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.
Sunday, 15 May 2016
Saturday, 30 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
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
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
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
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
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
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 question....work 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.