Sunday 5 February 2012

Snow in London!

It shouldn’t come as such a surprise that it has snowed in London overnight, after all, Britain is placed in the northern hemisphere, and for the rest of the world it is only natural that it’s winter here during the winter – but not so for the Britons. Every time it snows here in London, it comes as a huge surprise, people are stuck in cars overnight, lots of unnecessary accidents happens and there are huge delays on roads, airports, rail and other public services – if they are open at all. Schools get closed, because teachers can’t get to work, and if they can get to work they won’t allow the children into school for health and safety reasons – the children could fall over in the snow you know…..

This is my 13th winter here in London, and I have lost count of how many of them with snow, but I think we are about half and half by now, with the last 4 years in a row with quite a lot of snow on the ground for many days. You see, that’s why snow here in southern England is such a problem; there is so little of it! When it doesn’t snow every winter, and only for a few days those winters it does snow, no-one gets used to the snow and no-one really knows how to behave on wintery roads. I for one am not going to wish for more of it, after having grown up in Norway and seen and shovelled more than enough snow to last me a lifetime I am very happy with not seeing snow ever again. But countries that have proper winters every year and know what to expect, do handle wintery weather better than countries like Britain, where it seems to come as a big shock and horror every year…..

It wasn’t a big surprise to me that we were going to get snow overnight, it was very well forecasted, so much so that when it started to snow at around 11 pm last night, I kept looking out the window regularly to see whether we would get proper snow or just sleet. We did get snow, and we got lots of it. The following 2 photos are from around 1 am, the first one from my garden and the second from my street. You can see my car already getting covered, after just two hours or so snowing. The temperature was around zero so the snow was very heavy and compact, perfect for a snowman, if I had bothered with that at 1 o’clock in the morning. I guess my neighbours would finally have got confirmed then that the crazy lady down the road really is…crazy…so I didn’t make a snowman!

But it was too dark to take much detailed photos in the middle of the night, even here in London where it never really gets proper dark, so I waited for daylight and went out again with my camera. OK, I know, most people would have gone to bed and then got up early, but I am not most people….and I really don’t do early mornings, so I preferred to stay up and then go to bed :-) The next set of photos are from around 8:30 this morning, it was very quiet this Sunday morning, no-one seemed to be up yet, except for my cat, which you can see from the tracks in the snow. The snow also made all the noises of the city seem quieter than normal, as if a huge duvet surrounded the lot and softened everything.

The garden, covered in snow.

We got 12-14cm snow overnight, on this table I keep one of my Bonsai trees. You can hardly see it for all the snow!

Daffodils, some of them barely above the snow.

My holly tree has lots of berries this winter; the branches are laden with snow right now.

What’s under this pile of snow? I can’t really remember! My garden looks so different with this white duvet covering the whole of it.

Look at my camellia! Some of the branches are so weighed down with snow I am afraid they might break.

I brushed off some of the snow to free the camellia from the weight, and guess what I found? Three camellia flowers! I didn’t know it had started flowering, it must have happened the last 4 days, even when it has been so cold, because there were no flowers last time I looked.

And guess what this is? My strawberries! I think they will be OK, it’s better to get frost and snow this early than later in the season. The latest we have had snow here in London when I have lived here is 6th April!

And just to let you know, things are happening in my garden despite sub zero temperatures. Here is Rosa ‘Freedom’, with new shoots emerging. I haven’t cut my roses down yet, I probably need to do that soon, regardless of what the weather is like. If you look closely, you can see a greenfly right in the centre of the new shoot. Yeah, they’re here already….or, they never left, to be correct, they just took a short break in munching away, and now they are gearing up for a new season!

That was a short stroll in my wintery garden and depending on the temperature the next few days the snow might lie for a week or two, or it could be gone by tomorrow. Looking at the forecast I think we will be burdened with some of it for quite a few days. The snow can look exquisite and turn a bleak garden into a magical crystal place, but to be quite frank, I would swap for a tropical hot place any day! The cold weather is eating into my sore joints and I never feel really warm. I think we humans should hibernate when living in inhospitable places like here in Northern Europe; just like sensible animals do! Would suit me just fine :-) I have no idea if the next set of photos from my garden will be with or without snow, I guess you will just have to come back and see, until next time, take care :-)


  1. Well to my tropics born-and-bred eyes your winter wonderland looks terrific. That house swap is sounding more and more enjoyable at this time of year, lol! Lovely set of photos and it's great to see the Daffodils breaking through.

  2. What lovely photos! I love the daffodils breaking through, the holly and of course the beautiful camellia bloom against all the snow! Enjoy :)

  3. stunning photos Helene! I love the snow (but only on pictures ;-) )

  4. Hopefully your flowers do all right despite all of that snow and cold weather!

  5. Thanks for all your comments, I also love the snow as a backdrop for photos, but I’ve got my photos now, so I’m OK if the snow went and didn’t come back again this winter! The camellias that are flowering now will be ruined by the frost, but there are many, many hundred of buds and they are safe so no worries :-) The rest of my plants will do OK if this cold spell doesn’t last too long. A bit of a southerly wind in exchange for what we are getting from Siberia now would be welcome!

  6. I'm not a snow fan, but there is something so peaceful and beautiful about it -- especially in the morning when it's fresh and clean. Lovely photos.

  7. The picture of the snow and flower together is beautiful. It's chaos here as well when it snows, as it usually only snows maybe a couple times of year so no one knows what to do with it. But it's like a big holiday with the kids enjoying the break from school and playing out in the snow!

  8. Since we have had such a mild winter, it is nice to come over to your place and enjoy a bit of snow. These photos are lovely and peaceful...that is what I miss when we do not get snow. Enjoy!

  9. Lovely photos, especially the camellia and the holly. But just like you, I'm ready for the snow to go now.

  10. Great shots that you can use for Christmas cards next year. ;-) I know what you mean about living in a northern climate for a long time and being OK with less cold and snow. I have to say the Holly looks perfectly at home in the snow and the Camellia looks magical. Good stuff!

  11. So funny, we have no snow and there you are battling it. I guess if I grew up in Norway I would be ready for a break.

  12. Thanks for all your comments :-)
    I can report that most of the snow is gone, only small dots here and there, and good is that, because tonight we have minus 6 degrees!! The cold weather is going to stay with us for a good few days. We don’t have houses here for temperatures like that, Britain is shivering!

  13. Hi Helene,
    I enjoyed reading about your excitement, yet mixed feelings about the snow. I also like the way you folks put your words together. Your photos turned out well, even the ones taken at, I think you said, 1:00 a.m. I had to laugh about that.

  14. you captured London gardens in a most captivating light, Helene.

  15. I would love some snow! Our winter has been really warm. I'm glad the camellia didn't drop its buds. The flowers are beautiful!


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