Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Summer isn’t over yet – EOMV September

August and September has been 2 months of the best and worst of British weather, right now we are in a settled, good spell and it is said to last for a while. Can’t really talk about an Indian summer yet as we need to be in October or November to call it that, but whatever you call it, I enjoy the nice sunny weather and temperatures around 20 degrees during the day – despite the need for watering my numerous pots in such good weather.

The hype of the last few days has of course been the lunar eclipse, and I have never seen one properly so I decided to try to take some photos of what was promised to be an extraordinary lunar eclipse since it coincided with a super moon this time.

I wish I could have taken a photo like this for example from Canary Wharf here in East London, but nope – it’s not mine, this photo is courtesy Jeremy O’Donnell.

I don’t have a zoom lens, besides it is always better to take photos of the moon together with buildings or other structures to get a sense of scale. So I took this photo with my DSLR, but I didn’t think the moon was much bigger than normal....where is the super moon??

I zoomed in as best I could with my 18-55mm lens, but even blown up the moon didn’t appear very big, and if I had blown it up bigger than this it would have been very pixelated. Not sure how they managed to take the photo of Canary Wharf, it is only 2.7 miles to Canary Wharf from my house so the moon should appear the same size – I wonder if there was some Photoshopping going on in some of those photos online??

OK, so taking photo with my DSLR was out of the question, I don’t know anyone with a powerful zoom lens – I used to know someone with a telescope, but that’s many years ago, I am afraid he is no longer my boyfriend. Could I have contacted him just to borrow a telescope for the occasion?....Hmmm, no, don’t think so, not after no contact for nearly 10 years, so no telescope either :-)

I ended up using my camcorder! Not perfect at all, but it has a better zoom than my DSLR. I filmed the moon eclipse from my back garden, it was dark, cold and took a looooong time – but I had never seen a total moon eclipse before so it was fun to do it. Here in UK the eclipse appeared during the middle of the night and it was 4:30am when I was finished filming. Here’s the whole lot in a short version, cut down and speeded up 5x, to a 1:33 min movie – the 2 ½ hours uncut version would probably have sent you all to sleep :-)




And while we are onto spectacular things on film, I got another one for you, filmed last week. I sat in the garden working in one of the flowerbeds when I spotted a bumblebee behaving strangely. It was walking around on the patio, trying to walk UP the legs of my garden chair. I went in to get my camera, expecting it to have gone by the time I came out again – that’s usually what happens (!!), but it was still there, and I followed the bumblebee crossing the whole patio WALKING! It took 9 minutes to walk across my patio, I have edited that movie down for you so you just get the best bits :-)

I spend a lot of time choosing music for my movies, even though the music is just ‘background music’ it matters a lot to what kind of impression the pictures give - and one tune can set a completely different tone than the other. All my movies are best viewed in HD, even if you are only viewing them in the blog size.



And now, finally photos from my garden, in glorious, sunny weather. I am still sorting out the hard landscaping and trying to get the layout right.

I have 572 plants to put in the ground from my previous garden and I have planted 2 plants so far. Nope, that was not a typo, it should be 2 - TWO plants, that’s all. I wish I could have added a couple of zeros behind the 2 but no, 2 plants in the ground, 570 to go. The two that are in the ground are probably really happy though because they are the 2 roses here in this bed, ‘Vildewe’ and ‘Scepter d’Isle’.

The next thing to get sorted soon is to remove more of the Virginia Creeper on the wall and sort out the shrubs below. Right now the Virginia Creeper is starting to look really beautiful with autumn colours, but I am not keeping it just for the few weeks every year where it looks amazing.

Besides, I still have my little Virginia Creeper Bonsai and it has exactly the same amazing colours in the autumn. This Bonsai is now 11 years old, one I have made from a Parthenocissus henryana.

Last week I read a post at Rusty Duck where Jessica had visited the RHS garden Rosemoor in Devon. If you scroll down to the 7th photo you’ll see what caught my eye in her post, I thought that look with the terracotta urn was very nice and I have been thinking of adding some sort of sculpture to my new garden – but what? And what could I get on my shoestring budget?? When I saw her photo it just said ‘ding’ in my head – I already have a sculpture!

Here is a photo from the living room in my previous house, and in the niche next to the window you can see a big urn. It is actually a cheap terracotta urn from a garden centre I have just sprayed with ‘Aged Gold’ spray paint. In my new house there isn’t any nice niche to put my urn in, in fact, I haven’t really found a place for it so the urn and the dried flowers and grass have been in my shed up until now.

But after seeing Jessica’s photo from Rosemoor I though why not use the urn outside? It should be fine, the spray paint might flake off a bit over the years, but so what, that would just add a rustic look to it :-) So now I got another bed sorted, just have to dig holes for all the plants here, this will be a bed for daylilies at the sunny end and heucheras at the shady end. At least that’s what I think it will be for now. There are pots in my garden playing musical chairs just about every day, they have all moved at least 5 times each since I arrived in May and I am not sure I am finished moving them yet.

This was my garden back when I moved in, in May this year. The garden was filled with crates with plants from my previous garden and half of the main area in the back garden was grassed.

And look at it now! I am grass free again. Phew! I have been sitting on my gardening stool and lifted pieces of lawn, one small piece at the time and carefully crumbling off all soil and worms so all that was left was grass roots which I bagged. It has taken me about 6 weeks to do it all and the result is about 200 litre of nice topsoil that I can use when planting to mix with the clay soil – and of course, nearly 30 bags of turf which my son has been kind enough to drive off to the local recycling station as the council does not collect turf. The paving slabs here are just laid on to the bare ground to test out where to have them, so they are rather higgledy piggledy. The sandbags to the right are for putting under the slabs to straighten everything out, but I don’t think I can do that on my own.

Here’s another before and after shot – this one is from June.

And this is today. I have been pruning here in the shade garden since June, and I am not finished yet, my goodness there’s much to do here! But you can see the difference already. This is really hard work so I do just a little every time I am out working in the garden – 10  minutes of pruning in the shade garden and then I can go on to do more fun things, like sitting on my stool and remove grass....ha! The main difference here is that I can finally walk under the ceanothus’, I have removed a lot of the dead branches and taken off some of the lowest branches. I hope the ceanothus’ will be happy with that, I know they don’t like to be pruned but most of what’s taken off was dead anyway so hopefully they will look spectacular again next spring. I also need to prune the apple tree to the left in the shade garden – the apple tree is of course what’s giving shade here but I think the tree is too dense and should be thinned. That might have an effect on the shade garden though, perhaps I need to rename it ‘The dappled light garden’, or something like that.

And as you can see from this photo, the shade garden gets quite a lot of sun in the afternoon at this time of year, with a low sun streaming in. Soon the apple tree will lose all its leaves and there will be a lot more light and sun here. I might have to re-think what I am going to plant in this part of the garden, good thing everything is still in pots :-)

I have made an End of Month View garden movie this time too, I know that makes it 3 movies for this post, but let’s call it special circumstances, after all, the TV news keep reminding us we won’t have another lunar eclipse with a super moon until 2033. Lunar eclipses however are not rare at all, they happen 2-4 times every year, but best location and weather makes it often difficult to view them. Anyway, here is my garden movie, no night shots and no moons in this one :-)




The music for all the movies was by the composer Leroy Anderson this time, Jazz Pizzicato and Forgotten Dreams for the garden movie, The Last Rose of Summer and March Of The Two Left Feet for the bumblebee movie and Jazz Legato for the Eclipse Moon movie.

I have been living in my new house for 4 1/2 month and I am glad the weather is winding down towards autumn and cooler, wetter weather so I can concentrate on sorting out the garden instead of having to water every day. This was a brief summary of what’s been happening in my garden in September, next post will be on the 15th October for Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day.

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

The good weather will last at least until Sunday, better make the best of it as we never know what’s coming next :-)
Until next time, take care.

42 comments:

  1. Still looks awesome! The row of lilies looks so healthy. Your bonsai is so interesting.

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    1. Thank you Endah, much still to do but I am getting there!

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  2. Great lay-out of your garden! Your videos were such a pleasure to watch and to listen to the appropriate music. About the moon: we too made photos at night as many people did, but the photo of the huge moon above the high buildings at Canary Wharf must be photoshopped. The moon cannot show bigger than the building I think.
    Good idea to put the urn as a phocal point in one of your gardenbeds, it looks dignified.
    And now I go out again, I came in for a sandwich for lunch and went to blogger.....the weather is too beautiful to stay inside.
    Wish you happy planting, but take your time, your garden looks now already great.

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    1. Thanks Janneke, good to hear you enjoyed the videos, and nice to hear you have the same sunny warm weather as we have. It is set to last until Sunday at least so better enjoy it while we have it :-)

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  3. Så flott det blir hos deg, og det er litt av en jobb du har gjort. 20 grader her også i dag, og det er bare å nyte, for i neste uke blir det regn :(

    Bonsai er så vakkert! Jeg har kjøpt noen i år, men er usikker på hvordan de skal behandles om vinteren. Hos deg kan de stå ute, men tror ikke de kan det her ;)

    Nyt de fine dagene, Helene!

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    1. Hei Marit, hvordan Bonsai trær skal behandles om vinteren er helt avhengig av hva slags planter de er laget av. Jeg har laget mine selv fra stiklinger, har et par andre også, og jeg tror egenproduserte Bonsai er mer robuste enn de man kjøper. Hvis Bonsaien kommer fra en plante som tåler vinter så burde den kunne stå ute som Bonsai også, kanskje med litt ekstra innpakning. Jeg har en bitteliten jasmin Bonsai også, er 8-9 år og bare 20cm høy. Blomstrer dessverre ikke særlig ofte.

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  4. I managed to get some photos of the eclipse.. I did a blog post about it. I didn't see the whole eclipse just from when it was nearly complete.

    Your garden is coming along a treat.. loved your videos :o)

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    1. Thanks, glad you enjoyed the videos, it was a slow process filming the eclipse, but I was surprised how often I had to adjust the tripod – the moon kept moving so fast!

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  5. Dear Helene, you have made sooo... much progress in your new garden, it is simply amazing! I am happy for you that you got the two roses into the ground, especially since I know that 'Scepter'd Isle' is such a wonderful one and you will get a lot of pleasure out of it next year.
    I still can't imagine how you are able to water 570 pots. Just the last couple of days I got so tired of watering mine, and of course I have way less.
    Great idea to place the urn in the garden. I think it looks really good there.
    Wishing you some more good autumn weather so that you can continue to happily garden along!
    Warm regards,
    Christina

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    1. Thanks Christina, the watering has been a big job, it takes about 45 minutes to do and I suppose it would have taken much longer if I had carefully checked every pot first – but I am not, I am just watering everything every time. That has resulted in some unavoidable loss with plants being over and under watered, but that’s just the price to pay. The nights are getting cooler and it rains more so the need for watering is slowly getting better.
      I hope my two favourite roses will reward me with another flush of flowers as a thank you for finally getting in the ground :-)

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  6. Your garden is looking wonderful and I do like your repurposing of the terra cotta urn. In fact, I think you've given me an idea for my own garden. Thank you!

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    1. Oh, you’re welcome – pass it on :-)
      I got the idea from Jessica’s photos from Rosemoor so can’t really take full credit from it, but I do like the look of mine now that I have placed it there, and it complements the bronze look of the bird bath on the other side of the garden. What are you going to place, and where?

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  7. Your before and after pics certainly show how much work you've done Helene and not easy work either. It will really start to come together now when you get to the exciting bit.. the planting!
    The urn looks great, I'm glad the Rosemoor pictures helped!
    We set the alarm to get up and watch the eclipse and went outside to a cloudy sky! Very disappointing.

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    1. Thanks Jessica, I’m slowly getting there, got so many ideas and things I want to try out, but for now I just need to concentrate getting the layout ready so I can start planting.

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  8. Congratulations on getting the lawn out and for getting the first 2 plants in! I know you have a lot more to go but getting started is often the hardest part. You've put the proverbial stake (or in this case, presumably spade) in the ground so you're on your way. I'm sure the cooler weather and rain will be of help. We're still operating under summer-like conditions here in Southern California and I'm also anxious to see the end of hot weather and the arrival of real rain. I hope El Nino delivers this year (ideally without floods and mudslides).

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    1. I hope we get some more rain too, what we got last month was welcome but not enough. Have a good Sunday!

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  9. You are doing brilliantly. Fantastic changes. I look forward to seeing all your work progress.

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    1. Thanks, and welcome to my blog :-)

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  10. Hello, Helene! I liked your video and think the music Jazz Pizzicato goes well to the action. Your garden looks very differently from the May time, especially the photo of with bags of sand. And reading and imagining you separating grass off the soil ---uh! what an work!
    Our weather in quite cool and night are cold, +12..+4, so I think my flowers will end their blooming very soon.

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    1. Thanks Nadezda, removing the lawn was a lot of work, but I am so glad it’s finished now. I am having a break in gardening work for a while as I have just come home from yet another stay in hospital. Need to recover for a bit before I start doing any planting again, but as soon as I am better I will get some more plants in the ground. Have a great Sunday :-)

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  11. Oh, that dear bumblebee! You captured some amazing videos! Wow! We saw the lunar eclipse/super moon/blood moon, too. My photos are marginal, but it was a fun experience and quite warm here that night (18C). I actually think--dare I say it?--I like your new garden better than your old one. Is that even possible--the other one was perfect, too! It must be your influence and creativity. That bonsai is incredible--it's so interesting to see a plant in bonsai form that is growing out in the woods behind my house. :) Lovely! Happy October!

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    1. Thanks Beth, glad you liked my videos :-)
      I think in a way I like my new garden better too, or at least I will like my new garden better, once I have done a bit more work on it. Give me a year or perhaps two, and it will look very different from now. This garden has more potential than my previous and that’s why I like it more.
      Hope you have gorgeous October weather too, have a good Sunday!

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  12. I watched all three of your movies and my favorite was the bumble-bee walk. I love bees, and perhaps that's the reason why I liked it so much.

    Your garden looks huge. How many acres is it, if I may ask? And what's that flower -- it's red but inside it has a tiger print? Is it some kind of crocosmania?

    September/October Indian summer? Really?

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    1. One acre is just over 4000 square metre, or imagine for example a rectangle of 40 x 100m, that would be 1 acre. My front and back garden is not huge, it is absolutely tiny and the size is just over 100 square metres – in acres it would something like 0.02. It is same size as most gardens in London, where land is really expensive :-)

      The flower you refer to is Alstroemeria, min is called 'Dandy Candy' but there are many varities.

      Indian summer is a period of unseasonably warm, dry weather that sometimes occurs in autumn in the Northern Hemisphere especially in October to mid-November. Over here in UK we often refer to it as a good thing, makes winter feels much shorter. It seems we will get a nice warm spell of weather again at the end of the week so that will be an ‘Indian Summer’.

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  13. Hej Helene! Det kommer att bli så fint när du planterat allt. Otroligt många plantor.
    Har du ett namn till den blå busken som tittar fram på en av bilderna? Tror det är en likadan som jag såg i London, och har inte lyckats få reda på vad det är.
    Ha en fin helg!
    Marika

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    1. Hei Maribel
      Jeg regner med at du mener mine Ceanothus, eller Californian Liliacs som de også kalles. Det finnes mange varianter, men ingen av dem er særlig vinterhardige så du får gjøre et forsøk kanskje opp en sydvendt vegg. De blir ganske store som du ser på nest siste bilde, mer som trær enn busker, men det tar noen år, det finnes også noen mindre varianter som egner seg for container.
      Her er litt info: https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?pid=354
      God søndag!

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  14. I'm rather in awe of how much you have achieved in this time. Getting the layout right is important and better to keep moving plants around until you are happy with your decisions. That pot should look rather good in that border, what a good idea.

    The bee movie was so sweet. I'm sure that livelier music helped it find it's winter home :)

    572 pots. Woah!

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    1. I am getting there, slowly slowly, but I have soooooo much left to do! I enjoy the work though, just interrupted by times when I am unable to work in the garden. Right now I am just home from hospital and recovering from yet another operation, but as soon as I feel better I will be out there :-)

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  15. 570? Wow!! I had forgotten how many plants you brought with you. It's amazing how much you've accomplished. The end result will be stunning. Virginia creeper is a native here and I'm always pulling up seedlings. Excellent movies! :o)

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    1. Yes, I will be planting all winter and spring :-)
      I guess removing the Virginia creeper is not going to be the end of it, I will probably be battling seedlings and stray suckers for years to come!

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  16. Now, that is a REAL bonsai, as opposed to my pitiful effort!

    I missed the lunar eclipse entirely, so I appreciate your showing it. I think your camcorder did a fine job! And, as always, I am impressed with the progress in your garden. As for those 570 plants yet to go into the ground: well, it is always one plant at a time, as you can!

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    1. Thanks, glad you liked my Bonsai, here is a post from 2012 about the making of the Bonsai.
      http://graphicality-uk.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/make-your-own-bonsai-trees.html
      I have a lot of plants I would like to try grow as Bonsai, just need to plant my pots first :-)

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  17. I'm always amazed at how you don't lose patience, Helene. You're so cheerful about the process even though you do mention how difficult and daunting it has all been. I think you keep your eye on the prize, as they say, as well as finding joy in the journey and you can't do any better than that!

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    1. Thanks Rosemary, I try to break it down in small tasks and not look too much at the whole job – it is so much to do so thinking about it all would be too daunting. Each small job is just about manageable :-)

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  18. Helene, I was impressed with your movie of the lunar eclipse. I decided to do the same, so up I rose at 3am. Sky was clear so off I went to the back garden, years since I had seen so many stars, but where was the moon. I went round to the front, clear sky again but still no moon. Seems like the woodland trees to the west side of our garden was obscuring it, off back to bed couldn't sleep for being annoyed. Oh my, you have some planting ahead of you.

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    1. I did a trial run the night before, staked out where the moon was from midnight and onwards as I had no idea being a new house and so on. Good thing I did as I had some trees in the way for about an hour too! As of 15th October I still have only 2 plants in the ground. I need to speed up things a bit or I won’t be finished by spring.

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  19. Your garden is definitely taking shape now Helene, you must have worked like a trojan and the garden seems to have grown in "planatable" area so there is at least some hope for your 570 plants :-)

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    1. I would have loved to rope you all in for a Saturday of planting in my garden, we could have got so much done in an afternoon had it not been for the small issue of travel time to and from London :-)

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  20. I'm guessing photoshop for that moon photo too! It was so much fun watching the eclipse. I was out with my zoom lens, but it still didn't look that close by! That is so interesting about the walking bee. Honestly, after watching it, my first thought was that it looked rather drunk. Maybe having a nip at some fermenting fruit out and about? Your garden is looking so lovely. Boy have you done so much work already!

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    1. I have never seen a bee walk like that either, not sure if it was hurt or not – why would it walk when it could have flown? The garden is slowly getting there, lots to do still though.

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  21. On the upside, Helene, once those plants are in, there won't be so much watering to do! Actually, it's great having them all in pots - you can plan your planting scheme thoughtfully and at your own pace. It doesn't matter if you move them five times when they're still in pots. Far better to be sure. I love that border with the urn.
    Excellent musical accompaniment - very lovely.

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    1. I am so used to container planting that I am sure I will keep some, I always kept lots of pots in my previous garden to fill in whenever there was a gap and I will probably continue with that here. But some of the plants really need to get in the ground before spring and I keep changing my mind about what to grow where. I will have to make my mind up soon :-)

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