Wednesday, 31 December 2014

End of Month View - December

It’s the last day of December and the last day of 2014 – time for a bit of reminiscence about the past year and also previous years. Today I have been blogging for exactly 4 years and written 292 posts. What started as something I was a bit curious about has turned in to a nice hobby I am certain I will keep doing in the future. I am not the most frequent blogger, however whenever I do write a post I usually write really, REALLY long posts with lots of photos. I kind of put blogging to one side and do lots of other things between each post, but then I realise so much has happened in my garden since last post – and I want to show you as much as possible, and I end up with very long posts each time. Sorry if you are the type of blog reader that prefer one-liners and just one photo, not much of that around here!

The first year I was writing I didn’t have many viewers, and hardly any comments, towards the end of the year I joined Blotanical, started to write much more about my garden – and got many more visitors. I can truly say, life in the blogosphere is much more fun with visitors than without; it was a bit lonely just writing to myself – so thank you to each and every one that has visited and commented over the years, please continue, your support means so much to me.

My most visited post was from June 2012, it is aptly called ‘Will it ever stop raining??’ But I can also see from the statistics that my tabs are well used, the Tab ‘Plants in my Garden’ has been particularly often viewed. And google.co.uk and google.com has graciously lead my way respectively 10.068 and 7243 searchers – possibly not all them were looking for a gardening blog but there you go, sometimes you find things on the net you never expected to find :-)

Today’s post is a mix of looking back at 2014, and showing you the view of the garden at this end of December. I have a movie for you today too, but first a few photos (not too many today!).

My garden on the last days of December, with lots of greenery here and there thanks to all the evergreens. I do enjoy the open, spacious feeling the garden has at this time of year, even though I also like my ‘Jungle Garden’ in September :-)

As usual my garden throws out the odd plants out of season, the ‘non-hardy’ geraniums on the shelf at my seating area are still producing one-off flowers, even though we are having temperatures down towards zero C and Winter Solstice was only 9 days ago!

The cyclamens will be flowering right through to end of spring, just as they should.

The first hellebores have been flowering for about a month already, this is Helleborus ericsmithii 'Winter Sunshine'.

And this is a single spotted Helleborus hybridus.

My Ferrari has started to flower. OK, not Ferrari but that’s how I remember its name – correct name is Viburnum 'Farreri'.

And the lovely Camellia japonica 'Takanini' is continuing to open one gorgeous flower after the other. Despite being just a tiny 2 year old twig, it has lots of buds and will continue to flower for a long time. I read on the nursery website where I bought it that when mature, this camellia could be in flower for 6 months every year, from beginning of November to end of April! But what really sold it to me, apart from the lovely red peony shaped flowers - was the fact that this camellia doesn’t shed its flowers one petal at the time, it just drops each flower neatly on the ground. Anyone who has seen the millions of pink petals on the ground from my other camellia will understand why this unique feature was so tempting to me!!

I am ending my last post of the year with a short movie from the garden. The movie is a mix of footage from yesterday and photos from the past year – as a sort of photo cavalcade to see how the garden has changed over the year. And of course there is some suitable music added. My videos are best viewed in HD, in full screen, remember to change the settings in bottom right corner after the movie has started so you get the best picture quality.





All that remains is to wish every one of you a Happy New Year and all the best for 2015!
Here’s to a great gardening year 2015!
Until next time, take care,
Helene.

56 comments:

  1. I think most of us Bloggers started off with few visitors. The way I 'met'people was to read and comment on other blots, Those Bloggers tended to come back and visit me.

    I must admit I tend to split my potential long posts into several shorter ones that I sometimes then schedule to appear automatically. WE all have our owm preferences don't we?

    Happy Blogiversary

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    1. Thanks Sue, I have split a few posts in the past but now that I don’t write more than a few times a month I prefer to finish each topic and then go on to do other things between each posting – I am so busy with so many other things besides blogging. I have just (self) published book number 8 :-)
      Happy blogging and happy New Year to you!

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  2. Your posts are long, but I love reading them. You do get the most outof your garden and that's interesting. Even end of December there is so much to see.
    Wish you also Happy Gardening in 2015!

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    1. Thanks Janneke, there is no break in my garden, and even though we dipped barely below zero C last night you can’t really see that on any of the plants. There’s milder weather on the way so no more frost for now.
      Happy New Year!

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  3. Four years - congratulations!! I enjoyed Blotanical and got quite a few readers from there as well. I'm really sad it's gone, as it was such a great way to find new blogs. Your blooms are beautiful. I hope you have a wonderful New Year!

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    1. Thanks Indie, those 4 years have gone so quickly!
      Wishing you a wonderful New Year too!

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  4. Dear Helene, I really enjoyed following your blog for the last 4 years, is it really that long already? Unbelievable! I like your way of taking photos and always love to see you videos. No exception today :-)! Your red camellia is just mindbogglingly beautiful, what an awesome choice you made. To many more years of blogging and, of course, I am wishing you a happy and healthy New Year 2015! Hopefully it will be a good one for your garden as well! Warm regards,
    Christina

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    1. Yes, I’m not sure where those 4 years have gone Christina, but it has been 4 years! My new baby camellia is continuing to serve me new flowers every other day or so, I am so happy I bought it a year ago, I hope it will grow big and strong soon :-) Wishing you a great and healthy gardening year for 2015!

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  5. Congratulations on your four years of blogging Helene. It never ceases to amaze me how many plants you have in bloom, whatever the time of year! I have made a note of Camellia Takanini and will be looking out for that. Something that exotic that flowers all through winter, what's not to love?

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    1. Almost forgot... Happy New Year!!

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    2. Thanks Jessica, I bought my Takanini from Duchy of Cornwall Nursery, but a check reveals they don’t sell it online right now. You can get it from Burncose and from Trehane, both sold online. I am so happy with mine that I am considering getting one more if I can find a similar in a different colour that flowers the same way, and for just as long. I will sit down and do a search like I did last year in January :-)
      Happy New Year to you too and all the best for 2015!

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  6. Well done on getting to 4 years Helene, that's some milestone.
    Your post is as usual, very interesting and thoroughly enjoyable. Your garden is still looking great. I saw on the forecast the other night that parts of London were expected to be colder than we were but obviously not your part by the looks of things. It still looks very autumnal.
    All the very best to you and yours in 2015 when it comes Helene!

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    1. Thanks Angie, we did actually have some rather chilly nights, I have two thermometers in my garden, one on my nursery shelves and one at the bottom of my garden. They both send their results to an indoor screen which records max and min temp, last night it was a min temp of 0C at my nursery shelf but it was -1.5 at the bottom of my garden. This has been the case the last 3-4 nights but the soil has thawed during the day so not much frost damage in my garden even though I have several plants not really suited for below plus 5C. Warmer weather is on the way so this winter chill was ever so brief :-)
      Wishing you and yours a happy New Year and happy gardening for 2015!

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  7. My recollection is that the London and Los Angeles time zones are 8 hours apart so, if that's correct, your new year has just begun - happy new year Helene! Your garden is beautiful in all months as your wonderful postcard-style video shows. Coincidentally, our blog anniversaries fall in close proximity except that you had a 2-year start on me. I look forward to seeing what's developing in your garden in 2015.

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    1. Thank you Kris, you are right, it was 1 hour ago :-)
      Happy blog anniversary to you too – and happy New Year, in a few hours’ time!

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  8. I'm always astounded at how much you pack into your space. Great video! My hellebores have several months to go before they bloom but they're green so that's something. :o) Happy New year!

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    1. Thanks, happy to hear you liked the video. I try to squeeze in as many plants as possible, wherever I can. I thought my garden was ‘full’ years ago but I have just continued to add plants and there will be more this year too!
      Happy New Year to you too :-)

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  9. Congrats on your 4 years of blogging.. I always love reading your posts and seeing your beautiful garden. Happy New Year Helene and here's to lots of happy gardening :o)

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    1. Thanks Julie, and thanks for your kind words. Happy New Year to you too!

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  10. I'm really glad I discovered your garden, I do enjoy visiting it each month. I'm dead impressed that you got the Big Ben gongs timed with each month of the year in the video. Your cat is very good at stealing the limelight from the plants ;)

    As a fellow wordy blogger, I do enjoy the detail, and the pictures to help give context. And as someone not usually a fan of videos in blogs/tweets, I do enjoy yours. I think you have the right length and you edit them well.

    I look forward to seeing you garden continuing to grow in 2015. Wishing you, the cat and your garden much happiness for 2015.

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    1. Thanks Julieanne, I can tell you that getting the Big Ben gongs right were more difficult than I thought it would be, I thought if I got the two first right I could just set the same length for all 12 photos. But….Big Ben doesn’t chime in a proper rhythm!! You would not know that unless you were timing it like I did, but it is actually off by between 0.05 and 0.3 seconds. Yup, might not sound much, but it seriously messed up my timed photos so I had to do them all individually, manually, by trial and error. Most of the photos have different length by a fraction. Got it almost right in the end :-)
      Happy gardening 2015 to you too!

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  11. Happy New Year Helene! and congratulations on 4 years of blogging. Isn't Blotanical a wonderful tool. I see so many people mention it when they talk about how they started in garden blogging. I did the same and it introduced me to so many wonderful people. I'm always impressed with your garden. A small sized space compared to my own but you pack in 10 times as many plants and make it look amazing. That's a real talent. I look forward to your posts in the future.

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    1. Thanks Marguerite, I have been squeezing plants into my garden for the last 13 years, I myself is a bit amazed how much it is possible to fit into that small space :-) And I plan to fit a few more this year!

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  12. I have enjoyed every visit to your gardens and always look forward to more. I loved reading this post as well and enjoyed your year in review and personal reflections. I too started blogging as a pastime and now I feel connected to so many others who share the same passion such as yourself. Happy blog anniversary, Happy 2015 and all the best you you!

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    1. Thanks Lee, blogging has let to friendships with many people all over the world, I have even met some of them in person! Blogging has also led to me becoming better at taking photos and even starting making videos, I don’t think I would have done that had it not been for my blog.
      Happy 2015 gardening and blogging year to you!

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  13. happy 4th blogging anniversary, it is amazing how addictive it can become especially when there are so many nice supportive bloggers out there to encourage you.
    Thank you for joining in with the meme this year, I hope you found it useful.

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    1. Thanks Helen, I have found the End of Year Meme very useful and I think I will keep on doing it, hopefully with a new video every month. And yes, blogging is rather addictive, In find it hard to just leave it – don’t think I could now, after having regularly been blogging for 4 years :-)

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  14. Happy New Year, Helene, wishing you and your beloved garden happiness and growth for 2015!

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    1. Thank you Rosemary, and the same wishes for you, happy gardening year 2015!

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  15. Hi Helene
    First of all: Happy New Year to you!!! I hope 2015 will be healthy, joyfull, full of color and greens for you. Sorry, for not being round here much. I was rather busy with the books, work, pets and garden. In our garden three trees collapsed since last autumun because of heavy snow. :o( And yesterday we had even the fire brigade at our home, because we feared that one of the trees in the nearby wood, could collaps on our roof. After one sleepless night I called the police, got then connected with the fire brigade and finally the tree was cut. I'm sorry for it, but safety goes first. Puh, what a start into 2015 :o).
    You are writing a cook book? That sounds very interesting. I'm already curious and wish a lot of fun writing it.
    Take care and give your lovely cat a soft cuddle.
    Alex

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    1. Oh, falling trees! That sounds scary! Good to hear it was sorted without any damage. My PLAN is to write a cook book, but before I can start I have to learn how to take photos of food, that’s not as easy as taking photos of plants and flowers – and the odd spider and bumble bee! I need to do some research and do lots of trial photos before I can get on with the actual work – so it might take some time before this book is ready to be presented :-)
      Give Noah a cuddle back, take care – and happy gardening year 2015!

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  16. Happy New Year, Helene! I can't believe you have so many blooms in December--especially the Hellebores! Mine are budding, but it will be at least March before they bloom. They've been budding for weeks now, but the mulch and new snow we'll get tomorrow evening will help protect them from the brutal temperatures we'll have next week (daytime highs in the double-digits below zero centigrade). Time to wear the down parkas and puffy boots! Happy New Year!

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    1. Oh, I don’t envy you the snow and cold weather one bit! It is at this time of year I most appreciate living in London and no longer in Norway – I have had enough of Januarys with minus 25-30C – here in my garden I have had two nights so far just below freezing, but well above freezing the next day so it thawed out after a few hours - that’s all. Enough for me really, I am ready for spring!
      Happy New year to you too, and happy gardening year 2015!

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  17. Helen, I do hope you don't mind but I've nominated you for a Liebster award, you can find out more on my latest post. thanks

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    1. Thanks for the nomination Angie, I will get back to you on your blog.

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  18. At first I want to wish you a fantastic, and most important you will stay in a very healthy condition. It's amazin to see how much there is to enjoy in your garden. Overhere the Helleborus is just sending a few buds but no flowers yet. The snowflakes show some flowers to come. A whole new start of a fantastic gardenyear (I hope). Warm wishes

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    1. Thank you Marjike, we are enjoying a mild January and the first crocus flowered today. The snowdrops have been flowering for a while. Spring is coming :-)

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  19. Helene I love seeing your garden in its resting stage still putting out new growth and a few flowers...a fabulous movie for the end of the year and I loved the music you chose....very dramatic effect with the bells and each month of your garden really shows how it progresses. Wishing you and your wonderful cat a very Happy New Year!!

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    1. Thanks Donna, I am late with my replies but still….Happy New Year to you too!
      The bells were Big Ben in central London :-)

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  20. Hi Helene, happy gardening in 2015! I loved the video review, and I also loved the stirring music, especially the bagpipes! Your garden may be resting, but one can see it is ready to burst forth as soon as spring gets half-way here. Congrats on 4 years in the blogosphere! I really got my first exposure to the gardening world through Blotanical, too, when I started my blog over 5 years ago. I was sad to see its demise.

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    1. Thanks, and happy gardening 2015 to you too – over here spring feels like just around the corner. The first crocuses are in flower and so are the snowdrops. Stroll on spring!

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  21. Dear Helene, New year is now everywhere and I think you have hung your new calendar on a wall.Haven't you? We celebrate our Christmas today, did you know?

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    1. Thank you Nadezda, yes my new calendar is hanging upstairs over my desk, looking lovely :-)
      I hope you had a lovely Christmas celebration – all the best for 2015 and happy gardening!

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  22. How wonderful! I've been moved to tears! Bagpipes and "Auld Lang Syne" always has that effect on me. (Spot the Scot!) A magnificent compilation! I'm so glad I dropped in for a peek - must pop in again!

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    1. Welcome to my blog, and please come again :-)
      I usually write 2 posts per month – on the 15th and the last day of the month, and sometimes some additional posts if I have time. But I have made a promise to myself to write a bit more on my Facebook page from now on, so there I will be able to update you all about what’s going on in my garden. I posted photo of my first crocus in flower yesterday :-)
      Links to all the other things I do when I am not hands deep in compost can be found further up on the left side, above my photo.

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  23. You are so right, you look forward to the comments coming in after publishing a post. It was also through blotanical that I managed to promote my blog. I will have to put more effort into my blog posts, not attracting the interest of others so much these days.
    What a very special way of wishing your readers a happy new year, opening with big ben and moving on to robert burns, fantastic, and well put together images. Happy new year Helene.

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    1. I am glad you liked the movie Alistair, and happy New Year to you too!
      I don’t think there is anything you need to do to your blog posts, at least I find them very interesting, but I suppose most of us bloggers have lots of blogs we ideally would like to follow if we had time enough. Perhaps you could visit some of those blogs that used to visit and comment and leave them a comment just to remind them that you are still around, writing. That might help :-)

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  24. That video was absolutely fantastic. How fun to see your gorgeous garden evolve through the seasons. It never ceases to amaze me what you are able to fit into such a small space. Sorry I haven't been around and thanks for stopping by and reminding me. Happy New Year!

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    1. Thanks for your kind words Carolyn, that means a lot coming from you :-)
      As I just wrote to Alistair in my comment above, as most bloggers I also can’t really find the time to visit and comment on all the blogs I like to follow, I have too many other things I like to do besides writing on my laptop – and I supposed that goes for you too. Sorry I haven’t been visiting you either as often as I would like to, but at this time of year your posts are a treat for someone with my particular interest so I look forward to what new kind of hellebores you are going to tempt me with!
      Happy New Year to you too an all the best for a great gardening year 2015.

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  25. I love that you timed the views of the garden to the chimes of the clock. This video had everything including fireworks! Happy New Year Helene and congratulations on four years of blogging. For me quality counts more than quantity. So what if you don't blog like clockwork. I don't either. Your posts are always terrific and that is what counts.

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words Jennifer and happy New Year to you too!
      The next post will be GBBD the 15th if I can manage to squeeze it in between everything else :-)

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  26. Gosh Helene, I can't believe how far on things are in your garden! hellebores out already? I immediately went out into the garden and remonstrated with mine, telling them how very tardy they are ... but to no avail!

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    1. Sorry your hellebores weren’t obedient!
      I guess moving down to London is not an option so....patience, patience :-)

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  27. Your garden looks good at any time of the year Helene, I am particularly taken with your winter flowering Camellia japonica 'Takanini' I just wonder if it would perform as well up here, maybe its time to find out.

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    1. I can’t see why not, Camellias are tough plants and as long as you plant it in the right position I assume it will perform well. It might not start to flower until December or even early January in your garden, but that will be an early camellia in any case! I look forward to seeing it in your garden, I haven’t seen on any other blogs so far.

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  28. Sorry I'm so late catching up, life has been getting in the way of blogging recently! Your comment about the length of your posts made me laugh, I am exactly the same...

    I love your hellebores, they are my favourite flower at this time of year, and in this still-new garden I don't have as many as I would like.

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