Wednesday, 15 January 2014

January’s GBBD flowers

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 'Snowburner'

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.

Red primroses.

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.

Viburnum 'Farreri' 

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.

Helleborus hybridus.

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.

58 comments:

  1. Your garden, front and back, is still so full of interest. You've got some lovely flowers on show right now. Gorgeous Fuchsias and Hellebores. Beautiful Primroses, Pansies and Violas. I just love the window boxes sitting on top of your walled fence. I just know you're looking forward to the springtime now.

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    1. Thanks Bernie, I just can’t wait for spring to start properly, although in my garden I don’t really stop for winter at all, it’s just a different pace and different things I do during December, January and February. My window boxes are being admired by people passing by, I seem to be the only one having flowers on the wall at least in my street so it’s nice people have a look as they go by.

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  2. You certainly have an impressive collection of Pansies, Fuchsias, and Hellebores (and everything else!). It's incredible that your plants that have been in flower since 2012! Wow! Regarding the slugs on your Primulas, have you tried shallow tubs of beer? I know it sounds funny, but it works. I put several in my garden near plants that are susceptible. The slugs can't resist the beer and they climb in and can't get out. It's kind of sad and gross I guess, but it's effective and organic. My favorite photo on this post is your window boxes in the front from the unique angle--that's a great shot, and lovely with your beautiful plants!

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    1. Hi Beth, I have heard about beer against slugs, but haven’t really thought of it as something I could use in my garden since I have a cat. I have visions of my cat going around drinking up the beer, with or without slugs in it, raving around the garden being slightly tipsy! I suppose I could use alcohol free beer, not sure if that would have the same effect on the slugs, but I am sure my cat would drink it anyway – with half decaying slugs in it…ugh! Some types of slugs can be poisonous to cats, not sure if my cat will detect that if they are soaked in beer….I feel safer with slug pellets, my cat is not the slightest interested in them, but they don’t work very well at this time of year when we seem to have rain and showers mostly every day so the pellets disintegrate before the slugs get to take them. I use them in the spring, summer and autumn though, and they work well.
      Regarding my long flowering Primula vulgaris, not sure what’s happening with them, but I have them spread out over the whole of the garden, in the ground and in small and large pots and containers, so very different conditions and still they all keep on flowering. A lot for my money I am please to say!

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  3. Dear Helene, your lovely garden never fails to amaze me! This time I like especially your Viburnum 'Farreri'. How nice that it is not only flowering beautifully, but also comes with a strong scent. I am dreaming about planting a viburnum myself for a long time. Maybe it will happen this year... The leaves of all your cyclamen are so healthy. They really must like your climate. The white one is just so pristine looking. I really envy you a little bit about that, since I like cyclamen very much but they don't do so well in my climate. I just recently bought a beautiful white one and planted it in a container, it looked just plain gorgeous in the beginning, but then I probably waterlogged it and many leaves and flowers wilted. After that something snacked on it and now it seems to recover a little bit, but just isn't a nice plant to look at anymore, arrggghhh... I simply love all your hellebores and your window boxes in the front yard are very pretty, too. Even though the white pansies are not what you ordered, I think, they go very well with your other lovely violas. I feel they bring the right amount of calm and lightness into your window box arrangements. Thanks for another great GBBD post! Have a good day, Helene!
    Christina

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    1. Thanks Christina, Viburnum ‘Farreri’ is one of the oldest plants in my garden, 10 years this spring and chosen specifically for the tall and narrow growth – although I have helped it to become even more slender with pruning over the years, you could possibly get it wider if you just let it grow like it wants to. In my garden all tall and narrow plants are welcome!
      I suppose it is easier for me to grow cyclamens than for you, when it starts to get to summer temperatures my cyclamens will die down, but you are already having that now – and are trying to grow them for another few months. All I can say is that cyclamens don’t need much sun so move them to a shady place where they will only get evening sun, very dappled sun or no sun at all, and as for the flowers…you do need to deadhead them to keep them looking nice. The hotter the temperatures, the more often you need to deadhead. I let my cyclamens in the flower beds go to seed right at the end of the season, so the last few 3-4 flowers on each plant won’t get deadheaded and the seeds can just go on and develop and scatter as they want to. That will increase the stock, but takes 4-5 years to blooming.
      Have a great day!

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  4. I really love your garden, especially your fuchsias. You show me so many plants that unusual here. Thank you for sharing

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    1. You are very welcome Endah, and every time I go on your blog I see plants I have never seen before so it is the same for me!

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  5. Hi Helene, Happy New Year! I love violas and pansies the most. Maybe it is my favorite in my previous life when i was living in a temperate climate. Now i don't like the climate but i still love temperate flowers and vegies among a few. Even if your garden is a bit bare at wide angle shots, the close-up are terribly wonderful and lovely. What is that vine on the fence without flowers yet? Keep warm!

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    1. Thanks Kalantikan, the vine is an evergreen clematis called Clematis armandii 'Apple Blossom', if you Google it you will see what lovely scented flowers I will get in just a month or two!

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  6. What an array of flowers - I'd never guess that this was a January garden! Loved seeing the view from your front garden too - those window boxes will be a mass of colour soon as long as we don't get a winter like last year. Such beautiful photographs too Helene and my favourite has to be the Viburnum - I can just imagine how lovely a scent there is permeating through your garden at the moment - a little oasis in London :)

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    1. Thanks Rosie, my garden is a little oasis at least around here where I live, not many people are interested in gardening and many have just rubbish in their gardens. I couldn’t really imagine being without a garden and use it all year round, even in January.

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  7. Our neighbour still has a pelargonium flowering in his front garden Hellebores are budding in our garden too and it look. I usually cut back the perennials once the leaves have frosted to make way for spring bulbs but it could be that this year I just have to cut them back whilst still green,

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    1. Hi Sue, yes - not sure if my geraniums will survive any prolonged frost but if it continues like this I might actually keep them for another year! I had to prune back my clematises much earlier than normal as they were well on their way with new leaves, but most things in my garden is pretty much as it usually is.

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  8. The experts say that the temperature in the towns and cities is higher than in the countryside and your photos prove it.Our fuchsias here in Devon finished a long time ago, how lovely that yours are still flowering so well. Our bluetits eat all the greenfly that dare to come into the garden, they don't last long!

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    1. I think the difference between London and the surrounding countryside can be as much as 5 degrees, and in my garden I usually have a 2-3 degrees higher than the official temperature at London City Airport, which is only some 3 miles away from my house. I am very fortunate that all those bricks and all the concrete paving store a lot of heat and release it slowly so I can grow fuchsias in January :-)

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    2. I can’t seem to find your blog to visit you back, if you have one, please leave the address for it here so I can pay you a visit :-)

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  9. Beautiful! Beautiful! Beautiful!
    So lovely to see, especially in the midst of winter.
    Happy Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day!
    Lea

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    1. Thanks Lea, so glad you enjoyed the photos, Happy GBBD to you too.

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  10. It's amazing, if you look closely, just what is flowering at the moment. Your front garden must be the envy of the neighbourhood. Beautiful photo's Helene & as always, I've left inspired x

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    1. Thanks Jane, and I do get people stopping and looking at my front garden, probably because none of the other front gardens have much in terms of flowers, especially at this time of year. When I am outside taking care of the plants, sometimes people stop and ask questions :-)

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  11. Amazing to have all those fuchsias out in January. I agree about the Sarcococca, the fragrance is amazing. You have a lovely selection of Hellebores and Pansies with their cheerful little faces.
    Chloris

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    1. Thank you Chloris, and welcome to my blog, my hellebores is a bit of an obsession with me and I was hoping to show many more of them in full bloom by today, but that wasn’t to be so hopefully next time!

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  12. Your garden looks as gorgeous as ever Helene. Our primroses have just started coming back into flower. You have set me a challenge, I will deadhead and cut back the leaves and see how long I can keep them going! I can't wait for my Hellebores to come into bloom, they have to be my favourite for this time of year.

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    1. I can only assume that the deadheading and possibly the removal of the leaves (a few times a year) has had a beneficial effect, as all the Primula vulgaris has had no other special treatment, not even any fertilizers at all, just water and some sunshine, whenever there has been any. It would be interesting to hear if yours will bloom right through the summer too – and indeed if mine will do the same this year yet again. It would be remarkable if all mine didn’t stop this summer either and just continued into the autumn and next winter!!
      Let’s compare notes in September/October and again next January, we might set a new standard here. On a slightly different note – I have tried doing this with Primula acaulis, but they don’t respond the same way, it seems they really need that break over the winter to get going again in the spring. Maybe vulgaris is made of tougher stuff :-)

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  13. It is amazing your garden does not look just green, but fresh green and still so many flowers. Your fuchsias are going on and on, we left them outside because there is no frost until now but they only have bold branches. The Cyclamens are beautiful and even the window boxes in the front garden are really nice for the time of year.

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    1. Thanks Janneke, the window boxes on the wall have plants that will flower even in prolonged frost over here, I use pansies and primroses every winter and have never been without flowers. Some years the boxes have even frozen solid through, and yet the pansies have continued flowering – they are tough!
      The fuchsias will of course stop eventually, but I am enjoying them for as long as I can.

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  14. Your fuschias are beautiful! You don't know what a treat it is to see all these blooms, Helene. It's been a frigid winter here, and I don't have a single thing blooming. Even the pansies gave up long ago. While I know your winter is much milder, I can't believe you have a hydrangea bloom--wow! I didn't know primroses would bloom so long; I will have to take your advice and start deadheading mine this year. Happy Bloom Day!

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    1. It would be interesting to hear from you too if you have same experience with deadheading your Primula vulgaris. Please note I don’t have the same amazing flowering with other varieties of primroses, and if you do this you will of course prevent the Primulas from self seeding and multiplying. I don’t worry about that as you can easily divide them after 3-4 years and get many plants from one single mature.
      Happy GBBD to you too!

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  15. Helene-your gardens are always so full and beautiful looking. You have a remarkable growing climate there and are definitely in spring mode with so many wonderful blooms. The sight of viburnum, hydrangea and fuchsias amaze me at this time of year. This was such a pleasant and enjoyable visit! Happy Bloom Day!

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    1. Hello Lee, I am glad you enjoyed your visit, it doesn’t feel like spring just yet, but looking at my plants I know it isn’t that far away if the weather doesn’t turn too cold. Once February is over the spring feeling gets much greater and I just can’t wait to see everything in full flower here!
      Happy GBBD to you too!

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  16. What a delightful read Helene - I'm in awe of what's flowering in your garden right now. You Fuchsias are gorgeous. I hope the aphids don't do too much damage.
    Long may the good weather continue although if my garden resembles yours anytime before March - I'll consider myself lucky. Happy Bloom Day :)

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    1. Thanks Angie, the forecast is for weather well above zero the next 10 days but we still have to get through February before I can start to relax. I was considering giving the aphids some of the herbal pesticide and tried to order it today but the online company doesn’t start to sell plants or anything else until mid March. Seems the aphids will have free run for a while! Happy Bloom day to you too :-)

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  17. Hi Helene
    Those fuchsias! those primroses! that Quince! Wow wow wow!! I don't care if the garden is very similar to other years - it's always so beautiful. And sooooo far ahead of us Southern Ontario gardeners………such a pleasure to see your excellent photos.

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    1. Thanks Astrid, it is always a pleasure to have you visiting :-)
      I am planning to add some more winter flowering plants so next year there will hopefully be some new photos!

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  18. It's a pleasure to see your flowering garden, Helene. Here is mostly white and grey colors outdoors. And you live between such wonderful blooms, lovely fuchsias, primulas, hellebore!

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    1. Thanks Nadezda, I do feel fortunate to live and garden here in London. Winter isn’t over yet, we have another 6 weeks to get through, but for every week without frost my spring bulbs get closer and closer to flowering :-)

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  19. I've just watched your video of your garden changes over the last decade, fantastic! I need to keep a record of my own so that I can do something like that in 10 years, so interesting (mine is only 2 years old so far).

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    1. Hi, and welcome to my blog! I have been photographing and taking videos since I started this garden and it’s nice to look back at the transformation – all the hard work has actually mounted to something :-) And I have been doing Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day every month for the last 2 years, it gives me a great record to compare year by year. The years go by so quickly…..can’t believe I have had this garden for 12 years now!

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  20. Your range of fuhsias is so lovely. I'm only very well acquainted with the purple and pink variety. Your pansies are stunners,besides the Skimmia japonica, Helleborus and Viburnum 'Farreri' . To summarise, your garden provides plenty of eye-candy.

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    1. Thank you, I like the label 'eye-candy', happy with that!

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  21. You have so much going on in your garden! Mine is a big brown dormant blob of blah. Even my bulbs are still asleep. Velvet Crush is incredible! I really wish I could grow them here. Thanks so much for your kind comment on my last post. Gardening is the best prevention for insanity that I know of.

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    1. I really like Velvet Crush too, and I think they are much hardier than the label says, if you can get hold of them just give them a go, and in any case you can grow them as annuals, mine were tiny, tiny seedlings, about 1 inch tall when I bought them last spring. I took cuttings last autumn, they are also outside, doing a lot better than the tray of cuttings I took inside and put in my spare bedroom – they have all died! Oh, well, let’s hope February will be just as mild so my cuttings will survive :-)

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  22. Great pictures of the pansies Helene. This winter is getting crazier, I noticed some new buds on my 'Zéphirine Drouhin' rose this morning!

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    1. Thanks Rick, today I noticed one of my potted peonies on its way up…all my roses have new buds, I don’t really know whether to just chop them all down 3 weeks earlier than normal, or wait. Not sure if it will make a difference to wait, we are not expecting any severe cold weather anyway the next 2 weeks so might just get on with it!

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    2. I am going to wait and let them do their own thing. To cut back now means that I will be going into sap bearing wood which will leave them more vulnerable to any cold weather to come, better to remove any damaged wood in one go when I prune later on. This year is unusual because normally we would be waiting for the sap to rise and pruning at the first signs of growth. Incidently I was not very clear, these are actually new flower buds that have appeared which I have never seen before at this time of year.

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  23. I think I need to move to London or Scotland. Both you and Angie's Garden showcased all the flowers. Such situation is not imaginable here in the US. I don't think even Florida or California have such outdoor blooms right now!! I looked up Sarcococca confusa but it is only hardy in zone 8 to 10. No chance it will survive here in zone 6 :-(. What absolutely lovely blooms. Thanks for that great tip about Primula. I will try on mines and see if they also continuously bloom at least till frost time.

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    1. Hi, I am not sure where you found your information regarding Sarcococca, but there are many different varieties and most of them can happily grow down to hardy zone 5 and some even zone 4. If you go to your local garden centre or nursery and ask for it now, as they are in season right now, I am sure they will give you good advice.

      As for the Primulas, as I said in my post, I tried deadheading and de-leafing my other varieties of primroses – but had no luck, only the Primula vulgaris have responded so well to this treatment. Good luck, hope you find a Sarcococca, they are gorgeous!

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  24. So much colour and variety in your garden Helene- wonderful! And I picked a tiny slug off my primrose flowers yesterday- clearly a favourite treat for them!

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    1. Thanks, the relatively milder weather is continuing, no frost in my garden for the next 10 days so it seems my fuchsias are going to survive into February.

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  25. Whenever you do a bloom day post, I am always amazed at the great variety of plants you have in your garden, and all so beautiful too. The header with my two favorite plants is lovely too.

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    1. I am afraid I have been a bit like a kid in a sweetshop when buying plants for my garden – one of that, one of that one of that and so on, it’s just that I like most plants and want them all! The result is a great variety :-)
      My garden is always filled with flowers and I love the fact that I can be outside any time of year as long as it doesn’t rain too much.

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  26. Love love your collections of hellebore, fuchsia and primulas! We are months behind you on these type of blooms here US zone 5. Great post!

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    1. Hi, and welcome to my blog! We don’t use the USDA hardy zone system over here in Britain, but London would be zone 9 so no wonder you feel you are months behind – our winter is very different to yours! I have had one night of frost so far this winter, but dipping just below zero for a few hours one night is not really counting for much.

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  27. Helene
    What a marvellous range of plants to be blooming in your garden in January. On a walkabout in my new neighbourhood yesterday I spotted Cyclamen in full bloom, not a sight I would have been likely to see in Aberdeen. In my own garden I see the blue flowers of a variegated Vinca have just opened.

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    1. Hi Alistair, I guess you will have to get used to seeing many plants in flower earlier than normal – or later than normal now that you have moved further south!
      I am forever pushing the boundaries, my palms and oleanders are doing well so far in their first winter :-)

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  28. Amei conhecer o seu blog,achei maravilhoso.Visite-me:http://algodaotaodoce.blogspot.com.br/
    Siga-me e pegue o meu selinho!!!

    Obrigada.

    Beijos Marie.

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    1. Thanks for visiting and welcome to my blog :-)

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