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!

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.