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 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.

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!