Tuesday, 30 September 2014

End of Month View – September

September brought the summer back here in London, it’s been lovely! Not too hot, not too cold, hardly any rain and the few drops we have had have mainly come as some short thundery showers at night. Payback will come when my water bill arrives in November though, as I have had to water a lot more than I usually do at this time of year. It has been the driest September on record – mind you, we had the wettest January on record this year too so I suppose it kind of evens out! The weather forecast says we get to keep this lovely weather until the end of this week and that’s it, autumn will arrive whether we want it or not!

The photos and movie for this end of month post was taken last Sunday, and it was yet another glorious day.

Almost 25 degrees C, no wind and a hazy sunshine. Perfect day for being outside in my garden.

My garden is showing signs of slowing down here and there, whilst other things are emerging. There is always something new on its way up in my garden. This summer has been amazing in terms of the weather, but I have spent a lot of time and effort watering. Last year we had a very good summer too, but the weather was much hotter, and the summer didn’t seem to last as long, this year it seems like we have had summer weather since May – or is it just my memory?

Last year I battled spider mites in my garden, this year I haven’t seen spider mites at all – instead I have been plagued by mildew. I find it everywhere now, even on plants that never had any issue with it before, like dahlias and hydrangeas. Oh, there is always something isn’t it?! Two of my clematises looked particularly bad from mildew so I cut them completely down in the beginning of August– can’t exactly call it a Chelsea chop, but they are both growing like mad now and Clematis 'Ville de Lyon' is only days from opening the first flower again!

My row of Geranium ‘Pink Chiffon’ has just started their fourth (or is it fifth?) flush of flowers this year, loads of new buds and new leaves. They should probably all have had a new and bigger pot, but if I did that they would no longer fit on this shelf – and where would I put NINE pots of geraniums in my garden? Not sure what to do, unless I give them a root prune and pop them back in the same pot with some new compost. Maybe they will like that? Or maybe they won’t. Better to wait until they are finished flowering anyway :-)

I have made a movie from my garden this time too - and as always, if you have the speed for it, my videos 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 3 minutes and 46 seconds of my September Garden, accompanied by some nice music composed by John Rutter.

This is the first time I am also filming in my front garden, and at the end of the movie I seem to stray into my neighbours’ gardens on both sides. There is a reason for that, just watch the movie and I’ll tell you afterwards :-)





I hope I managed to convey the serene and calm feeling it was walking around in my garden last Sunday in the nice summer weather. I know my garden looks even more like a jungle than last month and I should probably have chosen a more wilder music for my movie – but the music, ‘Lullaby for Pegi’ seemed so appropriate for how my garden was that day – calm, serene, secluded and very summery.

OK, so to my neighbours’ front gardens....well, they have never had any plants in their front gardens, so this spring I got so fed up watching all the rubbish they both usually fill their front gardens with that I offered to lend them both plants, if they would promise to keep the rubbish in their rubbish bins. I take care of the plants, water them and they are mine, I haven’t given them away – they just get to enjoy them. But it also benefits me, as I have a nice front garden on each side of mine every time I am outside in my own front garden. Besides, I had too many plants anyway, all these are cuttings from my back garden. So, a win-win for everyone. And the rubbish? Well, it seems it is very difficult to get it in the bins and nowhere else....but it it’s been better than before since I gave them each 3 large containers with plants, so I guess I will let the plants stay for now :-)

My last photo today is from the big bowl I have on my table. I have sunflowers everywhere at the moment, as the dark red and dark orange sunflowers broke during the heavy rain we had a week ago at night. When I got out next morning I had 4 tall sunflowers all tangled up with broken branches. The other yellow sunflowers were just fine though, they have softer and more flexible branches and had no damage at all. I also lost a couple of branches on the tallest hydrangea, but it will survive that just fine. So now 4 out of 8 sunflowers are cut down, didn’t expect to see them gone this early, but I have all the yellow still in place and if they last as long as last year they will continue to flower until late November. I am linking this post to ‘In a Vase on a Monday’, thanks to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for hosting this meme.

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

And before you go, perhaps you would like to visit my YouTube Channel - youtube.com/user/Heleneutaylor? Here you can see other movies I have made, and subscribe to future movies from me. Or, you can click the info symbol in the top right corner of the video, it will give you a subscribe link.
Until next time, take care.


PS. If you enjoy watching gardening videos on YouTube, here is a wonderful video showing all the ins and outs on how to grow chocolate M&Ms – well worth watching!

42 comments:

  1. Dear Helene, as always I have enjoyed watching the movie from you garden. Everything looks fabulous! I am a little envious that your geranium 'Pink Chiffon' are blooming and you said that they are on the fourth of fifth flush. I have four similar geraniums, but none of them are flowering. They just stopped at a certain point in summer and that was it. I wonder how you take care of yours. Do you mind sharing? Warm regards,
    Christina

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    1. Thanks Christina, I enjoy making my movies too, they are a great reminder of how my garden develops and changes during the seasons. In regards to my geraniums, I keep deadheading them regularly and snip off not just the flowers but the whole stalk down to where the next set of leaves is developing. And a few times a year I have cut them down by a third or so, to remove dead leaves and also simply so that they could still fit on the shelf – I suppose that’s encouraged them to keep on flowering. I gave them all slow release fertiliser in early March, but since they kept on flowering they have had a bit of tomato feed now and then from August on, not as often as my tomato plants, but usually whatever’s been leftover in the watering can from time to time. I guess they have liked that too – but I think pruning and deadheading is the key, especially since I grow mine in pots. I can’t say I am any expert on this, I treat my geraniums like everything else in the garden – with the trial and error approach. Good luck with yours :-)

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  2. Totally impressed by your video editing Helene, and the garden is looking wonderful still. It's a shame the neighbours don't share your enthusiasm but it does sound like you are making progress!

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    1. Thanks, I feel have done some progress – at least it looks nicer, and people stop and comment so it’s working well.

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  3. I was so thrilled to see your EOMV video - what a brilliant idea! I need to upgrade my Wordpress site as I am nearing my photo storage limit, but when I do I will be able to upload video files too. And the benefits of watering your garden in this dry summer are very clear - I have learned that the hard way this year. I love your dark sunflowers, and after my success with other sunflowers this year I must try again with these red ones - what variety is yours, and what is the perfect red rose? Lovely to see your bowl of flowers, and hopefully we shall see you again with a Monday-ish vase :)

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    1. Thanks, I hope to join with more ‘Vases on a Monday’, but it probably won’t be on Mondays, as I have reduced my blogging to only 2 a month for now, I got so many other things going on so it’s hard to fit everything in! The dark red sunflower is from Sarah Raven and is called ‘Claret’. The dark orange came in the same seed packet and were obviously not meant to be there, but I like them, I have no idea what they are called, Sarah Raven have no sunflowers on her website that looks like them so I can’t guess what might have strayed into those seed packets. As for the perfect red rose, hard to choose! Those I have on the fence are called ‘Crimson Cascade’ and is a small climber, prone to black spot if not treated and with no scent, but I absolutely love the colour and the abundance of flowers I get. It is one of the first to flower in the spring and I have the occasional flower in December and January. I also have a good red rose called ‘Rob Roy’, quite small as it is growing in a container, no scent, but gorgeous flowers. Finally I have just bought ‘Ingrid Bergman’, also a lovely red rose, have no experience with disease yet, but the flowers are out of this world.

      As for videos on your blog, I upload my videos to YouTube, which means you don’t need any storage space with your blog provider for your videos, all you do is linking your YouTube video in your post. Have a look here: http://www.youtube.com/user/Heleneutaylor

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  4. The addition of plants to your neighbors' entrances was so nice and as you say--it benefits them and you. I enjoyed all your images and the video, including the sleepy kitty at the end. ;-) We've been warm lately, too, which has been fabulous! No need for a jacket or socks or the furnace. But, sadly, today it turned chilly and I had to turn on the heat. Fortunately, it looks like we won't have frost for the extended forecast so there will be more harvesting and flower beauty to enjoy for a while. Your floral arrangement at the end is perfect for the season!

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    1. Thanks Beth, I try to incorporate my cat in each video, unfortunately he looks very much the same every time – dozing off in one of the chairs. We still have nice warm weather, for now, but after the week-end it is said to drop by 10 degrees for a few days. That’s a lot, I will certainly notice that! But frost is a looong way off here, if we get any at all, February maybe :-)

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  5. Your video was incredible and I thought the music was perfect. There is something very special about your lush garden at the end of summer, a feeling of fullness and of enjoying the fruits of your labor. You captured the lazy summer mood very well, especially with the adorable kitty moments!

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    1. Thanks you, I am so glad you enjoyed the video and the music, my garden is getting so full now that moving up and down the path is getting difficult without having to push past the plants. But give it another 2 months and most of my jungle will be gone and the garden will look very different – still with lots of flowers, but completely different flowers. There will be a video at the end of every month from now on, hopefully :-)

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  6. What a lovely video, you have a beautiful garden and a very cute kitty :o)

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  7. Again I enjoyed the movie of your beautiful garden and the frontgarden....Such a good idea to add plants in your neigbours' gardens and the rubbish...sigh....some people never learn. Your mixture of roses and sunflowers on the table are gorgeous, I think the best flower arrangements come from our own garden.

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    1. Thanks Janneke, I am glad my visitors enjoy the movies, but they also help me keep track of what’s happening in my garden and they are great to look back on from past years to see what’s changed since then. I love getting cut flowers, but I have a relationship with every plant in my garden so I much rather have flower arrangements with my own flowers when I can. With such a small garden as I have, there isn’t always enough flowers to cut without making too much of a sacrifice, but I try to fill this bowl when I can.

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  8. I'm agree with Janneke. The best flower arrangements come from our own garden. Love to see your garden. And your geraniums look so special. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Thanks Endah, those geraniums have been absolutely amazing in my garden, and since they didn’t die down during the warm winter we had, they started to flower very early this year. I wonder what kind of winter we get this year, and what’s going to survive in my garden – it’s anybody’s guess, we never know from one year to another over here!

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  9. I do love your wee movies Helene, they really do help get everything in perspective. Your very clever!
    Your garden, as usual looks absolutely wonderful.
    It's all about educating the neighbours and maybe now that you've started, they will be encouraged. I keep giving my neighbour plants that are not as invasive as the ones she buys, not for her benefit either - I've enough of her escapees coming under the fence as it is without her adding anymore.

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    1. Thanks Angie, I enjoy making my movies, and the new camcorder has turned out to be much better for this than the iPad mini I used previously, even though the improved quality is rather lost on the low resolution YouTube movies. I am not sure how much I can expect of my neighbours, they come from very different cultures and use their front and back garden completely differently to me. I see my gardens as an extension of my house, my back garden is the most important room in my house and is my second living room, my neighbours probably look at their gardens as a place to throw whatever they don’t need. None of them use their gardens to sit and enjoy, they never eat there, but they hang their washing there, which I never do – I wouldn’t hang my washing in my living room! So you see, I don’t really expect them to ever see things my way, but at least it looks better at the front now :-)

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  10. Enjoyed your video very much Helen, we should count ourselves lucky here in that the neighbours employ a "mow and blow" merchant to keep their garden tidy but they have recently had an extension built which has caused some problems, a magnificent Magnolia was ripped out of the front garden along with a couple of rhododendrons and a conifer which was admittedly past its sell-by date. The builders arrived yesterday to replant the front area which was agreed as part of the planning permission, as they have no knowledge, they arrived with a selection of shrubs and plants and proceeded to plant them out far too closely together regardless of height, aspect or in fact hardiness, I dread to think how it will all turn out even if they all survive the Winter.

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    1. Sorry Helene not Helen!!!

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    2. Hi Rick, I am glad you enjoyed the video, I can fully understand the issue with the extension, and I had the same when my neighbour to my left built an extension 2 years ago. My 4.5m tall holly tree was totally hacked for branches on their side, as the builder refused to pay for a tree surgeon to come in and take the tree down, he said it was easier to just cut off the branches that were in the way. It only took a few months before the tree started to list and eventually I ended up having to get a tree surgeon in and take down the tree after all, as it was unsafe. The tree was in my garden, right on the border between our houses, and the builder had cut off almost half the tree on their side. But they were the ones building the extension so I felt that they should have paid for the tree surgeon. Sometimes you wonder if builders have any knowledge of horticulture at all…! Perhaps you could give your neighbours some friendly advice about the plants in their front, it’s not too late to dig them up and replant.

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  11. Helene, you act as a psychotherapist, learning your neighbors to be tidy. I love your video, nice idea! I'm glad the weather behaves well in London and your flowers started blooming once again. Lovely bouquet in your big bowl!

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    1. Thanks Nadezda, I am not sure if leading by example is going to be enough for my neighbours, they are still pretty messy, but they seem happy about the flowers at least :-)
      It has been lovely here in London all week, 23 C degrees in my garden today, but from tomorrow it will be a bit cooler and only in the high teens. Summer is over for now. Have a great week-end!

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  12. Helene your videos just get better and better...I love how you are working with your neighbors...nice try. I have had a lot of mildew here too and our gorgeous late Sept weather is leaving tomorrow. Your garden is amazing as always and I love the vase...I have to remember to use a dish as a vase.

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    1. Hi Donna, I guess the mildew in my garden is payback for our nice and dry summer, I simply haven’t been able to keep up the watering enough. But most of the plants affected will soon lose their leaves so I don’t worry too much about it.
      I bought the glass bowl in Ikea, it is called ‘Blomster’, which means flowers and cost $9.99. It is available in both NY stores :-)
      http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/90124402

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  13. Hi Helene, I enjoyed the video. Very serene and I think the music matches it's beauty. I love the cat at the end too. Interesting idea re loaning your neighbour some of your plants in exchange for them their front garden neater. Let's hope that sparks some pride in them to take action!

    The bowl of flowers is gorgous. I recently brought a couple of bowls just for this purpose, but then didn't do anything. You have inspired me to get out there and pick some flowers and do the same.

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    1. Thanks, I think my neighbours and I have a different standard for ‘tidy front garden’….but they look miles better than before :-)
      The bowl on my table is ideal for all those accidental breakages or wind damaged flowers, just cut off the stem to about ½ inch and pop them in the bowl full of water. They last much longer with such short stems than with long stems in a vase.

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  14. I am constantly amazed how many different plants you manage to squeeze into your garden! The videos are so much fun to watch, and I love your music selections. I also love the colors in your vase - they show the warm colors of the summer that are transitioning into the harvest colors of autumn. You have so many great varieties for cutting flowers - I'm hoping to have more of the same by next spring so I can participate in the 'In a Vase on a Monday' meme. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thanks, at this time of year I don’t have a problem filling this big bowl. At other times of year I prefer to leave the flowers where they grow so they can last as long as possible – I have a lot of plants but not many of each :-)

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  15. I have dregea sinensis in my Felixstowe, Suffolk garden. Flowered first this year. Produced 4 x pairs of seed pods. How do I prepare & plant them please. It may be too late for this year as they have been in my kitchen possibly drying out. Thanks Di Lusardi

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    1. How nice to meet a fellow Dregea sinensis grower!
      I don’t think there are that many of us here in UK. I don’t use the seeds, I just chuck them, although last year’s seeds were sent to France to a collector who asked for them. Seeds from Dregea sinensis should ideally be sown fresh so I don’t think those you have are that good, although you could always try, germination rate will probably be 20-30% on dried seeds so use MANY seeds in each pot. Just take the seeds out of the pods and remove the fluffy bits. Put the seeds in small pots with compost mixed with some grit. Cover with grit and leave outside, make sure the pots don’t dry out but don’t let them get soaking wet either. Nothing will happen until next spring so be patient.

      A better way to propagate is to take cuttings and you are not too late if you do it right now! Choose semi-ripe material and choose stalks where the leaves are not too far apart. You need 2 set of leaves as close together as possible, at the bottom set you cut off right below the leaves and remove the leaves, that’s where it will root, the next set of leaves you keep. Snip off anything above this and plant using rooting powder. No need to cover with plastic bag at this time of year but you could mist the leaves now and then if it doesn’t rain for a few days. Rooting will be slow and you will probably lose 50% of the cuttings so make more than you need. Dregea sinensis will flower quicker from cuttings than from plants grown from seed. Good luck, and please let me know how you get on.

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    2. By the way, when I give away the seeds, I don’t normally pick the seed pods until they have started to open up, and in my garden they don’t usually do that until February. Have you picked green, unripe pods? The seeds won’t have developed properly if the pods are not ripe and have started to crack open. My Dregea usually lose all its leaves first, and all the pods will keep hanging on until they are ripe. I prune it in February, when the weather is at the coldest and the sap is not flowing too much, and then I pick the pods before I start pruning. If you keep yours in a greenhouse or conservatory, this might be very different, I have always grown mine outside so I am not sure how harvesting will be indoors.

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  16. I'm very impressed by your video, Helene. In fact, was impressed by the visuals alone but the addition of the audio AND a cooperative cat puts the whole thing over the top! I never cease to be amazed at what you accomplish with your garden - the range of blooming plants is incredible and they look to be in great condition too (despite the complaint about mildew).

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    1. Thanks Kris, I enjoy making the movies, and my cat is so used to seeing me behind a camera that he probably thinks it is part of my face :-)
      The mildew problem doesn’t show up too bad on the video, but you would have seen it if you walked down the path here in person. I just keep telling myself that most of the plants making trouble right now are going to lose their leaves soon anyway so it doesn’t worry me that much, another month or two and it will all be over :-)

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  17. You're right it is always something... I wonder if there will come a time that we get to just sit and enjoy :) The fall weather here has been very dry as well hastening everything off to the golden and dying stage. It's okay, come fall I'm ready for a break. Love the sunflowers in your header, so cheery!

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    1. Thanks Rosemary, I am not really the type to sit in the garden and just enjoy, I am enjoying pottering around too much :-) But I would appreciate not having to deal with so many different issues all the time, I feel I am forever looking up pests and diseases on the Internet!
      No break in the garden here I am afraid, just putting the garden into a slightly different gear. At the moment I am preparing for the arrival of the first spring bulbs peeping out of the ground. I know, I shouldn’t tease you, knowing where you live, but I just couldn’t resist! The first crocuses and daffodils start to emerge in December and the first hellebores flowers in December, it’s just 2 months till so I need to get all the summer pots out of the beds. No break here, just changing from summer gardening to winter gardening.

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  18. I so enjoy your videos, Helene; I feel as if I am actually walking through your garden! What a great idea to share some of your plants with the neighbors. Not only does it extend the curb appeal on your block, but maybe they will get inspired to add a few more blooms themselves. I've forgotten the name of your garden companion, but enjoyed seeing him in the video as well-such a handsome guy!

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    1. Thanks Rose, my cat hasn’t got a very imaginative name, he goes by the name Pus, which is Norwegian for Puss. I am not holding my breath waiting for my neighbours to grow green fingers, I don’t think that will happen! If they could just keep their front garden free from rubbish I would consider the experiment successful. That hasn’t happened yet though, but I am a patient person :-)

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  19. A joy as always & what a great neighbour you are.... bravo!

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  20. Helene-your gardens are so beautiful and inviting and I enjoyed your breathtaking video. It is so beautifully timed with the music and I loved it! This was such a delightful visit...as always. Happy fall and happy gardening!

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    1. Thanks Lee, I am glad you liked the video, I am hoping there will be another one at the end of this month – if I can get through my increasingly thick jungle that is! It is getting difficult to film as I can’t get distant enough, there are plants everywhere :-)
      Have a great week.

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