Thursday 19 December 2013

Decorating for Christmas – part 2

Last week I wrote a post about making Christmas decoration, here comes the second part. For me, the Christmas period is mainly about bringing light into the house, as during these weeks in December, daylight is in short supply and decorating with light is good for the soul and lifts the spirit. But why stop with having decorative lights indoors when you can have them outdoors too?

Sunday 15 December 2013

My garden in mid December

Mid December in London – what words springs to your mind....perhaps drab, brown, rainy and cold? Not in my garden! I was out all Saturday photographing for Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day and with 13 degrees C (55F) and a bleak sunshine it was lovely albeit a bit windy. I struggled to keep the flowers still enough to take the pictures at times but hey, that’s one of the challenges of gardening photography. Just when you have the right focus and perfect angle then whoosh!....comes another gust.

Tuesday 10 December 2013

Decorating for Christmas - part 1

My collection of orchids is currently counting 8 different pots of various sizes, 3 of them are in my living room, the rest are crammed next to my small kitchen window. 6 of the orchids are Phalaenopsis orchids and although I have read many places that these orchids don’t have a particular flowering time and can flower whenever, in my house they all follow a set routine and start to send up flower spikes one by one during the autumn and early winter. At one point in early spring I usually have all of them in flower and it is a spectacular sight!

Wednesday 4 December 2013

December roses in London

Winter started officially last Sunday here in Britain and last for 3 months until end of February. My garden doesn’t really look that different to last month – a few plants have died down and some plants have started to lose their leaves, other again are not as prolific in their flower production so OK, it feels like autumn but winter? Not really - not yet.

Saturday 30 November 2013

Happy Birthday Cat

November is the month my cat has birthday, I am not exactly sure what date, but it is probably in the second half so I thought I would mark it here with another post about him – and some photos. Today’s post is part following up on repeat posts from 2011 and part new, as some of the info here had to be updated.

Saturday 23 November 2013

Half full or half empty – repeat

It’s late November and even though I am outside in my garden every day and I still have lots of plants in flower, it is definitely a quiet time of the year in terms of gardening. I have been blogging for almost 3 years and in my first year of blogging I didn’t have that many visitors. I have therefore decided to recycle a few of my posts from the first year and hope you enjoy them again even if you might have read them before. Here is the first repeat post.

Friday 15 November 2013

November splendour

November in the northern hemisphere is usually thought of as a time where we endure cold, rain, the occasional storm, perhaps frost or even snow – and for most people it is a definite end to the gardening year, if the trowels and secateurs haven’t been put away already. In my London garden I’ve certainly had my fair share of rain and the occasional storm, but my garden year never ends, I just change to a different gear. I put on layers of clothes and my insulated wellies and spend shorter time in the garden, and I work for the most, no sitting down enjoying the weather and the view – too cold!

Monday 4 November 2013

After the storm

The storm a week ago swept through my London garden with ferocious winds and it rained buckets for about 18 hours. I had prepared my garden for the storm, but you can’t really plan for any possible event, no one knew where the storm would hit hardest. It turned out I was lucky. I had put all my pots on the ground and had lied down the magnolia growing in a container, and hoped for the best. It went better than I had hoped.

Thursday 31 October 2013

A monster for Halloween

I suppose it is rather fitting to have a monster plant presented on a day like today - in a bright orange colour, my monster will be known to a lot of people as something they initially put in their garden as a nice, small plant they picked up at a nursery - and then forever regretting doing that.

Wednesday 23 October 2013

Blogging can lead to....

I started blogging almost 3 years ago and went ahead really on a whim, as a progression from writing on my website about my garden and presenting things I make on my computer. In the beginning I didn’t have any response at all, no comments from anyone, for almost a whole year. I could see that I had visitors from my statistics, but didn’t know if people stayed and read or just skipped past to next blog. I joined Blotanical in December 2011 and that’s when my visitor statistics started picking up and comments began to appear.

Tuesday 15 October 2013

October in London

October is a funny month here in London, it goes from one extreme to another. We had 10 days of nice, warm weather well into 20 degrees C during the day and even if the evenings are colder and it gets darker sooner, it still felt like summer and often nicer than many days we had in August. And suddenly it all changed, the temperature fell to barely above 10 degrees and that bone chilling wind you get here in London set in and we skipped from summer to feeling like winter in just a few days. It is Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day today, and it might be autumn, cold and windy and you might think that there can’t possibly be much to see in flower in a garden in London, but as usual I have lots to show you.

Saturday 5 October 2013

Out with the old, in with…

I used to have an enormous Acanthus spinosus in the middle of my garden, in the left flower bed, just in front of the large camellia. If you don’t know this plant it is one of those you either say ‘ugh’ when you see or you smile and find interesting at first sight. I suppose I belonged to the last group, I really love anything unusual, and it doesn’t come more unusual than Acanthus spinosus!

Tuesday 1 October 2013

Edible passion?

Down at the bottom of my garden the passionflower is still romping away up the dead tree stump as if it was participating in a competition in growing the most per week. I have started to snip away some of the longest shoots because I am afraid they will simply just hop over to other plants in my garden. I never anticipated the passionflower being this successful – certainly not in year two, what will it look like next year?!

Monday 23 September 2013

Plant swapping Sunday

Can you remember I have written about the Green Plant Swap website before? It is a UK website where you can make your own page and list the spare plants you have for swap or sale and then arrange to meet other gardeners in your local area to exchange plants. Last Sunday I had my first plant swap! I signed up in April and put just a few plants for swap/sale, just as a tester, but have quite a few photos of my garden and I have written a lot of info about my garden too.

Sunday 15 September 2013

September beauties in my garden

It has rained in London the last week, a lot of rain, I haven’t really been out in my garden much at all. Between my hospital appointments and all the other things I have had on my calendar the last week I have just not been able to find many breaks in the rain to get outside. The last two days I have tried to take some photos for this post and it’s been almost a cat and mouse game with the weather – every time I think it’s safe to go out and take some photos it starts to rain again. Yesterday I just gave in and took some of the photos in pouring rain. I guess I am a bit of a sight out there, one crutch in one hand, the camera in the other hand and an umbrella carefully balanced on my shoulder. I am more afraid of my camera getting wet than me of course, and I was better at doing this balancing act when I had a point and shoot camera. Now I have a DSLR camera and it is a lot more difficult to take pictures with just one hand plus an umbrella. Oh well, the rain is good for my garden, it really needed it so I am not complaining, we should really have another week of it I suppose.

Saturday 7 September 2013

Let the sunshine in

It is still summer in London, Thursday the thermometer in my garden showed 30 degrees Celsius (86F) in the afternoon and although yesterday was a much cooler day with some rain, my garden really needed those showers and I was happy for the few free drops of water from above.

Friday 23 August 2013

My fuchsias

Summer is still going strong here in London, it is Bank Holiday Week-end though and the obligatory rain will appear in a few hours time – in buckets apparently, and it is supposed to rain until lunchtime Sunday. A whole 36 hours of rain might not be so welcomed by the carnival goers but it is going to be marvellous for my parched garden, I hope we get as much as we are promised although I can do without the warned flooding, thank you very much.

Sunday 18 August 2013

Picnic and fireworks under the stars

I have just come inside after a lovely evening concert with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at their yearly ‘Under The Stars - Proms in the Park’ event in my local park here in East Ham. As many of you know, I am housebound and only leave the house to attend my hospital appointments so walking to the park and sitting there for 3 hours is out of the question for me – I haven’t been there for many years, but the park is so close to me so I can hear the music in my garden!

Thursday 15 August 2013

My August garden

It has been an absolutely wonderful summer here in London, best I can remember for a long time - although the weather has cooled down a lot the last couple of weeks and we no longer beat heat records. It is already middle of August and it’s time to join the Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day and show you all what’s flowering in my garden. I have a lot to show you, as usual, so grab a cup of what you fancy, feet up, and let me guide you through my tiny paradise.

Sunday 11 August 2013

The most important room

I often say that the most important room in my house is my garden, and I use my garden as if it was one of the rooms in my house – all year round. I probably spend almost as much time there as I do in my bedroom on average and certainly more than I do in my living room. It was therefore about time I did a spruce-up of my seating area this summer, it has looked the same since I moved in almost 12 years ago.

Wednesday 7 August 2013

My lilies

My oriental lilies are finally flowering! I wish scented blog photos were invented so you could smell my garden right now, it is like standing in the middle of a flower shop, with your face buried in a sea of lilies! All the plants in my garden has been very late to flower this year, thanks to the exceptionally cold spring we had, it seems like the delay has just continued and still is. I never thought I had to wait until August to get my oriental lilies in flower!

Sunday 28 July 2013

Bring in the passion!

My garden has taken on an autumnal feel in certain parts, as the last couple of week’s battle against spider mites now is well and truly lost. My crocosmias are still flowering, but the leaves are completely brown and dying and look more like they do in late November. One of my hydrangeas at the bottom of my garden hasn’t even started properly to flower, but the leaves are dropping at an astonishing rate and many of my fuchsias and most of the dahlias are beyond rescue. My only consolation is that none of the plants will die from this attack, the leaves and flower buds will just drop much earlier than normal and next year the plants will recover and look just as beautiful. The chances of getting such a hot, dry summer next year, and the same problem again, is probably around close to zero, so I am not being too depressed about the devastation all around me, it’s just what gardening is about – you never know what each season is going to throw at you!

Saturday 20 July 2013

Unwelcome guests in my garden

The hot weather is still going on here in Britain, the longest spell of fine weather in 7 years so far. I think we can safely say we deserve this weather, after many dismal summers and extremely cold winters lately. The hot weather has made some unwelcome guests reappear in my garden though, I haven’t seen them for a good few years and they caught me a bit off guard - I have an infestation of spider mites!

Monday 15 July 2013

Hot colours for a hot July

I haven’t written a post in 10 days, between a stay in hospital, recuperating and taking care of my garden I simply haven’t had the time or energy. But it’s Garden Bloggers’ Bloom day again so now is the time to show off what’s in bloom, and the last two days I have been taking pictures of everything in flower. I have had a hard time selecting what to show you, I simply can’t show you everything, it would be a too long post - some of the pictures will come the next couple of posts. But this post is quite long anyway so go and get your choice of brew and get seated, here is my middle of July garden. As always, please click on the photos to get the big version, it is so worth it!

Friday 5 July 2013

My roses

I have waited a long time for my roses this year, a very long time, but finally I have roses in my garden! The first flush of flowers is always the best with the most flowers, but all my rosebushes are repeat flowering and will go on producing roses until February next year when I cut them down. Normally it takes around 8-10 weeks from cutting the bushes down in first week of February until the very first flowers appear, and the first big flush usually comes sometime in May. But this year nothing is as usual in my garden and everything is late, many things very late. All the more welcome though, now that the roses finally are here :-)

Thursday 20 June 2013

My Peonies

Just a little update on my peonies, as on my last post on the 15th they had just started to open up, now after a few days with quite warm weather they have opened up very quickly and I thought I would post some photos when they are at their best. Peonies don’t last very long, especially not in hot weather so it is a matter of enjoying them while they are here, it is a whole year till next time :-)

Saturday 15 June 2013

My garden in June

The cold, windy weather is back, this week has been a mix of everything mother nature can throw at us at this time of year, the only thing I haven’t seen so far is snow or hail. Yesterday it was so windy that taking photos was a real challenge, nothing kept still for more than a few seconds and I kept chasing flowers in and out of focus. Today has been a much better day with sunshine and a nice temperature, but as it is Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day it is time for recording what’s in flower right now, no matter what the weather is throwing at us.

Friday 7 June 2013

Purples and blues

We have had some lovely weather the last week, and the weather is set to last for some time with temperatures around 20 degrees C. Not exactly scorching summer highs, but from what we have had up until now it feels lovely! I don’t think my garden is catching up, it is just plodding on, everything being equally late as it emerges. My dahlias are barely out of ground, so are the Lobelia cardinalis, I think it will be well into July before I see any flowers on either. My lilies are in bud but are a long way away from their normal early June flowering.

Friday 31 May 2013

Dopey has finally woken up!

OK, so it’s official, as if we didn’t already know, the news have been filled with it today: Britain has just had its coldest spring for over 50 years. My garden is still very behind and despite two very nice May Bank Holiday week-ends – when did we last have that?! – it didn’t help much in catching up with everything as all the days in between has been oh so cold.

Tuesday 21 May 2013

Gardening when having difficulties

I thought long and hard about a title for today’s post. I thought about calling it ‘Gardening when getting older', or ‘Gardening with disabilities’, but I wanted to make sure I reached all of you and that I didn’t make a niche post for just a few. You see, I think most people can draw some nuggets from this post, regardless of your physical abilities, and even if you feel you have no issues when gardening, perhaps you know someone who has, who could need some tips.

Wednesday 15 May 2013

My May flowers, ready or not!

It is Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day again, and just for fun I checked what I wrote last year on this day: “Here in London we have experienced the strangest spring ever, with a relatively warm winter, a dash of high summer for a few days in March and then over 5 weeks of rain and persistently cold weather with very low night temperatures. My garden has never been as late as it is this year.” As all of us living in Britain know, the rain just continued and I thought it couldn’t get any worse than what we had last year. Ha! I remember that whiff of summer we had in March last year, it was lovely, that was the summer we got last year. Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day means lots of photos and an extra long post here on my blog, so get yourself a cup of your favourite brew and park yourself somewhere comfortable, you might be here for a while :-) - and as always, please click on the photos for a larger version, it really is worth it.

Thursday 9 May 2013

The sweetest mice for a garden

We have had a nice week of quite warm weather and sunny spells, top temperature of 23 degrees C, not exactly summer but a very nice change from the below 10 we had for weeks on end.

Saturday 4 May 2013

Weapons of precise destruction

Vine weevils. Just hearing the words makes me shudder. Small yucky white grubs in the soil and adult grey-black beetles that eats unsightly marks on the leaves on many types of garden plants. Have you had any in your garden? Do you even know if you have any? You might have some, without it representing an infestation.

Wednesday 1 May 2013

Scent from heaven!

In my previous post I hinted that I had bought a tree, but not what kind of tree. I guess it is time to reveal what exactly I have bought? For those of you who know my garden well through my many photos, now is possibly the time to start wondering if I have lost my marbles...a tree, in my tiny garden? Where am I going to put it? Well, let me first remind you that I still have my huge conifer at the bottom of my garden, which no one really sees on my photos, only the tree trunk. You can see the conifer in its whole, tall glory on a previous post here.  And only 5 months ago I got rid of an 8 m tall holly tree next to my seating area, so my garden is no stranger to trees, but I am not replacing my holly tree with this new purchase, it needs full sun and will have to be placed on the sunny side of my garden.

Wednesday 24 April 2013

Daffodils and tulips, a short visit

The winter has been oh so long, the spring very reluctant to even start but when we finally got spring here in London it came with a bang and the last week we have certainly been enjoying spring – and even summer like temperatures. Today it was 21 degrees in my garden, tomorrow we are promised even higher temperatures – before everything comes crashing down and Friday will arrive with 12 degrees and perhaps night frost. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, I just hoped it would have lasted a bit longer...

Monday 15 April 2013

April flowers in my garden

Yesterday, Sunday was an absolutely stunning day, the warmest day of the year so far here in London, with 22 degrees in the afternoon. We have waited a very long time for a day like that! I used the opportunity to take pictures for Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day, although a bright sunny day is not at all a good photography day, I much prefer slightly overcast, as pictures of flowers and plants look so much better in a less harsh light. But the sun we had yesterday was very much welcome, pictures or no pictures, I haven’t really seen proper sunshine for what feels like forever!

Monday 8 April 2013

Beautiful Hellebores

It’s second week of April, usually this is the time when my rhododendrons and azaleas are flowering and the first of my roses pops out too, my camellia is usually finished flowering or almost finished and all the daffodils and crocuses are long gone. This year is a bit different though.

Thursday 4 April 2013

A pictures says ....

At this time of year I usually take lots of pictures in my garden, documenting every emerging plant and every plant in flower. The last 2 months I have taken so few pictures I couldn’t really believe it when I started adding them up. I have wanted to go outside this week to take some pictures for my blog but to be honest it has been so cold I haven’t really been up for any photo safari, not even just outside in my garden.

Wednesday 27 March 2013

It is still cold!

Sorry for being absent for such a long time, I haven’t written a new post since Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day on the 15th March, and I haven’t visited any other blogs since then either. Between lots of hospital appointments and getting adaptations granted by my housing association  sorted on my house there really haven’t been many evenings where I felt like sitting down writing. And if I did, what should I write about? How nice my spring garden looks?? Ha! I can tell you straight away that my garden looks pretty much the same as last time you saw it, not much change in almost 2 weeks thanks to the incredibly cold weather we have had!

Friday 15 March 2013

March flowers – or should’ve been

It’s Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day again, can’t believe it is a whole month since last time! On last month’s GBBD I wrote: “It has been very cold the last month here in London, and in the whole of Britain, and although we haven’t had much snow here in London, it has actually snowed 3 times – which is 3 times more than many other winters I have been here. The last snowfall was only a few days ago but fortunately the snow didn’t lie for very long. But the cold weather has slowed everything down and the emerging bulbs and plants have been painfully slow, seemingly doing nothing from week to week.”

Tuesday 12 March 2013

A bird obsession looming?

Over the years I have seen so many impressive photos of birds on people’s gardening blogs, and I would really like to take some myself - would make a nice change from all the flower photos I usually take in my garden. I have realised that in order to take successful bird photos you also need to feed them, as by feeding the birds you have a way of getting the birds come to you.

Saturday 9 March 2013

Plants in the green – by mail

I buy everything online, literarily. Everything from mundane things like groceries and all sorts of things for the house, to clothes, shoes, furniture, camera, white goods and well, anything I need really. Being housebound means I never get to go shopping in shops and my kind of shopping has been for years sitting down with my computer. I use Amazon a lot, but I also have a range of companies I trust and feel confident with and order regularly from. Needless to say, all my gardening stuff, including plants are being ordered online too and very conveniently being delivered to my door.

Friday 8 March 2013

What a difference!

What a difference a week makes! I wrote a post here last Friday about the unseasonably late arrival of spring flowers, especially crocuses and daffodils. Well, in a week at least some things have happened. We had top temperature of 17 degrees Celsius in the middle of the week, and that certainly made a difference.

Monday 4 March 2013

From a different perspective

My camera is like an extension of me, I feel undressed if I don’t have my camera with me or near me. I bring it with me every day I go out in the garden and I take pictures practically every day. A lot of the pictures end up here on my blog, some are just for experimentation in Photoshop, some experiments end up nice enough to be displayed on my website and my newly opened online art gallery and some pictures are simply just scrapped. I take around 5000 pictures per year but I have taken considerably more in previous years.

Friday 1 March 2013

Spot the difference!

Today is the 1st day of spring according to the meteorological calendar, and normally that fits very well with when spring arrives here in London. The daffodils are usually in full bloom, so are the crocuses and the snowdrops are usually finished flowering. My gorgeous camellia has usually started flowering weeks ago. Usually, usually – but not this year.

Monday 25 February 2013

Greeting cards in the post

Two weeks ago I wrote a post about my new online art gallery, inviting all my readers to come for a viewing on my opening day. Some of you took up that invitation and I have had some very nice and positive feedback and comments. One thing I could not tell you about in my original post was the quality of the prints from the company where I have my pictures stored, as I had not yet received my first order. That order has now arrived so please read on!

Monday 18 February 2013

Promising, promising…

The one and only question on most gardeners mind these days, if they live in the northern hemisphere, is when will spring arrive? Officially we all know when spring arrives, according to the calendar, or do we?? Depending on what you choose to follow, spring arrives here in Britain either on 1st March or 20th March, but when is it really here? When the first snowdrops flowers? When the first crocuses flowers? Or the first hellebores? Or what about when the daffodils flowers or the cherry trees? Whatever you choose to pick as your sign, spring doesn’t appear from one day to another, it’s more a slow process.

Friday 15 February 2013

February flowers

It is middle of the month again and time to document what’s flowering in my garden right now. It has been very cold the last month here in London, and in the whole of Britain, and although we haven’t had much snow here in London, it has actually snowed 3 times – which is 3 times more than many other winters I have been here. The last snowfall was only a few days ago but fortunately the snow didn’t lie for very long. But the cold weather has slowed everything down and the emerging bulbs and plants have been painfully slow, seemingly doing nothing from week to week.

Monday 11 February 2013

You are cordially invited!

The last 2 weeks I have been hinting about an announcement I am about to make, and today is the day! I have been working flat out to get everything ready, invitations are sent out to everyone I have an email address for, and all the rest of you get your invitation like this, via my blog.

Friday 8 February 2013

Dreaming of spring

I am continuing my re-run of elements from posts from early 2011, when my blog was in its infancy and I didn't have that many visitors. I had no idea in the beginning about how to attract visitors and how effective it can be to leave comments on other people’s blogs in order to get traffic to your own blog. Well, I have had to learn a lot, like with most things – by trial and error and by long nights reading on the Internet :-)

Monday 4 February 2013

The Big Garden Birdwatch 2013

The Birdwatch was announced as the week-end of the year when gardeners all over Britain could help and get involved in something that really counts – counting birds in our gardens. I haven’t participated before, I haven’t even had bird feeders out in my garden before, but just after Christmas I decided that I wanted to try catch some nice photos of the birds I can hear around here, but never really see. I bought a bird feeder and some nice all-year bird food and waited for the birds to come running – flying.

Friday 1 February 2013

Yippee, post number 200!!

Hello, you have come to the right place, in case you for a moment was in doubt! It’s just that my blog has had a bit of a refurbishment the last couple of days and look a bit different, but everything is here, it’s just the wrapping that has changed. I passed my 2 years as a blogger in silence last month, should probably have made an announcement, but I thought I would save that for today’s post, which is post number 200!!!

Thursday 24 January 2013

Beautiful Blog Award - and my cat

Nadezda at Northern Garden nominated me for an award just before Christmas. I have waited to find a suitable post to write about it, but between posts about spring weather and snow and other things, this one has been put on the back burner until now.

Monday 21 January 2013

The roses in my garden

Ok, a funny title for a post in January, I admit that but, there is a reason behind it! Hoover Boo at Piece of Eden is making a series of posts about all the roses in his (or her? not sure if it is a man or perhaps a woman) garden, he’s got so many that after 5 posts he has only got to the letter K. I thought this was an excellent idea and would like to present the roses in my garden too. I usually read what the producers have said before purchasing a rose, but I don’t always agree with the information, once I have the rose in my own garden. Does the rose actually smell strongly or just faintly? Is it actually red as they said? Or is it more pink or purple? By getting information from people who grow the roses themselves I think we perhaps get more reliable information.

Saturday 19 January 2013

Snow in London!

We got our forecasted snow yesterday, here in East London we got around 2 inches, other parts of the South East got up to 6 inches and other parts of the country got a lot more – from 10 to 12 inches. The usual chaos followed with over 3000 schools closed, trains delayed and cancelled, planes delayed and cancelled and many people sitting in cues for hours in their cars on  impassable roads waiting for gritting to be done. Everything is just as it always is here in Britain with a tiny bit of snow: chaos!

Thursday 17 January 2013

Where are the birds?

Over the last 2 years I have visited and become friends with many bloggers around the world, and many of them take photos of birds in their gardens and surroundings. I must admit I don’t know much about birds – very little in fact. But I have often admired the wonderful photos of feeding birds in other people’s gardens and wished I could take similar photos. So, one of my plans for 2013 was to do something about that.

Tuesday 15 January 2013

January in London

It’s that time again, the 15th of the month, when we gardeners show off our gardens – and all our beautiful flowers. So you’d probably think you could run quickly past a garden from London then, not much in flower at this time of year you might think, but hang on, I’ve got flowers, lots of flowers, come and have a look!

Sunday 6 January 2013

Hellebore babies!

It’s that time of the year, when I go around looking for signs of hellebores emerging from the ground. I have seen some for a while, actually – I saw the first shoots long before Christmas, but at this time of year they are painfully slow to come up. This week I have tidied up around the hellebores and taken care of my first hellebore babies!

Wednesday 2 January 2013

It’s spring! uhm...January!

I know this is the time for looking back at the ups and downs in the garden for 2012. I had many ups and downs in 2012, in the garden and otherwise. I am going to run very quickly through 2012 and just say that overall it was a pretty s**t year. The weather was s**t here in Britain most of the time, the wettest on record, and I spent most of it in hospital or recovering at home from various medical issues. That was 2012, and 2013 can only be better in every way! But let's move swiftly on to 2013 :-)