Saturday, 15 November 2014

November in London

It’s garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day again; middle of November and five ½ weeks to Christmas – distinctively chilly with cool days and a lot of rain, but it’s also only 2 weeks since we had day temperature of 24 degrees C. Yes, London can be very mixed in the autumn, but I doubt we will have another day of above 20 degrees C until late spring next year. But even though the weather stays in the low teens now, my garden keeps going and noting really stops, it just changes to a slightly slower gear for a few months. There has been reports of ‘season confused’ plants around the country, I have some too, I guess the nice summer, cool August and then warm September and October made some plants slightly out of balance. However, as I am writing this, the weather is very much like it usually is in November, the rain is hammering down and it is very windy with top temp of only 12-13 degrees. So what could possibly be flowering right now then? Quite a lot actually! As usual I have been having difficulties choosing what to show you, I can’t really show every single plant in flower, you would be sitting here until tomorrow reading – I will spare you that, but I have made a careful selection of the best bits – lots of photos even so.

But let us start in my front garden this time, where I made a snap decision 10 days ago and chucked out my summer bedding and ordered winter bedding plants a whole month earlier than I did last year. The plants I had here were all still in flower but I was afraid most things were going to be sold out just like last year so I dug up all the dahlias that were in the window boxes and re-potted them. Time will tell if they will survive and come again next year.

The winter bedding is a mix of Bellis, Pansies and these very pretty Primrose Rosebud, one already in flower.

The large fuchsia on the window sill is still in flower, the leaves are not looking their best though. I have quite a few of these trailing large fuchsias and they are just growing too big for any normal sized pots or trays. I think this one will have to grow in a container next year.

Moving to the back garden, there are a few changes since last month. All the sunflowers have gone, so have the dahlias. They were still flowering, but not looking good anymore. The leaves on my arch are starting to fall off and are rather sad and limp looking, they will turn yellow and drop the next few weeks.

Here are the pots of geraniums I rescued from last year’s summer bedding from the front garden, they survived the winter outside and have been flowering on and off all summer. I gave them a trim a few weeks ago and now they are flowering again – must be the 6th time or so, I have lost count!

There is fresh foliage and new buds everywhere, these 7 plants think it’s June, not November :-)

On this shelf I also have a newcomer to the garden, Alstromeria ‘Dandy Candy’ – beautiful colour, next spring I will have to find a place in the garden for it.

The bed next to the patio has been emptied for plants in the ground, and some of the fuchsias have been allowed to move up from the shadier bottom of the garden where they have been all summer. Now that the weather is cooler they can stay here in the sunny bed but eventually all the pots have to get out of this bed so the spring bulbs can emerge without getting disturbed. I am just not sure where to put all the pots! Right in the centre of this bed I have planted the rose I got for my birthday, ‘Ingrid Bergman’, you can’t see it that well in this photo but it is the red dot in the middle.

Ah, that’s better! Isn’t it a beautiful rose? It has already produced 3 flowers so far, and there are more buds to come. Give it a couple of years and this will be a lovely rose for this bed.

And if you think I am fretting a bit about getting the pots out of the beds in preparation for the spring bulbs, after all we haven’t started winter yet – have a look at the Iris reticularis, they are already on their way up.

And so are the crocuses. These are in pots on the sunny side, so slightly earlier than the shady side of my garden, but the rest is also on their way up, under the thick layer of bark mulch I have everywhere. Oh, yes, spring is not that far away in my garden :-)

The chrysanthemums are almost finished flowering, they have been in flower for 3 weeks.

On the opposite side the fuchsias ‘Annabelle’ are still producing flowers, for the 17th month in a row!! They have lost a lot of leaves, no wonder, after such a long flowering time, but amazingly – keep on flowering.

The flowers are just exquisite though, it’s hard to have a favourite fuchsia, they are all so pretty - but this one is very high on my favourite list :-)

Just behind the fuchsias is one of the four hydrangeas I have. This is just a bog-standard pink mop head which due to the soil produces quite dark pink flowers. When the flowers go off they turn into these porcelain looking flowers with bronze-beige petals mixed with pink. Some of the flowers look quite like dried flowers whilst other look still alive.

At the bottom of my garden is a similar hydrangea, to the far right corner in this photo. This one produces much pale pinker flowers due to being so close to the concrete wall. But the big difference is how the flowers look after they have gone off.

These don’t look dead or dried at all, they just lose the pale pink and go creamy white-green instead – with the odd very dark pink petal here and there. It’s strange how different they are in the winter, being effectively same type of plant.

Did you see what was missing on the overview photo of the bottom of my garden? The tall ‘passionflower tree’ has gone! I have loved the experiment, but that’s what it was, an experiment. I can now safely say I will never grow a passionflower in the ground anymore. Ever. In 3 years it grew from a 1m sucker to this monster. I tried to prune it this spring, and I thought I cut off a lot even though it was difficult to reach, but it was now twice as big as last year and being evergreen it grows all winter too.

The worst bit is that it throws up suckers everywhere down here at the bottom of my garden, like here in the middle of the rhododendron. Each sucker has the potential to become just as big as the mother plant in just a couple of years so if I left them to it, the whole thing could become a complete passionflower jungle in no time. So I decided that it had to go. Question was HOW?? Last week-end I started snipping off branches, pulling at it and using my loppers to cut into the branches. The problem is that the passionflower has been growing up a dead tree stump that made the whole thing about 4m tall. I am no good with ladders anymore so pruning has to be done standing or sitting under it – and that just became impossible.

Finally I decided to cut the whole thing down instead. Now, I have never felled a tree before in my life but I have seen how they do it on TV. I also, wrongly assumed that the dead tree was going to be fairly easy to saw into, but boy that was hard – me sitting on my gardening stool in the flower bed trying to saw that tree was a bigger job than I thought! So two-third in I just broke off the rest, not the prettiest lumber job in the world, but the tree came down - no mice nor men hurt and no damage to property. Job done! I dug up some cyclamens from the left side of the garden and placed around the stump and it doesn’t look too bad. Every time I look at this tree stump I feel a bit of pride. I felled a tree on my own, even if it was a small, dead one :-)
Oh, and as for the suckers all over my garden....I have already bought a bottle of Roundup gel, time will tell if it works as well as the adverts says!

While we are here at the bottom of the garden, let’s look at a few things to come. The Sarcococca confuse has fat buds and will probably flower for Christmas this year.

Sarcococca hookeriana var. digyna has very different leaves but just as wonderful scent, I can’t wait for them both to flower.

And the rhododendron I showed you on the photo with the passionflower sucker has fat buds. It is called 'Christmas Cheer', a bit of a misnomer as it normally flowers in February, but I think it will flower earlier than that this time.

And here is one of my slightly confused plants, my Grand old Lady of the garden, the huge camellia has got ONE flower about to open. This camellia usually flowers in March so this is very early, but the rest of the flowers seem to be well behind this one.

But this camellia is a much earlier one, Camellia japonica 'Takanini' usually flowers from December and onwards so this one seems right on track.

But let’s get back to this year’s flowers, there are still lots to see. Here are the very last daylilies! This is an un-named variety I got in one of my plant swaps from Angie earlier this year. I am not sure what it is and neither was she, but it could possibly be 'Stella de Oro' or ‘Happy Returns’. I wrote earlier this year that I would make a post about all my daylilies once they all had finished flowering – I have been waiting for them all to finish and never thought the post about them would have to wait until November!

I cut down this Clematis 'Ville de Lyon' to the ground in August as it had a lot of mildew and didn’t look very nice, look at all the flowers it has now – and lots more buds to come.

I really love this clematis, although it is not in the right place in my garden, it should be moved to the opposite side so I can enjoy the flowers more. At its current position, my next door neighbour gets to see the flowers more than me as it flowers most on the south side. Perhaps this plant will take a walk-about next early spring, it has only been in its current position for 3 years so I hope it won’t be too big job to move. Famous last words…

Here is another plant that really should have a different address in my garden, this is Hydrangea paniculata 'Pinky Winky' and it produced only 3, rather odd looking flowers this year. I think the deep shade possibly could be the reason, it’s just that the sunny side is rather overcrowded already with plants. Perhaps it will be happier in a large container up on the patio.

The autumn colours of the leaves are rather spectacular though, well worth waiting for.

I have several Skimmia japonica 'Rubella' in my garden, and they don’t mind growing in complete shade. I love how these plants start producing flower buds in September even though they don’t open the flowers until April.

These flower buds stay on the plant all through autumn and winter, so effectively it is in bud for at least 6 months of the year, and the colour is so pretty in the winter garden.

All my roses flower very sparingly from now on and until they are cut down first week of February, usually just a few flowers on each plant. This is ‘Freedom’

And this is 'Mildred Scheel'.

The most typical autumn flower in the garden is the cyclamens, they are in all different shades, and here is just one example.

But most prominent is still the fuchsias. This is 'Perpetual Falls', a hardy trailing fuchsia.

And this is Fuchsia bacillaris 'Cottinghamii', a miniature fuchsia that has done very well in my garden, still with lots of flowers.

And it has produced lots of berries too, I keep eating them every time I see any. They taste sweet with a hint of pepper. All flowers and fruit of fuchsias are edible, if you haven’t tasted any you have been missing out. I have so many fuchsias that I have been able to let some of them fruit and still have lots of flowers – a nice treat to find berries when I go around deadheading. Every fuchsia tastes slightly different, some have black berries some have red, but all are perfectly edible and the flowers look spectacular in salads.

This is Fuchsia 'Marcus Graham', one of last year’s cuttings.

And this is Fuchsia 'Bella Rosella', this plant is 10 years old and have lived all its life in a container.

It’s not just me that loves fuchsias, of all the plants in my garden, the fuchsias are the best attraction for bees. Especially the bumblebees seem to favour fuchsias and this bee was flying around me for ages when I was taking photos today. I don’t think this little fellow was ready for bedding down for the winter just yet.

And finally, let me show you my kitchen window sill, where my one year old Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera) has been growing since I bought it as a tiny plant in December last year. I have never had a Christmas cactus before, so this summer I went online to find out how to get it to flower for Christmas. I was astonished to read all the faffing about with lowering temperature, dark room at night, no watering for a while, then remember to water, but not too much water – it all sounded very complicated, and where would I find a place inside my house with 10-12 degrees C for the Christmas cactus? My fridge is too cold, and all the rooms too hot.

Fortunately, the cactus managed to do what it’s supposed to all by itself here on the window sill, without me interfering, without ANY of the advice I read about online, and every end-piece has got a flower bud, some of them almost ready to flower. Sometimes it’s better to just leave the plants to do their own business I guess. I now hope the Dendrobium nobilis I also have on this window sill has taken notice, it has also apparently got some specific requirements in terms of much colder nights than days in order to flower in early spring. I hope it will just get on with it too!

That was the end of my GBBD for November, I hope you enjoyed the tour, please visit our host Carol at May Dreams Garden for many more November gardens around the world. Until next time, take care.

48 comments:

  1. What a lot you have going on for mid-November. I admire your fuchsias and I do love the 'Ingrid Bergman.' Just beautiful!

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    1. Thanks! I have wanted ‘Ingrid Bergman’ for years, finally she is in my garden :-)

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  2. I'm just always amazed at how many beautiful flowers you have in your city garden. The fuchsias are so pretty this time of year. I never fuss over my Christmas cactus either and it responds to shorter days and cooler nights by blooming. Enjoy the blooms.

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    1. Thanks Shirley, I don’t usually fuss over any of my blooms, indoor or outdoor, so the thought of all the work involved with this Christmas cactus made me a bit despondent – thankfully it seems easier than first thought.

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  3. You have a really amazing garden!
    Happy Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day!
    Lea

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    1. Thanks! And happy GBBD to you too!

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  4. I can't believe the day lily is still flowering! That's the London climate for you! Well done on felling your dead tree. Your garden is looking as lovely as ever.

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    1. Thanks Sarah, the last of those daylilies went today so no more lilies until my early Asiatic lilies flowers in May next year – then it’s various lilies in flower all the way till late autumn.

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  5. There's still lots to enjoy isn't there, Roses always surprise me by flowering longer than I expect, As for the passion flower, They are very vigorous, I love ours but wish it would throw up suckers where we don;t want then. The main root is buried in concrete under a small patio but it doesn't deter it,

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    1. In my garden the roses never stop, they flower until I cut them down in February, but only very sparingly during the winter. I will dig up one or two suckers of the passionflower before I start going round with the Roundup gel, I would like to think it is possible to grow one in a large container – I will try at least, but never in the ground again!

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  6. I really enjoyed the tour round your garden, you have so many flowers, I'm so impressed! I've heard that city gardens are warmer than the countryside, yours is certainly showing the benefit of being a few degrees warmer.

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    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the visit to my garden, and yes, I have a nice climate in my garden. With a tall wall at the end, much smaller gardens than in the countryside and houses around me everywhere it all helps keeping the temperature a bit higher.

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  7. Congrats, Helene, your Schlumbergera is in bloom! I've read too that it's difficult to get it blooming the next year. So do I had my Schlumbergera, it didn't want to flower again and soon died.I think your kitchen window sill and dropped temps helped it to throw buds. Your fuchsias are pretty despite of cold season in London now. Hope the dahlias will store well until next spring.
    Have a nice weekend, dear!

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    1. Thank you Nadezda, I look forward to seeing the Christmas Cactus in full flower – and by next year it will have grown too big for my window sill so I will have to find a new place for it soon, it has tripled in size since I got it a year ago. Sorry you didn’t have success with your Christmas Cactus, perhaps it got too much water? I have read that’s often what kills them, just like with orchids. I water all my kitchen plants only once a week, in the winter even less, and they seem happy with that.
      Have a great Sunday!

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    2. Thank you your advice Helene. I've decided to buy new one and will try not to water it much.

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  8. Your garden never ceases to amaze me, Helene. And I'm astounded by the performance of your fuchsias. I recently removed some lawn, opening up a relatively shady area and, your example in mind, I'm now committed to adding some fuchsias when the plants become available in spring. Happy GBBD!

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    1. I’m so happy to hear you are adding fuchsias to your garden, they are lovely plants and there are so many different varieties. The hotter the days are, the more shade they require so in the summer they can happily grow in full shade. When the days get cooler you can move potted and container plants to sunnier spots, but in your climate it’s more a risk the fuchsias will wilt in the sun and heat than not get enough sun so I would have provided dappled sun only if possible. And lots and lots of water :-) Good luck, looking forward to seeing what you choose next year. Happy GBBD!

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  9. Dear Helene, again, I amazed about all the plants blooming in your garden at this time of the year! Your garden might be small, but it is a plant gold mine :-)! I have alstroemerias and Marsha Washington pelagoniums growing in my garden, too, but non of them are flowering in the moment. I wonder why?
    I love your 'Ingrid Bergman' rose. I hope, it will be an awesome rose for you as it matures.
    Your clematis 'Ville de Lyon' is a sight to behold. It is astonishing to me that it is blooming so profusely at this time of the year. You must have an extra green thumb ;-)!
    Warm regards,
    Christina

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    1. Dear Christina, I remember we have talked about the geraniums before, over here this type is called Regal Geraniums and although they come into flower later than other geraniums they should flower for as long as there is light and warmth enough, I assume you have more of both than I have right now :-) Geraniums doesn’t have any dormant period, they grow all year round so potentially they could flower all year too, but they need longer days than nights to flower, not sure why mine have graced me with flowers despite the shorter days. They do like enough water and feed though, I use tomato feed, but must admit I haven’t been very consistent about it, I tend to use far less fertilizers than supposed to, the plants seem happy enough :-)

      As for alstroemeria, it is my first year with mine so I can’t really say much about mine yet, but I have read that flower stems should be PULLED from the base, rather than cut, to promote new stems growing. That goes for stems with dead flowers and fresh flower stems you take out for vases. I haven’t tried it yet, but I have read it several places, might be worth trying if you are not already doing it? Also, they seem to need to be divided rather frequent, about every 2-3 years. Hope this helps. Have a great gardening Sunday!

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  10. Gorgeous fuchsias amongst everything else! Will have to taste those seed pods next time I go out. x

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    1. Yes, they are worth having a taste of, some are sweet, some are rather taste-less, depends which one you have, but all fuchsia fruit is edible.

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  11. My sister in law has been happily munching on those Fuchsia berries all summer Helene. I did taste them but found they didn't have a taste.
    I successfully moved C. Ville de Lyon last spring that had been in the ground for 7 years, so good luck moving yours.
    Nice to see all your Fuchsia looking so good. Mines (your babies) are all tucked up for winter. I'm not taking a chance with them over wintering here. Do keep your fingers crossed for them.
    Your other baby Rosa Crimson Cascade is flowering but the light is so poor I can't get a decent picture of it for my Bloom Day Post.
    Well done on getting that Passion Flower down, I'm sure you'll be on top of those suckers in no time!

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    1. Hi Angie, some fuchsia berries taste more than other, I must admit some are rather bland, but some are quite sweet too - to me at least - we humans have different perception on taste so no wonder some like this and some like that :-)
      I am so happy to hear ‘Crimson Cascade’ is flowering, I hope it will be a lovely rose for you once it gets a bit bigger. And I am keeping my fingers crossed for your fuchsias, but if they die you can always get some more cuttings where they came from, next spring!

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  12. I have been struggling to get anywhere with passion flower down here and yours is so vigorous you've cut it down! They can get out of control, I know. Love the Fuchsia bacillaris 'Cottinghamii' too, so delicate.

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    1. They say there is a plant for every place and position, perhaps passionflower is not the best one for your garden but here in London it is now regarded a serious weed. The birds eat the fruit and spread the seeds everywhere so the highway department has a huge task of cutting it back. I can imagine ‘wild’ passionflower growing at the same rate as mine along the railway track etc – must be a nightmare to control.

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  13. I agree: It is hard to pick a favorite Fuchsia. Sadly, mine are done for the season. But not before I had a chance to taste some of the berries--thanks for that information, Helene! The fishman enjoyed them, too. We are deep into winter here--much earlier than "normal." It's snowing tonight, so we'll wake up to a "wonderland." :)

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    1. Thanks Beth, happy to hear you enjoyed your fuchsia berries, as I wrote to Angie, some are nice and some are rather bland – perhaps I should make a list so people could rate them? Although taste is a very individual thing. What I love with them is that surprisingly little hint of pepper you get just as you are about to swallow the berry, I don’t think I have had any other berry that taste like that. My favourite berry at the moment is from Fuchsia ‘Snowburner’, the berries are big, plump and dark red.
      Have a great Sunday – in the snow!

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  14. You have so many beautiful blossoms still in your garden! I've never grown a Passionflower, but I've come to the same decision as you in regards to a Wisteria. It is coming out this winter - it is far too vigorous for where it is. Fuchsias are some of my fave plants too - they are so beautiful, yet so undemanding.

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    1. Thanks – and welcome to my blog. I would love to grow a Wisteria, the flowers are so beautiful, but I haven’t got room for one anywhere. I thought growing a passionflower up the dead tree stump was a great idea, but didn’t realise how fast it would grow – and all the suckers it would throw up, but that’s gardening for you, learning something new every day :-)

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  15. You have such a lovely garden! You are able to grow so many things that I cannot, and I especially love your fuchsias. Saludos from Spain, Karen

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    1. Thanks Karen, and welcome to my blog. It is possible to grow fuchsias in Spain too, even in the hottest part of southern Spain, you just need to take a bit more care of which varieties you grow and where and how you grow them. You could try double-pot them, with gravel or polystyrene between the pots, to help cool the roots, also make sure they are placed in shade when the temperature is above 25 degrees C and in sun for only early morning and late evening during the summer. Alternatively, fuchsias can grow in the ground between evergreen plants under a canopy of evergreen trees, that will give a nice dappled shade all year round and perfect protection during the coldest part of the winter. And remember to give them enough water, never let them dry out. Try to ask your local nursery about which varieties would be best to try. Good luck!

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  16. I agree Helene...sometimes it is best to leave some plants alone. I love the new plantings in front with the Bellis, Pansies and Primrose Rosebud. They will be stunning in no time. It is so interesting how plants grow there and gardening is certainly very different than here. Almost a mix between the end of summer and beginning of fall. So lovely to see roses, geraniums, clematis and so many other flowers...8 inches of snow here and temps in the 20s too...just 20 degree F. I will have my GBBD post tomorrow.

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    1. Thanks Donna, after 15 years here in London I still don’t feel like we have winter, it goes from autumn straight to spring in my garden – very different from Norway where I grew up, with 5 months of snow! I so appreciate gardening here, I don’t miss the snow at all :-)

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  17. Well done with the cutting down - it's so satisfying, that sort of thing. I think I remember your wondering if you might replace it with a kiwi? Have you decided? I'm glad to see the picture of Ingrid Bergman - she was highly recommended by Chris Beardshaw on Gardeners' Question Time on Sunday and he said she had a lovely shape bloom, which you've just shown me is right.

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    1. I did think of growing a kiwi instead of the passionflower, but that was before my decision of taking down the tree as well as the passionflower! If I was going to have a kiwi there I would need some serious trellis on the wall instead, I think I will need to think long and hard if I want to invite another thug down to that woodland corner – kiwis are quite rampant growers too. I got quite scared of how the passionflower could just take over the whole area in just 3 years. I know some people grow them in containers but my container area up on the patio is crammed full already so the only way is up – vertical growing. Something thin and tall. Suggestions appreciated :-)

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    2. Ooh, a challenge. I'll see if I can think of anything. I've put an answer about the camellia on my blog (you know, I really hadn't realised that you didn't get notifications of new comments until you mentioned it. I must investigate if I can do something about it). It's not strongly scented at the moment, but I'm hoping that will change as it gets bigger. This forum has quite an interesting discussion http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/camellia/msg1009531430662.html?17

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  18. You have so much going on in your garden for mid November Helene and the tour is magnificent as always. I love the combinations if blooms and foliage and you are so fortunate to have a spark of warm temperatures. It was a beautiful November here but is has suddenly turned into winter within the past few hours!

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    1. I so appreciate the climate here in London at this time of year – although it has been a lot of rain lately so I do have a bit of cabin fever and lots of things I would have liked to do in the garden. But it’s not cold, and rarely frost here if at all.

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  19. Wow, still so many beautiful blooms! Every time I see your garden I think how I need to start growing fuchsias :) The passionflowers were so pretty, but that is very impressive how big it got! Your pink hydrangea is gorgeous. Here the temps are dropping below freezing and it snowed a couple times, so my garden has pretty much declared it winter and given up!

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    1. Thanks Indie, we have still got autumn over here, but I saw from the news this evening about the big snowfall over parts of northern US – and freezing temps everywhere, even in Hawaii! No sign of any big freeze here, it stays in the 50-55s F during the day and slightly lower at night for the next 2 weeks at least. A good temperature to work in the garden :-)

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  20. Your winter plantings are lovely, Helene! And you have a lot of blooms for this time of the year. Among others, fuchsia is my favorite - such delicate flowers and such tough plants!

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    1. Fuchsias are pretty tough plants yes, most of them are suffering in high summer sunshine and heat, they much prefer the weather we have now :-)

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  21. Your garden is always awesome! The clematis and roses look so beautiful. And your fuchsias always make me so impressed. Fascinating! Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Glad you enjoy it, I wish for warmer weather, but I appreciate what I can grow at this time of year when I hear about other people already having snow :-)

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  22. What in the world are you feeding those fuchsias!? They are monsters! I don't think I've ever seen any over there that are quite that large. You have a extra green, green thumb the way your flowers just keep blooming. It looks like you have been very busy. The garden is looking lovely, as always.

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    1. Thanks Danielle, if you are referring to my Annabelle fuchsias as monsters then the answer is I am not feeding them at all – zilch! Last time they got any feed was in early March 2013!! They were cut down and got slow-release fertilizers then, but that lasts about 6 months. They have been in non-stop flower since July 2013 and they have grown so big I can’t reach in to the ground and place any new slow-release fertilizer so I have just left them to it. I never thought they would just go on and on like this – and keep on growing. The soil is very good though, I have been mulching with bark for 13 years so they do get some nutrition from that – but even so, fuchsias are said to be ‘hungry’ plants. Not sure I believe that anymore :-)

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  23. What a treat to still have the occasional pop of colour in your garden. We have been reduced to a land of grey (as we patiently wait for a magical coating of snow.)

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    1. Thanks Rosemary, over here it is always a bet at the bookies whether we will get a white Christmas or not, the chances of that are so slim so hardly worth betting on. Officially, a white Christmas in London is "one flake of snow falling on Buckingham Palace on December 25th." But to me, and probably to you, that’s not really a ‘White Christmas’ – to have a blanket of snow covering the city on Christmas morning you have to go back as far as 1895 !!

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