that camera too.

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    1. Thanks Donna, I have wanted a proper camera to film with for ages, now I just need to learn how to use it beyond the ‘Auto’ setting :-)

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  5. oI'm into single dahlias at the moment and have the yellow and red one that is sneaking into the background of one of your photos. They are such cheery flowers.

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    1. Sue, the yellow dahlias in the background is called ‘Sunshine’, I bought it 10 years ago in B&Q’s sale shelf for 50p! Since then I have split it into 3 plants so I think that was a bargain!

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    2. It is the same as ours then - I love it and it lives up to its name

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  6. Your dahlias are fabulous Helene and congratulations on your early birthday present...I loved your video!

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    1. Thanks Lee, I enjoy filming my garden and it’s good to have a record for later, I can already see how my garden has changed from the earlier videos I made some years ago.

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  7. Oh, I hope the dahlia does stay stripy now, it's a beauty!

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  8. Helene, I love the video, complete with gorgeous blooms, scary spider, and cat with an attitude! The music was lots of fun. Also, I am glad your dahlia finally found its stripes.

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    1. Thanks, glad you enjoyed the video, I was a bit afraid I would put off people with all the spiders but they are part of the garden at this time of year – at least mine! I find them fascinating as long as they are in the garden but I absolutely hate spiders in the house.

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  9. Your dahlias are so stunning, and of course your lovely collection... fuchsia. They grow so happy on your garden. I'm sure you care them with your love.

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    1. Thanks Endah, my garden is perfect for fuchsias, which means there are lots of other plants it is not so perfect for. I admire all those prairie plants many bloggers are showing off right now – they need lots of sun and dry conditions. Not exactly what I can offer so I have to stick with what my garden is best at :-)

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  10. Glad to see your Dahlia has found it's mojo Helene!
    Your August garden is looking great and you getting all technical too with the new camcorder. I've not got time to watch your video right now but will pop back to see it when I have more time to enjoy, if you don't mind!
    Your giant begonias are lovely and exactly what my orange/red ones should have been. I suspect the basket might have been played around with in the GC by people touching and moving them around.
    Good to see you back and I hope things warm up for you this week - the press say we've to have an indian summer this month, don't hold your breath though ;)

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    1. Thanks Angie, I have still not made up my mind about those giant begonias, I bought mine as tubers from Bakker - they are so tall, with soooo heavy flowers that they need an awful lot of staking and there is no way to hide all that…to me that is hybridizing gone too far. But each flower is gorgeous, if you can just disregard all the bamboo! I have cut off many of them and used them as floating flowers on my table with my submersible tea lights, they have looked better like that than on the plants to be honest.

      The weather for this week will be better than any day we had in August so I am looking forward to that! Not sure what the rest of the month will bring but after a cool August compared to what we usually have I am ready for an Indian Summer.

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  11. What a lush tropical garden you have in the middle of London. It shows how much you can do in a small space. It must be a lovely haven to get home to after all the mess of London streets :)

    Fascinating to hear that the fushia has been flowering non-stop for 15th months - wow. I guess it's happy where it is and the microclimate of your space has kept it flowering.

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    1. The garden is now so full I have started to cut back much earlier than I normally would do, just to be able to get down the path :-) I am disabled and housebound so I don’t really see the mess of London’s streets anymore, the only time I get out of the house is when I go to hospital for appointments and short stays and I get picked up by hospital transport and driven door to door. That’s why my garden is so important to me and serves so many different purposes – it is my haven and only outdoor space but also where I potter around propagating and taking care of what I’ve already got - and spend my time taking photos and plan my blog posts.

      I do wonder how long my fuchsias will continue to flower, if we get another mild winter like last year they might just continue right into next summer for all I know!

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  12. Yes, I did miss you recently, Helene! My Web activity has been a bit spotty lately, too, because of work projects and the desire to enjoy the garden and nature as much as possible before the next polar vortex. ;) I giggled when I read "my jungle"! It's definitely a healthy garden, that's for sure!

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    1. I really do hope you won’t get a repeat of last winter this year Beth! But I wouldn’t mind having a repeat though, another frost-free winter here would suit me and my fuchsias well :-)
      Nice to be missed ;-) - I will try to be a bit more present for a while but soon I will have to bury myself in projects to finish before Christmas, it’s exactly 3 months till parcels sent abroad have to be posted – those months will fly fast!

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  13. Your striped dahlia is certainly a pleasant surprise. I am in awe of all your dahlias--I have never seen any this tall! Your video was wonderful with such sharp images; I'm sure you're going to enjoy the new camcorder. I couldn't hear the sound, but I suspect that's my computer--I have a new one and still haven't figured everything out on it yet. Loved seeing all the spiders and bees enjoying your garden, and of course, Kitty supervising it all:)

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    1. Thanks Rose, my 'Mary Eveline' dahlias grow taller every year, this is the third year I have them - they are supposed to grow to 35” but mine are way taller than that, almost 5’9”. They are obviously happy where they grow, I don’t lift any of my dahlias and none has ever died.

      I am sorry you could not hear the music, it was an important part of the movie so I suggest you try again, if you look at the top of your keyboard for the F-keys, you might find the volume buttons there. They usually have a symbol of a long triangle with a plus and a minus sign. On my keyboard it is F3 for less sound and F4 for more sound. Perhaps that will help?

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  14. Dear Helene, congratulations to you for getting yourself a new camera! The video is stunning, I so enjoyed seeing it! It gives a much more real picture of your garden than photos can ever do and as you said yourself: It truly is a jungle out there, in the best sense :-)!
    I love your white fuchsias. They made me think for the first time of wanting to see fuchsias in my garden as well. I don't know how they would do in San Diego though, but probably they are not the best suited plants for my climate, since I assume they are pretty water thirsty.
    Wishing you a nice rest of the week!
    Christina

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    1. Thanks Christina, so happy you enjoyed the video :-)
      The fuchsias you see in the movie looking white are actually pale pink, they are called ‘Annabel’ and are absolutely troopers in my garden. They dislike full sun and hate getting dried out so growing them in pots and containers can be tricky. They grow happily in complete shade and flower just as well without ever seeing the sun. I even have one growing half under my garden bench! Best place for them for you will be in the ground, in your shadiest place, where you struggle to grow anything else, between other plants so that the sun won’t bake the ground dry. I grow many of mine between and behind evergreens. That really goes for most of the fuchsias I have. Just water them well the first year and they will be more resilient later on. All the fuchsias I grow in the ground are much less fussy about water than those I have in pots, I don’t give those in the ground any extra water, they get watered when the rest of the garden needs it. I hope you find some fuchsias for your garden, they are so lovely and in your garden they would probably flower all year round for you like mine has done lately.
      Have a great week you too!

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  15. Hi Helene, your garden is looking stunning as usual, liked the Prokofiev video although strictly not for arachnaphobes:) Your begonias remind me of when I used to do quite a bit of judging in the area, at one particular show there were a number of keen begonia addicts who exhibited every year, they used to stake early and disbud to produce one enormous bloom per. stem, some of the results were fantastic.

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    1. Thanks Rick, glad you liked the movie, despite – or even including the spiders! I am still not sure I like the begonias, I love the big flowers but not so keen on the floppy stalks that needs all the staking. I can’t see me getting rid of them though so if they survive the winter I guess they will be back next year :-)

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  16. Wow, strange that the Dahlia turned colors like that. I love that Mary Eveline - so gorgeous. Your garden looks beautiful and amazing as always! Happy early birthday!

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    1. Thanks! My birthday is on the 9th October so 3 ½ week till, but I have already made good use of the present for myself :-) I have taken some more photos of the stripy dahlia for my GBBD post for Monday, I hope it will continue producing flowers like this next year too!

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