Thursday 31 December 2015

Happy New Year from London!

On the list of the most stressful things people do in their life, moving house and staying in hospital come quite high up. I had two hospital stays and moved house and garden, all in the space of 6 months between April and October 2015. I can confirm it really is stressful! I am still not finished in the house, but I finally got kitchen curtains up a week before Christmas, after having been here in my new house for 7 months. The garden will take a lot more time and I have no idea when the last plant will be planted in the ground – it’s just going to take as long as it takes. But I am happy I moved and the new house is much more suitable for me as it is a bungalow so no more stairs to climb and no stairs out to the garden.

Thursday 24 December 2015

Decorating with lights – inside and outside

There is a price to pay for too much of anything good. I think we can all agree that too much nice food ends up on your hips. Too much of this nice weather has resulted in record breaking rainfall with flooding many places here in Britain, and tomorrow we are facing storm number 5 in just 6 weeks. Here in the more protected and quiet corner of South East storm Eve will probably be just windy weather and a lot of rain though. Not that we need any more rain, whenever I walk around in the flower beds here in my new garden, my wellies make a ‘squish – squelch – splosh’ sound for every step I take, and the clay soil that was hard as concrete and I had such a struggle getting a spade through in the summer is now absolutely perfect - for pottery.

Tuesday 15 December 2015

Springtime feeling in December

A lot of people are still struggling with the aftereffects of storm Desmond, especially those that were flooded. Here in the quiet corner of the South-East where I live, we didn’t notice the storm so much apart from very windy weather. Spare a thought though for those over 6000 people who got flooded and are now having to spend the next 6-9 months in temporary accommodation while their houses are cleaned out and renovated. Winter storms are a yearly occurrence here in Britain and flooding is quite common, some even get flooded over and over again only years apart. I am fortunate to live on the sheltered side of Britain – we are too dry in the summer but we are also spared the enormous rainfalls in the winter.

Monday 30 November 2015

EOMV– from a stormy London

November has already had 2 storms here and a lot of bad weather, and UK is now gearing up for a third storm, apparently a really bad one, named Clodagh. First came Abigail and Barney, then we had frost for the first time in....I can’t remember how long ago....2 years? 3 years, perhaps more? To be honest, I can’t remember a frost this early ever before. All my dahlias just blackened and went to mush from one day to the next. I can’t remember that happen ever, if we have had frost it has usually been much later, more like February. Clodagh has already arrived on the west coast, and is said to bring strong winds, rain and snow, here in London it’s just been windy today and I don’t think it will make much impact here, certainly not in my sheltered garden. And there won’t be any snow, the forecast is for 10-14 degrees C at daytime and 5-11 at night. But the wind is bad enough to make gardening a rather chilly experience.

Sunday 15 November 2015

November GBBD – from a stormy London

It’s middle of November and our stormy season has just started, bang on schedule – with Storm Abigail. Here in London we have only noticed the storm as rather windy weather but spare a thought for Scotland where especially on the western side they had winds up to 80 miles per hour (128 km/h or about 70 knots). And only 12 hours after Abigail left, the remnants of Hurricane Kate is right now hitting our shores, dumping unusually high amounts of rain on us. Some places in Britain we can expect up to 250mmm of rain in 36 hours with subsequent flooding. Living here in London I feel rather lucky, sheltered from the worst of the weather, be it snow, rain, storms and flooding. The 10 minutes hailstorm I watched from my window yesterday seemed more like a curiosity and didn’t do any damage. And although it has been raining hard today there is no risk of flooding and the free water from above is just welcome in my garden.

Saturday 31 October 2015

EOMV – London in October sunshine

This year seems to have flown away faster than any year – I know I keep saying time flies and that’s apparently part and parcel of getting older, but my goodness, someone must have given anabolic steroids or something similar to whatever keeps track of the seasons for us this year as I can’t ever remember it going this quickly before. I suppose some of it has to do with me moving house and everything that came with it before, during and after moving, but even so....even so! Only consolation I suppose is that I can hope the winter will pass just as quickly. I’ll be fine as long as I can find time to plant my almost 600 potted plants from my previous garden - and....erhm....a few hundred new bulbs that somehow managed to turn up despite that I had promised myself not to buy anything until I had planted everything I already had. Funny how that could happen. But hey, even though winter starts in 4 weeks, the first hellebore will start to flower in 2 months’ time in my garden, and it’s only 3-4 months till my garden will be filled with snowdrops, crocuses, Iris reticularis and other spring flowers. I know many people use the astronomical calendar to determine seasons, but for the London climate, the meteorological seasons fits better in terms of when spring and summer starts so I use it. This week we have had more of a whiff of summer again than late autumn, with temperatures up to 19-20 degrees C even though it’s rather cold at night with 10-12 degrees C.

Thursday 15 October 2015

Colourful October in London

Today has been yet another fine October day with lots of crisp sunshine and that slight chill in the air where you are not really sure if you need a jacket or not. I have been outside for a couple of hours and I must have taken my cardigan on and off about 10 times. Towards the end we got a slight drizzle and my cat jumped down from the bench where he had been sleeping and came up to me looking rather indignantly as if it was me who had started the rain. He convinced me to pack up and go inside with him, most likely so that he could get fed slightly earlier than usual. Since my last post I haven’t done much in the garden, to be honest I have hardly been out here as I have been recovering from yet another operation. I am better now, but taking my eye off things for a short while, even just for 10 days, can make a huge difference in my garden.

Wednesday 30 September 2015

Summer isn’t over yet – EOMV September

August and September has been 2 months of the best and worst of British weather, right now we are in a settled, good spell and it is said to last for a while. Can’t really talk about an Indian summer yet as we need to be in October or November to call it that, but whatever you call it, I enjoy the nice sunny weather and temperatures around 20 degrees during the day – despite the need for watering my numerous pots in such good weather.

Tuesday 15 September 2015

Autumn flowers in my new garden

Yesterday the weather threw at us just about anything you can think of apart from snow and hail - just like the weather in August and September has been really. Taking photos was a real challenge, it started out just fine after the morning showers, but as the day went on, the wind increased and I finally had to give up any more close-ups - so some of the photos were taken today in a much less windy and more sunny garden. But tomorrow it will be back to more severe rain and more wind. Autumn has really started!

Monday 31 August 2015

EOMV – August in London

It’s the last week of the summer and over here in Britain we have Bank Holiday week-end and a Carnival to celebrate what was supposed to be a glorious summer now about to end. Well, here in London we have had an amazing June and first half of July, but August has been a month of contrasts as big as they come. A week ago we had what’s called a ‘Spanish Plume’, really hot air coming up from the continent and giving us a nice week-end of summer weather. I had 34 degrees C on the Saturday and 29 C on the Sunday in my garden. On the Monday the Spanish Plume had gone to pastures new and the temperature was a measly 16 degrees. Cold! All that was a week ago, this week-end is the big carnival do in Notting Hill, people are scantily dressed and dependant on warm, sunny weather. I have been to the Notting Hill Carnival a few times many years ago, these days I prefer my own garden for colour and drama! Sorry to say the weather was typical British Summer for all party goers this week-end, cold and cloudy yesterday, cold and raining pretty much all day today.

Saturday 15 August 2015

How to tackle Red Lily Beetles

Today’s post is mainly going to be about a topic I have had questions about many times, how to tackle Red Lily Beetles. I absolutely adore lilies and can’t get enough of them, and when I moved house earlier this year I lifted as many bulbs I could find and ended up with 164 lilies in pots – the rest I left to the new tenant, probably nearly 100 of various size. Over the years I have tackled a lot of pest and diseases in my garden, some more frustrating than other, but lily beetles are not really a big problem to me despite the fact that I live in London where the problem with lily beetles is very common.

Friday 31 July 2015

EOMV – July - blowing hot and cold

July 2015 has been a month of contrast in my garden in terms of the weather. From extreme hot weather in the beginning to seriously cold towards the end of the month. Well, it’s not as if we have had any snow, but it actually dipped just below 10 degrees C one night and that’s rather cold for July in London. Spare a thought for those further north though, who had temperatures down towards zero that night. Brrr! And a week ago we had 24 hours with rain. Yay!! That was really good for parched gardens around here, would have liked to have a few more days like that, but according to most forecasts there won’t be a drop of rain the next 10 days. I am back to watering every evening.

Wednesday 15 July 2015

GBBD - 2 months in my new garden

I don’t really know where the last 2 months have gone, in any case they have gone very quickly! Since moving house I have tried to keep up with all the things that comes with switching address, and despite only moving 2.3 miles down the road, it is an astonishing amount of work involved. Add to that all the things this house has thrown at me since moving in – currently I have no working shower as the pump isn't working properly and I am waiting for a plumber/electrician to fix it, last week the sewer was blocked for the whole street and Thames Water had to come out in the evening and unblock it. What will be next....I just want a shower and a hair wash. Soon.

Tuesday 30 June 2015

EOMV – June, the joys of a new garden #2

It is hot in London, it’s been nice weather for some time but now it’s really stepping up a gear. With 30-35 degrees C in my garden and no substantial rain for months I am struggling to keep all my potted plants alive, all 700 of them. Well there were nearly 700 to begin with, I am afraid some have died due to vine weevils, some have died due to lack of water and some have actually got too much water and drowned. I can’t possibly go around and stick my finger into each and every pot before applying water to check if it needs water or not, I just hose them down and hope for the best - every evening. It is a relentless work and I am determined to get as many as possible through the summer. But a few more will probably die.

Sunday 21 June 2015

The joys of a new garden, #1

When I moved into my new house 6 weeks ago I could not wait to get started on my new garden and I must admit that unpacking my stuff and getting my house sorted has been a slow process as my garden is calling for me to come out every spare minute I have. It has been an exciting process to discover what I actually have inherited, but at this point it is a bit daunting too, with all the decisions I have to make. I have been blogging about my old garden for 4 ½ years and I have learned so much from all of you kind and experienced gardeners out there, and over the years I have been contributing in my small ways with my share of hints and tips and trial and errors too. Now I am calling on all of you gardeners to come with your helpful advice to some of the tasks, problems and decisions I am facing in my new garden, perhaps together we can come up with some solutions :-)

Monday 15 June 2015

June flowers in my new garden

I can’t believe I have lived in my new house for over a month, time seems to fly and I have been so busy – and I still have boxes to unpack. Downsizing isn’t easy and I must admit I don’t really know where to put everything even though I have sold, given away and thrown away stuff already. In the garden I have been mostly pruning and tidying up. Every time I look under a new bush I find stuff, just old pieces of wood, broken plant pots and rubbish really so clearing the garden is going to be a long process. In the mean time I am watering my nearly 700 pots and hoping the plants will survive, the hot and windy weather we have had was hard, luckily it has cooled down a bit and now that we got low 20s C for a while it makes it easier with the watering. A good few days with rain would have helped but there is no rain in sight for the next 10 days and beyond.

Sunday 31 May 2015

End of Month View - May

What a mad last couple of months I have had! When I was offered the bungalow back in February I realised it would take time to sort out everything and get a final approval for a swap, but I did of course not plan on dislocating my hip replacement in the middle of the whole process – neither did I think the house swap application would take such a long time as it actually did, and the nail-biting finish with a deadline approaching and a final yes from the council a day after the deadline was a bit more than I appreciated. But I am here, I have lived in my new house – and garden for almost 3 weeks – and I am hopefully NEVER going to move again!

Friday 15 May 2015

In my new garden - GBBD May

Anyone following my blog will have noticed I have been preparing to move the last couple of months. I can now report I have moved and spent 4 days at my new house! I wasn’t sure what I would be able to show you for this month’s Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day but I went out yesterday to take some photos – in pouring rain. For once I don’t mind the odd days with rain as most of my previous garden has come with me and is now in pots and containers needing a lot of water. The free stuff from above is most welcome :-)

Thursday 30 April 2015

End of Month View – April

This will probably be my last ever post from this garden, I have today got a YES to my application for a house swap, only per email but I have been told I can sign contract on Wednesday and that means I will be moving on Monday the 11th May. It has been a very frustrating process all this waiting around not knowing if I was going to move or not, not sure if I should start packing or not - and more so because I have just come out of hospital after dislocating my hip replacement again and all I should really do is to rest and take it easy. I have spent the last 6 days taking phone calls and writing emails chasing people just to get answers and decisions. It seems like the trend in offices now is that no one answers their phones. All I get is an answer phone and no one seems that bothered about ringing back when I leave a message. Sending emails isn’t much better, I have tried for a month to find out if the rent at the new property is charged in advance or in arrears, kind of vital as I would have to come up with one month’s rent money I don’t have if it was charged in advance as my current rent is charged in arrears. After a whole month’s chase I finally have the answer, I don’t have to find the money for the rent – housing benefit is paid directly. Phew.

Wednesday 15 April 2015

Moving house - and garden

Today’s Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day post will be a bit different than all the other I have made before. I am still waiting to hear if I have got the bungalow I have applied for, but it now seems likely that I will get it so I am continuing to prepare for a move. The most important thing I will take with me? My garden of course! Yes, most of my garden is coming with me, at least the plants.

Tuesday 31 March 2015

End of Month View – March

Last month I showed you the new rose bed, all the changes I had done and everything I had planned for this bed. Today, a month later, every plan has been thrown out of the window and my whole garden looks very different. I am hoping to move house soon! I still haven’t got a final decision and it might be another whole month until I know for sure, but I have to plan for a move and hope for the best, because once I get a decision, things will have to happen fast.

Sunday 15 March 2015

March flowers in London – GBBD

Winter is well and truly over here in London and we have had spring for a good while now. Last year everything was incredibly early, this year most things are just about normal – if such things exist. Perhaps I should use the word average instead, as every of the 16 winters I have been in London seem to have been different. The first year I was here we had an amazing summer just like last summer and a mild winter just like last year’s winter. I foolishly thought that this was how the climate was in London. How wrong I was. But even though it varies, the two really cold winters I have experienced here were nothing compared to what I was used to from Norway and I really appreciate what I am able to grow here and the early spring we get.

Saturday 28 February 2015

End of Month View – February

It’s been nice and spring like the last week here in London, a bit cold at night but really good at 10-12 degrees C (53 F) during the day. And we have had some good sunshine too, I always long for some sun when we get to this time of year. Still no snow in my garden, last time I had snow was February 2013 so I really hope Mr Winter doesn’t bite back with some silliness like a snowfall in March. It has happened before, and although snow and frost in March is rare and never long-lived, it is detrimental to my lovely huge camellia so thanks, but no thanks. No snow this year either please.

Sunday 15 February 2015

Spring arrival – February GBBD

The last 3-4 weeks have been cold here in London, cold, windy and with very few days with sunshine. The weather has finally turned milder lately, but with the rain we have had this week I am pretty desperate for some sunshine. I was trying to dodge the showers today while taking my photos for the February Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day post, but after going inside 4 times I just stayed outside in the rain to get finished. February is the month where it is most likely to get snow here in London, we are now half-way through and still haven’t had any snow at all – let’s hope we can finish this month without any. Last time I had snow in my garden was February 2013, but that snow only lasted a few hours on the ground.

Saturday 31 January 2015

End of Month View – January

Where did January go?? It is usually a month that feels very long, but the last few weeks have flown away for me. It has been rather cold here in London, much, much colder than last January, but it was unusually mild last year and statistically we won’t have it like that every year – sadly! This January the temperatures have been between 2-8 degrees C, with a biting cold wind for most of the time. So far I have not seen a single snow flurry and including last month I have had only 4 nights where it dipped below freezing, but just barely below - at the bottom of my garden. I have an indoor weather station that measures the temperatures 2 places in my garden and up at the backdoor where my nursery shelves are there still hasn’t been any frost at all according to my thermometers. The minimum temp recorded there so far this winter was 0.5 C, last week.

Thursday 22 January 2015

Last year’s daylilies

Last year I kept promising I would make a separate post about my daylilies once they all had finished flowering. The first one started to flower in June and I took photos of them all when they were in flower, and waited for them all to finish, but there were several that just kept throwing out flower after flower - and the last daylily flowered in mid-November! I therefore decided to wait until now to give you the whole presentation – after all, what could be more uplifting on a cold January day than a whole bunch of cheerful daylilies?!

Thursday 15 January 2015

January flowers - GBBD

It’s mid-January, the Christmas decoration is back in its boxes, the crocuses and snowdrops are flowering and it is 6 weeks and 3 days till we officially have spring here in London. Yay! As usual, in my garden we start a bit earlier with things, the first hellebores and snowdrops have been flowering since before Christmas and the first crocus started flowering last week. I have daffodils in bud and Iris reticularis well above ground. And my two camellias are continuing to give me the occasional flower. Yes, everything is normal in my January garden. The temperature has been more ‘normal’ so far this winter compared to last year, but last winter was unusually mild. Despite that, so far I have only had two nights just about below freezing and this week’s ‘very cold’ weather here in UK is probably not going to bring my garden below freezing – although it will be close.