Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Autumn flowers in my new garden

Yesterday the weather threw at us just about anything you can think of apart from snow and hail - just like the weather in August and September has been really. Taking photos was a real challenge, it started out just fine after the morning showers, but as the day went on, the wind increased and I finally had to give up any more close-ups - so some of the photos were taken today in a much less windy and more sunny garden. But tomorrow it will be back to more severe rain and more wind. Autumn has really started!

The garden in bleak sunshine after the morning rain had disappeared yesterday. I have started to remove the grass, not as difficult as I had feared since those who put it down made such a bad job at it!

At some point in the past the whole garden was paved, then someone removed some of the slabs and poured an inch of soil down and scattered grass seeds. I am sitting on my garden stool or just on the ground and simply lifting that inch of grass off, down to the bed of sand under it. Only when there are roots entangled in the grass is it a bit tricky to remove.

I am laying out the paving slabs as I remove grass, just to get a feel of where I want path and where I want beds – I still think there are too many slabs and not enough space for plants so I need to ponder a bit more about the layout. It has to be practical to move around even in the summer when the flowerbeds are filled to the rim, but there is no point having lots of bare slabs where no one will walk when I can fill the space with more plants! I want to get the hard landscaping right the first time around so I am taking my time with this.

Remember I was complaining about how hard my soil was when I moved in, in May? It was like hitting concrete every time I was trying to dig! I have often heard that you should try to roll a ball of soil to see how high content of clay you have and I tried this several times in my previous garden but I could never make a proper ball of that nice, crumbly soil I had. Here though I have no problem making a ball, in fact – if I had access to a potter’s wheel I think I could almost make a half decent plant pot out of this!

Every time I stick the spade in the ground, a bit deeper than the first inch or so, this is what sticks to the spade – big lumps of almost pure London clay. It’s good for all my roses, they will love the clay soil, and so will a lot of the other of my plants. The high pH will not be so welcome for my acid loving plants though so I am spreading pine bark in all the beds here like I did in my previous garden, over time it will help to both lower the pH and make the soil looser and less troubled by the clay. It will take years though. Patience, patience.

For now I am just happy I am able to get my spade in, it was almost impossible back in May and June! The garden just needed some rain, and in August we had some very welcome days of rain and we have had some in September too, making it possible to get a spade through the surface.

Phew, for a while I thought I would have to get help in for the planting when that time comes, this garden should have come with a poster: ‘Just Add Water’ – but as long as the soil is topped up it’s actually fine :-) (Photo ‘borrowed’ via Google)

All the work in the garden and continued removal of shrubs and grass ends up here, I must be a top contributor to the Council’s Green Waste Programme by now and they come and pick it up whenever I ask. I wonder if I can get some free compost back as a reward if I ask nicely??

In my temporary kitchen garden all the cherry tomatoes are gone, it has been a dismal summer for tomatoes as the second half has been so cold , but I have eaten tomatoes every day for nearly 2 months and not bought a single one so I suppose it could have been worse. I had a lot more tomatoes last year though. What are left are the peppers and I don’t think I will repeat that experiment next year.

I bought 3 plants for £5.75 back in early spring. One plant died in June, not sure why but after flowering it simply just died. The other two are fine, one is planted in a large pot, the other in a deep window box, but apart from that they have had the exact same conditions and treatment. This is the one in the large pot, still in flower with some tiny peppers developed. I don’t think any of these will develop into anything edible before it gets too cold.

But this is a bit more promising, I have 4 green peppers the size they are supposed to be, but they are not ripe yet. They will turn red, orange or yellow, I am not sure which this is as I had a mix of the 3. I have fed them since arrival early May and made sure they got as much sun as possible and that nothing was nibbling them. Considering I can buy 2 red, pointed peppers the same size as these in Tesco for £1.50 I don’t think I will be doing this again! But I hope they will ripen so at least I get to eat these 4, after having taken care of them for over 4 months already – expensive peppers!

As for flowers in the kitchen garden, yes I do have some beautiful ones – can you guess what they are? Basil! This is Lime Basil, way too strong flavoured for my liking so I won’t have it again, but I was just testing it out, I grow basil mainly as a companion to my tomatoes as that means no pests on the tomatoes, but I would like to find a basil I can eat fresh as well, even the Genovese Basil Plant I bought tastes a LOT stronger than the ones in supermarkets, even though it supposedly is the same.

Let’s move to some more familiar flowers, here’s the miniature rose ‘Abigail’ which is rather promising. It was new last autumn so still in infancy, it will be interesting to see what it will look like in a few years time.

‘Ingrid Bergman’ is an amazing rose, just waiting to get a space in the ground.

And here is my favourite rose, ‘Scepter d’Isle’.

I am not sure if I have ever showed my miniature buddleia? I have had it for a few years, but it flowers VERY late, and I am usually showing off sunflowers and dahlias at this time of year so this one gets shoved in the background. Being an evergreen (in my garden at least) it’s nice to have all year interest, but it really takes its time when it comes to flowering. It’s a nice size though, in my container it is only about 60cm tall and wide, container included, in the ground under ideal conditions it can be up to 1m tall and wide.

Buddleia ‘Blue Chip’ is meant to flower all summer, but mine never flowers until late August or September, but then it can go on until long after Christmas. For a small garden this is a much more manageable buddleia than the huge monsters we normally see.

Another plant I am not sure if I have showed before is Bacopa Abunda ‘Colossal White’, I have them in a large window box and they just keep on flowering.

There are so many plants in flower right now I am not sure what to show you....primulas? I have LOTS, here are a few. Most of them are a result of me splitting up older plants and potting on and even though I keep giving away plants every time I get a chance I still have lots and lots.

I thought I would make a new count of plants now that summer is over, as I still haven’t planted a single plant yet in my new garden and the fight to keep them alive is certainly not over yet just because it rains a bit more. So I counted all the Primulas, and I have 28. Then I counted all the cyclamens – 21 and the Hellebores, 34 including 1st and 2nd year seedlings. Then I just HAD to count ALL my pots as I had no idea really how many I had left, just that I had lost a lot since moving in here in May. I counted all pots and containers including the seedlings and cuttings and got 572 pots. When I moved I had almost 700 so that means I have lost almost 130. But I have given away probably around 20, and I lost quite a few hellebores and fuchsias to a sudden attack of vine weevils, but I managed to stop that with nematodes. Oh, and I lost 2 trays of 1st year Lilium regale seedlings, I took my eyes off them for a little while and they just dried up in the heat of June. That was 50 pots. It has been hard to have so many plants in pots and water them all by hand. Ideally I would have liked to stick my finger in each pot before I watered it to see if it needed water or not, but that’s not really practical! Can you just imagine bending down and sticking your finger into 700 pots every evening?? As a result, some plants got too much water and some didn’t get enough. Drowning plants is just as bad for them as letting them get too dry.

I have always made cuttings, seedlings and divisions, I am not sure WHY I keep doing it because I usually end up giving the plants away, but it is so satisfying to see that I am able to propagate so many different types of plants so I just have to have a go at it!

My latest success is these tiny babies. 2 years ago I planted 9 berries from my Taxus baccata 'Fastigiata Robusta', a slim, slow growing yew bush I had in my previous garden. I got the Taxus in 2004 and it grew from a 20cm tiny plant to a 5’5 tall, beautiful column. Some years I had berries, some not. In summer 2013 I planted the berries and hoped it would lead to something. Patience is a virtue! Nothing happened for 2 whole years, but I was kind of prepared for that, tree seeds often need 2 winter’s stratification before they germinate. But here they are - 6 seedlings from the 9 berries. There is no rush to find them a home in the garden just yet, it will take MANY years for them to become too big for an ordinary pot. Aren’t they cute?

But here on my shelves I have lots longing to get into the ground, my goodness I have a lot of digging in front of me before everything is in the ground! All the pots here are spring bulbs: snowdrops, crocuses, Iris reticulate, hyacinths, mousplants, trilliums and Arisaema and most of them are going in between the plants in the shade garden and on the edge of the shade garden. Sorry about the fuchsia out of focus in the foreground, it was soooo windy when I took this photo it was impossible to get a good shot – at least the shelf stood still while I took the picture!

Let me just also show you that I am going to replace the lost lily seedlings – here are nice, fat seedpods only a few weeks from being ready to harvest. All I do is to leave a few of the last lilies every year and they will produce seeds for me. In these 10 pods there are probably thousands of seeds, many more than I am going to plant. If you want any seeds let me know, I am happy to send in the post – but only within UK. The seeds must be sown straight away and left outside for the winter. No need for a greenhouse or taking them indoor, these are hardy seed, you just sow them and leave them (but make sure the seedlings get enough water in the summer!), and 4 years later you have flowering lilies :-)

More flowers? I haven’t got as many dahlias as I normally have at this time of year, I don’t think they are very impressed with life in pots and containers! I get a lot of leaves but not much flowers and I hope that’s simply due to overcrowded pots. Next year they will all be able to stretch out in the ground and be happier :-)

My series of Aristo pelargoniums are growing up, if they survive the winter outside they will be much bigger next year – fingers crossed for a mild winter. I have taken cuttings of all 5 of them just in case, but the cuttings will have to stay outside too. My oldest pelargoniums have spent 4 years outside so I am not that worried but they are most vulnerable the first winter.

These pelargoniums are also new this year, I absolutely adore the Appleblossom variety and have taken some cuttings of these too, even though I have 5 of them already. Yes I know, I take too many cuttings, but at least I can give them away. Anyone visiting my house will always leave with a carrier bag of plants :-)

Here is a plant that was given to me just a few weeks ago in a plant swap, it was rather sad after having been growing in a tiny nursery pot since probably early spring. Cardinal Vine has many names, Latin name is Ipomoea sloteri and it can apparently grow to 2m tall and wide. I have given it a container since I don’t really know how big it will be in my garden, and it grew from one single tiny stalk and a few leaves to this in a month. The flowers only last for a day, but as long as you have plenty of buds then that’s OK. It’s just a shame there are no hummingbirds here in UK to come and feed on the flowers, cause that’s what they are made for :-)

Out in the front garden it is still the fuchsias that dominates, they love the cooler weather we now have.

I have simply just left them all here and I don’t tend to them at all, no deadheading, no fertiliser, all I do is give them water. They look amazingly well on a distance, but they are all sick – all infected with Fuchsia Gall Mite.

You wouldn’t think there was anything wrong with this plant? Well, it has the early signs too, only the miniatures are free of Fuchsia Gall Mite damage.

And this is how it looks at first, deformed leaves and flowers and eventually the whole plant will look like this and then the plant will die. I am going to write a separate article about this topic later in the year and tell you all what I intend to do, at the moment I am just keeping an eye on those few that seems to be without infection. Fortunately it doesn’t spread to any other plants, Fuchsia Gall Mite only attacks fuchsias.

While we are here in the front garden – here is a corner I haven’t showed you before, occupied by a huge pyracantha with entwined blackberries. This is a rather shady corner during the day, with sunshine until around 1pm and shade afterwards. I think it would be a good place to grow raspberries, although I have yet to find a place for my magnolia (standing here in the red container) so perhaps I will have to plant it here, even though it won’t be an ideal place for it.

Back in the garden I just want to show you Hibiscus syriacus 'Lady Stanley' – it’s been flowering for 2 months and there are still lots of buds.

I think this variety is one of the prettiest, but I know the flowers can be much bigger so I am going to try pruning it and see if I get bigger but fewer flowers next year.

Alstroemeria 'Dandy Candy' is still flowering, I haven’t got a sibling for it yet but I hope to get one soon :-)

And another rose, 'Gertrude Jekyll' has been giving me the odd flower lately, it is the first year I have it so I am not expecting too much.

The garden looks so peaceful in the pale sunshine, you can’t see how windy it is!!

Finally, I made a vase yesterday of roses and dahlias – rather daring colours with white and zingy pinks, but without the usual supply of sunflowers and much less dahlias than normal I struggled a bit to find flowers to put in a vase that wasn’t just roses. But here are: an inherited, unnamed pink rose together with the pristine white 'Susan Williams-Ellis'. The dahlias are 'Darkarin' and 'Mary Eveline' and the greenery is Hosta 'Patriot'. If you look closely you will also find the flower stalks from Heuchera 'Fire Alarm'. 

And here is my vase for this post, zingy colours on a blustery autumn day :-)

I am linking my posts to Carol at May Dreams Gardens, please visit her for many more Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day posts.

I am also linking my post to In a Vase on a Monday with Cathy at Rambling in the Garden.

That’s it for this time, next post will be the last day of the month where I hopefully will have another video from the garden for you. Until next time, take care.

62 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness, that clay soil will be a challenge. It's good that the grass isn't too difficult to move because that can be an awful job too. But even in pots your plants are still providing a lot of colour. I kept about a hundred pots going for three years between gardens, it is possible if not ideal.

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    1. I am no stranger to container gardening from my previous garden, I used to keep around 400 pots and containers at any given point – even though I always kept saying I was going to reduce that number :-) Here in my new garden I got no excuse for keeping too many plants in pots, there should be enough space in the ground for them all.

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  2. ... so enjoyed the wonderful tour through your garden ... time is upe for that here in Alberta ... temps are dropping to+2 at night ... Love, cat.

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    1. Ahh, I am glad we have such long springs and autumns here in London, makes the winter really short :-)

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  3. Wow, your new garden is coming right along, regardless of soil challenges. The roses and the buddleia are especially striking. Happy Bloom Day!

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    1. Thanks Dorothy, Happy GBBD to you too!

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  4. You continue to make good progress, Helene - just reading your post makes me tired so I can only imagine how you feel at the end of a day spent in the garden. Making decisions about where to place your plants has got to be a major effort. Your flowers continue to impress, especially those gorgeous roses. I'm sorry you're still struggling with fuchsia gall - it's a problem here too (so I guess it's a good thing I've sworn off fuchsias due to our water restrictions). Your Monday vase is beautiful. Happy GBBD!

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    1. I have heard that fuchsia gall mite is a major problem in southern parts of US, over here it is rather new and many people haven’t even heard of it. I think a lot of gardeners have fuchsia gall mite on their fuchsias, they just don’t know it because they have no idea what to look for – just like I didn’t in the beginning.

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  5. Dear Helene, gosh, you have soooo... many lovely plants growing in your garden! I don't know how you are able to water as many pots as you do. I would sulk if I had to do it every day. By the end of summer - which means right now - I am so fed up with watering my containers (and I have way less than you do!), I always want to reduce the number of plants that I grow in pots.
    'Septer'd Isle' if one of my favorite roses as well. I also love your 'Ingrid Bergman', it is such an elegant red rose.
    I truly admire all of your pelargoniums. I have a few as well, but they don't look very good right now. Lots of woodsy stems and they don't flower much anymore. Somehow yours seems to do so much better. Any secrets in terms of plant care how you treat them?
    Wishing you a lovely rest of the week. I can't wait to see what progress you have been making comes next GBBD :-)!
    Warm regards,
    Christina

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    1. Hi Christina, not sure if I have any tips on growing pelargoniums except treating them mean – at least I do that, I don’t repot them until they are truly pot bound, I don’t water them until they REALLY need water, I don’t give them much fertiliser either, they usually just get a yearly dose of slow-release, that’s all. Some of my older ones are also quite woody, but I prune them regularly, perhaps 3-4 times a year, the new growth covers some of the old wood. Pelargoniums grow all year round and never go into dormancy, with the mild climate we have here in London I can grow them outside, and hope we don’t get a winter again like 2009/10 :-)

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  6. Wow, those peppers and roses and dahlias are amazing! (Well, everything about your garden, no matter where you're located, is amazing.) You're very talented with the hardscapes, Helene. I need to add more of that, but I think that will have to wait until my next garden because we don't want to pump too much more $$ and effort into this garden before we move. I'm trying to find economical ways to divide and rearrange plants to make it look good enough to sell. Your successful move is giving me inspiration. Happy GBBD! (Love the floral arrangement!)

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    1. Thanks for your kind words Beth, not sure if I deserve that :-) I am glad you feel inspired about moving though, it was a huge thing to do and I thought about if for many years and actively searched for a new place for 2 years. I think this long period before moving out helped me come to terms with leaving my garden, I don’t miss it at all – I am just a bit curious to what it looks like :-) But of course, I took most of my garden with me, you two might not be able to do that so preparing cuttings and division before selling up might be even more important for you.

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  7. Beautiful! Love all the Roses ... and the Dahlias ....and the list goes on and on!
    Glad you included some vegetable photos, too!

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    1. Thanks Lea, I have never been big in the veg department, and next year I think I will stick to tomatoes – and I will include strawberries again now that I have room for them – but no more peppers I think!

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  8. Your vase is pretty, Helene, I liked that you added hosta leaves to flowers, good idea! The garden in ' pale sunshine' looks so peaceful and cozy. I laughed reading that you're a top contributor and I think the Council must give you compost for free. Love your rose ‘Scepter d’Isle’!

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    1. I wish I could get compost back for free Nadezda, but I don’t think I can :-)
      I have asked before and the answer was no. In other boroughs they give the compost back to allotment holders, but where I live it goes to the councils own projects so it is used in parks and wherever they maintain green areas. I am just happy my garden waste can be useful, and gets picked up for free :-)

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  9. Hei Helene

    Så mye fint du stadig har i hagen din! Forelsket meg helt i 'Abigail' ♡

    Det må være uvanlig at Buddleia er så lav hos deg med det milde klimaet? Jeg har en hvit som jeg har sådd selv, og den er snart 2 meter. Håper på en mild vinter, for ellers fryser de helt ned her.

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    1. Jeg tror Abigail kommer til å bli en flott rose når den får noen år på seg, den er en miniatyr så den blir ikke stor, men den får få en fin plass på første rad :-)
      Min buddleia er også en miniatyr, eller dvergplante, derfor er den så liten, det finnes mange av dem, en hel serie heter Buzz, de er litt større enn min ‘Blue Chip’, men alle dverg buddleia har de samme egenskapene at de ikke sprer seg rundt om i resten av hagen for frøene er sterile – veldig greit :-)
      Jeg prøver fortsatt å bli kvitt noen av Buddleja davidii som jeg fant i hagen her da jeg flyttet inn, har kuttet ned mange, men har ennå ikke fått gravd ut røttene så de gror – som ugress!

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  10. You have a beautiful garden!

    Thanks for sharing this post and giving me the idea to also participate!

    I just started a new blog last week about gardening and crafting. You are always welcome visit if you want.

    Greetings, Sofie
    http://sofies-succulent-beads.blogspot.be/2015/09/garden-bloggers-bloom-day-september-2015.html

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    1. Hello Sofie and welcome to my blog :-)

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  11. I wish we could combine your clay with my sand and rocks, mix, divide and get decent soil for both gardens!
    I love your roses, Helen! And what great peppers you have!

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    1. Sounds like a perfect soil for both of us!
      I know mine is going to be good after some years of compost, bark and letting the worms do what they do best – that’s what I did in my old garden – I just need to have patience :-)

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  12. That's beautiful! Your fuchsias always make me so amazed. Love to see all flowers there.

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    1. Thanks Endah, I am afraid all is not well in the fuchsia garden, but I hope to save some of them.

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  13. Hej Helene!
    Så otroligt många fina växter, du har. Det tar aldrig slut, det är bara fler och fler skönheter. Den lilla Buddlejan är förtjusande. Är imponerad av att du väntar med att plantera tills du är klar med hur du vill ha det.
    Ha det fint!
    Marika

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    1. Hei Marika, jeg prøver å være fornuftig og ikke plante ennå, men det er veldig fristende å starte likevel! Jeg er snart klar for å plante litt i skyggehagen – men resten må nok vente til alt gresset er tatt ut.
      Jeg må innrømme at det å drive hagearbeid i London er veldig morsomt og interessant – det er billigere planter enn i Norge og jeg kan dyrke ting man bare kunne drømme om i Norge. Lett å bli ‘plantaholic’ så derfor har jeg så mange planter – og flere blir det nok!

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  14. Your pot ghetto is amazing, you must have dug a lot of plants and bulbs from your former garden. It must be tempting to take all your favorite plants, and what a lot of digging. I hope the clay will be softened up for all that planting, and that the grass is not one of those nasty stoloniferous ones that come back from little pieces. I fight a lot of nasty grass. Your Ingrid Bergman rose is such a lovely red. I like your collar Dahlia Mary Eveline, it is so cute and looks great with the pink and white flowers. I hadn't thought of using Hosta for a foliage, the variegation looks great in a vase. Hugs from the PNW, Hannah

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    1. Hello Hannah, lifting the grass here has proved not that difficult at all, whether it grows back remains to be seen but I don’t think it will.
      As for my plant collection, yes I spent 4 months lifting plants and bulbs in my garden - never mind packing up my house, that was less important :-) I lifted everything I could, but had to leave some larger shrubs and 3 trees. I had a lot of plants in pots already as moving was something I had planned for a long time, but still….I did plant a LOT of bulbs and plants in the spring!

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  15. Things are definitely beginning to take shape Helene but it looks as if you still have your work cut out. Looking on the bright side if every time you plant out you incorporate some compost and more importantly sharp grit into your soil it should soon start to change its nature and the clay itself, which will hold onto nutrients and moisture, makes a good base to work from.

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    1. Hello Rick, yes I am not so despondent about the soil anymore, this is the same kind of soil I had in my previous garden when I first started out 14 years ago – no surprise really, I have only moved 2.3 miles and the whole area has the same type of soil. This is the kind of soil you get in a garden around here that hasn’t been ‘gardened’ – I just need to do what I did in my previous garden and it will be fine. In 5 years’ time or so :-)

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  16. I too had soil like yours! Courage, you'll soon get it just right for your plants. I had 2 cm compost delivered, and now that it has been spread the worms are doing their job. I put in a lot a few years back, but after the very heavy rains a couple of winters back, I felt it was ready for more. Love the vase of flowers.

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    1. Yes, I had the same kind of soil in my previous garden too when I first started out there 14 years ago, and although it took time to get it right, I had an absolutely lovely soil there which I sooooo miss now. I just need to make sure it doesn’t dry out again next spring and summer, as the soil won’t get sorted by then and by watering the beds at least I will be able to dig holes to plant. That was not possible back in June!

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  17. I had to smile at your pot and plant count - not quite such a salutary lesson as counting plant labels from lost plants...! It is also interesting to continue reading about your journey creating your new garden. Lovely vase - the SW-E rose is gorgeous and that bicoloured dahlia is dazzling! Thanks for sharing

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    1. Thanks, I know it sound like an awful lot of plants lost, but I did kind of prepare myself for some loss rather than spending even more time being even more vigilant when watering. I haven’t lost any important plant, nothing substantial or expensive. And the huge, 3m magnolia in a container is still alive :-)

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  18. I'm amazed at how many pots you have, Helene, and how healthy and happy all of the plants in them are! You are so patient and dedicated to keep them all looking so good. I'm envious of the 'Blue Chip' Buddleia--I've had three, all planted in rich soil, and they all died:( But I can grow Cardinal vine--be careful where you plant that one, because it has taken over one part of my garden! Your roses are stunning, and well, everything looks lovely--I always enjoy seeing the progress you are making.

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    1. Sorry to hear about your Blue Chip, they should take any moist, well drained garden soil – perhaps you could try one in a container using John Innes 3?
      My Cardinal vine was a plant swap, I did look it up online so I am aware it can be a real thug! I am not sure if it will survive the winter here, depends on what kind of winter we get, some years we have no frost at all so then it would survive. If it grows out of this container it will get a bigger on – I am not letting it free into the garden :-)

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  19. Let's hope you don't get too much rain. We have clay soil on our plot, The main problem is that when it is to dry it is as hard as concrete and when it is too wet it is very sticky and unworkable. It is very fertile. Are those primroses flowering now?

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    1. London never gets too much rain Sue, it might rain too much in one day or in one week, but overall we have not enough rain and I think keeping my clay soil moist will be the challenge for me. I am adding compost and bark already though, so now it’s up to the worms to do their deed!
      The primroses have been flowering for a while, some the whole summer (my white Primula vulgaris flowers all year round) – the photographs were taken on the 14th September.

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  20. I applaud your dedication to those pots Helene. You've done remarkably well in keeping so many of them going.
    You are doing everything in the correct order and I do wonder just how many of us would be following your example. Your roses are as usual gorgeous I love the little miniature rose - very pretty colouring on it's petals.
    Keep up the good work!

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    1. Thanks Angie, I am just itching to start planting and have to rein myself in! But soon I am ready for some planting so won’t be long for some of the pots at least. I will try to get the roses in soon as they really need to get planted. And the poor magnolia is suffering in the pot, not really looking forward to digging the hole for that!

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  21. Still 572 pots to go Helene, you have to put them all in that clay soil..... In the past we were living on heavy clay soil, I still remember how difficult it was to work that soil. I'm amazed that even your primroses are still flowering now, you really must have very green fingers, for everything is doing so well. Love to be able to share the experience of the progress in your garden.

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    1. Thanks Janneke, every year I get surprised by people commenting on my primroses flowering in the autumn – doesn’t everyone’s primroses do that? I thought all Primula vulgaris flowered all winter, from autumn to June or so – that’s what they all do in my garden, every year. They have just started flowering again after the summer dormancy and will go on all winter until June again, that’s what they do - if I keep deadheading them :-)

      I am not looking forward to planting in this heavy soil, I will be using a lot of water to loosen up the soil but it will still be hard work I guess. Fine for the smaller pots but I have lots of 3-5L pots and many 10-15L too and that takes some digging to make a good size planting hole. I will still be planting by the time we get to spring I think!

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  22. My goodness Helene so many flowers happily blooming especially the roses...just beautiful. I have clay similar to yours and lots of rain and harsh winter. It makes for some unhappy roses for me so I have to be careful because the clay stays too wet. The wet clay is one reason I had to switch to more native clay loving plants. You still have so many plants left which is so much work to keep them alive, and still lots of work ahead of you. Here I have about 6 weeks where I can still work in the garden and finally get a few chores done before the snow flies.

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    1. I think your winter makes the clay soil you have worse for the plants than in my garden – I have hardly ever any frost at all, and if there is frost it will only be on the surface for a day or two or so and not affect plants in the ground. The winters here can hardly be called harsh :-) All my soil need is a lot of organic material and time – just like I did in my previous garden, in the mean time I will need a lot of elbow grease to get the plants in the ground!

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  23. Helene, I love your rose/dahlia vase! And you have so many wonderful bloomers. Why do you keep propagating plants? Because it is in your blood! I had to smile at your lump of clay. My soil looks a lot like that, though in many areas of my garden it is more red than gray. And yes, you could use it for making pots. I went to a festival not long ago, and a woman was there showing her wonderful hand made pots. She said she used local clay, and told me I could use clay right out of the garden.

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    1. I believe you regarding the clay, I haven’t used a potter’s wheel for many, many years, but I think I still remember how to, it would have been fun to make my own clay pots from the garden clay! Would have needed to borrow a kiln somewhere too then, oh well, pottery is a hobby I stopped doing long time ago, swapped it for creative work on my computer instead :-)

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    2. This lady made the pots starting by making coils of clay, just like we used to do in grammar school. No potters wheel needed! She smoothed the pots till they had a wonderful sheen and used special tools for scraping, carving and embossing. She did not fire them. Obviously, these were decorative pots, not for cooking!

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  24. First Summer in the new garden and you have so very much to show Helene. I am so used to you talking of the good weather in London its strange to hear of the poor late Summer weather, I wonder if you will still manage to surprise us with permanent blooming Fuchsias though.

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    1. This summer has been very much a contrast between the amazing weather we had in May, June and beginning of July, and rather cool weather in August and September. Winter flowering fuchsias is down to temperatures from now on, but most of my fuchsias are destined for the compost heap as they are infested with fuchsia gall mite so it will be just the miniatures to see in bloom anyway! I will write a post about this later in the year, still trying to get clear facts about this topic, but FGM is rather new here in UK and I can’t get clear cut answers to what I should do – still doing my research.

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    2. Helene, pests and diseases, grrr. Crocosmia, as you suggested can be affected by red spider mite or thrips. I also noticed that they can be struck with a disease gladiolus rust. You may well have seen this.
      http://www.alamy.com/stock-photo-crocosmia-leaf-with-gladiolus-rust-uromyces-transversalis-80476339.html

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    3. Yes, I have always thought it was more some sort of rust I had, although it didn’t really look like any of the pictures I had seen as I didn’t get any big blobs of rust, just an orange coating and wilting and dying leaves – kind of a mixture of symptoms of rust and spider mites :-)
      Oh well, I think I will have another go at some point, but the pots I have here are waiting to be binned along with some other plants that hasn’t survived the house move.

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  25. Too bad you have so much clay. I used to have terrible clay, and now I have clay mixed with rocks. Either way I garden a lot with a pick-axe, especially as we haven't had hardly any rain this summer to soften up the soil. Wow, that would be a challenge watering so many pots! You have so many lovely plants and blooms, though. Your garden is looking so nice! I love the cardinal vine and those dahlias! How great you do so much propagating - I'm sure so many people appreciate those gifts of gorgeous plants!

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    1. I am lucky having no water meter here in my new house, I pay a fixed water charge. I have used water to loosen up the soil and will do so before planting if I need to, but it’s a lot better every time it has rained so I think I need to just plant what I can every time it has rained enough. Pick-axe gardening is not for me I think! Cardinal vine is new this year so it will interesting to see if it survives the winter.

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  26. Oh! it's so nice to see and read about your new garden. This one is indeed bigger. Can't wait to see it's final transformation.

    That vase looks beautiful. You know the UK TV has many competitions; you should participate in one of those that deals with creating vase or growing plants from seeds and cuttings. Ah! I wish I was near you. Okay, let's start a plant smuggling business :-P :-P.

    I need to write down the name of some of the plants and look for them here. I love primulas. So, please one day just a write post on primulas and their names and pictures.

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    1. I have a list of all my plants, if you look on the top of my blog, on the tab called ‘Plants In My Garden’ – that’s all the plants I used to have in my previous garden. Many of these came with me when I moved, I haven’t had time to update the list, but I will do that soon. The list of Primulas is pretty much correct though, and you can copy and paste into Google each of them so you can see what they look like, choose the image tab in Google, I often do that when I read about plants I don’t know well.

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  27. Always interesting to see what's going on in your new garden Helene. You are lucky to find yourself in a much milder climate. Frost is bound to strike here in a couple of weeks. The Hibiscus syriacus 'Lady Stanley' is so pretty even with the small flowers. I love the roses and dahlias mixed into the glass vase. Your favourite rose would be my too. I admire ‘Scepter d’Isle’ each and every time you show it.

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    1. After 16 years here in London I am still rather chuffed about the short and mild winters and what I can grow here, gardening in Norway where I am from is certainly rather different!

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  28. Your gardens are spectacular Helene and your Dahlias, Roses and Buddleia are absolute highlights. I am always amazed when I visit your amazing variety of plants and all so well kept. Your vegetables are inviting as well. This was a wonderful visit!

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    1. Thanks Lee, the variety comes from my inability to stop shopping plants!!
      I am afraid I will be continuing that here in my new garden but I am trying my best to not buy anything new until I have planted all my nearly 600 plants from my old garden :-)

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  29. I adore those beautiful sunset dahlias and the pretty raspberry & vanilla roses! Do they have scent? I have a similar chili plant and I love chili flowers...they are so cute and exquisite, some smell softly of cucumber!

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    1. My dahlias have no scent, not sure which rose you are referring to but Abigaile has no scent, 'Gertrude Jekyll' is very strongly scented, same scent as rosewater or Turkish delight. The white rose is called 'Susan Williams-Ellis' and is also strongly scented, but in a more fruity scent – both are David Austin roses.

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