We have just had another storm here, it’s become much easier to keep track of the storms since they started giving Atlantic storms names too, and with storm Katie just passed the total are now 11 this season. That’s more storms than usual - and Katie hit us hard here in the south-east, we are not used to proper storms. I am amazed though how sheltered my new garden is compared to just the front side of the house, and thanks to this I had no serious damage after storm Katie. But there were plenty of minor damage, and most of the daffodils that were in flower are now broken and I have taken those that could be rescued inside in vases so I at least get to enjoy them for a few days before they go off. There were camellia flowers ripped off in the high winds too and there were lots of overturned pots, but no serious damage. Next storm on the list is Lawrence and there are another 9 names after that again, ending with Wendy. Plenty of scope for more storms before the season is finished – I sincerely hope we won’t have to use the whole list this year!
For this End of Month View I am going to start indoors for a change. When I moved to this house in May 2015, one of the things I looked forward to was the fact that the living room is facing the garden and has big windows and no radiators under – all things I missed in my previous house. I use the space in front of the windows to grow my indoor plants, but for the first time in many, many years I thought I would try sowing indoors – that was not possible in my previous house with nowhere to keep seedlings.
Unfortunately my first attempt hasn’t turned out so successful. I bought some simple propagators with Jiffy Pellets, and I will NEVER EVER use them again! It is completely impossible to water those pellets properly, now that the seeds have sprouted – I have to carefully pour the water from each corner, but the pellets on the sides suck up too much water and the ones in the middle gets nothing.
The result is that the pellets go mouldy. And the seedlings are very thin and straggly, probably because even though they are right next to the window, they still don’t get enough light.
Some of the seedlings are completely covered in mould!
I have seedlings in the kitchen too, on the only table I have in the house, but no Jiffy Pellets here, just pots with seed compost. Same problem here with not enough light - and in an ideal world I would have a room full with grow lights everywhere and seedlings getting the best treatment – but I haven’t got a spare room anymore and setting up grow lights for 3 months every year in the middle of my tiny living room is not really to my liking. Perhaps I will just stick to buying plug plants for the future!
Outdoors the garden is slowly turning green, I think by the time I am taking photos for GBBD in April, the trees will have tiny leaves.
The beds are filling up and things I planted last autumn and during the winter are now starting to emerge. It’s all so exciting!
I am still working in the Wall Bed and I am trying to plant at least one plant here whenever I am having a day out in the garden. I know I am not exactly Speedy Gonzales around the garden – but I’ll get there in the end! This Wall Bed will be a mix of roses, lilies, hemerocallis’, clematis’ and dahlias, mixed with one Lonicera. In addition there is the hardy Hibiscus cyriacus that was here already and also the Jasmine I inherited that I didn’t even know was here until I started taking down the Virginia Creeper that filled this wall originally.
Last time I posted I showed you this photo from last summer to illustrate what a transformation my garden has gone through lately.
This time I am going back even more – I took this photo on a visit to the house on the 13th April last year, before I had signed the contract and before I knew for sure whether I would get the house or not. Here you can clearly see how the whole fenced area is just filled with old shrubs, weeds, acanthus leaves and rubbish. It was not even possible to walk inside the fence.
And look at the same area now, without the old fence and with everything tidied up. Once I get all the plants in the ground it will look even better :-)
The Woodland Bed is almost finished, now I just have to wait for everything to emerge and fill in. I recon it will take at least 2 years before this bed looks good, and the pots are here to help fill in the gaps while some of the plants fatten up a bit.
I have been digging out more acanthus roots since my last post. Nope, it is not the same pile of roots, this is another pile!
Someone got the brilliant idea of planting an acanthus in this bed – not sure when but perhaps 5,6 or maybe 8 or 10 years ago. Who knows, it’s been here for a LONG time. And the acanthus has done what acanthus do – made an extensive root system. When I started digging out the roots I realised why the edge on this part of the bed was loose; because the roots had simply pushed it out. I have therefore emptied the bed and sifted through all the soil and got as many of the roots out as possible.
And now I am working on sorting this area out. I have a new arch here and a clematis on either side, for now they are growing in containers and if they are happy in this rather shady space they might get to grow in the ground eventually. The clematis’ are ‘Mon Amour’, which I had with me from my previous garden and ‘Piilu’, which is new, both are rather small. It is always difficult to compose colour blends when buying plants online – what one person call red, another call pink or purple, and just try to Google any plant and you will see what a frustrating range of colours that comes up with what’s supposed to be the identical plant. Even so, I hope Piilu’s dark and light pink shades and Mon Amour’s blue with pink tint will be a good mix.
Speaking of colours, I still haven’t got my fence painted – still a bit apprehensive about the colour. I wanted a dark plum colour and there is only one fence paint fitting this description. And it looks like a dark, rich, gorgeous plum colour on the test strips I made when it is in the shade. However, in the sun the dark plum colour turns more....ehmmm....muddy pink. Now, imagine the WHOLE fence in that colour. It is a huge job painting it, twice. I have to get the colour right. I absolutely love that dark plum colour, but I will have to like it when the sun is shining too!
Speaking of sunshine, the weather has been good to us lately, and apart from some nigh time showers there will be really nice weather the next 10 days. About time! The plumtree is about to burst into flowers, a couple more days of sunshine and warmth and I think the first flowers will be here.
And in the plumtree I found this pile of wadding, carefully laid here by a bird. I thought it looked rather opportunistic right here, next to the feeder, but it seems the bird has come to its senses after all – perhaps it would be better to make a nest a bit out of the way for everyone coming here to have their 3 square meals a day and more!
I have one more tree to report about today, my Magnolia soulangeana ‘Heaven Scent’ came with me from my previous garden, still in a large container – and after having had a rather stressful last summer being largely neglected I had no hope of getting any flowers this spring. The magnolia is now planted in the ground so I had just settled for a year without flowers and hope for lots next year. But now it turns out there are a few after all – 7 in fact, and they are just about to open. Give this magnolia a couple of years from now and I think it will look really good.
I posted this photo on my Facebook page during Easter, I thought I would put it here too as it came out quite nice. It shows the full moon, and as this is London there are no escaping street lights so it looks like we have 2 moons around here. The photo is taken after it has gone fully dark, and just shows that in London it’s never completely dark.
I know the Easter holiday is over, but these mini daffodils have been a cheerful addition to my garden during Easter and they will continue for a while. They are called ‘Hawera’.
Final photo is my Easter vase, and it is actually still standing in my living room. It is a mix of forsythia and some branches from the apple tree, the ceanothus and the Salix integra. I have decorated the branches with miniature Easter chickens.
As always I got a movie for you for my End of Month View. I am enjoying filming the birds in my garden and I notice more and more birds arriving lately. I use either the kitchen door window or the living room window to film them as they usually fly away if I go outside. Filming birds was something I just could not do in my previous garden as I couldn’t see my garden from any window in the house. Another thing I appreciate with this house!
I hope you enjoy the movie, it is absolutely best viewed in full screen, in HD.
The music was Fantasia on Greensleeves, by Vaughan Williams.
I am linking today’s post to Helen at The Patient Gardener’s Weblog.
Next post will be Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day on the 15th April, and I hope my garden has turned much greener during those 2 weeks; it’s been going painfully slow while the weather was so cold, but from now on it should speed up. That means I have to speed up with planting too – to get as much as possible in the ground before the summer heat sets in drying up the soil!
Until next time, take care.