Thursday, 30 November 2017

Winter has arrived in London​

It's last week of November, bone chillingly cold, windy and just above freezing - typically start of winter in London. I even heard on the news today that there was almost 10 minutes of a few snow flurries in the air. Yep, it comes on the news when there is a few snow flurries in the air in London....doesn't happen that often you know! But nothing stops for a bit of cold weather in my garden, everywhere you turn there are flowers, you just have to look a bit closer and they might not be as showy as in June and July although some flowers are exceptionally showy and photogenic.

Like my princesses which are flowering their heart out right now, so cute and so late out of bed yet again - so appropriate and in sync with their owner :-) The description of Schizostylis coccinea 'Pink Princess' says flowering from July to October but mine flower November - January every year. If anyone think these look a bit like gladioli then you are right, they are related. They are often called kaffir lilies, but they are not a true lilly. I had a rather big clump of this plant in a container that sadly got infested with vine weevils (never ending battle when you have lots of containers....). I took the whole sad looking clump up, washed away all soil and re-planted everything that looked reasonably OK in small batches in pots, gave the plants a stern talking to, which seems to have helped - and got 12 new, healthy plants. Yikes! I have given away a few of them as I haven't got room for that many princesses, the rest are now either flowering or in bud. Nothing is dead in my garden until it is thoroughly, definitely beyond all rescue dead. Until then it is hope.

The garden is slowly winding down for the winter, although still more green than any other colour.

I am really missing the tall tree that was taken down last month in the car park behind my garden, it used to shelter my garden from some of the chilly winds - the garden is now wide open and I really notice it.

The cold weather the last week has meant that some of my plants have had move into my shed for a few days. There is no heating in here, and no other light than what's coming through the small windows so it is far from ideal and would not be possible for a whole winter - but our cold snaps rarely last for more than a few days or up to a week so it's acceptable.

We haven't had any frost yet, it has been hovering just above and the coldest night I have had was 0.3 C degrees.

A bit too cold for some of my tropical and borderline hardy, but inside the shed it's just that bit warmer in case it dips below freezing. This is a Pelargonium 'Apple Blossom' cutting, the mother plants are still outside.

Tomorrow they are all coming out to get water and daylight again as we will be back above 4-5 degrees for this time. This is an Alstroemeria still budding and flowering.

My desert plants are still outside, but have moved into a plastic tent to shelter them from too much rain. Hah! As if that would be much of a risk....we still haven't had much rain, a few hours here and there with weeks in between is just so short of what we need. When I say to people (non gardeners) that I wish for 3 weeks with non-stop rain they look at me as if I am mad - but that's what we need. I'd rather have it now than in June or July, thank you very much!

As for showy plants - it doesn't get much more showy than camellias at this time of year. This is Camellia 'Takanini' and my camera is not very good with proper red colours, not sure why, but they always ends up much more saturated than they are in real life so I have to tone them down in Photoshop, which doesn't look like the real thing - and my CamCorder has exactly the same problem, maybe a Canon issue....are you listening Canon? Red is a prominent colour in my garden! Anyway, Takanini is an absolutely gorgeous camellia and I am so glad I got it some years ago, it has grown nicely from that tiny cutting I bought. It has so many buds now I wouldn't even be able to count them!

And Camellia 'Volunteer' has turned out to be just as much a spectacular camellia with huge pretty flowers. Give it a few years and it will grow into a nice little tree.

Autumn isn't really over completely in my garden, I still have a few flowers on my unnamed Asters which has been flowering since May.

Some of the roses have taken a well-earned break, others are still flowering, just not as much as in the summer. This is Scepter'd Isle.

And this is 'Iceberg'.

And let me finish with a final photo of 'Iceberg' again.

My garden movie this time was recorded a few days ago, in 3 degrees C and ice cold wind, the kind of cold weather that feels so cold you really question whether your thermometer has died. And I am no stranger to cold weather, I am used to winters in Norway where we often had week after week with minus 20-25 C and usually a couple of weeks here and there with much colder. The coldest I have experienced where I lived in southern Norway before moving to London was minus 37 C (-34.6 F) - I went to work that day, driving my car :-)
And I can still remember the coldest day we had when I was a child living up north. Minus 43C! That's minus 45.4 in Fahrenheit. That's cold. We went to school that day, but we didn't have to go outside to play in the breaks - we could stay inside - if we wanted to. Just to remind you, in your freezer there's probably about minus 18 degrees C, if it's working properly. But all that aside - the freezing cold wind from the river Thames here in London, combined with close to zero degrees as we have now, feels so cold compared to minus 20 in a dry, inland mountain area of Norway! I'd swap any day, well, just for a few days though, you can't grow camellias in a Norwegian mountain garden in November!

Music choice for this month's movie is meant to reflect the sombre weather, hope I didn't go totally overboard, but I love this piece and the music by 2cellos :-)
As always, if you have the speed for it, my movies are best in full screen in HD.



One final photo, just to remind you all that these days it is important to chill out and take it easy between preparations for Christmas. My neighbour's cat is a master in chilling out and comes here every day to do just that.


Next month's post and movie will hopefully be ready just before Christmas, see you then!

21 comments:

  1. Helene, your Camellias are gorgeous! Mine have stopped blooming and are growing shoots now I miss their beautiful flowers. I have to protect them from the harsh sun here. I am amazed by what you told about the norwegian winters, that's unimaginably cold for me! here where I live an excepcionally cold winter nights can go as low as 0 C and that rarely happens, on the other hand summer temperatures can be as high as 48 C!

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    1. I love camellias - almost as much as roses - and camellias do not need to be cut down like roses so with careful planning it is possible to have camellias in flower all year round here in London. I am still collecting aiming for that!

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  2. I laughed at your reference to the news covering snow flurries in London - in Los Angeles, the news covers any rainfall but, if snow were to show up here, you can bet you'd probably hear it on the international news! Thus far, we've been woefully short of rain again this year in southern California, and I'm worried that last year's rain didn't mark the end of our drought but rather just a pause in a longer event. As in all seasons, your garden is lovely, if somewhat more somber than it is earlier in the year. I was surprised to see your Camellia japonica blooming already - the C. sasanqua are blooming here but we probably won't see blooms on C. japonica until January.

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    1. I am watching the news about the wild fires from California, must be absolutely horrific living in an area where drought has become so widespread. We have finally had some rain, not enough but I no longer have to water the garden and the lower temperatures help too.

      The two C. japonica 'Takanini' and 'Volunteer', are unusually early to flower - and flower for unusually long - from late October to late April or even late May if spring is cool. I suppose flowering period might be slightly shorter in your garden because daytime temperatures will be higher, but you would still get a long flowering season. See if you can get hold of them, they are really beautiful, I grow both of them in containers still so they are easy to move to the best position during the year. Just make sure to give them enough water and dappled shade from April to October.

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  3. Ah! it's so nice to come to your blog again (I was away from blogworld). I loved the 2cello music; it went very nicely with the video. Your garden looks so beautiful and tranquil, a place of peace and serenity. You have so many black pots. How do make them look so beautiful? I also have a lot but mine all look ugly. That white princess looks like a crocus to me.

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    1. Most of my pots and containers are just cheap plastic, but because they are black they blend in and you don't really notice them so much - the plants and flowers should be the main attraction! They get a hose-down now and then when I water the garden, that's all really.

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  4. I remember sitting outside having lunch in Oslo a couple of years ago when it was -5C. It didn't feel anything like as cold as that temperature would here. Although the lap blankets and heaters may have helped! It is the damp in England that makes it so much worse I think. It gets into your bones.
    Envious of all your roses still in bloom. We have had a run of frosty nights. The hardy fuchsias are all I have left!

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    1. Yes, -5C in Oslo is nothing :-)
      And -5C in London is absolutely freezing!!!
      I still have roses in my garden, some of them will keep on flowering until I chop everything down in January, a bit sad to cut them down when they are still budding but at some point I will have to do it and January is better than any other month!

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  5. It’s a shame that the tree was removed for all sorts of reasons. We have had a couple of light frosts and very little rain here, very different to the other side of the Pennines which shelter us a little.

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    1. It's strange how uneven the rain is divided here in Britain - we have finally had some rain here in London, but far from enough. Good to not having to water the garden for a change!

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  6. Every year I am amazed at the resilience of roses.Its a shame some folk cut them back too soon.
    Love Iceberg, its very much underrated - and very good as a rooted cutting,

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    1. Iceberg is still flowering here, sadly with lots of mildew as we have had far from enough rain and I haven't watered enough, and not sprayed enough - but soon I will get rid of the lot too as they are not pretty any more. I usually cut everything down during January, with 30 rosebushes it takes me a couple of weeks to prune them all and re-twine the climbers .

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  7. Your neighbor's kitty looks just like my Ginger kitty. What a sweetheart! Your flowers are dreamy--especially 'Pink Princess' and the Cosmos in your header photo. They melt my heart. We had a cold snap, but now we're back to 10C to 12C for the past few days, which is very unusual for this time of year. Next we will plunge headlong into wintry weather--probably for the duration of the season. I'll look forward late March. ;-)

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    1. My neighbour's cat have two homes, he comes here several times every day to say hello :-)
      I have given away half of the 'Pink Princess' plants I made, the rest will be planted in the spring in a large clump - I am hoping for a big display next winter!

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  8. Correct rendition of red is a common problem with a lot of cameras. Unfortunate when, like you, my garden contains lots of reds.

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    1. Yes, it is unfortunate - and it never gets completely natural when adjusted in Photoshop.

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  9. Dear Helene,
    Seeing your pictures I'm really sure your garden is well and even cold wind can't damage it, because you treat your plants very well. I love the camellia buds and blossoms, the Iceberg rose is a champion in long-live flowers.
    I loved your video, the music suits to images perfectly. Have a nice and warm week!

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    1. Thank you Nadezda, the camellias are now in full flower and look so amazing, I must remember to take some new photos of them - especially the pink 'Volunteer' is very pretty now.

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  10. Hi HELENE!! You did an excellent job really i love you garnden and i wish once i came here me and my brother Cris also love flowers Thanks for post this useful information

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    1. Thank you and welcome to my blog!

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    ReplyDelete