Despite having had one winter storm after the other the last 4 weeks, and now having quite cold weather for the last 5 days, my garden is bang on schedule and is completely normal-mid-January in terms of plants and flowers. I just had a look at my GBBD post for January 2013 and 2012 and my garden look so similar that I could easily have used the same photos today – except that I have done changes and added plants since then. Last year the cold weather didn’t arrive until end of January, and stayed on for what felt like forever. I am hoping for a more normal spring this year!
With lots of evergreen plants in my garden, it never looks empty, even at mid-winter. I quite like this open feel the garden has right now, although I also like it in May, June and July when it is completely filled to the rafters with plants and you can’t even see to the bottom from this point. My new palms, Phoenix canariensis, are still doing well in the pots on the patio, so far we have had ONE night with frost, that was last Saturday night, but by the time I came out Sunday around 11:30 am it was only a few pots on the shady side that had a thin layer of frost. There was no frost in the flower beds. Long may it last!
The absent of frost means that all my fuchsias are still in full flower and producing new buds. Here is my huge hanging basket that never got hung up where it should have been at the front of my house. Maybe this year perhaps?
Fuchsia 'Marcus Graham'
Fuchsia 'Deep Purple' – much paler now in the winter than in the autumn.
The container with hellebore, cyclamens and the red primroses is still doing well, although the cyclamens are very late to flower this year in my garden, possibly because they didn’t die down until July because of the cold spring we had. I suppose they needed the rest and have now got late to the party again. There are cyclamen flowers to come everywhere though so next month they will probably be in full flower.
My Primula vulgaris however never took a break during the summer so some of them have been flowering since September 2012 when I bought them, all of them has been in flower since December 2012. That’s pretty astonishing!
Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that I regularly deadhead them, and also remove the leaves a few times a year? The baby slugs in my garden has singled out my primroses as their main diet so they look a bit tatty after a while. I pinch out all spent flowers and take off all old leaves. To ensure I always have some plants that look good I do it on a rotation. The plant in the middle was done today, the two on the each side was done 5 days ago so they don’t take long even in this cold weather to put out new growth and flowers.
These two are up next I think!
This is Skimmia japonica 'Rubella', technically not in flower, but the flower buds look so beautiful so I have to include a photo of it here again.
My Loropetalum chinense doesn’t seem to have a flower season, instead it has had a few flowers all the time ever since I got it almost 3 years ago.
The Viburnum 'Farreri' has been flowering for more than a month and the scent is absolutely heavenly.
I was not the only one enjoying the weather today, I had a bumble bee flying around my head when I was at the bottom of my garden and this fly was here at the right time when I was photographing the Viburnum. I didn’t manage to take a photo of the bumble bee, usually the ones I see in the winter are very slow, lazy and look almost drunk when they fly - and are easy to photograph. The bumble bee I had in my garden today was a very spritely and awake one, and not very photogenic!
I have no roses in my garden right now, thanks to the storms we had around Christmas – all the roses simply blew off. But most of the bushes are producing new buds so there might be time for some more roses before I cut them all down in the first week of February. The only one almost flowering is the trooper of my roses, the cream pot rose.
So without any roses to brighten up, perhaps this Chaenomeles 'Crimson and Gold' can do? It has been growing in this pot since last autumn when I started the redesign of this bed, I am not sure where it will end up eventually but for now it seems happy growing in the pot.
The Chaenomeles had its first flush of flower in October and November and has had some flowers since then. Now the second flush is coming.
Chaenomeles 'Crimson and Gold'.
At the bottom of my garden, lots of things are about to happen. Well, some plants are still in flower from last year….
Can you believe it, one of my hydrangeas still has a flower that is alive! The leaves have started to go yellow and drop, but this pretty pink flower is hanging on, very much alive.
And of course, there are fuchsias here too, this is 'Mrs Popple'.
It’s a bit difficult to get in and deadhead the two fuchsias at the bottom of my garden so sometimes I just leave them to develop berries. These look almost good enough to eat! Hang on…I think I have read somewhere that you can actually eat fuchsias berries? I have to look it up, just a second. OK, back again. According to the RHS website, the fruit of all species and cultivars of fuchsia are edible but the quality is variable: some are tasteless, others have an unpleasant aftertaste. The fairly large fruit of Fuchsia splendens are reputedly the most worthwhile, having a citrusy, peppery tang. I can’t think of a prettier berry bush than one covered in fuchsia flowers so perhaps I should get a Fuchsia splendens and not do any deadheading, just leave it to produce delicious berries? By the way, I didn’t have a go at these two, they are not ripe yet but perhaps I will take the plunge when they are soft and ready to pick.
Anyway, here is another bush with berries on, Sarcococca confusa, but right now it is not the berries that is its main attraction but the incredibly scented flowers. When I stood down here photographing I could smell the scent from several meters away, and when all three of my Sarcococca bushes are in full flower it is an intoxicating scent that can reach into my kitchen through the open back door. If you can grow this bush and haven’t got one yet I fully recommend you to get one! The rest of the year it is just an evergreen bush in one of your shady spots.
As mentioned previously, my many cyclamens are taking their time this year, but I can finally see things happening. This is a dark red cyclamen.
And this will be a bright pink cyclamen. I think the flowers look like swans at this stage.
The only cyclamens that have been in flower since the autumn are the white ones, not sure about the reason for this difference, has never been a difference in flowering start before between the colours.
The first snowdrops are out, I had hoped they would open up properly by today but that didn’t happen.
It is a good sign though, snowdrops, it brings longer days and moving towards spring :-)
Here are more signs of the coming spring, these hellebore buds will become the freckled white double hellebores I have a photo of on my top banner.
This is a newcomer in my hellebore garden, this one is called 'Double Slaty Blue'. Can’t wait to see it in full flower!
The only Helleborus niger is finally flowering too, I always thought they were supposed to flower before the Helleborus hybridus (orientalis), but that never happens in my garden.
Another hellebore soon to unfold, just need a bit more sunshine please!
'Double White' has already opened its first flowers.
The winner this year was this single speckled Helleborus hybridus, with several opened flowers by now.
Let’s move to my front garden and see what’s in flower there. It was a pale winter sunshine when I took these photos but there are lots of flowers here too.
The fuchsia 'Velvet Crush' is an amazing variety, it starts out with a pink tube and this incredibly dark corolla.
When the flower matures it curls up the tube and the corolla fades to this bright pink colour. In between there are stages where it looks more burgundy. I love it and have taken cuttings so I get some for my back garden too.
Unfortunately, I am not the only one who like fuchsias, the aphids have discovered the new buds and with no prolonged frost yet and no predators around except for my fingers squashing them, the aphids are difficult to keep in control.
My window baskets are plumping up, after having been planted very late – in mid December.
Ajuga reptans 'Burgundy Glow' is really glowing in the winter sunshine, these plants will grow too big to stay in these window baskets so when the summer plants go in, these will get a new permanent space in my back garden.
The online nursery sent me wrong type of white pansies, I bought 3 different varieties and they were all supposed to be blotched. I was a bit baffled when this white plain type turned up, but was refunded when I contacted the nursery. Because of Christmas it was too late to send me what I was meant to have though so these Viola X wittrockiana 'Primrose' have been allowed to stay.
The remaining two types are really great though, as each plant of the same variety produce slightly different patterned flowers. This is Viola X wittrockiana 'Pink Shades'.
Viola X wittrockiana 'Pink Shades'.
Viola X wittrockiana 'Purple and White'
Viola X wittrockiana 'Purple and White'
Viola X wittrockiana 'Purple and White'
So there you have it, my London garden in mid January. The forecast for the next 10 days is for unsettled, windy weather with rain now and then, but mild and no frost in my garden. Could I possibly get to the end of the month without any frost?
I am linking this post to Carol’s Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day, if you visit her blog at May Dreams Gardens you can see gardens in bloom from all over the world. What’s flowering in your garden right now? How has the weather so far this winter affected your garden? Until next time, take care.