Monday, 29 February 2016

EOMV February 2016

In some places around the world, spring lasts about a week, it is an explosion in nature, the snow melts in record time and suddenly everything is bursting out in green and colours everywhere. In London it is a rather drawn-out affair that lasts about....well, I would say it lasts about 6 months or so, since most years we don’t really get a winter to talk about. Autumn usually ends beginning of December and although it says winter on the calendar, it goes straight into spring mode with spring plants and bulbs emerging from there on. And the official spring starts from 1st March so now I can look back at what kind of ‘winter’ we had: no snow on the ground, and 10 minutes of a few flurries in the air one very late night. That was the snow. As for frost - one frost night in November and one in February where it dipped just barely below freezing in my garden. We might get another frost night next week, but it will probably be another one just barely below freezing, if at all. I realise that London is an exception, just a few miles from here it has been much colder and places like Oxford and Cambridge has had down to minus 7C many times this winter. The day temperature has been lower in February than in December and January, which was unusually mild. It all evens out in the end!

Colder weather doesn’t stop the plants though, they are racing ahead in my garden, isn’t my new rhododendron lovely? This is ‘Bo Peep’ – nope, I didn’t name it, if I had, it wouldn’t have been called ‘Bo Peep’....but I like the flowers!

And now to a confession. I promised not to buy any more plants until I had planted all the plants I already had. I am afraid I didn’t manage to keep that promise, I got sooooo tempted by an offer of plants! I sometimes buy from a nursery that buys up surplus stock and they sell some of it quite cheaply. My main barging was 10 lucky dip roses for £30! (That’s just over 40 US dollars.) Normally one bare-root rose cost from £8-18 depending on where you buy it. Look how they have put all 10 roses into a large pot with compost, instead of just putting them in plastic bags – such a great idea and good help for me, I didn’t have to pot them up the same day they arrived. Great!

And here they are, all 10 of the roses, 5 climbers and 5 shrub roses. One of the climbers, 'Warm Welcome' has already got a new home through plant swapping and I am looking for a new home for 'Alberic Barbier', that’s a too big rose for my garden, with a mature height and width of 7 x 4 meters! But the rest will get to stay for now and the list is absolutely amazing for a lucky dip, just see:

'Madame Alfred Carriere'
'Compassion'
'New Dawn'
'Chandos Beauty'
'Constance Spry'
'Macmillan Nurse'
'Iceberg'
'Cornelia'

I bet any rose lover will nod in recognition to most of these roses, I had several of them on my wish-list and I can’t wait to find a permanent place for them. I am still working on my Wall Bed where most of the roses will go so for now they will have to tough it out in pots.

On a distance my garden looks very much the same as last End of Month View, but I have been working a couple of hours almost every day the last few weeks as the weather has been dry. Mind you, it has been rather cold and I am looking forward to warmer days where I don’t need 3 layers of clothes.

Along this wall is where I am working now, a very slow process of removing the Virginia Creeper from the trellis, without breaking the trellis. I am a rather patient person but my goodness, I can’t sit on my stool and do this for too long, I have to get up and do other things in between as the urge to just pull the whole thing off the wall sometimes gets overwhelming. I am determined to keep the trellis for my roses though, so I guess I just have to keep snipping away until it’s all removed. Patience is a virtue!

The only bed completed, the Lilac Bed is now exploding in spring bulbs – just like I planned when I was working on this back in November.

The crocuses and snowdrops are almost finished flowering and the next set of bulbs has taken over.

Here are 2 of the 3 varieties of Iris reticularis I have, 'J.S. Dyt' and ‘Pixie’.

Some of the last crocuses, with hyacinths and Scilla siberica.

Alstroemeria 'Dandy Candy' is happy and flowering despite the rather chilly weather. I have bought a few more alstroemerias for my sunny bed, more about that next month :-)

The new baby camellia has opened its first flower, and what a flower! It is absolutely huge, much bigger than any other camellia I have had. Just imagine when this tiny baby plant grows to 2m tall and wide, smothered in flowers like this....well, that is a few years till I must admit, since the plant currently is less than 1 ft tall. But small plants grow big eventually!

Do you remember I have talked about a plant swap website I am a member of? Green Plant Swap is a place to meet other growers and for swapping plants. Last weekend I arranged a Meet and Swap Day in my garden for members to come and meet and swap, and I had 17 shrubs available for people to come and get for free! Only small issue was that if they wanted any of those shrubs they would have to dig them up first as they were still in the ground! These were shrubs I had inherited with the garden and did not want, nothing special really, just some ordinary things like buddleja, hydrangea, euonymus, several pyracanthas, several acanthus' and a couple of spireas. But I hoped there would be other people interested in some of them, or else they would all go to composting. On the day I had 4 gardening interested people turning up, 3 of them I had never met before, all of which were possibly just us much a plantaholic as me! And 15 of my shrubs were dug up, most of them divided between my visiting gardeners, the rest went in my compost bin. There is only 2 left to dig up for now so that was a HUGE job done and a big help for me, thank you to all 4 of you! I will be arranging more Meet and Swap days later in the spring.

I had cut down all of the shrubs beforehand so it would save some time, all that was left were lots of stumps sticking out of the ground, like here just in front of my back gate. And we planted my magnolia in one of the planting holes, finally my poor magnolia has got its feet in the ground, I think it will be much happier out of the container it has been living in for all its life.

The area in the corner to the left of the magnolia is planted with Lily of the Valley, which has very shallow roots, and on the right side are some spring bulbs. At the back I have planted a winter flowering jasmine, not sure yet how to support it as it needs something to climb on but....one step at the time. The rest is just containers placed here for now. I am planning to plant a clematis where the pink container to the left in the photo is now, I just haven’t bought the clematis yet. I need one that can tolerate quite a lot of shade so I have thought of getting ‘Pink Fantasy' for this space. But before I buy any more plants I need to plant some more of those I have!

I have made a video of my garden today too, and today’s video is shorter than the usual ones – only 3 minutes - and the music is a bit different too. Have you ever had a piece of music or a melody stuck in your head that you can’t get rid of? Every time your mind is wandering then……BAM! the melody is there again. And the first thing on your mind before you open your eyes in the morning? That same tune! I had a song on my mind like that last week for several days. Finally I got rid of it – for two days, and then I heard it on the radio again last Tuesday and it has been in my head ever since! So I decided that this tune had played so heavily on my mind lately that it could now feature as the song for my End of Month View movie. After having edited my movie this afternoon and evening I know what song I will wake up with tomorrow morning! Anyway, here is February’s movie, with a stuck-on-the-brain-song for you as a freebee :-)



I assume the song don’t need any further presentation, the erratic behaviour of the squirrel might – but I don’t really know why they behave like this, perhaps they are just playful? I have many hours of footage taken of birds and squirrels in my garden, most of it is quite interesting, but I am going to spare you a feature film version of what’s going on in my garden! I am planning a separate movie though with just birds and other critters so some of it might be used at a later stage.

That was it for today, I don’t know where the last 3 months have gone, can’t believe we are in March already! And to all of you that I didn’t manage to visit after my last post, I am so sorry, I don’t know where the time has gone, it’s just flown away for me, I will try my best to visit you all this time! Next post will be Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day on the 15th.
Until next time, take care.

PS! Is the song still flying around in your brain?? You can always go back to my January EOMV post and see that movie again, it has a very different song and mood, might help :-)

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

43 comments:

  1. Although the singer's voice was familiar, the song was less so so I hope it won't stick in my head! Your swap and meet was a great idea. After dividing a large clump of Arthropodium (Renga Lily), I gave away what I couldn't use to friends and neighbors but all I got in return were some parsley plants I didn't really need. But the far fewer people are avid gardeners here.

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    1. The song is still stuck in my head…not sure what to play to get rid of it!
      There aren’t a lot of gardeners in my neighbourhood either, most of the people who came travelled quite far. I will arrange a new day like that in mid-April, hope to get more local people too.

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  2. We have a similar winter in the Pacific NW (West Coast) of the United States. This year we had one week of frosty nights and no snow. We did have a few days of cold weather last week, but other than that the weather has been quite mild. Forsythia is blooming, crocus are gone, daffs are blooming and trees are budding out.

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    1. Yes, I do appreciate this kind of slow pace spring, even though the Norwegian spring is fantastic the way everything is happening at once – when it finally happens, but I am more than happy to be without the 5 months of snow preceding that!

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  3. Hej Helene! Det händer så mycket i din trädgård, härligt att besöka dig. Våren är så mycket tidigare, här har vi fortfarande snö på marken, finns ingen möjlighet för trädgårdsarbete än. Men det är trevligt att se vad som komma skall. Ha det fint!
    Marika

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    1. Og hyggelig med besøk av deg, håper våren kommer til hagen din snart også!

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  4. We have had more frosty days than you but far less than usual. Only snowed once so far though.

    I love the squirrel antics.

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    1. The squirrels are a pest and make a lot of damage – but I love watching them anyway!

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  5. We have been short of frost this winter too. I like the idea of getting your garden swappers to dig out the shrubs - very shrewd! Well done for breaking your promise to yourself - that is a lot of roses for the money!

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    1. Yes, I thought I did a good bargain with the roses – and you are welcome to copy the idea with the plant swappers, I am surprised that we don’t see more people give away unwanted plants to anyone who can come and dig them up, for me this was the only way I could get rid of them :-)

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  6. Hei Helene!

    Det er så koselig å se bildene fra hagen din med så mange vårblomster allerede! Nydelig camellia du viser :)
    Her er det -10 grader om natten og snø på bakken fortsatt :(
    Lengter veldig etter å se noen vårtegn...
    Flotte rosekjøp! Chandos Beauty har jeg hatt i to år, og håper den har overlevd vinteren...

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    1. Ja, det er på denne tiden av året jeg setter mest pris på å bo i London! Jeg bodde 9 år på Gol før jeg kom hit til London, og som barn bodde jeg i Kirkenes så jeg vet godt hva skikkelig vinter er. Har ikke behov for mere snø så lenge jeg lever og det er helt greit om det ikke snør en eneste vinter igjen her :-)
      Håper våren kommer til hagen din snart og at alt har overlevd vinteren!

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  7. That baby camellia is just gorgeous. I have pinned it.. my new want list!

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    1. Yes, I didn’t really get a feeling of the flower size from the website so it was only when the first flower opened I realised how big they are!

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  8. Dear Helene, so happy for you that you got 10 new roses and for a very good price. I think you got some super pretty varieties, I have 'Chandos Beauty' and it truly is a beauty ;-)! A word of warning regarding 'Madame Alfred Carriere' though. This rose can become 20 feet tall here in the US and 10 feet wide. I have one in my garden and I would guess it is already 12 feet high after only being three years in the ground. It is also growing in severe root competition with Queen Palms and a Pine tree which should keep the growth of Madame Alfred Carierre in check, or so I thought...
    Anyway, looking forward to seeing your new roses blooming in your garden!
    The Meet and Swap Day is such a great invention. So glad you got rid of some shrubs without digging them up yourself and at the same time made someone else happy. I don't know if we have something like this here in the US, but I would love to participate if it was close by.
    Oh, and I almost forgot to say that your new camellia is drop dead gorgeous!
    Wishing you a wonderful week!
    Christina

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    1. Thanks Christina, yes, the new camellia is gorgeous, once it gets a bit bigger I will give it a nice container as the soil here is not suitable for it.
      Before I bought the roses I had a wish-list of roses and 'Chandos Beauty', ‘New Dawn’, 'Compassion' and 'Macmillan Nurse' were all on that list….along with a good few other, but getting 4 out of 10 is not bad!

      Thanks for the warning about ‘Madame Alfred Carriere’, I looked into it and it is described from 5-7m tall and up to 3m wide so I think it will be another plant I will try to swap with something more useful. If only roses were self-clinging and didn’t need so much help then I could just plant them out in the car park area and leave them to it :-)
      The Meet and Swap Day was something I arranged myself – including the invitation to come and dig up plants for free. I think other members of our plant swap website have met and swapped plants, but usually one person comes to another person’s garden and do the swap – I am not sure if doing an open invitation like I did has been done before through our plant swap members. I am planning another one in April so hoping for more people next time.
      Feel free to borrow the idea, all you need is to hang up some posters in your local shop or community centre or something similar and ask people to bring a surplus plant or two to swap and they will get something interesting in return. It is quite fun to meet people who are just as mad about plants as oneself!
      Have a great day in the garden :-)

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  9. Oh, yes, I know that feeling of getting a tune stuck in the head. And then if a friend or family member is singing it, too, it's near impossible to break it. But that's a good thing when you like the song! :) Your new garden is really coming into its own now. Wow, you've really added your magical touch to it! Our winters here are very long, and spring is definitely shorter than yours. I love the transition during a milder winter like the one we're having this year. Blessings for your garden in the coming year.

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    1. Thanks Beth, I can feel the garden has taken a good step forward lately, it’s been good, there was soooo much to do for a while and it seemed such a big task. Thank goodness for being able to do gardening all winter over here when the plants demand less of me so I can get on with the landscaping without having to tend to all the plants every day.

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  10. What a squirrel, Helene. It digs in your pot as it is its own hole. Lovely list of your new roses, I only know New dawn and Iceberg. The first one doesn't bloom every year (in my garden) and the second one perfectly blooms all summer, it has nice shape and flowers.
    I love a song in your video as well, is such joyful.

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    1. Thanks Nadezda, I am looking forward to my new roses taking off, in a year or two perhaps. I think New Dawn is a rose that needs a lot of sun and a warm climate so perhaps cooler summers means less or no flowers in your garden? I have had Iceberg before, but as a climber, I am going to have this one as a shrub and just prune it to size. Have a good week-end!

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    2. You're right Helene. In my garden New Dawn grows without any care and I don't cover it for winter. So flowering depends of how mild winter was. My Iceberg is climber but it can't grow well after winter and grows as a bush. Thanks!

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  11. Your choice of sound track too me back Helene. It's one which my mum used to play on her record player a lot when I was younger. I have images of my mum getting ready for a night out listening and dancing away putting her make up on. Thanks for the memory.
    Back to gardening - it all looks great and the urn provides a great focal point. Good bargains you got too. I used to have R. Warm Welcome - it needs the right spot to do it justice I think. I could never find companion plants that showed it off at it's best.
    Keep up the good work, you are doing well.

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    1. Thanks Angie, I used to listen to the Carpenters too – made me feel rather old now :-) It is not the usual kind of music I put on my videos but I thought I would surprise everyone and choose something VERY different. Next one will be punk rock perhaps…
      I did some research about all the roses I got and I decided quickly that Warm Welcome would be given away – all my roses are in pink/purple/deep red/cream tones. A bright orange one would have stuck out like a sore thumb. I would have thought that Warm Welcome would have fitted well into your front garden with your golden/orangey tones, but perhaps you got rid of it before you made that colour scheme? I am a bit in doubt about ‘Compassion’, not sure if it will be too orangey/salmon so I will hopefully see some flowers before it is planted, sometimes getting the colours right takes a bit of tweaking!

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  12. Karen Carpenter, bright and breezy as your post. Good to get a bargain like those Roses, 'Madame Alfred Carriere' I really should have given that beauty much more room than I did.

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    1. I have no idea where to plant the madam yet, I see a final height of 3.5m some places and 6m other places so I suppose anything is possible with this one! I might have to swap this one too for something else. I can’t plant something in my garden which will involve me getting on a ladder every time it needs pruning, I am no good on ladders anymore. I got my plant bargains from gardening express, sometimes they have really good offers, you just have to keep checking – very tempting, but I have got some really good plants from them :-)

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  13. Beautiful blooms! And those roses - wonderful!
    Our Winter has been mild this year - no snow, no sleet, but plenty of below freezing temperatures at night. And now Spring is here!
    Thanks for your visit and comment on my blog
    Lea

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    1. Thanks Lea, always nice to hear from you, spring has been a bit long in the tooth over here too.

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  14. And that is really an entertaining squirrel!

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    1. Yep, I don’t really need a TV with the squirrels and the birds to see through my living room windows!

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  15. Roses, roses, roses.... I just pulled out another rose because it was so diseased and I'm down to 4: 3 David Austins and my Peggy Martin. I do envy your ability to grow them so well. Our climate is just too humid. Love the sweet camellias!

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    1. I am plagued by blackspot over here too, but I spray the roses once a month with an organic systemic fungicide and it helps to keep them reasonably OK, but some still look bad at times.

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  16. Thank you for your comment on my blog. What strange seasons we are having these days, but I'm grateful for a sunny start this morning - with the Blackbird singing.

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    1. It’s been a cold spring so far, I am waiting for a long spell of warm weather so the soil can warm up – I want to sow my outdoor seeds :-)

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  17. That is one crazy squirrel you have in your garden! I would have snapped up that rose deal too. That's a pretty good price for so many roses. There are some real winners on your list too. Love the irises you have and wished I had more of them in my own garden.

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    1. Thanks Jennifer, those squirrels are playing around like that almost every day and it is fascinating to watch them, but I hate the damage they do to all the potted plants – I wish they could go somewhere else!

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  18. I'm almost as excited as you about the roses you bought, a wonderful lot for a low price and then that Camellia, such a pretty different pink flower. In the meantime the song is seriously stuck into my head......

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    1. Thanks Janneke, hope you have got rid of the song by now!
      I have a bit of a problem with two of the roses I got, they are simply too big for my garden so I am going to try to use them in a plant swap. 'Madame Alfred Carriere' and 'Alberic Barbier' will both be 7-8 m tall and I have no wall to accommodate such roses, but I will try to find room for the rest, can’t wait to see them all in flower.

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  19. I love how your garden is coming along, and all those beautiful blooms. And who can resist great plants at those prices!

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    1. Thanks Donna, I am a sucker for a plant bargain!

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  20. Everything seems to be coming together nicely Helene, all the work you put in last year is paying off. I am really fed up with this damp mild winter, many young meconopsis and primulas which I keep undercover to protect them from winter damp have rotted as the atmosphere in the OPEN tunnel is just too warm and moist, I have now put them outside out of desperation to see what can be salvaged. They would definitely have trouble surviving in your climate.

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    1. I have not even TRIED to grow meconopsis, although I would have loved to have some and I have heard of people growing them successfully in Kent, just outside London. Mind you, the weather we have had the last 6 weeks have been much colder than December and January, with temperatures down to 2-5 degrees every night and day temperatures 5-8 degrees. Still, I don’t think my garden is suitable, I will just have to accept there are things I can’t grow, hard as it is! But I am going to attempt growing a Bougainvillea, not sure if it will be this year, but I will have a go. Just because it’s something you don’t see outdoors in London :-)

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  21. Hi Helene
    sorry for not responding earlier to your question on my blog. It's guite a busy time at the Moment and I had some Computer Problems, which my hubby luckily could fix. However, you wanted to know the name of the double filled Helleborus orientalis. I don't know it. It was a gift from a friend some years ago. I hoped, that it would make some seedlings... it didn't :o). Wow, a lot of roses you bought and some real beauties. I know, at this time of the year, when I need to cut and feed them I always think, that I've got too many roses in my garden, but I forget quickly :o). I've got the New Dawn too and I can't wait to see how she is doing this year. Last year we had to cut down a tree, which took a lot of sunlight (but this wasn't the reason to cut it down) from the New Dawn. Maybe she will flower finally as beautiful and healthy as it should. Have fun in your garden and Kind regards.
    Alex

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    1. Hi Alex, don’t worry about the hellebore, every time I see one with beautiful colours I have to ask about its name so I might look for it – I really like those with unusual colours. I have been pondering about where to plant New Dawn in my garden as some places I have read it can tolerate shade and other places it says it needs a lot of sun and a warmer space than most roses. I think I will play it safe and put it in the sunniest spot next to the shed, it will be sheltered by the shed and it is completely south facing. I hope it grows big quickly!

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