Sunday, 15 November 2015

November GBBD – from a stormy London

It’s middle of November and our stormy season has just started, bang on schedule – with Storm Abigail. Here in London we have only noticed the storm as rather windy weather but spare a thought for Scotland where especially on the western side they had winds up to 80 miles per hour (128 km/h or about 70 knots). And only 12 hours after Abigail left, the remnants of Hurricane Kate is right now hitting our shores, dumping unusually high amounts of rain on us. Some places in Britain we can expect up to 250mmm of rain in 36 hours with subsequent flooding. Living here in London I feel rather lucky, sheltered from the worst of the weather, be it snow, rain, storms and flooding. The 10 minutes hailstorm I watched from my window yesterday seemed more like a curiosity and didn’t do any damage. And although it has been raining hard today there is no risk of flooding and the free water from above is just welcome in my garden.

The rain today was well forecasted so I did most of my photos yesterday, in very windy weather. Try taking close-ups of dainty flowers in 20-30 miles per hour wind....I had to give up eventually, the light was fading and the wind too difficult. My plan was to nip out today when the rain was easing a bit and get the rest, but the rain didn’t ease, it was just pouring down all the time. Finally I just had to wrap up and go out and get the rest of the photos – in the rain and even more windy weather than yesterday. What don’t we do to get photos for our blogs! The windy weather will stay for the whole week with gusts up to 50 mph here in London. I guess there won’t be much leaves left on the trees after a week like that....

Here is the garden yesterday, deceptively nicely looking, it is cold and windy!

Some of the trees are completely bare by now, other trees are still covered in leaves.

The view of the shade garden, now bathing in low sunshine after all the leaves on the apple tree are off. I need to come up with a better name for this area! In the foreground my only chrysanthemum, now 5 years old.

This lovely, huge chrysanthemum was a present from some friends of me and it always flowers in November.

I have moved most of the pelargoniums up against the shed, hopefully they will be happy here through the winter even if we get a cold snap.

My pelargoniums flower all year round and although the flowering is more sparingly at this time of year, there are lots of buds on the five ‘Apple Blossom’ I have.

Alstroemeria 'Dandy Candy' is still flowering and has more buds.

Camellia japonica 'Takanini'  is of course flowering still, with buds that will last till May or even June next year.

And the two Sarcococca hookeriana var. digyna I dug up from my previous garden are both smothered in buds, but I don’t expect them to flower until January.

This is the part of the garden I have been working on lately, and I have finally started planting! 2 roses went in earlier this autumn, and now I have planted another 3 roses, 13 daylilies and 2 dahlias in these two beds. But most of the planting has taken place underground as between all these plants I have squeezed in as many spring bulbs as I could possibly manage to fit in. I have so far only planted about 2/3 of the left bed and half of the right bed and I have already planted 6-700 bulbs between the plants. Come next spring, the daylilies and dahlias will have died down and the roses will be cut down and have no leaves. Instead these beds will be an explosion of snowdrops, crocuses, hyacinths, Iris reticularis, daffodils and alliums. I’ve got about 1000 more bulbs to plant and they are already sprouting so I need to speed up a bit!

And on the brick wall you can see I have started to remove the rest of the Virginia creeper. It is a very slow process as on this part of the wall there is a trellis and the old vine has been growing around the trellis for more than 10 years. I have to carefully cut it away, piece by piece since I want to keep the trellis for the new plants I am putting in. Patience is a virtue – and a necessity for a gardener!

This is next on the list, the heucheras are in the second half of the right bed on the previous photo, behind the urn. Heuchera 'Southern Comfort' is still flowering.

And speaking of flowers, there seems to be a theme of buds on my post today, the wind took most of the open roses and left just the buds, but most of the roses are still producing flowers. This is 'Scepter'd Isle' on the top, my un-named on bottom left and 'Wildeve' bottom right – the latter had 14 buds yesterday when I counted them, not bad for mid-November.

And here is the un-named rose today, in pouring rain, holding out despite the wind.

I haven’t showed you many of the new dahlias I got this year – simply because they have been rather disappointing. Not sure if it is because they are growing in too small pots or because the dismal weather we had in July and August or because I haven’t had time to feed them – or all of the above – let’s just say it hasn’t been a good year for dahlias and blame it on me moving house. I will get them in the ground before they are to flower next year and I hope they all will be happy again. But this one, 'Painted Lady' decided to grace me with one flower when I thought all hope was gone. Hopefully there will be a few more.

Here is a rose that hasn’t disappointed, despite living its life in a pot. This is ‘Rob Roy’ and it is still flowering like mad. The thing about this rose is that every flower stays for exceptionally long after opening, in this cool weather they can stay for more than 3 weeks. Beat that David Austin!

Out in the front garden, the ash trees are completely bare and I have moved pots of lilies to the back garden as they have died down - slowly emptying the front garden for pots. This little strip of lawn outside my house is not really mine but I thought I would sneak in some crocuses and snowdrops along the fence if I get some spare ones. I can’t imagine the council would mind :-)

The huge pots of Dahlia 'Mary Eveline' are out here at the front, but as with the other dahlias – they are not as happy as usual. When I dug the tubers up they were absolutely huge and just about fitted in the biggest pots I had. This was the only way to get them all with me so I suppose having had a rather tough year this year, I just have to get them all planted, shower them with attention, fertiliser and so on next summer and I might have to settle for a reduced display. But the year after they should all be back in good flowering condition.

Even so, 'Mary Eveline' has been flowering for 3 months and there are lots more to come. Looks a bit sorry in the rain today!

And Penstemon Pensham 'Amelia Jayne' is also still throwing out the odd flower. (Impossible to get a proper photograph though, it doesn’t stay still long enough!)

At the front I have a container with these red primroses and a hellebore I have grown from seed. I can’t believe all the hellebores are already shooting, it will soon be time to go round and cut off  all the hellebore leaves.

Out here is also one of the last untouched parts of the inherited garden, I just haven’t got to this area yet and have deliberately left it so the birds could enjoy the berries. They have eaten all on the top, but there are still lots left deeper in. Here in this corner in front of my gate is where I am going to plant my magnolia, and I am also going to have 2 raspberry bushes here – it will be a squeeze, but that’s my garden for you!

Final photo from my garden, just a little reminder that even though I have lots of plants still in flower, the next season is right around the corner. Both crocuses and snowdrops are on their way, this is Galanthus elwesii 'Maidwell L' and in 6-8 weeks these beautiful, nodding bells will be all over my garden. 

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

And finally, as the news from Paris keep streaming in on our TV-screens and the death tolls are rising, it is very difficult to make sense of actions like that. My heart goes out to all those affected - in France, Britain and rest of the world. On a day like today, I can’t keep away the memories from the July 2005 bombings here in London, I will never ever forget that day even though I was not directly affected - and that’s what terrorism does to you. Imagine having incidences like the July 2005 bombings here in London and the atrocities in Paris on Friday in your neighbourhood on a weekly basis. Many of those people now fleeing their countries in the Middle East, searching for a safe place to live in our part of Europe are trying to escape exactly these kinds of weekly and sometimes daily terror actions.

This is my contribution in support for Paris.
Until next time, take good care of yourself and all around you.

40 comments:

  1. O My God ... You have the most beautiful blog I ever saw in my life, H ... the rose pictures are so beautiful that they make me cry for joy ... thank you for sharing ... Love, cat.

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    1. Thank you Cat, you are very kind, glad you enjoy your visits here :-)

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  2. Helene! You've done so much work in your garden and these new planted beds look nicely. I can imagine the vernal bulb blooming that will be 'an explosion' as you say. Virginia creeper is very hard liana, so I understand you taking it off the trellis.
    This cruel and merciless act that was in Paris, many people died and injured. Terrible..

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    1. Thanks Nadezda, I am trying to put in a bit of work every day when it is not raining, but I am working rather slowly as you know so this is as far as I have managed after 6 months here. Can’t believe I have actually been in my new garden for half a year :-)

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  3. Hei Helene!

    Hagen din er stadig like vakker, selv om bladene er borte. Jeg kan ikke annet enn å beundre din flotte Camellia hver gang du viser den. Utrolig vakker!

    Nydelige roser også ☺

    Ønsker deg en fin søndag!

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    1. Takk, Marit, tror du kommer til å like de 3 nye camelliaene jeg bestilte denne uken også – skal skrive om dem senere, de er bittesmå plante så vil trenge lang tid å bli store men de er så mye billigere i 9cm potter, her er navnene: Camellia japonica 'Amabel Lansdell' , Camellia x williamsii 'Julia Hamiter' og Camellia x 'Winter's Snowman'. Blomstring fra oktober til april, når den ene avslutter tar den andre over. Har ikke funnet noen som har så lang blomstring som Takanini.
      Ha en fin helg!

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  4. Helene, your garden is looking especially nice and tidy despite the stormy weather. Since our rain and wind storms, many leaves have fallen and my paths are covered. I'm impressed with your planting of so many bulbs and look forward to seeing them bloom in the spring! It's sad that throughout history humankind has seen fit to kill one another and disappointing that we, as a species, haven't evolved past this sort of thing. My heart is with Paris and those affected by this latest atrocity.

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    1. We have had no less than 2 storms this week, Aigail and Barney – there are leaves everywhere and I have decided to just leave it until the rest has come down. Not much left on the trees now :-)

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  5. In spite of stormy November, your garden looks absolutely lovely as usual. Happy Bloom Day.

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    1. Thanks Dorothy, one step at the time – I’m getting there :-)

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  6. Dear Helene, I don't know how you manage to do that, but your garden looks always lovely not matter what the season is! This is especially amazing since you are very new to this garden, but already accomplished so much. I am amazed that you still have so many roses blooming, all are lovely but I find that 'Rob Roy' is particularly stunning.
    Your pelargoniums - I love that 'Apple Blossom' - also look very good. I am surprised to read and see that they flower year round for you. Mine take a distinct break in the autumn and winter time. That is wired since I believe San Diego is even warmer in autumn and winter than London. Mine are planted in the ground though, maybe that is what makes a difference.
    Love your tribute to Paris!
    Warm regards,
    Christina

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    1. Thanks Christina, I know we have talked about my pelargoniums before, they don’t flower as much from November to March as the rest of the year but I do get the occasional flower and they never stop growing even if they are outside all the time. I don’t think it would matter growing in pots or in the ground, if anything I would think in the coldest part of winter here in UK, being in pots would be a disadvantage.
      I know you have so many lovely roses, but Rob Roy is an amazing one. As with all very dark ones, he doesn’t tolerate very harsh, blazing sunshine – gets all crisped.
      Have a great week-end!

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  7. I echo your sentiments for Paris and for all those affected. We Americans were sadly reminded again of 9/11 and the fact that terrorism will not sleep. I sometimes wonder if my safe and beautiful world will someday crumble. I am determined to make my little corner of the planet a better place for my having been here, and I think that is the best way I can personally fight terrorism.

    Your garden does look very tidy and quite lovely, despite storms and encroaching winter. I have never been a dahlia fan, but Painted Lady could find a place in my heart! Best wishes, Deb

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    1. Thanks Deb, with the continued news coming in this week I can only echo what you say.
      And as for dahlias – they are no longer what they used to be – garish flowers for grannies – if that’s what was holding you back – although those colours and forms are still around! Next year I will hopefully have all my new and old dahlias in flower and can show you some more you’ll probably will like!

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  8. Your garden never ceases to amaze me, Helene, despite the high expectations I always have of it! Your garden is looking so neat and tidy - I can only imagine how much work it took to clean up all those leaves. And your bulbs! I grumbled about planting just 40 last weekend. I expect I'll be astonished come spring even though I know what hard work has gone into your preparations for the season.

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    1. Thanks Kris, actually….planting spring bulbs is rather easy when you have to put larger plants in anyway – I dig an area for 4-5 plants at the time, put them in and before putting the soil back completely I put the spring bulbs in all around the plants. Easy to plant hundreds of tiny bulbs that way. But even so – I still have more than 500 plants to plant so I have plenty to do this winter and early spring! And today my strawberry plants arrived, bare root, so I know what I am doing this week-end :-)

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  9. I am in awe every time I visit Helene. Despite your stormy weather your blooms are breathtaking and you have captured them so beautifully. I look forward to your posts each month to see your new gardens develop and all the work you have put into them definitely shows! Thank you for visiting my Bloom Day post. The Nandina I have is Nandina domestica. It gets pale pink berries that turn to a deeper red as they mature. The photo I took was in late afternoon so the lighting makes them appear darker, but they do get a nice red.

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    1. Thanks for the info about the Nandina domestica Lee, I was hoping you had a named variety, one of the smaller ones as I haven’t got room for a very tall one. I am looking at ‘Sienna Sunrise’ or ‘Filamentosa’ or perhaps ‘Compacta’ – so many to choose from! All have more orange-red berries than yours I think.

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  10. Painted Lady looks like a dream. Next year she will be your favorite, I bet.

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    1. I had 5 new dahlias and Painted Lady is one of them, unfortunately because I moved house, some of the new ones didn’t even flower so I hope to see them all in flower next year!

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  11. Our pelargoniums have been moved either into the greenhouse or the summer house. Our neighbour has had some outside for a couple of years which have survived but we only need a very bad winter and we would lose them here. I've been contemplating whether I should take some cuttings or not as an insurance policy.

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    1. I have tried taking cuttings of my pelargoniums many times Sue, with not much luck, last time was just 2 months ago when I tried a tip I read dipping the cutting ends in a solution of Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) – and certainly NO rooting powder. This time I have had more luck, but it’s not exactly as taking cuttings of fuchsias, where I usually have 100% success. I think more than half died this time instead of all…I will try again, perhaps with smaller shoots, less stress for them :-)

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  12. I'm glad you're sheltered from the worst of it. I find it fascinating to compare weather conditions with people in the UK. There's a stretch of time in the fall, and then again in the spring, when our weather is very similar. And then we plunge into deep, brutal winter while you still have flowers! And in the summer, we get hot and very humid for a couple months straight. But right now, our conditions are so similar. I remember your Dahlias from your other garden--they were so big and beautiful, I couldn't believe they were real! I love the shot of the tree with the fence and the blue sky--what a lovely setting. Happy belated bloom day!

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    1. I often compare my weather with what I was used to from Norway – and what my sister has. It is amazing that we have many plants in common, but her gardening season is at best 5 months and mine is 12! Last Saturday we had frost for the first time in several years – you should see my dahlias now….all died down in the space of 24 hours. This might be winter over for this year – or we might get more, who knows! I better get the dahlias out of the pots and into the ground in case we get more frost :-)

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  13. You would never know it was stormy from looking at your garden--so many lovely blooms! As Beth said, we have similar weather right now; it's rainy and windy, but I'm afraid winter is on its way, and I do know our winters are quite different. There will be no garden work for me the next few months, but I know I'll be thinking and planning about the spring to come. Of all the blooms you have, the one that is the most amazing to me is the chrysanthemum. It's gorgeous! I know it must be a different variety than what I usually buy in the fall, but the mums we have everywhere usually don't survive over the winter. My thoughts are with Paris, too, and all those who have suffered so much.

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    1. I so appreciate being able to garden all year, especially since I know so well what it’s like to have snow on the ground for 5 months every year having lived the first 35 years of my life in Norway. The chrysanthemum I have is just an ordinary one, I think it’s just because of our mild climate that it survives the winter and gets bigger every year. It was a small pot when I first got it but I have potted it on a couple of times.

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  14. You still have so many plants blooming Helene, it's really amazing. And look at those Pelargoniums you leave outside and overwinter just with some protection.
    Suprising that they flower all year round. Apple blossom is a beauty but even in my greenhouse which is unheated they don't survive the winter. I'm looking forward to your spring garden, it must be an explosion of bullb flowers, you planted so many. I am sure you have the greenest fingers there are in the world.

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    1. It’s funny several have commented on my pelargoniums – you should see them now, after the frost we had last Saturday – they have all got frost damaged leaves here and there. The plants survived fine, so it will be fine again when new leaves grow out. I am sure I DON’T have the greenest finger in the world! I just like to try a lot of things, some things work other things don’t :-)

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  15. Helene, its difficult to get what's happened in Paris out of our minds. I had just been thinking as to how trivial every day stuff seems at this moment.
    Anyway, you must be pleased and probably a little surprised as to how good your garden looks in such a short time. My first thought when I opened your current page was, your pictures seem to have even more clarity than usual.

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    1. To be honest, after over 6 months here in my new house – and garden, it feels like I have not achieved as much as I had hoped for – things are going really slowly and I am afraid I will lose a lot more plants if I can’t get them in the ground soon. But I can only do a little bit every day and although I have work light in the main part of the garden so I can be out after ark, it’s much colder in the evening at this time of year so I tend to not do that for too long. But I will get there in the end, it just has to take as long as it takes :-)

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  16. You have some awesome colors hanging on at the moment. I love the variety of plants that you have.

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    1. Thank you, and welcome to my blog :-)

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  17. I had no idea of the number of bulbs you had in your garden. That is incredible. And some are starting already? You must garden 365 days a year! I don't know where you get your energy, but it sure pays off in beauty.

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    1. I do garden every day of the year – at least every day when it is not raining and I am not in hospital. I am not working, have been off sick for the last 21 years and I spend 1 or 2 days a week going to hospital appointments on average, but the rest of the days I am out in the garden and when we have a prolonged period of rain and I can’t get out there I get cabin fever :-) In the evening I sit on my computer and plan what to do in my garden and during the night I dream about my garden. The garden is what gets me out of bed and keeps me sane, literarily!

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  18. Hi Helene, your garden is looking amazing! You really are working some magic despite only having been there a short time. All those bulbs are going to look amazing is spring! It's still fairly cold here, no more frosts but a really strong cold sea breeze has persisted all week. Enough I say, it's practically summer! Luckily my roses aren't worried by it and are looking great... I think I need to get Wildeve though :)

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    1. I can warmly recommend Wildeve, and for the most amazing scent, 'Scepter'd Isle' is my favourite - they are growing side by side now. They do take a few years to get going, but so do most David Austin roses. I hope summer has arrived by now!

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  19. Hi Helene, great to see all the colour in your garden, as ever, but even better - plants in the ground! It's looking great and will reduce your workload so much. How exciting it will be in Spring when it all starts to grow.

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    1. I am getting there, slowly, slowly. Digging in this clay soil is very hard, but at least it is possible now when it has rained for a while, last summer I couldn’t even get a spade in. I need to get the plants in before the soil hardens up again, hopefully we will continue to get rain over the winter.

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  20. I think you have done wonderfully well this year. A few sulky Dahlias is nothing when you consider all the upheaval for your plants. I love seeing those bulbs nudging through the soil already. Such hope.

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    1. Thanks Sarah, and thanks for that invitation to the snowdrop event, unfortunately I can’t go to things like that, but I am very good at spending my money shopping online :-)

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