Friday, 15 January 2016

GBBD from a cold January London

Did anyone think we could have summer temperatures to last us all winter?? Well, one can only hope – but alas, all good things come to an end and the last week it has been cold in Britain, bitterly cold. Not just low temperatures but the bone chilling wind here in London makes the around 5 plus Celsius feel like well below zero. To be honest I would rather have proper cold winter weather like in Norway than this raw, cold wind in London. Or, at least your average winter weather in Norway. Mind you, the other day I spoke to a friend who lives in Northern Norway where I used to live from I was 7 until I was 16, that day it was minus 27C there (-16.6F) - ordinary winter weather for January for that area. I suppose everything’s relative! I remember what that kind of weather was like, the coldest I ever experienced was a winter when I was 11 or 12 or so when we had 5 days of minus 40-43 degrees C (43 C is 45.4F). We all went to school, people went to work, life went on pretty much as normal. It was winter. Here in Britain they have huge warning campaigns on TV and radio every time it is about to rain more than a few mm and if there is even the slightest hint of a snow flurry, the amber and red warning signs are flagged up everywhere. I think people get desensitised to all the warnings. They should be used when there is an unusual or dangerous weather event, not just because it will snow or rain. Anyway, that was my way of telling myself that perhaps it hasn’t been so cold after all. Who am I kidding, yesterday it was sooooo cold I didn’t even go outside, I filmed and took photos of the birds in the garden through my kitchen window despite beautiful sunny weather!

The cold weather is only going to last another few days and then it’s back to pretty mild weather again. The downside of higher temperatures is more rain, which we definitely don’t need more of.

The garden looks calm in the low, hazy January sunshine.

I can’t wait for that sunshine to take a bit more, just enough so I can feel it on my face. Another 4 weeks will make such a difference.

I have got another raised bed since my last post, I needed another one so I have somewhere to dump excess soil when I plant. It’s funny how much soil one is left with after digging a hole and filling it in again! When the second raised bed is filled it will get strawberry plants too, just like the first one. Just think about it, in less than 5 months I will be eating strawberries from these beds. Yum!

This is where I am working at the moment, trying to get some of the spring plants in the ground before they wake up too much – although some of them are already wide awake, or they never went to bed. I have anemone, arums, arisaemas and trilliums all on their way up in the pots, and the other day I noticed several of the Dicentra formosa shooting already. One thing I know for sure, with all the plants I have lost due to moving house and with the slightly bigger garden I have here in my new house – I don’t have enough plants to fill all the beds! What a luxury problem. I will need to get more plants! After having had to restrict myself in my previous garden for the last good few years because I ran out of space it feels rather exhilarating to be able to look for new plants, even perhaps (slightly) bigger plants than I have ever looked at before. OK, only other plantaholics will understand that one – but think handbags and shoes, it’s not that different really - I spend my money on my garden, other people choose differently. The budget for new plants is....shoestring as usual. Beg, borrow and steal springs to mind. Some plant swapping in late spring would come in handy I think.

In my last post I told you about my attempt to feed the squirrels with peanuts from a ground feeder so they would leave my plant pots with spring bulbs in peace. That was the general idea at least. Did it work? Ha! The squirrel - and two of his mates came here and stuffed their bellies and then they ran around the garden and deposited peanuts into most of the 600 or so plant pots I have in my garden, every day for about a week. Out with some compost, in with a nut and then squash a bit on top. I went around and put the compost back into the poor plants at a rate that always seemed to be slower than the squirrels managed to get it out. So finally I stopped the ground feeder and bought a hanging peanut feeder instead. The squirrels don’t like this feeder, they have been eating from it but I guess it is too much work hanging upside down eating just small bits. So now they have resorted to DIG UP AGAIN ALL THE NUTS THEY BURIED! I am back to rescuing plants and putting compost back into pots. I hope the squirrels remember where they have buried all the nuts, they are supposed to be good at remembering, I wouldn’t like to think they come back emptying the same pots over and over, looking for the same nuts. So hopefully this is temporary until they have found all the peanuts, then they will move on to something else I suppose. There’s always emerging crocuses, a squirrel favourite. I have about 2.000 crocuses on the way up......

The birds are enjoying the new peanut feeder just as much as the fat balls. Sorry I don’t have any close-ups for you, they are so cautious of me so it is difficult to take photos outside and I still don’t have a proper zoom lens for my camera. If you click on the photo and get an enlargement you will at least see that the bird on top and bottom right is a Great tit and bottom left is Blue tit.

In expectation of the Arctic weather this weekend with -1 or -2C and perhaps an hour of sleet (sorry, couldn’t resist!), I have put all my pelargoniums in my shed. There isn’t much light in here with just a small window, but it’s better than being turned to mush. All it takes is one really cold night, so far we had one frost night last November and that’s all we have had. And now a frosty week-end. That can very well be winter over for us here in London. I won’t mind, let the spring roll in, I am more than ready!

Many of the plants in my garden are ready for spring too, the first Iris reticularis are flowering.

Schizostylis coccinea 'Pink Princess' is still flowering but looks a bit sad in this cold weather.

And I have roses too, not bad for January – a bit tatty from the rain the other day though. I have started to prune my roses so many buds are going in the compost bin. That feels rather awful, but no matter what time I prune I have rosebuds so it’s better to do it now when there are less buds than later in the spring.

The hellebores are in full flower, and at the bottom right is a flower from my cream pot rose. Maybe you remember it from my previous garden? I took it with me and it is now planted in the rose bed here in my new garden.

I also took with me most of the Helleborus niger I had in my previous garden, some older ones in the ground and some younger ones in pots. Here they all are planted together, and with some cyclamens I have grown from seed. To the right are some inherited daffodils that are mainly coming up blind. They are everywhere in the garden and at some point I might need to dig up the bulbs to get rid of them, but I thought I would give them all ONE chance to sort themselves out. One spring and summer with no weeds obscuring the sunlight and a nice dash of fertiliser to each clump. Perhaps they will recover and produce flowers next year. Perhaps.

I dug up as many cyclamens I could find in my previous garden and those the vine weevils haven’t killed are now flowering beautifully. Here are the big ones, all the babies are placed a different place.

I really like these unusual and funny flowers in spectacular colours.

The heucheras are still going strong, 'Southern Comfort' is flowering again.

I have thrown away ALL my ordinary fuchsias, they went in the bin just before Christmas, due to Fuchsia Gall Mite. But I have kept the miniature fuchsias as they don’t seem to be affected by the disease. This is Fuchsia bacillaris 'Cottinghamii'  and it is flowering beautifully practically all year round.

Here is another plant that doesn’t seem to understand it’s winter on the calendar. Not only is it evergreen in my garden, but it has been flowering non-stop since May! I know them as Bacopa Abunda ‘Colossal White’, but they are also called Sutera cordata 'Abunda Giant White' and to make it even more difficult it seems this one can also be called Chaenostoma cordatum. A dear child has many names :-)

This child, sorry plant – has only one name, but it is a tongue twister of a name. Arisarum  proboscideum, or Mouse Plant if you want to do it easier. The mice are popping up everywhere, thankfully these mice are really nice and do no harm at all. The flower is the brown and white part and the tail of the ‘mouse’ is part of the flower. I love them!

This gerbera was one I picked up from Ikea just on my way to the till, I think it was £1 and from memory I think I bought it about 10 years ago. It has lived outside in the same container ever since and it flowers from late autumn, through winter until June or so when it takes a break and vanishes completely, leaves and all. I have no idea why this gerbera behaves like this, it should flower in the summer but this one is a bit different. This spring I thought I would give it a bigger pot, perhaps it would like that after 10 years?! And perhaps I can manage to take some cuttings so I can get a spare one should this one decide it has had enough. The bottom right cyclamen is an old one too, I think it is more than 10 years old and I didn’t want to leave it behind so up it went and it is currently living in a pot, hopefully soon back into soil.

Among all the seasonally confused plants there are some that are bang on schedule too. In amongst the emerging daylilies there are snowdrops in flower. I have already some snowdrops in pots that have flowered and gone over by now, but those in the ground were planted very late and are therefore late to emerge – well, late for my garden anyway! Sorry I don’t have a close-up for you but my body was too cold and in too much pain to be crawling around on the ground today when taking the photos so this is as close as I got when sitting on my stool. If you click on the photo and get it enlarged you will see the snowdrops better.

Final photo is of my apple tree, this is one of my next projects once the weather gets a bit warmer. I have never had an apple tree before so I have had to educate myself through reading online. I know this tree needs pruning and that it will be a good time to do it now. From what I have read online I have found the general rules:

The aim is to create an open, goblet shape with a framework of four to five main branches.
Ehhh, I wonder how many branches there are here?

First, remove all dead and broken branches and any low branches that obstruct passage.
The first part is easy, the second not so easy, I wish the tree didn’t have so many low branches I can walk right into. 

Remove branches that are badly placed or crossing, and any tall, centrally placed branches that block air and light from the centre of the tree and are hard to reach for picking.
Well, that one is pretty impossible, at least in first pruning. I think I will need to take a bit every year over many years.

Remove or shorten any branches that are growing too close together - with less than 60cm (2ft) between them if next to each other, or with less than 90cm (3ft) between them if growing one above the other.
Huh? ALL the branches are growing closer together than 2ft vertically and 3 ft horizontally!

Old, neglected trees are best treated by pruning over 3 or 4 years. Otherwise there will be excessive growth if you prune too hard. The more you cut, the more it will grow!
Oh my....can I get a good tree surgeon that fits into my shoestring budget?! I think I have to watch some YouTube movies and see if I can perhaps get a grip on this myself first.


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Anyway…..a gardener is never short of things to do! And if I don’t have things I can do in the garden because it is raining too much or it is just too cold, I can always sit and write on my blog. This month I have been blogging for 5 years and I have written 320 posts. I have 6769 comments, nearly half of them are my replies to you all, but even so, the fact that visitors have left comments over 3,000 times on my blog is rather humbling, thank you all. The first year I wrote my blog as a diary for myself and didn’t really think anyone would read it – and hardly anyone did. But since starting out, 193,338 people have visited my blog. Some posts have been modestly visited, some much better – for all sorts of reasons. When Googling for something online it is amazing what you can end up with and I suppose some of my visitors have ended up on my blog looking for other things. You never know what’s going to catch on in the blogosphere. In June 2012 I wrote a post I called ‘Will it ever stop raining??’ So far that post has been visited 1801 times – it is possible that some of those people did not know it was a gardening blog, but even so! I wrote a post in 2013 about the different aids I use as a disabled in the garden, 1178 people have visited that post so far - and including my replies, that post has 65 comments. You can find the post here.

When I first started blogging I thought it would be something I would do for perhaps a few months or maybe a year. I NEVER thought I would still be blogging after 5 years and have no intention of giving it up. I have however reduced the amount of posts per month considerably, not because I have run out of things to say, far from it! I could probably find something to write about every day of the week, every week of the year. I just haven’t got time to do it, and I haven’t got time to reply to all the comments and visit back to all the lovely people commenting, which is a rather important part of having a live and active blog so my solution to this has been to reduce the amount of posts to 2-3 a month. When I have photos from the garden I am just itching to show off, I post them on my Facebook page instead - and you can send me a friend request to follow my garden from Facebook too. Look for the Facebook icon on the left side of this page, under the Blog Archive.

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

Until next time, take care.

50 comments:

  1. Hi Helene, what I noticed first is how neat and tidy your garden looks. I really like that! I wonder how you keep all the fallen leaves out of your garden. There doesn't seem to be one leave on your paths or in your beds...
    And as usual it is surprising how many interesting plants are blooming right now in your garden. The plants that really caught my attention though are your lovely heucheras. I have to admit that I envy you a little about them. In my garden they seem to do well for a while and then gradually become weaker and weaker until they disappear. I think, I have to use them as annuals in the future.
    It was interesting for me to read a little bit about your blog statistics. Congratulations to five years of blogging! We started blogging about the same time and I also never thought I would be doing it five years later. But it is so much fun, even though it is also very time consuming.
    Hope the cold subsides and spring is near in London!
    Warm regards,
    Christina

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    1. Thank you Christina, I always keep a tidy garden and I didn’t really find it difficult where I was before as there were no deciduous trees near me so only my own plants left leaves in the autumn and early winter. Here in my new garden there are lots of deciduous trees around me, big trees so it has been more work to sweep up the leaves. I just left them until all the leaves had dropped and just swept the paving at first - that was the easiest. I need to remove all the leaves as I walk around in the flowerbeds with my crutches and rotting leaves get very slippery. I have however kept some of them for leaf mould for the first time, here in my new garden I have space behind the shed to store the bags. Time will tell if that’s successful – in 2 years’ time :-)

      By the middle of the week we will be back to more normal temperatures and my pelargoniums can come out of the shed again!

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  2. It's been so fun to watch your garden come together here! Thanks for sharing your beautiful progress! And best of luck with the weather...

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    1. Thanks, the weather is so important for us gardeners – and there is nothing we can do to influence it, we just have to take what we get – or move to a different country :-)

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  3. Oh so your winter is just cold but snowless! When others have deep winters we here in our hot tropics hope that our coldest temps in a year, that means less than 30C, yes that is right, will lengthen a bit till February. We just get a few spill-off cold temps from Siberia and China in the norht, otherwise it is all dry season of 33-38C. But we have flowers all year, haha!

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    1. Thank you, we might get some sleet or even some snow flurries tonight, but it will be gone by lunchtime tomorrow. Snow on the ground that lasts here in London is a rare thing, hardly ever happens. And despite having weather around 2-12 degrees C in the winter, I have lots of plants in flower – I have flowering plants every single week of the year. But they are not as colourful and flamboyant as the plants you have, those plants are only for our summers :-)

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  4. Helene, congrats to your blog 5th anniversary! I completely understand you because I started blogging in 2011 as well. Your garden is calm and tidy now and you as always plan your work, the life is running on, the spring will be soon Although we have very cold winter -20 C ...-15 C I think and plan for spring too. Your apple tree seems to grow well, do not prune it very much, despite of all you can find in internet. 'More you cut branches less apples you have' - it's the gold rule.
    Lovey cyclamens and Iris reticularis!

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    1. Thank you Nadezda, I have seen on the weather forecast that the cold weather has spread everywhere, even my mum in Southern Spain has it almost as cold as me this week-end with only 3 C at night. That’s cold down there!
      As for the apple tree, I will prune it in stages so it doesn’t just promote lots of new growth. But I am not good on ladders so will need some help, I think I will start with getting rid of some of the branches in the middle to open it up a bit and get some air in – the tree is just as mass of tangled branches.
      Have a good week-end and stay warm!

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  5. As usual such an interesting blog, thank you so much. I have squirrels in the garden but I do not view them so benevolently now. There is a cobnut tree in a nearby garden and they bury nuts of all sorts in my pots. I haven't been successful in deterring them. They are forever digging in the pots and when I plant bulbs or young plants I have to construct some sort of wire netting barricade around them. If I don't take action the plants are destroyed eventually. I like watching them jumping across branches etc but also concerned that they don't find a way into the loft! I hope you can get your squirrels to behave.

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    1. I have a love/hate relationship with the squirrels – it is impossible not to like them when they play around in the garden, but boy do they do a lot of damage! It is so disheartening to come out and see the row of seedlings I potted up the day before, all messed up, half dead and compost tipped out. I know it will be better when everything is in the ground, but the squirrels will then turn to other things they like so there is no peace from them!

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  6. Hei Helene! Jeg forstår at 5 grader kan kjennes veldig kaldt når det er så fuktig luft som det er i London, men må nok påstå at det kjennes endel kaldere her akkurat nå ;) -21 i går kveld og -17 akkurat nå. Brrr... Flotte Helleborus som blomstrer hos deg! Får håpe at det ikke blir minusgrader hos deg da så de dør. Jeg var i London i november 1985, og da var det snø og -2 grader. Men det skjer kanskje ikke mer at dere har snø?

    God helg!

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    1. Jo takk, jeg bodde 9 år på Gol før jeg flyttet til London så jeg husker godt hvordan -21 kjennes ut – og enda kaldere enn det også :-)
      Det er veldig sjeldent vi har snø som blir liggende her i London, det hender det kommer litt snø, kan til og med hende det kommer så mye som opptil 10 cm – det er MYE her – men da er det gjerne borte etter noen timer. Når det er kaldt som nå er det som regel høytrykk og da er det ikke nedbør, da har vi isteden sol og fint vær – og kaldt, ja kaldt for å være her da. Sist gang jeg kan huske vi hadde snø som lå på bakken over lengre tid var i 2005, da snødde det i første uken av mars og ble kaldt rett etterpå og vi hadde kaldt og fint vær rundt null i en hel uke så snøen smeltet ikke før uken var omme og det ble varmt igjen. Det er 11 år siden…

      Vinteren 85/86 er en vinter folk snakker om her fremdeles som en av de kaldeste i manns minne så jeg kan godt tenke meg at det var snø her da du var her. Jeg var her på skoletur med videregående skole i januar 1983 og da regnet det og var 12-14 grader og jeg kjøpte meg et par sko så jeg ikke skulle behøve å gå med støvlettene jeg hadde med meg fra Norge :-)
      Ha en fin helg!

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  7. Your January garden looks great. The purple of that iris is really eye-catching. Everything about your garden looks so neat and tidy. I am truly envious.

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    1. Thank you Dorothy, I have got into the habit of keeping my garden tidy and I like it this way. I am sure there could be reasons to keep an area more unkempt for hibernating insects etc, and once I have got the plants in the ground I will save an area for that as here in my new garden I have a bit more space to play with :-)

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  8. Your neighbour has a tall fence! Maybe your daffodils are just overcrowded and have stopped flowering as a consequence.

    As for weather forecasters, since the Michael Fish storm fiasco I think they are frightened of missing something dramatic and so overstate everything. We were supposed to get snow on Wednesday but no signs!

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    1. I have no idea why the fence to those on the next street is so tall, I have wondered about that too! I am going to get a surveyor from the council down here to look at a few things sometime in the spring and I will ask about that fence then – I can’t really see what or who it is meant to keep out and it is rather in your face from my garden. But I think it is the council that has put it up, looks like it, so I will probably not get it taken down even if I ask politely!

      No snow for us down here, but frost a couple of nights. All over now and the plants are coming out of the shed tomorrow. I hope that was winter done with :-)

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  9. I laughed at your introductory remarks about the weather and its coverage on the news. Here, a rain forecast puts the news reporters on "STORM WATCH" (really, that's how it's advertised, complete with ominous musical accompaniment). Of course, rain here is a big deal but even El Nino hasn't come through as expected yet. It's too bad you can't direct some of your rain our way!

    I hope you get a bit of sunshine so you can enjoy work in your garden. I also hope the squirrels give you a break, although I can't say mine ever do that for me. Right now, they're eating the Gazanias as soon as the blooms open. As I write, I'm watching one in a "squirrel-proof" bird feeder, recently reinforced by my brother-in-law (unsuccessfully apparently) - at least he's scattering seed for the larger birds below!

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    1. It’s almost funny that El Nino is making bigger impact over here in UK than for you – I hope you get some rain soon! We are done with the frost for now, hopefully that was winter for this year. We can still get some snow, not out of the woods yet, but a long period of cold weather is most likely to happen in December and January.

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  10. Congratulations on your fifth blogaversary
    and how happy to celebrate in a bigger garden in need of more plants!

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    1. Thanks, I have already a veeeeery long plant wish-list and hope to get some by swapping and the rest I will trawl the Internet for the best bargains!

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  11. Even in November it was colder in Norway than it's likely to get here. The over dramatisation of the weather forecasts annoys me too. It's what people are used to I suppose. As for the squirrels, perhaps we can send all of those to the Arctic.

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    1. Good suggestion! Shall we send them with courier or trust Royal Mail to take care of it? If we all used Yodel to export our squirrels at least we could be sure they got lost on the way and sent somewhere completely different to where they should, all the squirrels could end up in Sahara instead – far away from our gardens!

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  12. 5 years! Congratulations Helene! What a milestone! Aren't squirrels hard work? One of them chewed all the little perches off one of my bird feeders. I have just increased the number of chickens in the garden and strangely enough, the squirrels have started to leave the bird feeders alone. It may be coincidence, but so far, so good - and a surprising method of pest control!

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    1. Hmm….squirrels afraid of chickens? Well, probably because the chickens are not scared of the squirrels? In my garden the squirrels and the collared doves are living side by side and eating the same food, but then again, the doves are considerably smaller than chickens. I don’t think I will introduce chickens though – there must be other ways to deal with the squirrels….(see reply above)

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  13. Happy GBBD and Happy Blogoversary! And we have been virtual friends for five years now. :) Now your Hellebores are way ahead of mine, and that's a good thing because our temps are January cold (fluctuating a bit from day to day, but our high tomorrow will be about 0F/-18C. It may very well be the coldest day of the year, and I'm planning to stay inside! Our winters are cold, but not as cold as the ones you describe from your childhood. Brrr... I'm looking forward to spring now, and visits to your blog will be a highlight in the weeks ahead. Cheers!

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    1. Thanks Beth, and thank you for reminding me that I have known you for 5 years, amazing how time fly! We had our coldest night this week with -2C, it’s been rather cold for more than a week now but tomorrow it’s back in double figure and the plants are due to come out of the shed. I hope that’s the end of the cold weather for this winter :-) Happy GBBD!

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  14. Congratulations on reaching the 5 year mark. it will be 5 years for me in March. I think about quitting all the time, but something keeps me going. I wish I could manage regular posts, but some how I never manage it.

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    1. I love the contact with other bloggers, seeing what they are doing in their own garden and get new ideas – and I also like having this long record of my own gardens, especially since I now have moved. I think I will keep going!

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  15. Amazing how many flowers are blooming in that cold snap....I love seeing how your garden just keeps going and going....it loves its gardener. Here we are finally covered in snow and colds o no blooms. And congrats on 5 years...time flies.

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    1. Thanks Donna, I don’t really know where those 5 years have gone :-)
      There’s always flowers in my garden, one of the things I really appreciate with gardening in London and I don’t say that lightly, I know what it’s like having 5 months of snow every winter!

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  16. Congratulations on 5 years!! That's awesome! It is funny how relative temperatures are. Where I used to live in North Carolina, everything would shut down at the bare hint of snow, while where I am now things carry on as normal unless the snowplows can't keep up with a blizzard. When I was a kid I lived in Alaska - I can't even imagine trying to garden around that very long, dark winter now! Your garden looks so impressive already. I love all those cyclamen and your little snowdrop in bloom! That is so sad you had to throw out most of your beautiful fuchsias. I'm glad you got to at least keep your miniatures! Maybe spray some hot chili/rotten egg spray for the squirrels when all your crocus bloom? That would be a shame for the squirrels to get into all of those!

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    1. I couldn’t imagine gardening in Norway now, after having been here for almost 17 years – I think I would just get frustrated with all the limitations and not see any advantages. Just think all the plants I grow that can’t be grown in Norway! I feel very fortunate being a gardener in my climate. And every February I send photos of crocuses and daffodils in flower to my sister in Norway - who usually have 6-8ft of snow in her garden by then :-)

      I am getting fuchsias again, just going to leave it for a year and then I will start another collection. Fortunately they grow big in just a few years’ time and are easy to propagate.

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  17. I can't even imagine the weather in Norway! I've always heard winter in Britain is cold and rainy but your flowers seem to love it.

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    1. The weather in Britain varies, here in the south-east it is drier and warmer than the rest of the country most of the time. In fact, over the course of a year, on average it rains less in London than it does in for example Dubai and Houston. The same can’t be said for the west side of the British Isles, and they often face flooding in the winter. With hardly ever frost here in London, most of the plants cope with winter and throws out the occasional flowers all through the season.

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  18. Congratulations on your five year landmark Helene. Looks like we will be back into double figures with the weather come Friday. Spring bulbs have made tremendous growth here also, no blooms as yet though.

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    1. Thanks Alistair, my plants are coming out of the shed tomorrow, I think they will appreciate that after more than a week. I hope that was winter done and dusted with?! I am ready for spring :-)

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  19. I'm late getting around to GBBD posts, but better late than never! You have so much greenery it really doesn't look like winter there. Love the bird photos!
    Hope you are having a great day!
    Lea

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    1. Thanks Lea, I am late replying to comments so don’t worry – and all comments are welcome anyway :-) Winter in my garden is usually a low-key affair, but this week it’s been ‘terribly cold’ – it went down to -2C here the other night, we have to go back to December 2013 for similar temperatures. But it’s back into double figures tomorrow, so I am back in the garden doing what I like best :-)

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  20. Helene, I had to laugh a little; your weather sounds a lot like ours lately. Any mention of snow is a major event here. Everyone rushes to the store to get bread and milk and other supplies as though we are going to be snowbound for weeks, when in reality any accumulated snow is usually gone in a day or two. I also had a laugh over your squirrels. I watched a squirrel dig a buried acorn out of a pot on the patio today. He seemed to know exactly where it was! Congratulations on five years in the blogosphere, and best wishes for many more!

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    1. Thanks Debbie, I have a love/hate relationship with the squirrels, love watching them play in the garden but hate the damage they do to my plants. Can’t do anything about them really so just have to try to minimise the damage!

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  21. Hej Helene! Alltid lika trevligt att besöka din blogg.
    Det är så olika med väder, vad vi är vana vid. En solig fin vinterdag med -20 kan kännas varmare än några grader kallt med råa vindar. Är förundrad över att det blommar så fint i din trädgård, vi får nog vänta på snödroppar flera månader till.
    Ha det fint!
    Marika

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    1. Takk Marika, det er rart hvor kaldt det er i London når det er kaldt her! Jeg vil heller ha skikkelig kaldt vintervær i Norge enn surt og kaldt vær i London. Men nå er kuldeperioden over for denne gangen og vi har mildvær igjen, kan hende det var vinteren for i år. Bare 5 uker til våren er her hos oss :-)

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  22. Ja du, det där med kyla är en aning relativt! Jag är ju van vid den - men gillar den inte. Men det finns dom som gör det otroligt nog!!
    Sen flyttade vi för 13 år sen till Gotland där det är betydligt behagligare klimat än i Stockholm. Vintrarna är mildare, vårarna är kanske inte varmare men längre, somrarna inte så kvalmiga (det fläktar från havet) och höstarna jättelånga och milda. Men...det blåser ganska ofta vilket är hemskt, då får man hålla sig inne! Man kan tydligen inte få allt!! *fniss*
    Kul att du var hos mig och tittade, du är hjärtligt välkommen igen!
    KRAM
    Susie

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    1. Ja, for oss som jobber i hagen så betyr været veldig mye og jeg sjekker værmeldingen nesten hver dag så jeg kan planlegge når jeg kan jobbe i hagen og når jeg kan få gjort andre ting – hagen har selvsagt prioritet over alt annet! Jeg tenkte ikke slik mens jeg bodde i Norge, da var hagearbeid noe for sen-våren og sommeren – og det var alt. Jeg har bodd i London i snart 17 år og setter så pris på å kunne jobbe i hagen året rundt og ha planter som blomstrer hver eneste uke i hele året uansett hva slags vær vi har.

      Det er morsomt å ha blitt kjent med flere svenske hagebloggere i det siste, hadde ikke kontakt med noen i de Skandinaviske land i begynnelsen men nå har det blitt flere så det er bra, artig å se hva dere gror i hagen :-)
      Ha det godt!

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  23. Although I've not been around for those whole 5 years your posts are always interesting to read and are very enjoyable. Happy 5 year anniversary Helene.
    It will be a pleasure in the coming months to see the transformation in your garden. I think you did the wise thing and not jump in with two feet (as I would have done) and do too much at once.
    Good luck with the apple tree. I discovered today that my wee white stemmed/purple leafed birch tree has snapped completely in half and I am currently trying to find out if it is worth saving. Good old garden forums! It wasn't the cheapest of plants so hopefully I can rather than replace it. Bl**dy wind! And it's to come back again this weekend, I hope you don't suffer too much down there.

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    1. Thanks Angie, I hope you are OK these days, the storms seem to be queuing up to batter you guys up there! Sorry to hear about your birch, I come from a county where birch trees are everywhere, also where you don’t want them, they grow up between paving slabs and even on concrete – most varieties are really tough ones so if it was me I would give the tree a nice shape and let it just get on with it, chances are it will just continue growing. If it doesn’t, the roots should be OK so no reason why it would not shoot from the ground and make you a new tree in time.
      Down here in the quiet corner of Britain we have been having windy weather but no storm to speak of really.

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  24. I love that mouse plant! :o) Your gerbera is an odd duck but I like it! It beats to its own drummer. :o)

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    1. I don’t know how many times I almost gave up that gerbera, but it kept coming back every winter so I let it stay of course :-)

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  25. Hi Helene, great post as usual. We have so many mild winters these days that I think there are less and less people with experience who can actually cope with the consequences of even the slightest amount of snow or freezing conditions, in the north we tend to think that the media gives the impression that more than an inch of snow brings London to a standstill, so maybe it isn't so bad that we now have a "nanny" state. I certainly "got" your comment about space, I would love to have more space but I do tend to grow in groups rather than individuals but I think I am going to have to change this just to accommodate everything waiting in the wings to be planted out. The one think that stunned me was the Gerbera, not in the fact that it is flowering as I have often found plants, more often bulbs, from the Southern Hemisphere will flower during our winter, but the fact it survives at all:-)

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    1. Thanks Rick, I have a tendency to want ‘one of each of everything’ so a drift of the same would be impossible in my size garden – even groups of 3 or 5 is often difficult. So instead I try to group plants together that kind of belong together – woodland plants in one area, roses and typical cottage plants in a different area and so on. That gerbera is a single one though, not sure why I only bought one, if I had known it would last more than 10 years outdoors I would have got a few more back then!

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