Monday, 30 November 2015

EOMV– from a stormy London

November has already had 2 storms here and a lot of bad weather, and UK is now gearing up for a third storm, apparently a really bad one, named Clodagh. First came Abigail and Barney, then we had frost for the first time in....I can’t remember how long ago....2 years? 3 years, perhaps more? To be honest, I can’t remember a frost this early ever before. All my dahlias just blackened and went to mush from one day to the next. I can’t remember that happen ever, if we have had frost it has usually been much later, more like February. Clodagh has already arrived on the west coast, and is said to bring strong winds, rain and snow, here in London it’s just been windy today and I don’t think it will make much impact here, certainly not in my sheltered garden. And there won’t be any snow, the forecast is for 10-14 degrees C at daytime and 5-11 at night. But the wind is bad enough to make gardening a rather chilly experience.

Since my last EOMV post a month ago I haven’t done much in the garden, too wet, too windy, but I am trying to be out here when I can, at least for a little while.

This photo is deceptively nice and calm, you can see on the video further down what it actually was like!

This is one thing I have done since my last post! Last Saturday a week ago, on the only day with frost in years, I received my 75 strawberry plants, bare root and all muddled up with old leaves and tangled roots. I sat in my shed and potted them, all of them. I was so glad I had a shed as it was cold enough in there, wrapped up in a big fleece throw, imagine how cold it would have been outside. A good heater for the shed is on my Christmas wish list!

It turned out the nursery had sent me a good few extra so all in all I had 89 strawberry plants. I am not keeping all of them, that would be too much, so some have already gone to new homes and more will follow later on. But here in my new raised bed I have planted 16 plants – 3 different varieties. Can’t wait to start harvesting the first ones! I should have strawberries for about 4 months having early, mid-season and late variety, time will tell if that works. The varieties I have are: 'Honeoye','Cambridge Favourite' and 'Florence'.

I have also made provisions for the birds in the garden and a set of fat balls are up next to the birdbath. I haven’t seen any birds eating from them yet, but that might be because the birds and I have very different schedule with me going to bed when they start twittering in the morning. One type of creature that seems to have the same warped body clock as me are the resident squirrels – or maybe they just eat 24/7 – in any case, they have discovered the fat balls.

They have also discovered the ingenious birdfeeder I have got for my window in the hope that I can get some really nice photos from inside my kitchen of feeding birds. The squirrel that tried entering the bowl yesterday didn’t quite manage to stand on the plastic window sill and fell down! He will no doubt be back. I am amazed that little canopy is holding the food dry, even through the rain and wind we have had lately. A very good, cheap little gadget – now the birds just need to discover the feed. Hopefully the squirrels won’t scare them away.

I have been shopping plants again – even though I wasn’t supposed to – but, but, BUT it was half price!! These 3 tiny camellias will flower from October to April, when one finish the other takes over – they are from left Camellia x 'Winter's Snowman', Camellia japonica 'Amabel Lansdell' and Camellia x williamsii 'Julia Hamiter'. I know they are just tiny twigs still....

....but so was Takanini 2 years ago and look at it now! This spring it will get a new pot, and all the camellias will grow in pots and containers for now - for years I suspect, until I have managed to lower the pH in the soil to a level they will accept.

I have made another purchase for the garden, a blossom solar light and I absolutely love it. Unfortunately the sun level is a bit low at this time of year so I only get a couple of hours of light on the tree before it dies every evening, but once we get to February or so, it will be much better sun level and it will charge better.

But it looks really decorative when it’s completely dark – and on a distance it looks a bit like a Christmas tree.

The spring bulbs are racing ahead, I don’t think it will be long before these snowdrops are flowering.

I have made a garden movie this month too, although usually I look at the weather forecast and find a day to tidy up the garden a bit and then do my filming the day after. This time I just could not find a day to do any gardening at all the whole week, the weather has kept me indoors. And today I had to sit ready with my camera and just go out in an un-forecasted gap in the rain before all hell broke loose again. As I am writing this, the rain is hammering down again and the noise it is making on my windows is incredible. I have been outside twice to rescue some plant pots that were blowing across the patio, the cat watched me from the kitchen door – I could almost see him shaking his head and thinking ‘What are you doing, going out in that weather!’

Well, here is my garden this month, with dead and black dahlias, leaves everywhere and most of my plants still waiting to get planted. My November garden, warts and all. Oh, and one of the squirrels make an entry, he had been munching on the fat balls first but I was too late with my camera to catch that bit! As always, my videos are best in full screen, HD.




The music this time was from Star Wars, Attack of the Clone.
I have been in my new house and garden for just over 6 months now, I thought it would nice to go down memory lane a bit and show the November movie from last year – from my old garden. It seems such a long time ago now! And the weather seemed nicer last year too :-)




To all of you that I didn’t manage to visit after last post, I am so sorry, I just haven’t had time – I will try my best to get round to everybody this time :-)
That was it for today, I am linking today’s post to Helen at The Patient Gardener’s Weblog.
Until next time, take care.

51 comments:

  1. I'm sorry to hear that your weather has turned nasty but, even so, your garden looks lovely for the end of November. You still have quite a bit of color. Your discussion of the strawberries has me regretting having given up on them in my own garden. (I got tired of fighting the critters for the fruit.) Squirrels everywhere seem to have the same bad behavior - mine are getting more of the bird seed at the moment than the birds themselves. I hope you get some warm days to work in the garden in the coming month!

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    1. I did grow strawberries years ago, but in my previous garden I just didn’t have enough sun so I gave up. Here in my new garden, sun is not going to be a problem. Squirrels and birds might, although I intend to net them even though it doesn’t look that nice. The squirrels are welcome to seeds and fat balls as long as they don’t scare away the birds, but some birds seem to be fine, I had lots of sparrows on the fat balls today.

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  2. Oh my, the wind is quite evident in your video. It's so unpleasant to try and garden when it's cold and windy. Hoping that you find a heater for your shed beneath your tree this Christmas. Your solar tree looks magical at night. Here's to days starting to get longer in just a few weeks!

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    1. Yes, less than 3 weeks and the days will get longer! I am looking into different types of shed heaters, some are very costly to run, and some are low cost but doesn’t heat much. I might have to trial one to find out what I need.

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  3. It´s still raining cats and dogs but I´m so glad the storm is over by now, we had a terrible stormy night. Despite the weather your garden is still looking good for the time of year and I enjoyed relaxed your video with a cup of coffee during my morning brake. Your cat is such good company in the garden and I do love that squirrel. That blossom solar light is so nice, I shall have a look if I can find it here in the gardencentre.
    Garden work is now on the backburner for some time, for winter has not even started and temperatures are really too high for the time of year. Nevertheless, keep warm in London and may be we still get some nice days to be outside for a while.

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    1. The temperatures here are still nice and high here so as long as we don’t have that terrible wind it’s good weather for working in the garden. I’m glad you enjoyed the video, I like making them and they are a nice reminder for me for how the garden is progressing.

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  4. ... ... cant find the comment button anywhere ... so I will comment here ... lovely post ... hello from Canada ... a li bit colder here ... no snow drops here anywhere in sight ... I mean the plant "snow drop" ... other than that ... ya, lots of frost and snow ... smiles ... Love, cat.

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    1. Hello Cat, seems like you found the comment button after all, nice to hear from you again. Although snowdrops are spring bulbs over here too, they are usually quite early in my garden.

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  5. Great video as always Helene, after a really good late summer and autumn we are certainly paying for it here oop North, if you think it's bad in your sheltered garden, I thought the roof was going to come off the other night. I hate wind and can't imagine how people cope with the wind strengths in the Highlands and Western Isles of Scotland, it must be horrific. The mild weather has meant that I am now moving foliage which in normal years would have died down by now to see if the spring bulbs are coming through...........very strange!

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    1. Glad to hear you enjoyed the video Rick, the mild weather down here is possibly not as unusual, the night frost we had 2 weeks ago was more unusual to be honest! But that was very brief, it has been mild and will be for at least the next 10 days. I did fear for my shed one night though when it was blowing at its worst, it is in need of repair both on the roof and sides and I could just envisage the whole thing come crashing down – but it didn’t, still here :-)

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  6. First two pictures show such a cozy part of your garden. It feels like you've been here for a long time!
    We also had two bad storms, and after each storm, I spend a day cleaning the garden. Our fir trees shed huge branches and millions of cones.
    Stay warm Helen!

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    1. It feels like I have been here a long time too – and then it feels like I moved in last week! Can’t believe I have been here almost 7 months, where did those months go?? The weather is better now, not so windy and still mild, so much better for gardening, I planted several hundred bulbs the other day, just had to put them in pots as I am still not ready to find a permanent space for them in the ground. At least they won’t go to waste now, and can be planted in the autumn. I still got more bulbs to plant though….

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  7. I love your solar tree. It reminds me of a plant (wish I could remember the name) whose blooms go transparent when they get wet, it looks just like that. Your tree is a feature night and day.

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    1. I know which plant you are thinking of, it’s called Diphylleia Grayi and it is on my wish list!!
      You can buy it from Edrom nurseries although they are sold out for now, I assume it is a plant they will have in stock in the spring and it will look great in my shade garden where I am aiming for as many white plants as possible. Funnily enough, they don’t mention the glass feature on their website. Maybe they don’t know?!

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  8. Oh, those solar lights are fun! Frost! I remember you saying that you rarely get it in London. But still, so many plants going strong! We had some snow, but now it's all melted and we've had rain and more rain for a couple of days. It looks like April in the garden because everything is so green! I can't believe you have so many spring bulbs emerging. That's so exciting!

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    1. Yes, proper frost here is not something we have often, last time was some years ago, I think it was that very cold winter of 2009/10. But this might be it you know, one frost night, and winter is over! …..or we might get more in February, which is a more likely time for colder weather. I have stopped saying my spring bulbs and hellebores are early, because some of them come up and flower at this time every year, regardless of temperature so this is probably their right time :-)

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  9. Your camelia is awesome! I miss your fuchsias...

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    1. Thank you, I miss my fuchsias too, I will replace them all in due time, but I am planning to have a whole year without fuchsias first, just to be sure. I still have my miniature fuchsias though, did you see one of them on my movie?

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  10. Hi, Helene! Your video shows very well the nasty weather you had. I hope the storm Clodagh will pass fast and won't damage your garden.
    The music you chose goes well to wind and moving branches, I liked it! I'd like to purchase camellias as well but frosty winter stops me, it's pity. Takanini is pretty!
    I love your blossom solar light, it's nice at the evening.

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    1. Thanks Nadezda, glad you liked the video and the music. My blossom tree was bought online so I only saw a small photo of it before buying it. I was pleasantly surprised when I got it up in the garden – it is beautiful and looks very nice there.

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  11. You will have a beautiful collection of camellias once they all get growing. Do you get more birds in this garden than you did in your old one?

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    1. Thanks Sue, the camellias will take many years to grow big, which is good because eventually they will all become really tall and wide, hopefully container life will slow them down a bit.
      There seems to be more birds here in this garden yes, maybe the many trees here makes it easier for the birds to dip in and out of the garden. This afternoon I had 4 sparrows feeding on my fat balls so they have at least discovered them. Something has eaten the bird seeds on the window tray, not sure what, might be the squirrel has worked out a way to stand on the window sill after all!

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    2. We have a couple of camellias one of which is quite old now. It did grow too big and Martyn chopped it down. They seem to respond okay to this type of treatment although they stop flowering in the subsequent year.

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    3. I also meant to add that mice quite like bird seed too. We once had one go through the hole and into the seed container. The problem was having got inside it couldn't get back out again so we had to rescue it.

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    4. I used to prune the old camellia every year in my previous garden, it got a pretty good prune every 4-5 years and just a touch up the rest. I never chopped it down completely and I never pruned beyond any leaves on any branches – as a result it flowered thousands of flowers every year. It will probably take 40 years before any of my camellia babies are at that size – by which time I am probably no longer alive :-)

      And yes, I have been thinking of mice too, they definitely ate birdseeds in my previous garden because I saw them doing it – probably going on here too!

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  12. Dear Helene, it definitively looks a bit windy and unfriendly out there in your EoM Video! So sad about the Dahlias, that they got bitten by the frost.
    I am surprised that you got that many strawberry plants, since I am thinking getting fruits from 75 plants is more than one person can eat. You really must like these berries :-)!
    Congratulations to buying new camellias, these plants are just too good to pass them up. It will be fun to baby those! I think each post, that your red camellia is just incredible beautiful!
    Hope the weather has gotten a little better for you, so that you can have fun being out there in your beloved garden!
    Warm regards,
    Christina

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    1. Hello Christina, I bought the packet of 75 strawberry plants because it was cheaper than buying 3 different varieties separate – it was an offer, and after potting them up I have given away some and also sold some. I will give away some more and will probably be left with about 40 plants myself. I eat strawberries and raspberries every day, but I buy them frozen. I hope that from next year on I won’t have to buy any berries at all, when I have more berries than I can eat I will freeze down for the winter. I have also bought 2 raspberry bushes so next year I will have my 2 favourite berries in the garden! That is if everything goes to plan of course….no unusual pests lurking around, no squirrels eating my berries etc…!! Time will tell :-)
      The weather is better, mild for the season and not so windy, I am glad we are only a few weeks from getting longer days as it feels like it gets dark before I get my day properly started.
      Have a good week in the garden!

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  13. You must get a lot of pleasure in making these movies Helene. The Star wars music seemed to reflect the images perfectly. The number one movie star enjoying his starring role as usual.

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    1. Hello Alistair, yes I enjoy making the videos, and they serve as a reminder to me about how the garden is changing. Now that I have left a garden and started on a new I am also relay glad I can go down memory lane now and then to see what my old garden looked like :-)

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  14. Although it's not as warm here as where you are, we are getting a reprieve from our usual frosty temperatures. I hope the storm misses you completely so your plants don't suffer any damage. Can't wait to see your snowdrops, they're so much nicer in plant form ;) than the real thing!

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    1. Thank Rosemary, the storm was not too bad, we had some hairy hours one night but no damage, just lots of overturned pots – and I have a lot of pots! I guess by the next EOMV post the snowdrops will be in flower, but you never know, sometimes they just come up with the leaves and then they wait for warmer weather for the rest. Sensible flowers!

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  15. Hei Helene!
    Jeg blir helt dårlig når jeg ser dine flotte camellia! Skulle ønske jeg kunne ha mine ute her, men det prøvde jeg og de døde alle sammen... Men fortsetter disse milde vintrene går det kanskje an her også. Har dere storm denne helgen også? Her skal det bli 8 grader og kraftig vind på lørdag. Vintrene er ikke hva de var, for her er det ikke snø nå, noe det normalt ville ha vært nå.

    God helg!

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    1. Ja etter 16 år her i London syns jeg ennå det er litt utrolig hva jeg kan gro i hagen min og jeg setter veldig pris på å kunne jobbe i hagen året rundt. For 2 dager siden plantet jeg påskeliljer og tulipaner noe som ville være utenkelig i desember mens jeg bodde på Gol :-)
      Stormen denne helgen har vært spesielt ille, med flom og store skader på vei og tog nett og hundretusener uten strøm. Heldigvis er vi litt beskyttet mot det verste været her i sør-øst, så her hadde vi bare mye vind.

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  16. And yes we have the same stormy, grey weather overhere. But it's not cold. And for the first time in years I did not buy anything for the garden. Also did not order new roses. I hope you are doing well!!
    have a beautiful weekend.

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    1. Thanks Marijke, this week-end has been devastating for a lot of people in Britain, with flooding, landslide, loss of electricity, road and rail network damaged and lots of other problems. Fortunately here in the south-east where I live we have been spared for the worst of it, we have just had windy weather.
      Have a good week :-)

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  17. Oh, Helene, your cat is really cute! :)
    Lovely post and video. Your garden looks so beautiful! I wouldn't have remembered where the music is from - it fits perfectly to the video.
    One can never have too many camellias... or bulbs.
    Have a lovely new week!

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    1. Thank you Sarah, and welcome to my blog. I moved house 7 months ago and took with me most of my old garden. The plants are mostly still in pots as you could see on the video, but eventually they will all get a space in the ground – eventually!
      Have a great week :-)

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  18. Hello, Helene! Despite the blustery conditions, your garden looks quite wonderful, full of life and promise and spots of color. I love the blossom solar light! You have accomplished a mountain of work since you moved. I look forward to seeing your garden progress through this next year. You are an amazing lady, with indomitable spirit and determination.

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    1. Thanks Deb, that’s nice of you to say :-)
      I was chuffed to find those blossom lights on sale, could not have afforded them otherwise so they were a lucky find!

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  19. What can I say, your garden is just beautiful !! You'll have a wonderful collection of camellias! I would like to see your garden when the flowers bloom !!
    Greetings

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    1. Thanks Ela and welcome to my blog. Just keep coming by here every 15th of the month and you will see everything in flower, I write a GBBD post and an EOMV post every month. One of the new camellias will probably flower in January, the buds are not far from cracking up.

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  20. Weather seems so topsy-turvy these days! Usually it is cold and there is often snow on the ground at this time of year, but the weather has been mild here. Funny that you are complaining of the opposite. I hope you have better luck with your new strawberries than I have had with mine. The birds and the mice seem to always get the berries before I do. Won't your half price camellias be nice when they grow up and I love the twinkly solar lights!

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    1. Our frost lasted about 24 hours – that was it, the rest of the time so far this winter it has been unusually mild here too. I don’t mind if we don’t get any more frost this winter, I am ready for spring and my garden is too, there are crocuses, irises and daffodils coming up everywhere :-)

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  21. I gather yet more storms are on the way, probably for the the north of the UK again. Thank you for your comment on my blog.

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    1. Yes, down here in the south-east we have been sheltered from the worst and my garden has been spared any damage so far this winter.

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  22. You've made good progress after only 6 months in your new garden. The camellias look particularly happy.

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    1. Thanks, I am looking forward to all four of them getting a bit bigger, they will all be container grown.

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  23. Hej Helene.
    Alltid lika roligt att läsa om din trädgård. Vädret har inte varit det bästa, men vi har klarat oss bra. Lite blåsigt men ovanligt varmt för december. Hoppas stormarna håller sig borta.
    Ha en fin december.
    Marika

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    1. Hei Marika, det har vært mye dårlig vær i det siste men det er flom som har vært det største problemet her denne uken. Heldigvis ingen flom i London så jeg har ikke vært berørt.

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  24. Oh I love your solar lights! So pretty! It's been strangely warm lately where I live, and I was just saying to someone the other day that I'll bet somewhere else in the world it's compensating and being unseasonably cold. That is too bad that you are getting such bad weather though. Your garden is looking so nice, though, even with the weather, and how wonderful that you will have so many fresh strawberries next year!

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    1. Here in London we have been lucky and protected from the worst of the weather, it has been windy and rained more than usual, but that’s it – no flooding and no other disasters. And apart from that one day with frost it has been unseasonal warm here too, so that’s a bit unusual that we have the same weather :-)

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