Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Springtime feeling in December

A lot of people are still struggling with the aftereffects of storm Desmond, especially those that were flooded. Here in the quiet corner of the South-East where I live, we didn’t notice the storm so much apart from very windy weather. Spare a thought though for those over 6000 people who got flooded and are now having to spend the next 6-9 months in temporary accommodation while their houses are cleaned out and renovated. Winter storms are a yearly occurrence here in Britain and flooding is quite common, some even get flooded over and over again only years apart. I am fortunate to live on the sheltered side of Britain – we are too dry in the summer but we are also spared the enormous rainfalls in the winter.

The garden has still got green features here and there, but I feel it is very much a garden waiting for me to get started again with some planting. But the days are so short now and I just don’t manage to get outside very often before it is dark. Give it another 4 weeks and the days will already feel longer.

We might not have got the 6 months’ worth of rain in 5 weeks as they have other places but it has rained a lot lately. The ground is nice and soft most places, except in the shade garden where the two large ceanothus’ shelter for the rain and drink up whatever rain that comes down with their widespread roots.

As the title of this post indicates, I have a lot of season confused plants due to the mild weather we have. Here in London we had 24 hours of around zero C and that’s the only cold weather we have had, the rest has been unusually mild often up to 15-16 C degrees during the day. The first snowdrops might not be so terribly out of season but these are about 4 weeks earlier than last year.

This is Galanthus elwesii 'Maidwell L' and I have only a few of this one because for what 3 of these costs you can get 100 of the common nivalis one. I have not thrown myself to the hype about snowdrops but I think it is interesting to have a few different one. I have mainly got plain old Galanthus nivalis and G. nivalis ‘Flore Pleno’ – the latter is quite cheap too over here. They are no doubt on their way up, but having been planted just recently here in my new garden they will probably be rather late this time. Only those still in pots will be likely to be on time, like 'Maidwell L' .

Here is another early arrival, Chaenomeles 'Crimson and Gold' hasn’t even dropped its leaves yet as it has not been cold enough – and yet, here are flowers and buds.

This is a newcomer to my garden, this is Schizostylis coccinea 'Pink Princess' and I got it earlier this autumn on a plant sale. It flowers from September to December and decided to put up flowers now, right at the end of its flowering season. I hope it means it will go on flowering for a while!

Here is another plant in bud, my cream patio rose has been flowering not stop since April and only the last few weeks has it slowed down a bit. There are lots of buds though so no break to come yet. I will have to cut it down soon though, come mid-January and all my roses will get pruned and whatever I find of buds will have to come off.

The inherited rose is still flowering and even all the rain doesn’t make it look too bad.

Sceptere’d Isle looks a bit sad though, not a rose that likes too much rain on its flowers.

The new camellias are ready to flower soon, this is Camellia japonica 'Amabel Lansdell' and it is an early bloomer so not so out of season really.

This one however is far too early – this is one of my lilies, Triumphator, a cross between an oriental and a longiflorum and they are absolutely gorgeous, but these shoots are 3 months early! If we get a day or two with frost I am afraid the shoots will die. They are not as hardy as emerging shots of things like daffodils and crocuses which are fine with a bit of frost.

Speaking of crocuses, look what the squirrels are doing to my crocuses! They have not eaten any of those I have planted in the ground yet as far as I can see so maybe I should just take this as a peace offering – they will leave the bulbs and corms in the ground alone as long as I serve some up for them?? The solution here in my new garden is going to be the same as in my old garden – to have so many crocuses that it won’t be notable that some are eaten – and then to keep adding a few hundred every year. They don’t cost much anyway and are easy to plant.

My front garden is almost empty now, many of the plants have died down and are moved to the back ready to be planted there, only the Garrya and the palm is looking like they always do.

On the inside of the front garden it is rather empty too, all the fuchsias have gone by now – all 86 of them. With Fuchsia Gall Mite on all plants more or less it was a hard but necessary decision to let them go. I tried to spray them earlier this year but it just came back. I have kept my miniature fuchsias as it doesn’t seem to affect them, hopefully they will be fine. The fuchsias had to go in my normal bin a few at the time over the last 2 months as I could not give them to the council for composting of fear of spreading the disease. The bags in this photo are the last of the leaves waiting to be collected.

Back in the garden I have more plants in flower. I dug up and took with me several of the cyclamens from my old garden, unfortunately the vine weevils have had a special taste for cyclamen corms and I have lost quite a few. This red one is still alive and hopefully it will be by the time I get around to plant it.

This pink cyclamen is also an old, mature one from my old garden, and as a sign of the mild weather we have, notice the mosquito on the flower to the second left. I am never really safe from mosquitos here in my garden, not even in the middle of winter!

More spring buds, the hellebores are popping up everwhere, this is Helleborus hybridus.

And this is Helleborus niger, the Christmas Rose with lots of buds.

And here a Helleborus niger already in flower.

And before I go for today I have some sad news. My cat Pus (means Puss in Norwegian, pronounced Puus) got ill last Thursday evening and died Saturday evening. I went to the vet with him on Saturday as he had breathing problems and it turned out he had cancer. Apparently it is quite common for cats to be quite well right up until the very end. My cat was showing no signs of being ill before Thursday and on my last video of him taken the last days of November he is running around in the garden looking as fit as a fiddle. This is the last photo I have of him, he looks rather dozy but this is taken earlier in the week before he started to having breathing problems. He is lying in my linen cupboard, his absolute favourite place to sleep :-)

I am glad I took him to the vet and got an explanation to what was wrong with him, even if the vet could not do anything to help him. If he had died at home I think I would always have wondered what he died of. My cat was put to sleep just before midnight Saturday evening. I got him as an 8 weeks old kitten and he had just turned 14 years old in November. Pus was heavily featured here on my blog and in my garden movies so I know there would have been questions from now on why he won’t appear no more, that’s why I decided to let you all know like this.

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

There will be one more post before Christmas and an EOMV post on the 31st December.
Until next time, take care.

47 comments:

  1. I am so sorry about Pus. I've been down that final road with many cats, but it never gets any easier. Be comforted by your memories of him and the knowledge that he will always live in those memories.

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    1. Thanks Dorothy, I am glad I have so many photos and so my video footage of him.

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  2. I'm thinking about you, Helene. My kitties are both seniors (15 and 13), and I get sad just thinking they may not have much time left. Your garden is full of beauty and joy, as always. :)

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    1. Thanks Beth, he is not the first cat I have had to say goodbye to but he is the oldest I have had by far – and he spent so much time together with me, never far from my side so that made it all the more special.

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  3. Så trist med Pus! Det er så ulidelig trist når et kjæledyr dør.
    Så varmt det er hos deg da... Her er det -10 grader akkurat nå! Blir helt våryr av å se dine snøklokker, camellia og helleborus! Det nærmeste jeg kommer det er en nyinnkjøpt Helleborur niger som jeg har i gangen :)

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    1. Takk Marit, ja i dag var det 16-17 grader i hagen min og jeg gikk rundt i bare genseren. Omtrent som en vanlig norsk sommer! Og det varme været skal fortsette de neste 2 ukene i hvert fall, du får ta deg en Londontur og sope opp litt vårfølelse, si ifra hvis du kommer så inviterer jeg på kaffe i hagen min :-)

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  4. I remember you told us how you trained your cat to put Santa's hat on, oh, dear it's so sad, Helene. But you have got many photos and videos to recollect him.
    Love your roses, very nice to see them in December. I have two roses blooming inside. I also liked snowdrops, especially water drops on their petals :)

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    1. Thank you for your thoughts Nadezda, I still can’t really believe my cat is no longer here.
      My roses will soon be cut down, with this warm weather it is no point waiting, it will just be a waste of energy for the plants to let them grow new shoots and then cut them off. Soon as Christmas is finished I will start.

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  5. Helene again let me say how sorry I am that Pus is gone. What an amazing cat...I looked forward to seeing him here. I am sending warm healing thoughts your way. And his spirit will be forever linked with your garden....now blooming again.

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    1. Thanks Donna, Pus was always with me outside in the garden so that’s why he featured in all the moves – he was a part of my gardening experience – the head gardener, always keeping an eye on things :-)

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  6. These are some awesome water drops and colors even in the cold. Sorry for your loss.

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    1. Thank you – and it’s actually not cold at all, 16-17 degrees C today, we had similar temperatures in August!

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  7. Oh Helene, so sorry to read about Pus. I'm glad he had a full and active life in spite of his illness.

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    1. Thank you Jessica, he was apparently healthy and full of beans until 2 days before – in a way it was a good way to go, even though it was a bit of a shock to me happening so quickly.

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  8. I love your snowdrops and cyclamen flowers. I'm so sorry to hear about your cat.

    Greetings, Sofie
    http://sofies-succulent-beads.blogspot.com/

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    1. Thank you Sofie, and welcome to my blog.

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  9. Oh, so sorry about Pus. He looks like he enjoyed quite a nice life with you, though. Your garden has quite a lot blooming; I suppose that's related to your mild (so far) temperatures?

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    1. Pus was 14 years old and never spent more than a couple of hours away from my house – most of the time he would sleep next to me or in the nearest chair, indoors or outside if I was outside. And yes, it is milder than usual here in London right now, but I have plants in flower all year in my garden so most of what I present would have been in flower anyway including the roses. What’s unusual is for example lilies emerging in December, never seen that before! Hope we don’t get a night or two with frost - that might kill them off.

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  10. So sad Pus died of cancer, you will miss him so much, we even miss him because he was a lively part of your blog.

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    1. Thanks Janneke, Pus was always with me in the garden so it was rather unavoidable to get him in photos and movies – that’s why I initially decided just to make him part of the movies, instead of trying to keep him away, that was too difficult, I am sure you know what I mean :-)

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  11. We've just lost Chocolat to leukaemia. He slowed down a little, but hadn't realised he was ill, till he suddenly stopped eating.
    Diagnosis to Rainbow Bridge in half an hour.
    My sympathies on your loss.

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    1. Thank you Diana, and I am sorry for your loss too – never easy to let them go even if we know it will happen one day.

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  12. Oh Helene, I'm so sorry to hear about Pus. He was such a beautiful cat and always showed such personality in your photos and videos. I know you'll miss your garden companion as will I when I see your posts. My deepest condolences on your loss.

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    1. Thank you so much Kris, yes Pus was an important part of my gardening movies and my blog posts, I miss him already. He is buried in the garden, my son helped me to dig a hole – an awfully heavy job with soggy wet, incredibly heavy clay soil. But we got it done in the end, and I have planted some of my large, mature hellebores over, and that area will just be left undisturbed from now on.

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  13. I am so sorry about your loss Helene. From your posts it was evident that Pus had a very happy life. Your roses and snowdrops are lovely as are the photos of your gardening companion...hold onto the memories.

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    1. Thank you Lee, never easy to let those pets go, Pus was an important part of my life for 14 years.

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    2. I can understand how you feel, having two little fluff balls of my own. I just saw you inquiry on dwarf conifers for a shady spot. I could recommend either dwarf norway spruce or mugo pine, which tend to be a little more shade tolerant, but will still need a fair amount of sun. There are dwarf yews which will take quite a bit of shade. There are so many varieties out there that I am sure you will be able to find some nice ones that you like, and you are always welcome to ask me my thoughts. I will help the best I can!

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  14. I'm so sorry about Pus. It sounds like he didn't suffer long though with cats it's often hard to tell. Your pictures of him are so cute. Your garden looks like a park! Enjoy your unseasonal flowers.

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    1. Thank you for your kind thoughts, Pus was quite well right to the end so good for him – quite a shock to me though. Funny you think my garden looks like a park, it is rather small (tiny!) compare to the standard American garden/back yard – but considerably bigger than what I had before I moved here in May this year. Once all my plants from my previous harden are planted it will look less of a nursery too :-)

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  15. Awww..the last part was so sad to read :-(. I have two dogs and I can't bear the thought of they passing away so suddenly. but, I know it will happen as both of them got older. Oh Dear! I am so sorry. How are you doing/feeling?

    Your garden looks so clean and tidy and organized, a garden worthy to show to all. And, it seems this weather anomaly is everywhere in the world this year. Hopefully, it will be the last one.

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    1. Thanks for your kind thoughts, it’s been a difficult week, I keep having moments where I forget that my cat is no longer here, and expect him to turn up between my legs when I open the fridge or the door to the garden. And every morning I have been taking out a bowl for his breakfast from the cupboard, before I have realised what I have been doing. After 14 years it will take a while to get used to him no longer being here.

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  16. Dear Helene, I am sooo... sorry to read that you cat has died. He was your companion for such a long time and you must miss him terribly!
    As for your garden, it is lovely no matter what is the season. I admire the photo of the unidentified rose that came with your new garden. Outstanding!
    It is not just in your garden that plants are confused and come up way too early, because of the climate change. Just hope that they don't get zapped by the frost in case you get some later. Here in Southern California it is relatively cold, almost zero degrees Celsius yesterday at night, but temperatures climb up to 17 degrees Celsius in the daytime. I have started to prune my roses today hoping for a wonderful spring flush.
    Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
    Warm regards,
    Christina

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    1. Thanks Christina, yes it has been so strange here this week without my cat, it will take a long time to get used to being without him – after having had him for 14 years.

      I keep my fingers crossed for no severe winter too, we could of course get bad frost in January or February, but I hope we won’t, because I have started pruning my roses too. They will be fine with just a dip below zero, and that’s usually what we get here – if anything at all. We had 16 degrees C today, and only 14 C min at night!
      Merry Christmas to you too!

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  17. So sorry about your cat
    Lovely blooms!
    I especially like the Snowdrops!

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    1. Thanks Lea, the snowdrops are a bit early, but we have gardens in and around London that have daffodils in flower right now – that’s early!

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  18. Losing a beloved pet is always hard, so sorry.
    Your blooms are all lovely, I especially love those cyclamens. I've tried them before, but they have never thrived for me.
    We (Florida) are running 10-15 degrees above average for this time of year, so I know what you are talking about. Very unsettling for the plants, they don't know what to do. I'm ready for more seasonable weather.
    Thanks for sharing your beautiful blooms.

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    1. Thanks, and welcome to my blog :-)
      I think you probably would struggle to grow cyclamens in Florida, not because of your winters, which would be fine - but because your hot, dry summers – I would assume the corms would not like that even if they are under ground. If you want to have a go again, try planting them in deep shade somewhere where you are likely to give them enough water but where there is good drainage. And look out for vine weevil grubs if you grow them in pots, they love cyclamen corms!

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  19. Helene, , Chaenomeles, snowdrops, Cyclamen and so much more still to see in your London garden, fantastic.
    Sorry to hear about pus, Myra is very much a cat person and has lost a few over the years, helps to know that you give as much as they give back in the years which you have them.

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    1. Thanks for your sentiments Alistair, it’s been a strange week without my cat, after 14 years it is going to take time to get used to him not being here anymore.

      My garden is racing ahead, I hope winter won’t bite back once we get to February because I am planning to prune all my roses come early January :-)

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  20. Awww Helene, I am so sorry about your beloved cat. It was obvious she was so loved and more than content with her life with you. Rest in peace kitty.
    Merry Christms Helene and a Happy New Year too x

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    1. Thank you Jane, my cat was with me for 14 years and he was such a cuddly and loving cat.
      Merry Christmas to you too, and have a great New Gardening Year!

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  21. I am so sorry about Pus, Helene! I always enjoyed seeing him on your blog. I know your heart is heavy and you will miss him terribly. My own dear Autumn died after developing sepsis earlier this year, and I still have a hard time talking about it.

    Your garden looks well prepared for winter and spring! Do you think you will try to grow fuchsias again?

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    1. Thanks Deborah, it is never easy to lose a pet, and especially when they have been with you for a long time.

      My plan for the fuchsias is to have a year without any – apart from the miniatures I have kept, and then in spring 2017 I will buy some new ones. Hopefully that will solve the problem, although I don’t know where I got the infection from.

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  22. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, Helene.

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