Saturday 31 December 2016

Happy New Year 2017 from the Serendipity Garden!

The weather is important for a gardener, too much of this that and the other and the whole balance gets skewed - and things get out of order. Last spring we had a lot of rain, much more than usual, but it ended in June and here in London we have not really had any substantial rain at all since June and only a few days with any rain at all. It might be winter on the calendar, and it has been rather cold the last couple of days (just below freezing – which is cold in London!) – but gardening never stops for a bit of night frost, not in my garden. In fact, winter is the busiest time of year in terms of planning, planting and getting new ideas into action. That is – if we could just get some rain! The ground is still too hard to manage any planting so I am planting bulbs in pots and containers for now and hoping for some rain. Soon please!

Friday 23 December 2016

Merry Christmas from my London Garden

Thank you to all of you who has been following me on Facebook and Instagram through my blogging break, I am better now and have been able to do some pottering around the garden the last couple of weeks. The weather has been unusually dry for the time of year and last week I actually had the garden hose out and watered the whole garden – in December! I can’t remember ever doing that before, but it was necessary, we haven’t had any substantial rain yet and the few times it has rained it hasn’t mounted to much. Even Wednesday this week, when the whole country was promised buckets of rain....what did we get here in London? Some measly drizzle for a couple of hours. As I am writing this, UK is bracing itself for storm Barbara and we were supposed to get 6 hours of rain this evening. We did get some rain and it was heavy for a short time, but it just barely covered the bottom of a tray I left out to catch rain water. Here in the quiet corner of the South East we are mostly spared the winter storms and a lot of the rain, I know there are other parts of UK that has had more rain than they would wish for lately so sometimes it would have been nice if we could share it a bit more evenly between us :-)

Thursday 17 November 2016

Blogging break from my London garden

Sorry if you were beginning to think I had vanished from the blogosphere with no goodbyes, I am still here - but struggling again with health issues. Thank you so much to all of you who have contacted me via email and Facebook to ask how I am, I so appreciate all the messages and I will try to reply to you all eventually. I also hope to catch up with blog comments from you on my previous posts and visit you all, but it will take some time to get there.

Saturday 15 October 2016

Gently, gently into autumn – GBBD October 2016

Autumn has arrived in my garden, the nights are getting colder with 8-12 degrees C and the day temperatures are around 14-18 degrees C (46-53/57-64 F). My garden has had to mostly take care of itself the last 2 weeks as I have been battling a very persistent cold that just doesn’t want to go away. I have neglected my garden, my blog and just about everything else I should have done, but I have managed to pull myself outside to water a few times. My goodness I look forward to when it starts raining again!! Two weeks ago I treated all my plants to wine weevil nematodes as yes....I got vine weevils in many pots yet again. A bane of container gardening and with over 500 pots and containers it just seems to be unavoidable. I missed the spring treatment as that coincided with when I had my slipped disks in my back so it is a whole year since last treatment and probably my own fault for the return of the yucky grubs. Once the nematodes are applied, the pots have to be kept moist at all times for the next 3 weeks until the nematodes have done their deed, or they will die. The day after I watered in the nematodes I got the cold. Sods law. I hope the pots have had enough water, another week and I can tip out some of the pots and see if the grubs are dead or still alive. Each treatment cost about £25 so it’s of course vital to not have to repeat it more than necessary. I have joined a subscription scheme so I will be sent nematodes twice a year from now on, a good reminder to get it done once in early spring and once in the autumn. 

Friday 30 September 2016

Goodbye summer – EOMV September 2016

Here in London we have had a lovely September and a great end to an amazing summer. The late, cold spring and early summer is now a bleak memory and hardly worth thinking of - everything after 16th July has more than made up for the cold period before. Tomorrow we are promised a whole day of rain and showers. Yippy! That will do my garden good. There is no rain on the forecast for the next 10 days after tomorrow so I hope it rains buckets.

Thursday 15 September 2016

What to do with a plum glut – GBBD Sept-16

Here in the South-East of England we have now clocked in exactly 2 months of amazing summer weather. I know it hasn’t been the same all over Britain, but here in my little corner it seems like we have been living in our own little bubble in terms of the weather. The yellow strip of dead lawn outside in the car parking area is a testament to how little rain we have had and I have had to water my garden practically every evening for the last 2 months. The amount of days we have had any rain at all can be counted on one hand – with spare fingers, and often the rain coming down has been very sparse. I can’t wait for a week of good, old British downpour!

Wednesday 31 August 2016

Endless London summer – EOMV 2016

It’s the last day of August, the last day of summer and autumn is officially starting tomorrow – but here in London the summer is far from over. We have had the best summer for years, once it finally got going, and the reminiscences of the unusually cold spring and early part of the summer is now a bleak memory. The good weather started on 16th July and today, nearly 7 weeks later I can look back on several short heatwaves with well over 30 degrees and the rest has been in the mid to high 20s. Last week we had 34 degrees a couple of days and for me that’s a bit too high, I am happier in the garden with around 25 degrees C. Despite having had some rain forecasted a couple of times we have only had proper rain once and it was a welcome 24 hours of rain – but that was back in July. Everything is really dry and the ghost of mildew is hovering over my garden, threatening to invade. So far I have managed to stay clear but all the watering is taking its toll. I wouldn’t mind 3-4 days of non-stop rain....

Monday 15 August 2016

No August slump in my garden - GBBD

I started last post by saying summers are a bit hit and miss here in Britain – but here in the South East we can’t complain about the weather the last 4 weeks, it has been just warm enough to be called summer, not too hot and with plenty of sunshine. Only thing missing would be rain for a few hours every night so I wouldn’t have to do all the watering – but I am being picky now! It has actually rained only once the last 4 weeks, it was a good rainfall of almost 24 hours, but being nearly 4 weeks ago it is now a bleak memory for my garden. The clay soil is bone dry and like concrete and I have given up getting anything more planted a long time ago, it will have to wait until the winter when we get proper, prolonged rain again.

Sunday 31 July 2016

Summer weather in London

Summers in Britain  is a bit hit and miss, some are nice and warm with just about the right amount of rain – and some are cool and never seem to get started. We had an unusually cold spring and early summer this year, but 2 weeks ago we got a mini heatwave which I suppose could make up for the missing summer – but it doesn’t really work like that! We are not used to such high temperatures, and neither are the plants in our gardens – we all suffer a bit in 33-35 degrees C (91- 95F), and I have now quite a few plants with sunburned leaves and a couple of hydrangeas were burned to a crisp. The heatwave didn’t last long, we have been back to 22-25 degrees C this week and both garden and gardener is much happier with that kind of temperatures.

Friday 15 July 2016

Colourful July flowers - GBBD

It is the middle of the month and Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day - and I have been pondering about what to call today’s post. I named the previous post ‘From a rainy London’ and I am afraid that title is still just as appropriate despite that we have been repeatedly promised better weather. OK, so we have had one day here and there without rain, today was such a day and it was brilliant the few moments when the sun was shining. We might be in for a week of better weather starting from tomorrow, but we have been promised hot summer weather so many times now so I am taking one day at the time. Yesterday I had my iPad with me out in the garden where I can see BBC weather for my postcode hour by hour and for every hour it said sunny intervals – while the rain kept coming and going and I had to seek shelter in the shed together with my camera. So much for local weather forecast!

I have so much in flower right now that I can't possibly show you everything, and even just one photo of each plant would have been way too many photos so today I have used the mosaic feature extensively. Fill up a mug of your favourite brew and come for a walk with me in my July Garden.

Thursday 30 June 2016

EOMV June 2016 from a rainy London

It is End of Month View again and I usually open to say something about the weather the last month, but what can I say this time to describe the miserable summer weather we have had, except call it…....MISERABLE! An afternoon or morning here and there without rain doesn’t in any way make up for the next 3, 4 or 5 days of rain. And that’s how it has been for ages now. I did water my garden a bit in May, but I haven’t touched the hose for a very long time, it hasn’t been necessary, not even for the pots and containers and they usually dry out even when it rains. But the kind of rain we have had lately has been buckets at the time so even the containers have been happy. In fact, the garden is mostly very happy with the weather – lots of rain and rather chilly, with max day temp of 16-22 degrees (60-71 F) – perfect for most of my plants. I am the only one not happy with a summer like that. Oh, and my dahlias, they are not happy either. Here in my new garden the soil is very different to my previous one, much more clay, so the soil, combined with heavily saturated ground made the dahlias rot, all of them – all the ones I planted. Those few I didn’t get around to plant are still fine growing in pots, but all 20-22 or so that I planted in the ground are lost, never even emerged. Oh well, maybe dahlias won’t be a feature here in my new garden then!

Thursday 16 June 2016

June roses - GBBD 2016

It is middle of June and it is 4 weeks since I came out of hospital – no idea where those 4 weeks have gone! Thank you to all well wishes on my previous post, I am getting better and have had help in my garden both from gardening friends and from the Great British Weather – it has rained and rained and rained and....good for my garden - and good for me so I haven’t had to water. The very cold and late spring made everything bloom much later than normal this year, I didn’t have a single rose in April which is very unusual for my garden, now I have roses, lots of roses – many of them presented here, but I thought perhaps showing you all 26 would be a bit too much....oh, yes, I have got a few more roses here in my new garden compared to my previous garden – more space, more roses. I think I might be able to squeeze in possible one or two more eventually! But here are today’s GBBD photos.

Tuesday 31 May 2016

Ill in bed again - a very different EOMV post

I don’t normally write much about my many different conditions, illnesses and disabilities – I have from time to time written a bit, mainly to explain why I can’t work in my garden like other people do – or at the same pace as most people do. But I have deliberately kept my health problems away from my blog. You see, my gardening blog is my way of escaping my real life. Here no one knows me, no one sees me, no one sees my pain and I can pretend I am almost normal. I can be a completely different person than I actually am. I can be the person I would HAVE LIKED TO BE – if life had been different.

Sunday 15 May 2016

Topsy-turvy weather in London – GBBD May-16

May is a month with all sorts of weather here in Britain – from really nice and warm during the day to night frost if you are in a more rural spot. It is hard to keep up with which plants are allowed to stay out and which are too tender so in my previous garden where I had no greenhouse, shed or even a garage I just had two choices: outside - or not at all. Here in my new garden I also have a third option; a shed, but I am pretty fed up dragging plants in and out of the shed so now I have stopped. Last week a tray of begonia seedlings died during a cold night. Oh well, not a big loss, didn’t cost me anything as the cormlets were free, but it was a bit annoying. But everything else has toughened up and looks fine and I assume this is it for cold nights – surely, this MUST be it?! The weirdest, coldest spring I can ever remember here in London.

Saturday 30 April 2016

End of Month View – April 2016

It is a whole year since I moved house and garden – amazing how time is flying! I had 2 moving days, one day with my house content where the huge lorry drove one trip with all my things from the house - and one day where the same lorry drove TWICE with all the plants from my garden. In my book that’s just the right priority!

Friday 15 April 2016

Naming my garden - GBBD April 2016

As a foreigner living in Britain, English is a language I am still learning – even after 17 years here in London. I still bump into words I have absolutely no idea what means and I love looking them up and see their meaning and history. Some words just jump up and down and do a little dance for me when I see them, some words are just hilarious whilst others give me a lump in my throat. Have you heard the word ‘Discombobulate’ before? What a lovely word! And what about haberdashery?? I absolutely love that word too. OK, so the title of this post is naming my garden. I have thought about doing that for a while. Well, to be honest, I have thought about it for many years, but I never really found a good name. I know it is quite common here in Britain to name your house, at least if you live in a countryside cottage or in a somewhat grand house. Naming your house in a council terraced 2-up-2-down in East London would probably have raised some eyebrows, so that was never on my agenda. But my garden? The most important room in my house? Sure! ....But what?

Thursday 31 March 2016

A slow approach - March -16, EOMV

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!

Tuesday 15 March 2016

Glorious days, chilly at night - March GBBD

The warm winter weather we had in December and January is long forgotten, it has been a very long spell of night temperatures down to almost freezing for ages - more or less the last 6 weeks. As soon as the sun goes down it gets cold very quickly and it will typically be min. 2-5 C at night. The day temperatures are not bad though, 8-12 C (46 – 53 F) and the sun is getting stronger every day. But I am fed up with dragging tender plants in and out of my shed so a few more degrees at night would make all the difference. In my garden I have only had 3 proper frost nights this winter, one in November, one in February and one so far in March – each night the temperature went down to -1 C for a few hours just before sunrise, and by the time the sun was up the temp was well into plus again. Winter in London isn’t much to write home about really! And I have had no snow this winter either....hope I don’t jinx it by saying that, I certainly don’t need any snow this late – but the latest I have seen snow here in London is actually 8th April! It didn’t lay long of course, was gone after a few hours, but even so, no thank you, I am more than ready for nice warm weather now.

Monday 29 February 2016

EOMV February 2016

In some places around the world, spring lasts about a week, it is an explosion in nature, the snow melts in record time and suddenly everything is bursting out in green and colours everywhere. In London it is a rather drawn-out affair that lasts about....well, I would say it lasts about 6 months or so, since most years we don’t really get a winter to talk about. Autumn usually ends beginning of December and although it says winter on the calendar, it goes straight into spring mode with spring plants and bulbs emerging from there on. And the official spring starts from 1st March so now I can look back at what kind of ‘winter’ we had: no snow on the ground, and 10 minutes of a few flurries in the air one very late night. That was the snow. As for frost - one frost night in November and one in February where it dipped just barely below freezing in my garden. We might get another frost night next week, but it will probably be another one just barely below freezing, if at all. I realise that London is an exception, just a few miles from here it has been much colder and places like Oxford and Cambridge has had down to minus 7C many times this winter. The day temperature has been lower in February than in December and January, which was unusually mild. It all evens out in the end!

Monday 15 February 2016

GBBD in London, February -16

Last time I wrote a post was 2 weeks ago, I wrote about the stormy season here in Britain and that we are not really that affected here in the south east. Looks like I spoke too soon....every now and then we get a storm that hits us right in the face, and Imogene was a storm like that. Last Saturday I had water streaming in through the ceiling light in my living room from water coming in through the roof and loft. Water and electricity doesn’t really go well together....and there were too high winds for the council to get a man on the roof to fix the leak so it was Wednesday morning before my roof was fixed. Oh well, at least my garden is fine, never mind my living room floor!! The only problem I had in my garden was that my solar light tree tried to take off like a rocket a couple of times because the soil is so wet and loose so the short anchor stakes provided was not enough to keep it in place. In the end I had to find some longer stakes to anchor the light with and now it will take a triple hurricane for the solar light to launch should it want to emigrate somewhere else.

Sunday 31 January 2016

Hints of spring, EOMV January -16

It’s still stormy season on the British Isles and storm Gertrude has just passed whilst storm Henry is waiting in the wings and will land on us on Monday. Here in the relatively quiet corner of the South-East we are not so affected by bad weather in general and storms in particular and although it is windy every time we have a new storm, nothing has been damaged in my garden and I have had no flooding issues to worry about. But parts of my garden seem to have rather bad drainage and are now so soggy after all the rain that I try not to walk in those beds for now. Other parts of my garden, especially under the two tall ceanothus’ trees are still bone dry and will need to be watered as soon as I get some plants in the ground. When that will be is an open has been slow the last month. It has been cold and wet and the number of days possible to work outside rather few and far between. Hopefully February will bring more good days – I don’t mind it being cold, that’s just a question of putting on the right type of clothes – it’s the rain I can’t cope with, getting wet makes me too cold. When it rains I am stuck inside watching my garden through my windows, just aching to get outside again.

Friday 15 January 2016

GBBD from a cold January London

Did anyone think we could have summer temperatures to last us all winter?? Well, one can only hope – but alas, all good things come to an end and the last week it has been cold in Britain, bitterly cold. Not just low temperatures but the bone chilling wind here in London makes the around 5 plus Celsius feel like well below zero. To be honest I would rather have proper cold winter weather like in Norway than this raw, cold wind in London. Or, at least your average winter weather in Norway. Mind you, the other day I spoke to a friend who lives in Northern Norway where I used to live from I was 7 until I was 16, that day it was minus 27C there (-16.6F) - ordinary winter weather for January for that area. I suppose everything’s relative! I remember what that kind of weather was like, the coldest I ever experienced was a winter when I was 11 or 12 or so when we had 5 days of minus 40-43 degrees C (43 C is 45.4F). We all went to school, people went to work, life went on pretty much as normal. It was winter. Here in Britain they have huge warning campaigns on TV and radio every time it is about to rain more than a few mm and if there is even the slightest hint of a snow flurry, the amber and red warning signs are flagged up everywhere. I think people get desensitised to all the warnings. They should be used when there is an unusual or dangerous weather event, not just because it will snow or rain. Anyway, that was my way of telling myself that perhaps it hasn’t been so cold after all. Who am I kidding, yesterday it was sooooo cold I didn’t even go outside, I filmed and took photos of the birds in the garden through my kitchen window despite beautiful sunny weather!