Monday, 31 August 2015

EOMV – August in London

It’s the last week of the summer and over here in Britain we have Bank Holiday week-end and a Carnival to celebrate what was supposed to be a glorious summer now about to end. Well, here in London we have had an amazing June and first half of July, but August has been a month of contrasts as big as they come. A week ago we had what’s called a ‘Spanish Plume’, really hot air coming up from the continent and giving us a nice week-end of summer weather. I had 34 degrees C on the Saturday and 29 C on the Sunday in my garden. On the Monday the Spanish Plume had gone to pastures new and the temperature was a measly 16 degrees. Cold! All that was a week ago, this week-end is the big carnival do in Notting Hill, people are scantily dressed and dependant on warm, sunny weather. I have been to the Notting Hill Carnival a few times many years ago, these days I prefer my own garden for colour and drama! Sorry to say the weather was typical British Summer for all party goers this week-end, cold and cloudy yesterday, cold and raining pretty much all day today.

If you look at photos from my garden from a month ago you might get the impression that nothing has been done in a whole month – but it has! I am outside working here as often as I can, it’s just that I don’t work the same way as most people – things take a lot more time with me. In the garden I try to keep up with watering and taking care of the plants whilst making way for the new layout and the final hard landscaping.

In this corner things have moved on since last month, the Photinia root is out of the ground, some of the paving slabs have been lifted and bark is put down as far as I have managed to get the bed sorted. All the plants are still in pots, and none of these are going to be planted here anyway, these are all my daylilies that are finished flowering and just soaking up sun and nourishment before going dormant for the winter. I haven’t yet decided on final plants here, but there will definitely be some Goliath lilies in the corner.

This is the view from my backdoor, I bought a new birdbath and I hope this position under the plumtree will attract the smaller birds flying around here so I can take some nice photos from my backdoor. I foolishly assumed that because the birdbath was tucked under the plumtree, the woodpigeons would not dare to fly in and land in the birdbath – but I was wrong there. The birdbath had only been up and filled for about 30 minutes before one of the woodpigeons flew in and landed right in the bath. He had a good splash about so most of the water ended on the ground and then flew off again. So much for my plan of keeping the birdbath for the songbirds!

I am so happy I decided to tear off the Virginia Creeper on the wall, I have so many ideas for what to grow up that wall!! And I have decided to remove the rest of the vine, it will be more work than what I have already done as the rest is attached to a trellis – but it will be worth it. The only slight disappointment is that white cable pipe for the electrics to the shed – not much I can do about it as I really appreciate having light and electricity in the shed. But if anyone knows of paint or something similar that will cover a plastic pipe – in a good brick colour – please leave a comment and let me know, I guess anything would be better than the white colour it is now.

The next to do here in the back garden is to sort out the central bed, the paving slabs are lifted, but that’s all that’s done so far. And in the background you can see the remaining Virginia Creeper – that’s a LOT of bags to send to the Council’s composting service!

At this end of the garden not much has happened at all, the grass is a bit greener than last time thanks to some really heavy downpours – but there are also big, bare patches because I kept crates on the grass for a long time. Patchy grass is the least of my worries though because I am not going to keep the grass, it’s all going as soon as I can afford to pay someone to remove it.

And along the edge here I will have a flowerbed, this is a really sunny part of the garden so I think many of my daylilies will do well here. I need to speed up a bit getting the flowerbeds finished so I can get bark down wherever there isn’t paving....

....because I am fed up having a kitchen floor looking like this!
It wasn’t so bad earlier this summer, it was dry weather and the garden was parched and my cat didn’t leave a mark going in and out. The last few weeks we have had quite a lot of rain and flowerbeds without bark cover is like a magnet to my cat – why go to toilet in a bark filled flowerbed when you can do it in a freshly dug flowerbed with wet, loose, dirty soil that sticks to the paws and where it is sooooo much more fun digging around afterwards?!

This fuchsia was one I inherited, one of the few shrubs I still haven’t cut down or removed, but it is very straggly so a pruning would probably do it good. I have snipped a bit on the left side, just so I could manage to walk past it, next spring I might give cut it down by half to make it look better.

When I was taking photos yesterday and filming for today’s post, the weather kept changing all the time – from almost nice, although I didn’t see the sun properly all day yesterday  – to a couple of short downpours. Here is my Rosa 'Scepter'd Isle' just after a short shower.

'Scepter'd Isle' is still one of my favourite roses, it has a scent I like better than any other rose scent I have ever smelled, a heady, spicy, sweet scent – very difficult to describe. But smell is so subjective, many people have for example 'Gertrude Jekyll' as their number one, I just think it smells Turkish Delight and I don’t like the smell nor taste of Turkish Delight. Which rose do you think smell the best and why? Let the debate linger in the comments :-)

This 'End of Month Movie' is an invitation to come and have a dance in my garden, not exactly carnival rhythms, but you might be tempted to shake your dance foot a bit anyway. As always, my movies are absolutely best viewed in HD, in full screen – please adjust the settings in the bottom right corner.




The music was Prélude et Mazurka by Léo Delibes from the comic ballet 'Coppélia', a composer perhaps not among the most famous, although some of his work I am certain you have heard – like the Flower Duet. I chose this piece because it reminds me so much of Norwegian music from that period, 19th century. And I thought it would be a nice challenge to make yet another movie with music and pictures perfectly in sync....oh well, perfect was the idea, but I have still not had time to learn Adobe Premier so I am just using the free program Windows Moviemaker to edit the movie pieces and add the music, so it’s all done completely manually – trial and error. If one piece is too long for the music I just have to cut off a piece – got too short? Oh, well, import that piece again and start again. That’s how editing with Windows Moviemaker is. One day I WILL teach myself Adobe Premier – I will need MUCH more than a day mind you, but you get what I mean. I just need time to do it. In the mean time I am getting very familiar with Windows Moviemaker.

Before I end the post of August it’s just time to show you a vase I put together today. I chose my favourite jug with Redoute Rose painting and although this jug looks very sweet with roses, I decided not to fill it with roses yet again, after all I have posted two vases in a row with roses so, time for something else. But my August garden is not really filled with flowers suitable for cutting, and normally I would have loads of sunflowers to choose from at this time of year, but not this year.

It was Hibiscus syriacus 'Lady Stanley' who came to the rescue, helped by some greenery from Salix integra 'Hakuro Nishiki'. A simple vase filled with the two inherited plants I appreciate most in my new garden.

The leaves from Salix integra 'Hakuro Nishiki' are now variegated cream and green, next spring the tips will turn pink again but before then I have dark red stems to look forward to during the winter. 'Hakuro Nishiki' is certainly spreading all year interest :-)

I am linking this post to Helen at The Patient Gardener’s Weblog.

And since it is Monday I am also linking to In a Vase on a Monday with Cathy at Rambling in the Garden.

Until next time, take care.

45 comments:

  1. Anyone who gardens can see how much work you have done. It is beginning to look more and more like your style, and becoming as meticulously cared for as your previous garden. Your Scepter' Isle is really beautiful, I love the scent of that one also.

    I don't know what kind of paint stores are available in your country, but here we can take something to the paint store and get the color matched--so if you had a shard of the brick you could get that matched. Also paint that sticks to plastic is available here--and painting the pipe is a good idea, as it protects from UV rays so the pipe will last longer.

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    1. Thanks for your kind words, looking back at photos from May when I moved in I can see how much I have done already – but it kind of gets a bit lost in the day to day work.
      I try not to think too much about all the things left to doo though – if I did I would possibly not get anything done! One step at the time :-)

      We can also go to paint shops and get things scanned to colour match over here, although I think that’s only for oil paint and emulsion for use with a paintbrush. I have looked at spray paint for plastic, which also would be suitable for outdoor and won’t fade in the sun. I am still looking for a suitable colour….

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  2. Well, it looks to me like you've been very busy. And the kitty must be joining you in your adventures. ;-) We're having a "Spanish Plume" now. Or maybe it's a "Gulf Coast Plume." Just in time for the kids to go back to school. Your Hibiscus arrangement is lovely--the colors are complementary with the vase. Enjoy the transition to autumn!

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    1. Thanks Beth, I wouldn’t mind another Spanish Plume, it was sooooo cold today! I am not at all ready for autumn, don’t really know where summer has gone, and I can’t believe its September already.

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  3. Even with most of your garden still in pots, Helene, it outshines most gardens I see. You're right to take your time and get as much as you can right from the start and, as long as your plants continue to handle their temporary quarters well, there's no harm done. I have very few roses here but the one I loved best in my former garden for its scent was 'Angel Face.'

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    1. Thanks for your kind words Kris, not sure if I deserve them!
      The plants are much happier now with cooler temperatures and much more rain than we have seen for the last 6 months – it’s been fantastic, well, possibly people still on holiday haven’t been so keen but I have enjoyed not having to water my plants every evening!!

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  4. I am delighted that your kitchen floor has rainy August muddy footprints too - they are de rigeur this year. Clean floors are so last summer. Your garden looks wonderful as ever, Helene. Were those chairs photographed as a reminder to yourself to sit down and rest sometime?

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    1. Thanks Sarah, I understand we belong to the same club of kitchen floors!
      The chairs were taken out as a careful reminder to myself not to let the central flower bed I am about to create get too big – so big that it would be no room for chairs/visitors to sit down! I tend to make the flowerbeds as big as possible and in my old garden that left no room for visitors to sit down. Not that I have lots of visitors, but the occasional people drop by now and then and it would be nice to have at least room for a couple of extra seats – even though it means SLIGHTLY less plants :-)

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  5. Hej Helene!
    Ett otroligt jobb du gjort, det ser så fint ut. Det tar tid att planera en helt ny trädgård, men det kommer att bli så fint. Hinner du sitta ner och njuta också?
    Ha det fint!

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    1. Hei, det har ikke blitt mye tid til å sitte og sole seg nei, men jeg er ikke typen til å gjøre det – men jeg sitter ofte og bare ser…..ser på hagen og tenker på hva jeg kan gjøre her og der, og så plopper det ideer ned i hodet mitt :-)
      Jeg håper jeg kan få til noen av de mange ideene jeg har for hodet mitt er fullt av dem!

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  6. Hei Helene!

    Utrolig så varmt det har vært hos deg! 34 grader er jo fryktelig varmt. Her var vi oppe i 26 grader, og det er varmt det også. Morsomt bilde av fotavtrykkene til katten din :)
    Nydelige roser du har! 'Scepter'd Isle' er en flott Austinrose. Jeg har den jeg også, men min er ikke like flott som din.

    Ha en fin uke!

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    1. Hei Marit, ja her hos oss har det gått fra den ene ytterligheten til den andre, i dag var det 16 kalde grader. Brr! Min 'Scepter'd Isle' har jammen tatt sin tid å etablere seg, dette er 3. året jeg har den og jeg tror den har mye potensiale igjen (håper det!) før den er på topp. Når den blir satt fri og får vokse i jorden istedenfor i en potte så håper jeg den blir større, bedre og med enda flere blomster. Hvor lenge har du hatt din? David Austin roser tar noen år mer å etablere seg enn andre roser, det ser jeg mange som sier, men jeg kjøpte ‘Vildewe’ samtidig og den har etablert seg fortere og er nå en flott busk til tross for at den er i en mye mere skygge posisjon – så det gjelder viss ikke for alle.
      Ha en god helg!

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  7. Helene you made already so much progress in your garden! I enjoyed this film so much and saw you, followed by your cat waltzing in your garden with daylilies in your arms looking for their final spot to plant. Great! You have such a wonderful collection of plants, My eyes fell especially on the Fuchsia procumbens, which I also had once in my garden and the wonderful varieties of Heuchera......
    I won't talk about the muddy footprints on my floors, you know I have a sheepdog which loves to dig in the dirt.

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    1. Hello Janneke, glad you enjoyed the video, I smiled when I read your image of me waltzing in my garden with my daylilies – in my mind I am dancing in my garden every day – in real life I am afraid I don’t do much dancing anymore, a failed hip replacement and bad arthritis makes it difficult even to walk slowly, but there is nothing wrong with my imagination as you probably can see from my videos so I will go on dancing in my mind :-)

      Good to hear I am not alone having muddy paw prints, I didn’t really have that problem in my previous house as there was bark and gravel everywhere in the garden. I need to get sorted, my cat is not happy having his paws wiped, he keeps hiding from me now when I come with his towel and flannel – he knows what I am going to do. In my previous house it was much easier if he occasionally got dirty going to some neighbour garden, I just filled my bathtub with 10cm nice warm water and put my cat in. He was not afraid of the water as long as it didn’t go up to his belly. I would then wash his paws and let him walk around in the bathtub and then lift him out – clean. Unfortunately I don’t have a bathtub here in my new house, only a shower and I can’t drag him in there, he would get too scared so….wet towel and flannel it is for now.

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    2. Oh, by the way, I don’t have any Fuchsia procumbens….did you mean the miniature fuchsia I zoomed in on in the movie? It is called Fuchsia bacillaris 'Cottinghamii', pink flowers and black berries - so sweet and easy to grow – and soooo easy to take cuttings of too. I have given away many babies already, and long term plan is to make a Bonsai of one of the cuttings, but haven’t got around to do that yet. I can warmly recommend it if you got climate for it, hardy to -5C.

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  8. You have done so much in your garden since I last 'had a stroll round it' with you - well done you. You will know better know what is in it now and what you want to do to it and you have made huge inroads. The hibiscus looks so at home in this jug - such a pretty colour. I noticed a 'new' paint in B&Q recently that was designed to covered all sorts of surfaces - wood, plastic, brick, etc - particularly for use in the garden. I noticed some brighter colours particularly as I was thinking of painting some pots so I don't know if there is a 'brick' colour but I have even used little tester pots of emulsion on plant supports in the garden and that has lasted for two seasons now.

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    1. Can you remember what the new paint from B&Q was called? Their website search function is terrible so searching for products is not easy, would be interesting to see a paint I could apply with a brush for plastic – all I have found for outdoor plastic so far has been as a spray, with a very limited colour range, and obviously not mixable since it is on a spray. The brick wall in my garden is not the typical ‘Yellow London Brick’ colour we mostly see around here in East London, it is actually quite pink-brick, a nice backdrop for my plants, but impossible colour to match unless I get it mixed I think.

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  9. Your roses are simply beautiful; if they smell as good as they look, then that's an extra bonus. The hibiscus arrangement is lovely, too, and I love the jug! I can tell you have done so much in your garden--it's really coming together. If I were you, I'd lay something down on the grass for awhile to kill it all off-then you wouldn't have to pay anyone to remove it. I chuckled at the muddy footprints; every rainy day here means a parade of them:)

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    1. Thanks Rose, I try to be out in the garden as much as I can, even if it’s only for an hour here and an hour there – eventually I will get there :-) I have been thinking of covering up the grass to kill it, I started with a nice looking lawn when I moved in, but with the crates with plants killing a lot of it already I might manage to kill off the rest. There is just one, really healthy patch though that might be rather hard to dig up, even after being killed off – and I can’t wait 6 months for it to go soft, but I’ll start at the easy end and we’ll see!
      Seems like the muddy paw prints are a familiar sight to many!

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  10. Helene I am sorry to hear about august...here it cooled and now is hot with weekly rain but thankfully not daily...that may be coming soon. I adore the view out your back door and how the plants are looking like they are already planted against those amazing bright pink chairs cushions....and the rose, 'Scepter'd Isle', is so lovely with its pale pink color...a favorite rose color of mine. Adored the video and that vase is stunning with that beautiful hibiscus! Here's to more gardening in September.

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    1. Thanks Donna, after a fabulous June and first half of July it’s been a rather dismal summer here – I hope September is going to be better but we haven’t exactly started well, it’s cold here right now, with 16-18 degrees during the day – that’s cold for us in London. Doesn’t stop me from gardening though, it’s just a matter of having the right clothes on. Happy gardening!

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  11. Dear Helene, your garden looks so much more like YOUR garden already! Even though many plants are not planted into the ground yet, to my eyes it starts to take on the feeling that your old lovely garden had.
    Your 'Scepter'd Isle' rose is really gorgeous! Sooo... beautiful! I have one as well but my flowers are way less packed with petals in comparison to yours. I think the different climates are really bringing different sides out in the same rose variety.
    Warm regards,
    Christina

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    1. Hi Christina, I have thought about my old garden a lot lately – and I have come to the surprising conclusion that I don’t actually miss it. I thought I would, but I don’t. I think that is because I have almost all my plants here with me, and what’s left is just the hard landscaping and that’s not what made my garden. So no wonder you feel it’s beginning to look like my old garden, most of the plants here are from my old garden – now they just need a permanent space in the ground :-)
      Have a great week-end!

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  12. Dear Helene...
    here translation of my blog entry..
    Saffron flower tree planting of native tongues saffron....
    Then out of flowers of saffron tree...
    Flowers can be eaten raw or made salad...

    Thank you deign to my blog...
    Please encourage your friends...

    norazis2908.blogspot.com/2015/08/bunga-pokok-kunyit.html

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  13. Hi, Helene! I think you did a lot of work changing your garden. The first photo shows it well. I can imagine how you relax in this cozy spot I liked your video, and music is my favorite as well. I saw your dahlias, the red one with white small petals I remember it in your previous garden. Seems your cat liked starring in your films, he looks very happy.

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    1. Hi Nadezda, I thought you probably would like the video and music I chose!
      The Dahlia you remembered is called 'Mary Eveline' and they are absolutely huge in their pots now, they would really like to be planted, but I think I will have to just leave them to it for this season and plant when they have died down. My dahlias are all staying in the ground over the winter and I don’t need to lift them, makes for an easy life growing dahlias :-)

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  14. I love your first photo. It already looks like home (I think you've done all this in such a short time!) Your hibiscus is a real beauty. I'm going to look if that's available where I live.

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    1. Thanks Rosemary, to be honest I have done a lot more to the garden than I have done inside the house – and that’s just about the right priority too, isn't it? :-)
      I can always sort out things indoors when we get rain and cold in November.
      I hope you find your ‘Lady Stanley’, you could try this link, just copy and paste the link below – good luck!

      http://www.pepinierelemay.com:7779/portal/page?_pageid=237,214506,237_214576:237_214580&_dad=ptldb&_schema=PORTALDB&prodfromlisting=AAAHsdAAzAAAAULAAq

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  15. Hello Helene, I loved your movie. I enjoyed the music, and I am smitten with the star. Your cat seems to be quite an aristocrat. I believe he owns the garden and you must be the hired help! I also appreciated seeing the wonderful progress you are making in your garden. The video gave me a better understanding of how the parts flow together. Everything looks lovely!

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    1. Thanks Deb, great you liked the movie, I have so much fun making them and I have many more ideas what to make…if I can just manage to execute them…I am kind of new to filming so I am still not using all the different settings on the camcorder. Making the videos gives me a great record of how the garden develops, especially now that I am on my second garden!

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  16. I just love your red chairs on the patio - they give such a nice pop of color! The garden looks gorgeous already, and I am so impressed with how much work you've done. The rose is gorgeous! I think you can get a primer that will cover the plastic, and then you can paint on top of that primer with whatever exterior color you want, which might make it easier for color matching. I think I did that when I painted my rain barrel red to match the house in my old garden. By using primer, I was able to then just use leftover house paint so it matched exactly.

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    1. Hi Indie, yes I have thought of a primer too, must sit down one evening and look for a good outdoor one, the one I have here and used for MDF is no good outdoors.
      If you only have ONE David Austin rose in your garden, 'Scepter'd Isle' is certainly the one to have – it’s got everything you need in a rose!

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  17. Helene, I can see your garden already taking shape, it all just takes time doesn't it. I tend to rush things, probably to do with my age, lets face it time becomes more precious as we get older. Enjoyed your movie and especially the main star. Hope we get an Indian Summer.

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    1. Thanks Alistair, an Indian Summer would be nice, mind you, it’s not bad down here right now, around 20 degrees at daytime and 12-14 degrees at night – I am happy with that for September :-)
      I wish I could get the hard landscaping sorted a bit quicker so I can start to plant, but I can’t afford to pay anyone to help so it just has to take as long as it takes. Fortunately the plants will be happier in pots as we move into the cooler and wetter seasons.

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  18. Hello Helene, everything is so beautiful!!! I will take cold and cloudy...here in Montreal, Canada, it has been very, very hot and humid. :)

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    1. Hello Linda, seems like the summer weather has been rather unevenly spread out this year, we had very hot weather in June and first part of July instead. A bit more even for all of us would have made plants and gardeners more happy I think :-)

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  19. I love the view from your back door Helene - the perfect spot for the bird bath I think but sadly the wood pigeons agree too!
    It amazes me just how much you get done between posts. I was going to suggest priming the plastic but note it has been suggested already. I think you can buy textured stone effect spray paint suitable for out door use too. You may have better luck getting a colour match that way.
    I am very familiar with those muddy paw prints!

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    1. Thanks Angie, I hope I will get many nice photos through the window of my backdoor, perhaps I can even justify getting a zoom lens for my camera now (perhaps a second hand as they are incredibly expensive!) I am also planning to hang up a birdfeeder near the plumtree so I can get a better shot at birds – I had no view of the garden from any window at my old place so this is luxury, being able to plan where I want to see the birds!
      I am going to look into a good primer for outdoor, I saw the textured stone effect spray paint when looking for paint, not sure if they are for outdoor use as it didn’t say, so need to do more research I think, perhaps there are several manufacturers of them.

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  20. In the final weeks of August we had had hot humid weather and not a drop of rain for weeks. The thermometer was at 30-34 degrees most days, but with the humidity it felt more like it was in the 40s. Finally we have had some rain, but there is no break from the humidity.
    You have come for far with your garden, it is amazing. I have to wonder if you might want to remove a row of pavers in front of the wood fence. Perhaps it is the photos, but it looks far more narrow than your old beds. Your pink rose and Rose of Sharon are just gorgeous!

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    1. Hi Jennifer, you are right, the beds here are still narrower than in my old garden, I am struggling to come up with a good design of the hard landscaping and that’s why I haven’t planted a single plant yet! I feel I can’t remove another row of paving along that left side – from the backdoor to the birdbath, as that would make it awkward to get out of the door, and it looks good to have a straight line like now…..but I feel I have too much paving and not enough beds!

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  21. Grass can be so pesky to get rid of, I hope it is not the stoloniferous stuff. The wall looks great without the vines. I would like to have more hardscaping in my garden, so I rather envy all the pavers. And the Hakuro Nishiki that has made a tree, mine is a small bush that gets overtaken by fireweed and doesn't seem to get bigger. New gardens are a lot of work, but yours seems to be coming along nicely.

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    1. I have had a go at some of the grass, turns out it wasn’t bad to get up at all. The garden has at some point been paved all over, and then someone has just removed some of the paving slabs, poured an inch of soil onto the sand and put grass seed on. The turf comes off quite easy, only stubborn pieces are where roots from surrounding shrubs have grown into the grass. I have removed about ¼ and I think I will be able to do the rest, it just takes time – sitting on my gardening stool and lifting it, or even sitting on the ground doing it takes time, as I am not very good at standing up for a long time :-)

      Finding ‘Hakuro Nishiki’ in my new garden was a great surprise, definitely a keep, along with the two huge ceanothus’ and Hibiscus syriacus 'Lady Stanley', the apple and the plum tree, and two roses and a fuchsia – not sure if I will be keeping any more.

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  22. Looking back at your July photos you can see that quite a bit has been done in the intervening month. Just the way you have laid out your plants has given the garden a sense of your style starting to emerge.

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    1. Thanks, slowly, slowly getting there :-)
      I am currently busy removing grass, a boring task but necessary so I can get the hard landscaping finished – you can see how it is progressing on the GBBD post for September and I hope it will be done by the EOMV post on the last day of September.

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