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.

The last couple of months I have been struggling with my back again along with my very long list of other health problems and although I am trying my best to be very careful I have been feeling that I am heading for yet another slipped disc episode – very difficult so soon after the double slipped discs I had back in May this year. It is often just a minor thing that tips the scales when you go around with bulging discs in your back as I have now, it is painful like this - but much, much more painful to have an actual burst disc or two. I have been here many times before and recovered – and I have had 8 episodes of slipped discs before, between the age of 18 and May this year. I have no idea what the end will be this time, I am trying to sit as little as possible, computer work is limited to a minimum and needless to say, gardening has not been on the agenda for a long time.

But as if that wasn’t enough....The last time I posted was a whole month ago and I wrote about the cold I had, a nasty cold – I still have it! After the first 3 weeks of really bad coughing I managed to tear a chest muscle and had to go to A&E.....yeah, it sounds unbelievable, but it’s actually possible both to tear muscles and even crack ribs from persistent coughing, although it is very unusual apparently. Most abdominal strains or tears that do happen affect the muscle that runs down the middle of the abdomen, the one people often call the six-pack, but I have torn the external obliques muscles and it runs from the groin all the way up on the sides and is attached to the bottom 8 ribs.

If you put your left hand flat on the left side of your chest, between your armpit and your waist, as far back as you can put your arm while still holding – and then give yourself a long, deep cough....ouch! That’s where it hurts! And the other end of that muscle is buried under the pelvic bone on the side, almost in the groin - and hurts just as much. Everything I do involving that muscle hurts, and you’d get surprised how much it is in use in ordinary, everyday activity from getting up and down from the sofa, in and out of bed, going to the toilet, eating, drinking, just swallowing....even breathing. Oh, and did I mention coughing? And sneezing?? My goodness, I don’t have much control over when I need to cough, but I have absolutely NO control over sneezing. It’s like being stabbed with a knife with every sneeze and it takes a while to recover afterwards....

The A&E didn’t have much to offer besides a chest X-ray to exclude anything seriously wrong with my lungs, but I got the all clear and I just have a post-viral cough so that was good news at least. I was told that rest is the best remedy and avoid anything that hurts. Ha! Easier said than done. It’s gone 3 weeks now and I have been mostly in bed and on the sofa, with short, careful strolls in my garden a few times. I realise I am probably in for a long recovery, partly due to the nature of the injury, but also because of my underlying main condition (Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome) which makes recovery from any operation, injury or damage more difficult and prolonged compared to normal. So I am trying to take it easy and follow the advice I got from A&E and what I have read online. The pain should dictate the activity: ‘No sport or heavy lifting, no sweeping or digging.’ OK, that’s fine, I can live with that, although the sweeping part is going to be’s autumn! I should have very gentle activity that doesn’t hurt, although after 3 weeks it still hurts just lifting my arm up and down, never mind trying to move. So there you have it, pain both front and back but if I am not being careful I will cause this to last longer and become more severe than it is now. I already have gardening withdrawal symptoms so this is going to be challenging :-)

In the middle of me struggling with back pain and a torn chest muscle, the council finally started the adaptation work on my house that I have been waiting for since moving in here 18 months ago. It was agreed back in May, but it took till October before any of it started. When I am at home or in the garden I manage on one or two crutches with my disabilities, but I am not very good at walking more than a few steps here and a few steps there. I have therefore been mainly confined to my house and garden for many years except going to hospital and doctor appointments. In January I got a wheelchair to use outside and although I am not strong enough to wheel myself for longer stretches out and about, it gives me a new freedom when I am for example at my many hospital appointments – giving me for example the ability to get to the toilet on my own without needing help from anyone to get there. Yep, small things like that gives me great pleasure to manage on my own :-) My wheelchair is parked in my shed as bungalows for wheelchair users are like gold dust here in London, few and far between – I looked for 2 years for a bungalow when I moved from my previous house, just to get a house without stairs. If I was going to look for a wheelchair friendly bungalow I would probably still have been in my old house – looking!

So instead I have asked the council to make this bungalow as suitable as possible for me, and they have started with making a step-free path from the shed all the way out to the pavement so I can get out on my own, without any help. A small thing of independence maybe – but a huge thing to me. I don’t need a wheelchair indoors, or in the garden at the moment - I need it when out of the property and keeping it in the shed is therefore OK. However, the work making the path involved taking apart half of my lovely perhaps it is time to show you some photos? Hold on to your chair, you are in for a small shock I am afraid.

This was my garden in the middle of October....

.....and here 2 weeks later on the first day of work. Before this I had to dig up 26 plants already in the ground in this area - and I had good help of my 2 garden helpers doing this. We also had to move all the pots that were here and effectively clear away everything. The around 200 pots are stacked in between all the other pots around the garden.

The work lasted 4 days, with a small additional job on the 5th day. All the adaptations had been agreed with the council beforehand – a surveyor came to my garden and wrote down everything together with my occupational therapist, but as things often are – by the time the work started, the plan had changed, some of it considerably and the ‘same-level paved path from shed door to pavement’ I had been promised turned out to be rather different....for financial and practical reasons I was explained.

OK, so I am really grateful that the council is adapting the house for me so I can live an independent life here, but the disadvantage of having the council doing it for me rather than me hiring a builder company to do the work (and pay for it myself with money I don’t have) is that the council is the customer – not me. And one council office doesn’t know what the other is doing, there is no communication between departments and no one is inspecting the final work. That’s the council for you.

The noise and dust from the work was pretty bad at times.

My poor garden!
The concrete dust settled on everything and even a few days with rain hasn’t managed to rinse off everything. It’s good it is winter soon, many of these plants will shed their leaves and the rest will have to get a good scrub eventually.

And here is the garden the day they finished, this is 2 ½ weeks ago and just a few days after I had torn my chest muscle. The garden is ready for me to plant everything back again and carry all the pots back where they were....

All the paving is back in place and now straight with no dips or steps, and there are several concrete patches both here and in the front garden to make up for the difference in the height that was here previously. There is also a drain to take away rain water since everything now is concreted. Before, this part of the garden was just bedded in with sand like everything else, and drainage was not a problem – with concrete to make it as sturdy as possible the need for drainage turned up. Once you do one thing it often leads to another and another....

So am I happy with the work?
I am REALLY happy with the fact that the council has agreed to do the adaptations free of charge – the fact that it is free kind of comes with living in a council property, it isn’t my house, I am just renting it. If they deem the work necessary to me then they will also pay for having it done. You can’t just ask for whatever you want though, it is a long application process which involves assessments, lots of paperwork, phone calls, emails - and lots and lots of waiting. Patience is the most important quality to have if you ever need to get involved with your council’s adaptations office. But at the end you might be lucky to get a yes and get adaptations done free of charge to the property you are renting.
So what about the work? The fact that I am not the client/customer or the one paying the bills makes it more difficult. If I had been the client I would not been happy with some of the work. Look here for example, this is the step up to the Shade Garden. On the left side they have cut the edging so it fits snug to the paving slab, but on the right side there is a good inch gap. Why? And someone has had an ooops-moment on the edging stone to the left under the step and has started to cut it too low. Instead of cutting that bit off and using the rest somewhere else, they have just finished cutting it and used it regardless of the long, visible cut. I would not have done that if it was me doing the work, and a simple tape measure would have avoided that gap on the right side.

Some more clumsy work? Now, I am not a bricklayer, but I think I could have done this concreting better....I will never be able to cover this with soil as the soil level here is already too high and need to be levelled out before topped up with bark. And that edging is not exactly pretty either. I can cover things with plants, at least in the spring and summer, but seriously, why should I have to resort to that, why not do it properly and looking professionally instead, they were professional bricklayers....

I told both bricklayers how important my garden is to me and I asked them to make the edges towards the flowerbeds as neat as possible so I could plant all the way to the edge of the paving slabs – and they said that was no problem. This is what the beds look like now – all the beds they have worked around. There is an unbelievable amount of concrete dropped everywhere in the beds, just randomly it seems, and not connected to anything. It comes off with a trowel and a bit of digging so it has no bearing on the paving slabs, but sitting on my stool trying to scrape and lift this has proved impossible with my torn muscle and bulging disc in my back. I tried a little bit last week on one of the other beds and made the pain worse so that was me told....

So my garden is just fending for itself for now. It’s amazing how quickly the beds have filled up with dead leaves. We have finally had some rain so at least I don’t need to water anymore, I hope we will have a steady supply of rain from now on and the lower temperatures helps so even if it only rains once a week or so it should be enough. My garden helpers haven’t been back yet and it is a busy time for everyone now so I am not sure if I can hope for any more help until after Christmas.

Despite 3 weeks with neglect, many plants are still in flower. I have lots of cosmos left, a good round of dead-heading would have been ideal but is probably not going to happen. Both Lobelia cardinalis’ to the left are in flower too.

I took these photos a couple of days ago and the late afternoon sun in the front garden gives everything a golden hue.

Just don’t look too closely over the fence, where the leaves have started to come down. This is my path out with the wheelchair and there are tons more to come down from the trees before it’s all finished. Last year I filled 8 rubbish bags with leaves here in my front garden so I could safely walk out on my crutches, and when all the leaves had come down the council came and picked up the rest from the carpark and outside everyone else’s house. They only sweep once, after it’s all come down. That can take many weeks and is a bit of a long wait if you can’t come out with your wheelchair because the pavement is too slippery with wet leaves. No sweeping for me this year I think - sweeping was specifically mentioned several places I found information, as it is such a specific movement engaging specific muscles.

Let me show you some nice flowers instead, here is one you haven’t seen for many years, as mildew took it both last year and the year before – this year I was a bit more vigilant with spraying during the hot part of the summer and it has paid off. This is Aster 'Newstars Fantasy' and the poor thing is still in a pot, desperate for a place in the ground after at least 5 years in a pot. The colours are amazing and such a treat for November and December.

Here’s another one you have never seen before, and neither have I. It is Hibiscus grandiflorus 'Fireball' and I have been very close to throwing this plant in the compost bin several times. I can’t remember how many years I have had it, but perhaps 4 or 5, and when I bought it as a dormant little plant I thought in my naivety that it would flower that summer. How stupid of me. Anyway, the little plant grew, a bit every year and this year it grew to almost 2 ft tall, but still no sign of flowers. Not until late September – a bit late to turn up with a bud, ONE bud. I am not sure if this one is going to open but it has survived several nights with temperatures down to 4-5C and much colder than that is unlikely for the foreseeable future. The flowers are 20-25cm in diameter, absolutely huge, so it would have been nice if I could have seen just this one open. Since buying my plant I have read that Hibiscus grandiflorus are difficult to get to flower outside in UK. This one was sold as a garden plant and there was no mention that it needed to be grown in a greenhouse. I will give it another year and see what happens, I have had it for so many years now and it is still a happy plant - and one bud this year might mean more next year :-)

Do you remember the brugmansia I wrote about in October’s post? It is now safely stored for hibernation in my shed, it has been there for almost a month – and it is still flowering there in my shed. I have taken a couple of cuttings and brought inside as safety, if we get a very cold winter (like 2009/10), this plant might not survive and then at least I will have the cuttings.

This is Malva sylvestris 'Mystic Merlin', and my photo is not doing it a good favour as this amazing plant is 5 ft tall and covered in flowers, but by the time I got to this corner it was too dark to get the rest of the plant. I got this one as a tiny seedling in a plant swap and it is a keeper, at the moment it is in a pot, but this perennial will get a permanent space somewhere soon.

Time for some roses? Most of my roses are in flower but some of them suffer from blackspot and some need treatment for thrips. I know they will be fine eventually even if they get neglected for now, but it’s hard just watching my garden from the window and not get stuck in! This rose is 'Susan Williams-Ellis' – or ‘Messy Susan’ as she is known as in my garden. A lovely rose anyhow.

And this is 'Wildeve', I absolutely love the colour of this rose in the late autumn and winter – as with most roses the temperature has an effect on the colour and 'Wildeve' loses the strawberry pink colour it normally has and instead it gets this porcelain pink look. Exquisite.

Oh, but who is this?!
I have got a lodger - an uninvited lodger in my garden. I am not sure if it is a male or a female, but most likely it is a female, a vixen, looking for somewhere to nest and have cubs. She might already be pregnant, if so it’s rather early. Or she might just suss out the garden and area before she accepts one of the many male foxes roaming around here. She is often behind my shed in that blind space between the wall and the shed and I can hear her rummaging around back there when I am in the shed. I am not looking forward to this if she has chosen my garden to have her family as I have been through that twice before in my old house. It is a lot of mess for a whole year until they all disperse in the late autumn next year.

But at the moment it is just one fox, she is not particularly afraid of me and is OK with seeing me through the windows and doors without getting scared. If I open the door and come out, she will walk away – but walk, not run. And she will often stop and turn around and look at me as she walks away. Not in a ‘I am scared you might be following me’ – kind of way. No, it is more a kind of a sulky teenager ‘ I HAVE to move??!!’ kind of look. People who are not used to urban foxes ask if they are dangerous and the answer is no, they are pretty harmless although there are stories where foxes have walked inside houses and attacked small children and people sleeping. That’s very unusual though. I have also heard and seen filmed foxes waiting outside big supermarkets and following people home just to attack their shopping bags to get their groceries! Yes, it sounds like something from a horror story, but this is behaviour not unheard of.

Foxes would not get into a fight with a human, or try hunting them, and neither do they try to hunt grown up cats or dogs, but on rare occasions there have been reported that foxes have taken kittens and chickens from people’s gardens. Foxes are scavengers and live off rubbish that humans leave like meat, bones, bread and bird food. Half eaten McDonald meals and sandwiches are said to be top of the food list for foxes in London. Wild mammals, birds and invertebrates are also common food source.

And foxes are very curious and playful, the mess here on my garden table is largely down to the squirrels helping themselves to some of my newly planted spring bulbs (Arghhhh!!!) – but Ms Fox here is checking out if there’s anything left to either play with or eat – or both. A few weeks back she took one of my garden gloves and hid it somewhere after I forgot to put the gloves back in the shed. Just one glove – the other one was left on the table. I wonder what she has done with it. Is it behind the shed or has she dug a hole in the ground for it? Next year when I am planting the rest of the plants, perhaps my missing glove will turn up?!

Here are my tulips for next year, all planted up weeks ago, with a layer of chicken wire under the bark to stop the squirrels from digging. But it didn’t stop Ms Fox from digging here, spot the paper bag in container number 5.

She had left a half-eaten bacon and bread roll complete with ketchup, wrapped up in a Gregg’s paper bag. It was properly rolled up before she hid it under the bark, it wasn’t until I uncovered it and opened the paper bag I realised what was in my tulip container! Sorry, but it went in my bin, she will have to get her breakfast from somewhere else tomorrow!

Having a fox family in your garden can be a huge challenge, they don’t cover over when they have been to the toilet like cats do so there’s mess everywhere. The opportunity to take lots of cute photos are of course there when the cubs first emerge in late March or April, but they grow up very quickly and by the time you get to around September they are the same size as their parents. This fox has been here every day for the last 3-4 weeks so I am pretty sure it is here to stay for the winter and from past experience I would not be surprised if it turns out to be a pregnant vixen. She spends most of the time sleeping and it’s strange to see her lying there in the sunshine, on the exact same spot my cat used to lay – where the sunshine would warm up the wall of the shed and the paving.

Almost finished now, just got to show you that even though it might say 17th of November on the calendar, my garden is still in full swing and it is still producing strawberries! Next year I will have to design some sort of cages with netting for my two raised strawberry beds so the fruit doesn’t get stolen before it is ready to be eaten. I guess the squirrels will have to fight the birds and the pigeons for these – and the fox will happily eat these strawberries too – and so would I, but I would like them to be a bit red first so I am pretty sure they will end up in a different stomach than mine :-)

And all the hype about the super moon made me go out and take a photo on the kitchen steps. Not sure if the moon is any bigger than last time we had a super moon and that’s not so long ago – but I haven’t measured :-)

Final photo - from an autumnal looking front. This is what I see from my bedroom window, not a bad view to wake up to every morning :-) I must admit I see more of this view than most of my neighbours as I spend a lot of my time in bed so having a nice front garden and being able to see flowers from this side of the house too has always been a priority to me.

It has been a gentle autumn weather the last month with temperatures of 4-8 C at night (39-46 F) and 8-14 C (46-57 F) during the day, sometimes even higher. The next 2 weeks are set to be the same, with some showers here and there so no problems with the few frost-tender plants I have. I keep hearing threats about this winter being predicted to be the coldest in many years. That’s what they predicted last year too. And the year before. And neither was true, quite the opposite - so I have stopped listening. I’ll deal with frost if and when it turns up, until then both my garden and I appreciate a frost-free winter and hope for yet another one :-)

Next month I have been blogging for 6 years, can’t really believe it has been that long – I won’t stop, I really want to continue and I would truly like to keep in touch with everyone, but for now I just have to take a break. I will be back as soon as I can, and in any case I will be posting short updates on my Facebook Page so if you haven’t signed up yet perhaps it would be a good time to do so now? I will try to write a post for Christmas and see how things go in the new year. Hopefully I feel better by then.

Thank you again to everyone who has been in touch, I love to hear from you all and I so appreciate all your comments – they are little treasures of gold and I read every one of them, often more than once. See you all next time for a Christmas post.


  1. Glad to see your latest blog post, I always enjoy "looking round your garden"! Have sent a friend request on Facebook so I can keep up with you :) So sorry to hear of your health difficulties. I understand a little of what it's like with prolapsed discs but nothing like what you go through (((hugs))) I first damaged my back when I was 18 (I'm 55 now!) and it's caused me problems on and off ever since. I had a prolapsed disc 10 years ago and my back hasn't been the same since ~ I spent nearly three weeks in hospital being "treated aggressively" with painkillers, after being taken in by ambulance when I totally seized up! Most unpleasant but nothing compared to what you have to go through. Take care and look after yourself, sweetie!

    1. Thank you Sharon for commenting on my blog and for your kind words, I was 18 too when I had my first prolapsed disc, I am 52 now and would very much like to hand my back in and get it exchanged in a new, better and more suitable one – not impressed at all with the one I got ;-)
      You are now on my Facebook friends list, I am not attached to Facebook like some people seem to be, constantly reposting other people’s material – but when I have something to say I will pop up and say hello and post some photos :-)
      Take care, Helene.

  2. Hei Helene!
    Godt å høre fra deg igjen, selv det ikke er hyggelig å høre om at dine helseproblemer vedvarer.
    Utrolig at du har fått en rev i hagen din! Det er revher også, men jeg bor tross alt veldig nærme skogen :)
    Jordbærkart i november er ikke dårlig! Her fikk vi 50 cm med klissvåt snø som knakk trær og busker, og til tross for mildvær og regn ligger det stadig masse snø her :(
    Godt å se bilder fra hagen din igjen!

    God bedring :)

    1. Hei Marit, hyggelig å høre fra deg igjen, har planer om å besøke hagen din også snart :-) Jeg har hørt at snøen har kommet hos dere ja, er godt med god snø som kan beskytte planter og trær om vinteren, men det er alltid litt frem og tilbake før man kommer dit! Håper det ikke ble noen store skader i hagen din!
      Ha en fin helg.

  3. Oh Helene, so sorry to hear you're in the wars. Do please take care. The garden can look after itself very well until next year now.

    1. Thanks Jessica, one part of my brain keeps saying the same as you – the garden can look after itself for a while at this time of year….the other part of my brain keeps saying….There’s TONS to do out there, what about all the bulbs I bought that still hasn’t been planted and all the plants that was supposed to be in the ground by now and all the leaves everywhere and the lily bulbs that needs splitting and repotting and and and…..well, I am sure you are familiar with the ‘Gardener Split-brain Syndrome’.....incurable!

  4. It must have been heartbreaking to see your garden being ripped up after you had it is looking so lovely. I hope your garden helpers come soon to help get it back to how it was.
    We actually have plants still producing strawberries on our allotment.
    The tree outside of your front garden fence looks very similar to the one outside of my sisters garden, an ash tree. My sister has back problems too so I spent most of yesterday afternoon trying to clear all the leaves and had fallen into her garden and all over paving and plants.
    The fox looks really content - lovely shots of her.

    1. Yes, it has been pretty disheartening having my garden ripped up again, two step forward and a big step back – but I know I can get it back again to the same shape once I can get out there and sit on my stool again. I am pretty sure the 3 trees in the parking area are ash trees but I don’t know what kind of ash, would have loved to know. Maybe the council’s park department knows….although probably not unless they find the planting record for the trees. I assume they were planted when the house were finished, in 1079.

  5. Oh Helene, I am so sorry to hear of your problems with your health. I can fully empathize, having had my own back issues in the past. Please take care of yourself and feel better soon. On a more positive note, your garden looks wonderful, as usual.

    1. Thanks Dorothy, I am trying my best to take things easy and it is a good time to do it – two months ago and it would have been very difficult when I was still watering every evening.

  6. Saw on facebook this morning that you had posted on your blog. I thought I'll read it this afternoon when I have more time......and now I read the disaster with your back, chest, muscles and discs......You must be pretty desperate by times, I really admire you for your fight against deseases and I am so glad you have your garden to love and care for. I understand the council does not perform the work as a self-hired builder but it is free and it is of great help to you, plants will cover the less nice edges or spots. Don't worry about the garden now, it soon will be winter and plants have there rest, so you can keep quiet too to recover (I know you want to move around but). Then about the fox, you will have mixed feelings about them but I think it's also nice to have her in your garden, a joy to watch her roaming around and so cute to see her sleeping in the sun. I'm astonished they are coming into the gardens of London and are so tame. I see them here sometimes on my early morning walks, but they only come to gardens to steal chickens and that happens quite often.
    Wish you all the best and will follow on facebook when you are not blogging.

    1. The foxes in London are not shy at all, they are quite feisty to be honest and sometimes I have to shoo them away to get out in my garden or when I go out with my rubbish late in the evening. They are very curious and playful, but the main problem is that they dig holes everywhere rooting up and damaging plants so it can be rather disheartening with all the damage to the garden. I hope I will get lots of cute photos of adorable cubs – at least that will make up for damaged plants and lots of holes in the ground (and fox poo everywhere!)

      It has finally started raining, after a very dry 5 months period – good for the gardens around here but other parts of the country has already had the obligatory pre-Christmas flood so not so good for them. I am taking watching the garden from indoors for now, as long as it is raining I feel no need to do anything out there :-)

  7. Dear Helene, it's so hard to watch to the garden from the window, but take care, please! I'm glad that the council's work in your garden had been finally finished, and now it's comfortable for you moving there. Although the builders left some concrete here and there please do not try to clear all at once, keep it for the spring, when you are better.
    Despite of your blog break I will keep in touch your Facebook page.

    1. Thank you Nadezda, I have not really been in the garden for more than a month, just feeding the birds now and then. It’s hard to just watch the garden from the window, but right now, with all the rain it’s not so bad – I am getting better and look forward to get outside and do just a little bit of easy things to start with and see how it goes.

  8. Reading through your post, I felt very frustrated that you are thousands of miles away, making it impossible for me to help. I know how annoying it can be when you see work to be done in the garden but please heed your body and the medical advice you've received and give yourself a chance to heal. The garden will get by on its own for a while and, when you've recovered, I've no doubt you'll find ways to mask or hide the defects in the work the counsel did in your back garden.

    I enjoyed seeing the photos of the fox and hope she won't be too much trouble for you. Your description of her behavior reminded me to the raccoons in my own garden. They usually appear only at night but, when encountered, they behave exactly like annoyed adolescents. They make a mess too but don't generally cause irreparable harm.

    I'm not on Facebook so I'll pass along my best wishes here. Take care, Helene!

    1. Thank you Kris, I know your racoons have similar behaviour to the foxes around here – although the foxes are not nocturnal animals so they are around anytime. The main problem with the foxes is all the digging! They dig for insects and grubs in the ground, and for food they might have dug down before – or food they THINK they have put down before….they are not so good to remember where they put their food as the squirrels are. I have lost numerous plants and even trees to fox digging in the ground, ruining the roots. As I said to Janneke above, I better get some really cute cub photos next spring to pay for the damage there no doubt will be :-)

      I am trying my best not to get upset over the garden just getting more and more behind with things that should have been done. I so wish you had been closer so I could get some help – it would have been lovely if you all had lived in my neighbourhood :-)

  9. Dear Helene,it is a simple equation,bad health means no gardening and than no more blogging. It is quite obvious your body has made clear it needs some real rest... Moving is so stressful and requires so much physical exertion and after occupancy you have been permanently trying to plant your potted blommers and others into beds and enough is enough. I hope that rest will help your by spring. The small reconstruction of your garden has to be really annoying at least,but you can always tell yourself it was for free and spend more money on new plants :-). I find your half potted garden as an advantage at the moment as you can hide certain disruptive places easily. I have to selfishly say I will miss your posts as they have inspired me a lot and photos with loads of bloomers works like a tranquilizer (for a while I do not have to think about my neglected,messy but still loved garden). Regarding a fox, yes it is really cute sleeping at your shed but I was a bit shocked for the first moment! What about rabies if she is so friendly? I don't want to scare you but I was told that at school for the first time and than many times. I hope this one is healthy and just bold :-).
    Take care bmd enjoy a nice autumn view from your bedroom! Hela

    1. Hello Helena, here in UK we don’t have to worry about rabies as it was eradicated more than 100 years ago in most animals. It is only still occasionally found in bats here, but it is very unlikely to contract rabies from being bitten by a bat. So although foxes carry some diseases, they are reasonably harmless to humans :-)

      We have started our rainy season over here and have had our first storm this week-end. There’s more rain and wind to come so right now it’s fine not to work in the garden. As soon as the weather gets a bit better I will at least have my daily stroll around, just to say ‘Hello’ to my garden. I think I will be back blogging before it says Spring on the calendar, I won’t be able to keep away that long :-)

  10. Oh, Helene: Sorry you've had to go through all this hassle and pain! It's so frustrating when you count on folks to do a quality job and it ends up less than ideal. I'm sure you'll find a way to make it look amazing. How interesting to have a fox in the garden! We have a few foxes and coyotes around here, too, although we rarely see them--they are a little more nocturnal. Take care, and I hope your recovery will be speedy!

    1. Thank you Beth - in a way it has been a long, 18 months of ups and downs since moving house last May, and this is just another down, only temporary though - I will soon crawl myself back up again :-)
      The rain and stormy season have started here and that’s helping a bit, no need to water anymore and I don’t feel so bad for staying indoors on the sofa or in bed when the weather is too bad for gardening anyway.

  11. I hope you will get better soon, and you have lots of happy time in your garden

    1. Thank you Endah, I will be better, hopefully soon :-)

  12. Hi Helene, I am so sorry to hear about your conditions. That torn muscle sound very awful. It must be too painful. I can't move much after some kick-boxing; so I am wondering how you are moving around. I am really feeling your pain. I hope you get well soon. You and your blog will be dearly missed.

    Awww.. I love that fox/vixen. Please send her/him to me :-)

    1. Thanks for your well-wishes, it took me longer to get back to gardening and blogging than I had thought but I am back now I think, at least for now :-)

  13. Dear Helen I wish I was living closer to you so I could give you a hand to help. Always keep in mind that there will be better times.
    Lots of love Marijke

    1. Thank you so much Marijke, yes I know you and many others would have been here to help if we had been neighbours :-) There are ups and downs like this for me all the time and I try to enjoy the garden when I can and not worry too much when I can’t. Fortunately this time it was on a time of year when the garden can be left on its own for a while without too much problems :-)

  14. Dear Helene, I was quite worried for you when I didn't see your post. What a relief when I saw you were back in the blogosphere. I wish I lived closer to you, so that I could help you with sweeping up the leaves from the paths. Unfourtunately Italy is rather far.I hope you will get over your health problems which prevents you from gardening and doing anything else. Your garden is still lovely, despite the cold and wet weather. I really admire you.
    Best wishes, take care,

    1. Thank you so much, I have a very long list of health problems I normally have to battle with, but despite that I still manage to potter around in my garden when my health permits. But at times I am unable to do anything and I just have to take a break and sometimes those breaks last a bit longer than usual – and a bit longer than I wish for! I am back for now – and until next time :-)
      Thank you for your support and well wishes!

  15. Hej Helene!
    Trevligt med en uppdatering från din trädgård. Tråkigt att höra att du inte mår bra, önskar dig god bättring. Det är nog inte alla som har en räv i trädgården, fina bilder, den verkar trivas. Hoppas du får hjälp med att ställa i ordning allt efter byggandet.
    Ha det bra och sköt om dig /Marika

    1. Hei Marika, her kommer endelig et svar på kommentar du la igjen på november posten min, det har tatt sin tid å komme gjennom alt. Takk for gode ønsker fra deg, jeg er bedre for nå så jeg håper det varer en stund fremover. Reven har jeg ikke sett noe til de sist ukene så enten har den funnet seg et annet sted å bo eller så har hun fått reveunger og ligger og gjemmer seg bort med dem :-)
      Ha det godt!

  16. Helene- it is good to see you back and I hope you are feeling better. That is good news that you are getting help to make your space better for you as far as getting around and tending to your gardens....and it's free! When I didn't see your Bloom Day post I was concerned and then remembered you talking about health issues a while back, so I am glad to have seen this post. Health is important and you need to rest so you can have happy times in your garden. Despite he leaves, your gardens are looking beautiful as always and your passion for them always shows. Like others have mentioned, I wish I lived closer to you as well. I know we would be good friends and I would be right there helping you with those leaves! I am glad you mentioned Facebook. It will be nice to see you around there.

    1. Thanks Lee, I often think that so many of my blogger friends would probably have been good friends in real life had we just been living in the same city! It has taken a while to get back to blogging and gardening and I think it will be a bit slow for a while still, but I am absolutely loving being back in the garden and the mild weather here in London makes gardening in the winter a joy.
      I have made a new post for Christmas and I am doing short updates on Facebook if you want to send me a friend request. You can also find me on Instagram now, button for Instagram is on the top-left side.
      Take care and hope you have a lovely celebration!

  17. I don't know your email address and so thought of putting this wish here only. I hope you are doing well. Missing you, your post and your garden. Wishing you and your family A Very Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

    1. Thanks again for your well wishes and for looking out for me, I have written a new post for Christmas with an update from my garden so I hope you will be able to read it.
      Merry Christmas to you and yours too – and all the best for the New Year.

  18. I want to use this media to thanks Wizard Charles Group for the amazing job they are doing, i really don't know what to say here and i don't know if you will ever find out my post here so you could confirm how grateful i'm over the job i contacted you of which i nearly lost all my bitcoin to a bad black hat hacker who just came from nowhere to messed up my life all because i needed his help to help me access my spouse device so i can see the lady he is talking to online but instead he choose to work against me not only ripping me but went ahead to black mail me just to get another more money from my spouse but he failed and that couldn't have happened if not for Wizard Charles Group Hackers intervention, i owe my life cause i'm still breathing today is all because of his intervention, he tracked down the hacker who worked against me and also help me to recover all my lost funds and still do the same job i needed of which is to gain access to my spouse phone and see who he is talking to and what they are both talking about cause he always denied me access to his phone. Indeed I'm grateful to Wizard Charles Groups. you can as well hire him today by Email:

    Visit Website:

  19. My gratitude to Winona Fonda and Julia McDormand who's a comment I saw here about Wizard Charles Group Hackers testifying how great his skills are. I contacted wizard Charles for my Credit Card top up and he did it perfectly and I was so shocked, my fear of losing my girlfriend because I always think she is cheating on me is now over because he hacked into her phone and showed me all the conversation and I just discovered she was never doing anything wrong. you can as well hire him today by Email:

    WhatsApp. +1 (385) 273 0329

    Visit their Website:

  20. Hacking solutions on Recovering Scammed funds, increase your Credit score and top up your Credit balance to any amount,  Bitcoin Lost funds recovery, Social media hacks, Bitcoin mining, DMV database, Access your spouse/partner media, Monitor your colleague and a lot more, search no further.   Email:

    WhatsApp: +1 (385) 273 0329

    visit website:

  21. BE SMART AND BECOME RICH IN LESS THAN 3DAYS....It all depends on how fast 
    you can be to get the new PROGRAMMED blank ATM card that is capable of
    hacking into any ATM machine,anywhere in the world. I got to know about 
    this BLANK ATM CARD when I was searching for job online about a month 
    ago..It has really changed my life for good and now I can say I'm rich and 
    I can never be poor again. The least money I get in a day with it is about 
    $50,000.(fifty thousand USD) Every now and then I keeping pumping money 
    into my account. Though is illegal,there is no risk of being caught 
    ,because it has been programmed in such a way that it is not traceable,it 
    also has a technique that makes it impossible for the CCTVs to detect 
    you..For details on how to get yours today, email the hackers on : ( ). Tell your 
    loved once too, and start to live large. That's the simple testimony of how 
    my life changed for good...Love you all ...the email address again is ;