Sunday, 15 December 2013

My garden in mid December

Mid December in London – what words springs to your mind....perhaps drab, brown, rainy and cold? Not in my garden! I was out all Saturday photographing for Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day and with 13 degrees C (55F) and a bleak sunshine it was lovely albeit a bit windy. I struggled to keep the flowers still enough to take the pictures at times but hey, that’s one of the challenges of gardening photography. Just when you have the right focus and perfect angle then whoosh!....comes another gust.

My garden still looks quite green from my usual long distance view, the most noticeable difference from last month is that the leaves on the arch has gone – with a bit of help from me. When the leaves on the Dregea sinensis start to fall off I simply pick them off instead of waiting for them to fall off and spread around the whole garden. Much easier than having to go around picking them up later on. There are dots of colours here and there from flowers but let me give you a guided tour and show you what’s in flower right now.

The patio area is filled with pots, some in flower, some finished and some waiting for a bit of spring sunshine to get going. Although in the flower bed, right behind the terracotta pots, the irises have already become very tall, they are not going to flower until April or so. That whole bed will be filled with daffodils, irises, snowdrops, crocuses, alliums, hyacinths and crocosmias over the next few months.

The fuchsias are all still going strong, loving the weather we have now and with no frost so far and no frost forecasted for the next 2 weeks at least, they will just go on and on.

My lovely rose ‘Rob Roy’ is a bit tatty after last storm, but he kept his petals - a tough guy! By the way, Rob Roy or Robert Roy MacGregor was a famous Scottish folk hero and outlaw of the early 18th century, who is sometimes known as the Scottish Robin Hood.

Here is my lovely Loropetalum chinense, a very slow grower, which is good as I have nowhere else to grow it than here on the patio in a container so I hope it will do well in this container for a few more years.

I love these amazing flowers and the bronze/burgundy leaves.

How about lavender flowers in December? Well, mine is putting on new buds right now and it won’t be long before these are fully out.

Turning to the left of the patio, I made this container last month with some red primroses split from an old clump I had, and I have planted them with a hellebore and a cyclamen, both grown from seeds harvested in 2012. It is so fun to see these plants finally put on growth although they are still young and won’t flower for another year or two. I have no idea what colour their flowers will be, that’s the beauty of growing flowers from seeds that don’t come true, they can be become just something ordinary or something truly beautiful.
In the background you can see the enormous flowers of Fuchsia 'Bella Rosella'.

This must be one of the longest flowering plants I have in the garden, Dicentra  formosa 'Bacchanal' – it is still flowering! I can see the new shoots already so it seems it will almost be a continuous flowering for this amazing plant.

Just behind it, the Skimmia japonica 'Rubella'  has more than hundred flower spikes, this plant has never been pruned and at the age of 11 is now incredibly large. The dark pink flower buds last for almost 6 months until the buds open and reveal the white flowers around May, I like Skimmias best at this stage and they are a great addition in the garden in the winter.

Here is another Skimmia, a female plant with berries, look at that amazing colour! Its name is Skimmia japonica 'Bowle's Dwarf'.

Moving on from the Skimmias, along the path, more fuchsias are brightening up here on the left side, this is 'Annabel'.

The dainty flowers of 'Annabel' get a bit brown-edged when it rains, but still look beautiful.

Just behind 'Annabel' is one of my four hydrangeas, I don’t cut off the flower heads on this one as I think they look nice as long as they keep looking like this. A prolonged period of frost might turn them to brown mush but we haven’t had that yet.

Aster ageratoides 'Ashvi' is still flowering too, this is a newcomer to my garden and I don’t really know what to expect from it, except that it can be a bit invasive so for now it is still growing in a pot, planted in the ground. I’ll keep an eye on how fast it fills out the pot and I’ll see if I will allow it to let loose in the garden!

Just behind the aster and next to the hydrangea stands a rather unassuming tall bush, covered in green leaves in the summer and not very interesting, but in the autumn it drops its leaves and in December it really comes into its full glory.

This is Viburnum 'Farreri' – with lots of small clusters of highly scented flowers which goes on flowering right into March when the leaves grow back.

Viburnum 'Farreri' flower with the new leaves already developing.

Stepping on to the path and looking back to the house, one of the main features this summer has been my sunflowers – and they are still here! Most of the branches broke in the bad storm we had in October but the remaining stem is still alive and still producing flowers – and incredibly tall, almost 3m.

Fortunately there are some flowers lower down so I can still get some pictures, the sunflower is called ‘Vanilla Ice’ and is an annual, it will turn to mush as soon as we get frost.

Next to the sunflower, another rose is still producing flowers, although this one has had a bit of beating in the wind - 'Mildred Scheel'.

And here is my only David Austin rose still in flower, 'Susan Williams-Ellis'.

And my trusty old pot rose never fails, it flowers non-stop.

In the large bed on the left there are plants in flower too, can you see the large black pot with the red flowers?

It is Chaenomeles 'Crimson and Gold' which started to flower a month ago and is still in full flower.

Behind it are two clematises, tangled together and growing up the large camellia. This is Clematis texensis 'Gravetye Beauty'.

Soon I will have to pull out the clematises as the camellia will start to flower any time from February to April depending on what kind of spring we get. But as you can see here, new clematis buds are side by side with camellia buds, I don’t really have the heart to rip it out just yet!

And right under the clematis, in the darkest place of the garden are more fuchsias, they don’t mind growing in complete shade, this is 'Sir Matt Busby'.

Turning to the bottom of my garden now, this part hasn’t really changed at all since late summer, apart from that the Acer palmatum 'Garnet' in the foreground has lost its leaves, everything else is pretty much the same with many of the plants being evergreen. The pink hydrangea is not evergreen of course, but the leaves are still green and haven’t started to fall.

It is even producing new flowers, although they are smaller than they were in the summer.

The cyclamens are in full flower.

And the Primula vulgaris dotted around are still flowering – for the 16th month in a row, they never stopped during the summer and have just gone on and on.

And more fuchsias of course, this is 'Mrs Popple', with these amazing colours that my camera struggles to show properly.

But my garden is in no doubt what month we are in, it might look like autumn in some ways but look here – the first hellebore flowers are on their way and there are lots more new shoots everywhere.

And the snowdrops are on their way up too, if this mild weather continues it won’t be long before these beauties show their nodding flowers.

And speaking of spring bulbs sticking out of ground, my Iris reticulate 'Harmony' and 'Pixie' are well on their way too.

But back to plants in flower, here is my front garden, with lots of flowers.

The boxes on the window sills have all these magnificent Fuchsia 'Velvet Crush', still with lots of new buds.

'Velvet Crush' starts out a deep purple in colour and then turn more burgundy after a while, giving the impression of two different  plants.

And here are the window boxes on the wall, this spring and summer I had 20 geraniums here and they stopped flowering in October. I have waited for them to die so I could get the winter bedding in but they are still alive so last week I finally made my online order for bedding plants and yesterday it was out with the old and in with the new. 6 of the healthiest geraniums were saved and placed in pots and are now in the back garden, I have no idea if they will survive but I don’t think they will like coming inside the house so I better leave them outside. I just wanted some flowers in my window basket for the winter so here they are - Ajuga reptans 'Burgundy Glow', Primula vulgaris Belarina 'Amethyst Ice' and Pansy Matrix 'Purple and White', White primrose’ and 'Pink Shades’. I have never planted winter bedding as late as middle of December but when the weather is good enough then why not!

Pansy Matrix 'Pink Shades’.

Pansy Matrix 'Purple and White'.

So there you have it, all the flowers in my December garden. Today is Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day, what's flowering in your garden? If you head over to Carol at May Dreams Gardens you can see what other people have in flower in their gardens right now - all over the world. Until next time, take care.

42 comments:

  1. You do have a lot of colour in your garden right now. Both front and back gardens look lovely. The colour out the front must draw comments from passers-by. That Fuchsia 'Velvet Crush' is beautiful. Out the back, I just loved those huge cups and saucers filled with little seedlings. They look fabulous. The other things that caught my eye were, of course, your Roses and Sunflowers, but also those dainty little flowers on your Loropetalum.

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    1. Thanks Bernie, I can see people passing by outside from where I sit in my living room and I often see people stop and look at my flowers. Not many people have flowers in their front garden here, perhaps a green bush but not flowers.

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  2. Nice! Oh, to have Fuchsias year-round! They have to be among the most beautiful flowers on the planet. Interesting, too, because they do seem to prefer your climate year-round: Not too hot (as my summers can be) and not too cold (as obviously my winters are). Everything else looks great, too. Happy Bloom Day, Helene!

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    1. The fuchsias are perfect for my climate yes, but I am afraid they don’t last all year round, they do need a break. By February or so they will all have lost their leaves and some won’t get their leaves back until late June, some start earlier depending how much light they get. Flowering is also depending on how much sun they get, I don’t have any in full sun, none of the varieties I have seem to like that and some are in complete shade – flowering will be from July and onwards so from the earliest to the latest variety I could have 8 months of fuchsia flowers per year, not bad?
      I am sure you can grow fuchsias too, there are lots of hardy varieties that will survive your winter, and placing them in semi shade or even full shade will make them happy in the summer. Happy GBBD!

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  3. Your gardens still look amazing! I love your sunflowers and roses and cannot believe your hydrangea are still blooming! We got our first siginificant snow today and are definitely in winter mode. Thank you for sharing your wonderful gardens and giving us some nice blooms to enjoy! Happy GBBD Helene!

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    1. I must admit it’s not often I have hydrangeas in flower in December, but down at the bottom of the garden it is a little bit warmer than further up and with no night frost yet this hydrangea just keeps going. Happy GBBD to you too!

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  4. how lovely to see all the color in you garden at this time of the year Helene. You made wonderful photo's of it.
    Have wonderful sunday.

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    1. Thanks Marijke, have a great Sunday you too!

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  5. Leaving hydrangea heads on gives a bit of frost protection too although from the amount you have still blooming your garden must be well protected by those fences.

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    1. The fences helps, but I think the wall at the bottom of my garden is even a better help at protecting my garden – although this autumn there still hasn’t been any nights below zero here in London.

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  6. Wow, there is a lot of bloom in your garden, for December. Quite a contrast to my garden which is frozen now.

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    1. Yes, gardening in London is so fun, after 14 years here I am still amazed by what I can grow here :-)

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  7. As usual I am stunned and amazed at the variety and beauty of your gardens!
    Happy Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day!
    Lea

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    1. Thanks Lea, and happy GBBD to you too!

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  8. Winter nave came for you! Happy Gbbd!

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  9. Absolutely incredible Helene! To have a Dicentra still flowering is quite amazing. And your lovely clematis too. I spotted one lonely flower on my Chaenomeles, but when I went out with the camera yesterday it has disappeared.
    I've really struggled this month and I thought Devon was supposed to be mild. Your microclimate is just unbeatable.

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    1. I have been amazed by the Dicentra formosa too, so much that I have just bought another one, a white one, I hope they both will perform just as well next year!

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  10. Incredible! You'd never believe it was December judging by what's flowering in your garden Helene.
    Your Fuchsias are certainly doing you proud and if the mild weather they'll just keep going! Sun flowers in December - amazing!
    I'm doubtful of getting a bloom day post this weekend. It's been far too windy. I took some shots this afternoon but haven't got round to downloading them yet.
    Happy Bloom Day

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    1. The wind picked up yesterday evening here too, but it’s been better today, although raining most of the day so no gardening today for me. The sunflowers was a first for me, I will soon plant seeds again, this time in pots and I will have a few more. Happy GBBD to you too!

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  11. So many blooms! I'm shocked at the fuchsias! They look so tropical - I didn't realize they would bloom in December! With the hellebores starting to bloom, and little things poking up through the soil, it looks like spring will be here soon! (Or maybe that's just my wishful thinking!) ;)

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    1. The fuchsias are great fun and will go on as long as we don’t have frost – long may it last! As for the spring flowers it all comes down to what kind of weather we have the next 6 weeks, I have had daffodils in flower as early as middle of February but also as late as beginning May – who knows what the weather will bring this year!

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  12. Hi Helene, wow, your garden looks absolutely great! I am so impressed that you have so many plants flowering in December. I am sure that people with way bigger gardens than yours won't be able to compete. My absolute favorite plant is the Viburnum 'Farreri'. What a beauty! And I love your new bedding plants in the window boxes in the front yard. The combination of Ajuga reptans 'Burgundy Glow', Primula vulgaris Belarina 'Amethyst Ice' and Pansy Matrix 'Purple and White', White primrose’ and 'Pink Shades’ is just awesome. I really envy you that you have so unusual pansies. Here in the nurseries they offer always the same boring varieties. I wonder if I should try to order pansies on-line as well. Beautiful job you did in your garden. I enjoyed the December tour very much! Wishing you a wonderful week!
    Christina

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    1. Thanks Christina, my new bedding plants were a great find, an online company I haven’t used before but I will certainly use them again. They sell plant-ready bedding plants, which is hard to come across for online purchase here in UK, usually you only get tiny plug plants that takes ages to grow on. And their selection is excellent. For anyone here in the UK who would like to try them, they are called www.plantmenow.co.uk
      Hope you have a great week too!

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  13. You still have so many color in your garden! So lovely

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  14. Is this mid-December? Can't believe!
    Helene you know I always am amused your fuchsias, this 'Annabel' is stunning. You make wonderful front door garden, many colors in these winter days.
    Have a nice week!

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    1. Thanks Nadezda, I love gardening in London and this year –so far at least - we have a ‘normal’ winter, not like last winter were we had such a cold weather for weeks. Hope you have a great week too!

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  15. The joys of living in London and the mild climate that goes with it! I love the viburnum, I grow Viburnum bodnantense 'Dawn' which has a wonderful scent, however, as I walk up through our local park to the village there is one that has developed into what can only be described as a small tree which you can smell from a long way off in fact even before you can see the plant sometimes. The beautiful scent is very welcome and almost surreal at this time of the year when all around it are bare trees and evergreens which are not in flower.

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    1. Yes, gardening in London is great, and my garden is particularly sheltered I think, with that tall wall at the end of it. I’d love to have several more viburnums, only space is the issue, they do get quite big eventually. I have opted for sarcococcas instead for winter scent, so far I have 3 and I plan to get 2 more for my collection.

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  16. I'm quite envious of your garden! Fuchsias haven't done particularly well for me in my current garden, although they were a mainstay of my former garden only 15 miles away - those in pots do best here, provided that I remember to keep them watered. And a primrose that blooms for 16 months - remarkable!

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    1. Thanks Kris, and welcome to my blog. I’m not sure what’s going on with the Primula vulgaris, they just keep going on and on, all the other primroses took a summer break but not these – I am not complaining, they look great :)

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  17. You do have a lot of flowers in your garden even in winter. Especially lavender flowers in December? Unbelievable!!!
    The Fuchsia 'Velvet Crush' looks lovely and suit the window sills!
    And I love the top image of Christmas!!

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    1. Thanks Keity, this winter has so far been a more normal winter than last year and I am enjoying my garden – it never stops here.

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  18. Hi Helene
    Your garden is astonishing! So much still in bloom and so much still so very green. I am truly envious!
    We are having a very white Christmas here. But maybe that's an opportunity in itself. I may go out tomorrow and try my macro lens in winter! Haven't done that yet.
    Merry Christmas!

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    1. Thanks Astrid, it has been a great autumn here and with no frost in my garden yet, many of the plants just go on and on flowering. We are definitely not getting a white Christmas here this year, but to be honest, that’s a rarity here in London. This will be my 15th Christmas here and none of them so far with snow, it tends to come much later in the winter, if at all. Merry Christmas to you too!

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  19. Helene, just love that idea of the Iris reticulata in the spotty teacups! Please post pictures when they are in flower.

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    1. Thanks, I love those cups too, I will post pictures when they are in bloom!

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  20. Wow! Your garden is lovely, and I am sure your neighbors enjoy the front view. I am amazed at how many lovely flowers you have so far into December! I love your skimmers! All I can say about your lorepetalum is that it must know you have a small garden and it had better behave. I have one planted in my garden and it sprouted to eight feet tall and wide within two years! I am afraid we are going to have to take it out, as there is no room for it to do that where it is.

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    1. Wow, can’t believe your Loropetalum grew that quickly! Mine doesn’t have a variety name, not sure if the nursery forgot to put it on the label or if it didn’t have one, but they don’t sell it online at the moment. Mine is almost 3 years old and was in a 1L pot when I got it, just a short twig really. I will check the root ball this summer and see if it needs re-potting but from memory I think it was meant to grow to 5’ tall – in 20 years so I didn’t expect it to do much for a very long time! Maybe you have a different variety than me, or growing it in a container makes the difference? Or maybe yours were a much bigger and more mature plant when you got it?

      I often see people stop and look at the plants in my front garden, it’s nice to see people enjoying them and I can see them from my sofa in the living room so well worth the work.

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  21. Wow, you're a lucky girl: still got so many flowers in your garden. My garden appears in different shades of Brown :o). And the next flowers will only appear in February or even later.
    Have a great day
    Alex

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    1. Thanks Alex, I do enjoy gardening in London at this time of year, and seeing the new bulbs peering up through the ground makes me happy! Have a great Sunday!

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