Saturday, 31 January 2015

End of Month View – January

Where did January go?? It is usually a month that feels very long, but the last few weeks have flown away for me. It has been rather cold here in London, much, much colder than last January, but it was unusually mild last year and statistically we won’t have it like that every year – sadly! This January the temperatures have been between 2-8 degrees C, with a biting cold wind for most of the time. So far I have not seen a single snow flurry and including last month I have had only 4 nights where it dipped below freezing, but just barely below - at the bottom of my garden. I have an indoor weather station that measures the temperatures 2 places in my garden and up at the backdoor where my nursery shelves are there still hasn’t been any frost at all according to my thermometers. The minimum temp recorded there so far this winter was 0.5 C, last week.

The cold weather has made my garden take a pause and hold its breath, not much has happened the last 2 weeks or so. A lot of plants have buds ready to open, but it seems they are just holding on, not really willing to open the flowers just yet. I don’t blame them for waiting for a bit warmer weather, the raw, bone chilling wind makes the 2-4 degrees C feel far colder. But it won’t take more than a few days of nice weather and I will have lots of hellebores, chaenomeles and crocus in full flower.

The snowdrops don’t seem to mind the temperature nor the wind, I have them popping up all over the garden. These are double snowdrops, Galanthus nivalis ‘Flore Pleno’.

The Camellia japonica ‘Takanini’ keeps opening one or two flowers at the time, it has been flowering since November and despite being just a tiny 2 year old twig, it still got loads of more buds.

There are big changes coming in my garden....well, it’s almost 4 years since last time I did any big changes so I am getting restless! A lot of plants are talking a walk and getting a new address in my garden, some are going to get a new home somewhere else if I manage to give them away and some are ending up at the council’s compost heap. Yep, that’s how it goes....one rose has already gone to the council, I was so fed up with the blackspot problems, besides I have had it for more than 10 years so I suppose that’s a good life for a rose.

Today I have spent the whole day lifting all the spring bulbs that were in this bed (after taking this photo) – I must have lifted around five hundred in total, many of them having not emerged above the mulch layer yet. There were 3 types of snowdrops, many types of crocus, 2 types of Iris reticularis, 3 varieties of Hyacinths, Crocosmia, lilies, allium - and some old daffodil bulbs that didn’t flower well anymore so they went in the bin. But the rest were potted up, I have pots of spring bulbs everywhere now! I also lifted the 3 hemerocallis that were here and all the primroses.

And all of this is because the bed is getting new plants, this is going to be a rose and daylily bed and I can’t wait to see it finished and in full flower! Not only that, the arch leaning down in the bed is getting roses too, I am getting rid of the Dregea sinensis growing on it, and instead I am going to have 2 David Austin roses growing up the arch, the roses arrived today and work digging out the two Dregea plants starts tomorrow. I am getting help taking them out, hopefully they won’t have roots halfway down to China, but you never know, they have been in the ground for 8 years....wish me luck, or rather, wish my friend Gabrielle luck!

It might be winter, cold, and snowing in many parts of Britain right now, but my head is just filled with everything I am planning to do in the garden. I am happy working outside with layers of clothes on – sitting down on my trusty stool with an old throw over my legs I can get quite a lot done. I have so many plants that should have been in the ground already and one promise I have made myself is to try to reduce the amount of pots I have before the blazing summer starts. OK, so we don’t have a blazing summer every year, but we might get another one just like last year and the year before, you never know?! Anyway, spring is only a short 4 weeks away here in London, no time like the present!

The plants are feeling the longer days too, I’ve got a good few Iris reticularis in flower and they are such cheery sight in the bleak winter light.

I have made a video of my garden this time too, and for the first time I have also included a shot of the garden from my bedroom upstairs. That window is the only window in the house where you can see the garden, and I sometimes sit in the chair I have next to the window and just look at the garden, especially on days when it is raining and I can’t really get out there myself. The only downside with watching my garden from above is that from that angle you also get the view of the neighbours’ gardens – I am afraid they are not such a pretty sight, whatever time of year.

The music for this month’s video is ‘Illumination’ by the duo Secret Garden - Fionnuala Sherry and Rolf Løvland (and Rolf Løvland just happens to be my mother’s cousin :-))
As always, my videos are best viewed in HD, please adjust the quality using the little gear icon in the bottom right corner, and if you have download speed for it, the quality is high enough to watch it full screen in HD (well worth it). Here’s 4:15 min from my January garden.



I am linking this post to Helen at The Patient Gardener’s Weblog.
And although other parts of the country use the astronomical season to determine spring, here in London it is more correct to use the meteorological season, so if you missed it the first time around....spring starts on the 1st March – in 4 short weeks!!
Until next time, take care.

57 comments:

  1. Cold as it has been there, your garden still looks magnificent. I can barely imagine the work that you've put in lifting those bulbs. It'll be wonderful to see how your garden evolves this year with the changes you have planned.

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    1. Thanks Kris, I have a plan in my head for what it will look like, I hope it will end up close to my plan :-)

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  2. What a bulbs you have. Must give a lot of flowers in spring. Overhere a small layer of snow in the garden. Can't wait untill spring is overhere.
    Have a wonderful weekend Helene.

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    1. I have been planting spring bulbs all over the garden every year for the last 10 years and some of them have spread nicely – although some gets eaten by squirrels every year so there is some loss. Most of the bulbs that were here are going back again when the roses and daylilies are planted.
      Still no snow here, but I am really looking forward to spring. Have a great Sunday!

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  3. According to the Met Office a ground frost can occur when the air temperature is above zero. Our car gibes an icy road warning at 4 degrees, I would imagine that you nursery shelves get some protection from the surrounding walls and any warmth from the house,

    To be honest a short cold snap would be most welcome as it may kill off some of those garden pests.

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    1. I am lucky that the only suitable place for my nursery shelves were right where they are, that narrow corridor down from my house has a good 2-3 degrees higher temperature in the winter, although in the summer I have the opposite effect, cooler because it is more shady so perfect for small plants and cuttings.

      I am not sure whether a short cold snap is doing anything for the garden pests later in the year, I have always thought we need a good month of consistently cold weather below freezing to kill off aphids, blackspot, slugs etc. and in the 15 years I have been gardening in London I have never had that, not even in the cold winter 2009/2010. As a recipient of disability benefits I am entitled to Cold Winter Payment of £25 if “Local temperature is recorded of an average of zero degrees C or below over 7 consecutive days between 1st November and 31st March”. In the 13 years I have had the benefit that has happened 4 times, 2 of the weeks I got payment for were in 2009/2010. It may be cold for days at the time here in London, but not very often freezing – and not for very long. In my experience, it is mostly what kind of weather and temperature we have in late spring and summer that determines type and amount of pests in the garden, not really the weather during the winter. Would be interesting to hear other people’s view on this perhaps?

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  4. I always love to see your garden. Lovely, lovely 'teacup' pots! Great photo of the iris!
    Happy Gardening!
    Lea

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    1. Thanks Lea, I know many people love my teacups :-)

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  5. Your garden always looks wonderful. Love the snowdrops in the polka dots cups and saucers. And you have been lifting about 500 springbulbs for pots, help, quite a job. I really am desperately looking forward to spring, on the other side some frost should be helpful against all these insects which survived these warm winters.

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    1. It was a big job lifting all the bulbs, fortunately I could sit on my stool doing it and all of them are easily lifted being just small bulbs like crocus, snowdrops etc. Only exception was some lilies, they are so deeply buried, almost impossible to get out of the ground!

      Do you see any difference in your garden in late spring and early summer in terms of what pests you have, depending on how cold it has been during January? See my reply to Sue, I don’t really see much difference in my garden, but here in London we don’t really have longer spells of below freezing anyway so it’s hard to know what it could have been with a whole month of frost....Yikes! I am glad we don’t have that, too many plants in my garden that would have died then.
      I can’t wait for warmer weather and some spring sunshine, will be good not having to dress up in 4 layers of clothes every time I go out in the garden :-)

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  6. Helene, I am impressed with the number of bulbs in your garden! Good luck with your projects! Spring is very close!

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    1. Thanks, I have no idea how many bulbs I have in total, most of my bulbs are at the bottom of my garden and those I lifted was just in this one bed. They are great for early impact, and after they have finished I have loads of pots to fill in the gaps. My project is continuing, the two Dregea plants over the arch came out today! Tomorrow I am planting a rose or two or perhaps three, if I can manage :-)

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  7. Dear Helene, first I would like to apologize that I have not given you a recommendation what roses to plant in your garden that you asked for in the comment that you left on my blog. I simply dropped the ball on that one. But I have to say, that since you are gardening in a completely different climate it is almost impossible to give a good recommendation in terms of the disease resistance of the roses. So I am glad that you got some recommendations from David Austin directly. I am sure they can give you much better advice.
    But now to your post. How exciting that you are re-working a whole garden bed. And even more exciting to me, that you are planning to re-plant it with roses and daylilies. I really love both and think they make very good companions to each other. Can't wait to see this bed in spring.
    As always, I loved seeing your video!
    Warm regards,
    Christina

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    1. Thanks Christina, no worries about the roses, I was just hoping for a shortlist I could look up a bit closer online, there are so many roses to choose from so when you first start to look you get rather dizzy of all the choices! The roses on the arch got planted today, from David Austin’s shortlist I chose ‘Gertrude Jekyll’ and ‘The Generous Gardener’ – can’t wait to see them in flower! From before I have 'Scepter'd Isle' and 'Wildeve' to go in that bed currently in containers and I might possibly manage to squeeze in 'Susan Williams-Ellis' too, and 'Ingrid Bergmann' is there already, planted last October – my 50th birthday present from my son. And of course my huge ‘Crimson Cascade’ is still covering the fence. With 4 hemerocallis spilling over the edge in addition I think that’s going to be a nice bed, well that’s the plan anyway :-)

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  8. I love your snowdrop tea cups. It has been mild here too but very windy. I am tired of the greyness and long for some sunshine.
    I look forward to following your plant moves over the coming months

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    1. Thanks, those teacups were a great find, I had Iris reticularis in them last year but planted them out in the garden after flowering – I think I will just leave the snowdrops in and put a small pot on top of them when the leaves have died down. I will write about the plant moves on my End of Month View posts until it is completed, I guess it will be summer before everything is done – I have a lot of plans :-)

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  9. I think it does the garden the world of good to have a wee break and as Sue says above the colder weather also kills of many of the pests we don't want in our garden.
    Nevertheless, your garden still looks good (more snow in my EOMV) and am sooooo looking forward to seeing what your new Rose and Daylily bed will look like. I've planted a few daylilies in the front garden to go with my roses. Great minds think alike :)

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    1. The combination of roses and daylilies are great, I must go and have a look at what varieties you have planted!
      As I wrote in my comment to Sue, I am not so sure about what garden pests gets killed off during a few days of colder weather, and how cold it actually has to be – and for how long - to really have an impact on any common garden pests. In my garden it seems like the weather we get in say March/April is the most important factor for for example aphids. Is it warm enough the population will explode, no matter how many days of cold weather or days below freezing we had in January.
      Could be interesting to ask an entomologist about this….not that any of us can do anything about the weather, I just got curious now that this has come up as a topic :-)

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  10. Love your garden video and the beautiful music. We will have a longer wait for spring to arrive in eastern Canada.

    regards,
    Nina and the kitties

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    1. Thanks for visiting and welcome to my blog, my cat says hello to your kitties :-)

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  11. Great video. Looking forward to seeing how the garden takes shape this year.

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    1. Thanks, and welcome to my blog, I usually post at least on the 15th and at the end of every month so there will be more opportunities to see the progress of the garden. I can’t seem to find a blog for you to make reciprocal visit, if you have a blog it would be great if you could leave another comment here and write the link for it so I can visit :-)

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  12. Hi Helene, sounds like you have some exciting plans in mind for your garden! Winter is the best time for big changes like that, in fact I usually find I'm just as busy in the garden in winter as I am in summer... so much for it being a season off, right! Anyway I look forward to seeing your completed rose bed.
    I was just reading your earlier post about the fuschia disease... how heartbreaking! I hope you can get it under control. I'd never heard of that disease before, but it sometimes seems that every plant has its own special pest or disease, it's just bad luck if you get it.
    Have another great month in the garden, you'll have spring blooms everywhere before you know it :)

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    1. Hi Ruth, yes, in my garden there is no such thing as season off – I am working all year round and this time of year is very good for planting when the soil is nice and soft.
      As for the FGM, it will be a long process and possibly late autumn before I know if I have got control over it, only consolation is that those blasted pests only like fuchsias so none of my other plants are in any danger should I not manage to get rid of them.
      Next time you come visit there will be lots of spring flowers, I am counting the days for more warmth and sunshine :-)

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  13. I love that you are contemplating the changes in your garden especially for roses and daylilies. So much blooming and it makes e feel buoyed as I know many of these same blooms are lying sleeping for another 6-8 weeks beneath the snow here. I would say your neighbor has the benefit of your garden. A lovely January view Helene!

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    1. Thanks Donna, I will probably sneak in a few other plants in that rose bed, but it will mainly be about roses and daylilies – a few oriental lilies might find their way in between too! I have planted the roses on the arch this week-end and will continue the work this week, still waiting for some of the daylilies to be delivered but by next EOMV post it should all be in the ground so stay tuned :-)

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  14. It is amazing how many blooms your garden has at this otherwise desolate time of year! I love camellias and have one in my own garden. Unfortunately, I believe it got under-watered this past year and will likely not bloom for me this winter, that is, it is even still alive. How exciting to be getting some roses added to the garden! I just purchased six roses myself to add as a hedge along my neighbor fenceline - several of which are David Austin roses. I can't wait to see them in all their splendor later this year! From bedroom view - it looks like your neighbors could use a bit of your expertise in tidying up their yard! Thanks for sharing your garden! Oh and I really would love to steal your music collection - you always have such beautiful pieces selected for your videos!

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    1. Sorry to hear your camellia have got into trouble, my huge, old camellia takes care of itself, I never water it, but it is probably 40-50 years old. The new one, Takanini gets watered when the rest of the garden get anything, but it is still in a pot and got moved to the shady side during the summer – much happier there I think.

      As for the neighbours….well, sad thing is, I actually did up the next door garden to my right 4 years ago for the man living there then, he sadly died and since then there has been several other tenants who has not taken care of what I did – hence the state of it now. I cringe every time I see all the plants I planted in that garden just being neglected and not taken care of. I have offered many times to come over and prune and tidy up the beds but the offers have been declined. They just say they don’t use the garden….The neighbours on the other side are even worse, just using it for rubbish. Ugh, such a waste.

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  15. I loved the video, what a gorgeous cat. But your neighbours garden is awful.
    I haven't seen my garden for a fortnight as it is buried completely under snow, so who know what is happening under there. Besides the sweet box I can't find anything growing at all.
    It will be exciting to see the changes coming in your garden throughout the year. I too am really looking forward to Spring now, can't wait to get planting!

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    1. I agree about my neighbours’ gardens, you can’t really see them from ground level, thankfully, but from 1st floor they are rather in your face, both of them, even though I didn’t exactly zoom in on the garden to my left, that’s just a rubbish dump! Sadly, many gardens around here look like my neighbours, just neglected waste ground.

      I hope the snow will disappear for you soon, I have still not had a single snow flurry, I hope February won’t show its bad side - if we get snow here in London it tends to be late.

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  16. I enjoyed the video and the tour of your January garden! Spring is only about 6 weeks away for us, and I keep looking for signs of it. A few bulbs are pushing up and some buds are swelling; but we have had a number of hard frosts with more on the way, so sensible plants are still sleeping. My Camellia japonica ‘Takanini’ was full of buds just opening when one of those frosts hit. Now all the buds are brown mush. Yours is gorgeous!

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    1. How fun to hear you have Takanini too! You are the first one I hear about having this lovely camellia besides me. How long have you had yours? And when does it start to flower for you? I suppose you are a bit more at risk of frost damage than I am, mine started to flower in November and has had one or two flowers continuously since then – but mine is just a tiny, young twig still, just a baby :-)

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  17. Beautiful! Your iris and camellia are so striking. I love the vivid colors. I've been missing your fuchsia!

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    1. Thanks Endah, all my fuchsias are sadly cut down to the ground, they will recover again hopefully and produce flowers later in the year, hopefully without any nasty mites!

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  18. Hi Helene!
    I've watched your video, very pretty bright flowers are still in your garden. Pleasant music, your mother's cousin is talented. I liked your cat strolling an edge of the fence, so graceful. Can't wait to see the new look of your garden especially climbing roses. Do you suppose they would be high in first summer?

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    1. Thanks Nadezda, I am not sure how much the new climbing roses will grow in the first year, but I was promised they would flower the first year.

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  19. Redoing that bed is a big project, I look forward to see it as it develops. I'm envious of how much you already have flowering. My garden has been under snow for the last couple of weeks, and the temperatures are so low, so apart from a couple of snowdrops and a helebore, there is no colour at all. So I've enjoyed yours in the meantime.

    As ever, I enjoyed seeing your pretty cat too.

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    1. I have seen on TV that most of Britain is covered by snow right now, we are lucky that way, no snow so far although very cold here in London too. The new bed will be a long process, I am doing it bit by bit so I’ll show you all what I have got done next EOMV post.

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  20. Aaaahg!! The Dregeas have gone the aphids have won!

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    1. Oh, that was not why I got rid of it :-)
      After all, the aphids were not such a big problem as they always arrived very late in the autumn. But it will be interesting to see if they are still around and now will attack my oleanders instead! They have not been interested in my oleanders so far, but who knows, with the dregeas gone they might go for them instead….

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  21. The changes you are planning sound exciting and it will be great to watch the garden develop over the year. The neighbours' gardens do look a bit of a disaster area, but what surprised me most was the height of that tree at the bottom of your garden. Huge!

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    1. Yes, I inherited that tree when I moved in 13 years ago, it had branches all the way to the ground and took up a quarter of the garden. I thought long and hard what to do with it, finally I decided to keep it and planted accordingly. Now I could not be without it, the tree (Thuja plicata I think) provides an excellent environment for the woodland area at the bottom of my garden and with all the lower branches removed it isn’t really in the way of anything. It is about 9m tall and growing – huge tree for a tiny garden!

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  22. I know your 2 degrees must feel cold (I remember those temps when I lived in a warmer climate) but oh what a treat it looks to my eyes now. We're buried in snow and your beautiful iris are like a dream. Enjoy those snowdrops for me.

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    1. Thanks Marguerite, I do enjoy the snowdrops, and I know from all my years in Norway how you have it right now!

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  23. Your Dregea was so pretty I hate to see it go, but David Austin roses are heavenly, so I know it will look amazing. I love all the snowdrops in the teacup planters, so cute! I"m excited to see your new bed when it gets established - what a beautiful concept for a bed!

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    1. Thanks, I can’t wait to see my new roses in full flower. I have had those dregeas for 10 years, I have lots of photos and movies and good memories about them – time to try to something new :-)

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  24. Jeg har ikke fått lagt deg til i blogglisten min, men det skal jeg gjøre nå! Camellia er en av mine favorittplanter, men dessverre er de ikke herdige til å være ute i hagen her. Jeg synes de er så vakre og spesielt de fylte som den du har der. Jeg importerte mange fra England i fjor, blandt annet en sort som heter C. williamsii. De plantet jeg ut som et forsøk, så det er ennå for tidlig å si om de har overlevd. I dag er det -17 grader, men de ligger godt ghemt under 30 cm med snø. Time will show... :)

    Ha en fin dag!

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    1. Det finnes veldig mange fine C. williamsii, jeg ønsker meg en som heter ‘Debbie’, den er hardy ned til minus 15 og det tror jeg de fleste er, men med godt med snø rundt blir det jo ikke så kaldt akkurat rundt den. Krysser fingrene for dine!
      Mitt problem er at det finnes så utrolig mange planter jeg gjerne vil ha – og som jeg fint kan gro i hagen min her, men jeg har ikke plass! Jeg arvet en gammel camellia med huset, den er sikkert 50 år gammel, er stor som et tre og jeg klipper den ned hvert 4-5 år, flere sekker full, slik at den ikke skal ta for mye plass. Den har sikkert tusen blomster hvert år. Og med en ny baby camellia til, ‘Takanini’ som du så her har jeg i grunnen ikke plass til fler camelliaer…eller kanskje en til?
      Så forresten i dag at mine Trilliums er på vei opp av bakken, nå er våren i gang :-)

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    2. 'Debbie' er en av de jeg har plantet. Ja, det sto very hardy i beskrivelsen av den, så jeg våper i det lengste at det går bra. Jeg forstår veldig godt ditt dilemma, for sånn har vi det vel alle sammen som er glad i hage :)
      Menmed så liten plass som du gar så må det være vanskelig.
      50 år gammel? Utrolig! Heldige deg.
      Det høres nydelig ut, her må jeg vente til mai før jeg ser mine :)

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  25. Hi Helene
    Love that video from your January garden. The music is just wonderful and I was stunned, what is already blooming in your garden. My own garden is still covered with snow and it is freezing cold outside. Maybe that's why I catched a flue. But I guess compared with winters in Norway, this is nothing and I can completely understand that you are happy now, not to see much of snow lately.
    By the way: My second novel has been accepted by the publishing house and it will be out as an eBook in April or May *hurra*. But till then, there is much to do. How is your cookbook getting along?
    Have a great week
    Alex

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    1. Hi Alex, it has been very cold in London the last couple of weeks, well, cold to be London, dipping below freezing a couple of times but no snow on the ground still. Compared to Norway it’s spring-like :-)
      Congratulations on your second book, so great to hear! My cook book is still on my ‘virtual drawing board’ – i.e. in my head – and will probably be there for a long time, I haven’t got time! And with spring coming I will be too busy in the garden, but I would like to make one – at some point!
      Have a good week :-)

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  26. I love the snowdrops in the tea cups - lovely to see things starting to pop up now - it won't be long before your garden is a blaze of colour once more.

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    1. Thanks Elaine, those teacups seem popular with many visitors and I love them too!

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  27. I love that you are already feeling the garden spring rush. It sounds like you have big plans for this new section and I look forward to seeing how it goes. The snowdrops in the teacups are a fabulous idea. They're going to look amazing when they bloom.

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    1. Thanks Rosemary, my garden is an all year garden even though the tempo is a bit slower in the winter. But from now on I am stepping up a gear and I can’t wait for everything to burst into flower again.

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  28. I don't know how I missed this post, Helene, but with all the promising buds you have, you may have even more blooms by now! I always enjoy the videos you make and the music you select for them. I'm glad you posted the overhead view from your window--it really emphasizes what a little piece of Eden you have created in your neighborhood. I hope warmer weather is on its way for you.

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    1. It has been very cold the last couple of weeks here in London so things has kind of been ‘on hold’, but we seem to finally be getting milder weather this coming week. I think it will be nice for all the plants ready to open their flowers.

      When I sit in my chair in my garden I am not overlooked by anyone and I can’t see any other people, windows or gardens, I feel I could be anywhere – had it not been for all the hustle and bustle noises you get from a big city, hence why I always put music on my movies and not the original sound! I have thought of making one movie with some of the noise I get in my garden just to let you all see a different side of it all….might be a surprise to you all, but in terms of what I can see, yes from garden view I have my own piece of Eden :-)

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