London, here we come!

A trip to Fortnum and Mason with Christmas decorations had me laughing to myself about Love Actually

A trip to Fortnum and Mason pre-Christmas had me chuckling over the Love Actually scene

And so I find myself in England for a few days. House hunting. How on earth did that happen?

I liked these ivy balls along with the burst of colour behind them

I like these ivy balls, along with the burst of colour behind them

Out of the blue, Paul has been offered a new role in London. And after much consideration, we are on the move. I have a whole cocktail of emotions going on. Excited that I will be spending time close to family and old friends. Eager to visit all those English gardens and European cities. Cautiously looking forward to living in London for the first time in my life, with all that it has to offer.

Pink seemed to be the theme of the month. How lovely are these Hellebores?

Pink seemed to be the theme of the week. How lovely are these Hellebores?

But on the other hand, I have deep, deep sadness to be leaving Australia. A country that I have grown to love in a way that I never felt about England. Of distancing ourselves from all the wonderful friendships we have been so lucky to have made over the years. And a genuine fear of leaving blue skies behind.

Green walls look so much more 'right' to me in this damp environment

Green walls look so much more ‘right’ to me in this damp environment

This week we have awoken to fog, walked under grey cloud and dodged the rain, almost every day. I’m hoping I will soon slot straight back in again; after all, I did live in the UK for 33 years. But gosh, we are giving up so much in Sydney.

Citrus and bromeliads; almost as though I were still in Sydney

Citrus and bromeliads at The Chelsea Gardener; almost as though I were still in Sydney

November is probably not London at its best. Whilst relatively mild, it is past the romantic stage of autumn and on to the damp, mushy, tired looking beginnings of winter. Search as I might, it has been extremely difficult to find inspiring plantings of any kind. The one saving grace has been a very happy ten minutes at ‘The Chelsea Gardener’ nursery, before meeting a friend at ‘Bumpkin Garden Restaurant’.

I adore the rich, deep colour of these Cyclamen with velvety and intense petals

I adore the rich, deep colour of these Cyclamen with velvety, intense petals

It’s going to be much harder to surround myself with green here. It’s going to be much, much harder to get out of bed on cold, dark mornings. But I am determined to embrace all the wonderful things about this city and this country; to appreciate them in a way that I failed to do in the past. A few days in and I already feel less of a stranger, more relaxed and excited to be experiencing some of the wonders of London. Driving along Embankment last night, seeing the lights of the London Eye and Oxo Tower, then past Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament,  you can’t help but feel invigorated by this magical, historic city.

Bumpkin Garden Restaurant was a real treat

Bumpkin Garden Restaurant was a real treat

And spot the planted wellies in the background!

Spot the planted wellies in the background at Bumpkin!

We’ll be moving here in London’s spring, so until then, I’m going to enjoy every minute in Australia, stock up on vitamin D and visit as many new places as I possibly can.

I sat next to the watering can to eat my lunch!

I sat next to the watering can to eat my lunch!

And we’ll definitely be back; I have an Australian garden that I need to create for myself: I can see it in my mind and nothing will stop me ensuring this vision becomes a reality one day.

And the Kentia palm from Lord Howe Island; how funny to see it in London

Kentia palms from Lord Howe Island at The Chelsea Gardener; how funny to see them in London

But for now, I had better get on. Gosh, I have lots to do!

Bromeliads made me feel at home

Bromeliads at The Chelsea Gardener made me feel at home

26 thoughts on “London, here we come!

  1. Pat Webster says:

    Janna, I wish you the best of luck as you make this move. Having lived in London for years, and having visited Australia regularly over the last dozen or so, I sympathize with your mixed emotions: excitement, sadness, excitement again. I hope the move goes smoothly and that you find a great place to live and settle in quickly.

  2. David Marsden says:

    Bad timing I’m afraid, Janna (if you don’t my saying so). We’ve had a glorious late summer/autumn here. Honest we did. No really. But a very warm, foggy and wet welcome anyway. D

  3. Deirdre says:

    All the very best, Janna, for the next phase in your life! I am sure it will be wonderful. But hope you get back to Australia some time! I enjoyed meeting you earlier in the year and hope to see you again some day.

    • jannaschreier says:

      Thank you very much, Deirdre. A have a compost tumbler with your name on it if you would like it; just let me know! It would be nice for it to go to a new home and if Andrew would forgive you/me it could be a way of you trying it out without having to spend any money. Shout if you’d like it.

  4. Adriana Fraser says:

    All the best and happy times back in the UK for you and Paul. We all should seize the day when opportunities arise. I hope you soon immerse yourself back into a happy life in the UK and manage to find that lovely Cotswold cottage too, so you can carry on gardening. I have really enjoyed our communications over the years and also reading your insightful blog. Hopefully we can look forward to more from the world’s garden …..England.

    • jannaschreier says:

      Thank you so much, Adriana. It’s nice to have it reinforced that seizing the day is a positive thing to do, when I’m having the odd moment of feeling overwhelmed! Don’t worry, I’ll be on the case with finding a new garden and you don’t get rid of me this easily; I will be continuing to blog into the future!

  5. Louise Dutton says:

    Oh my gosh Janna…..I am stunned! I had been thinking about you lately and wondering why you had not written a blog for some time. I had conjured up all sorts of things but not moving to London! I can only imagine all the emotions running through your head. Congratulations to your husband! Sounds like mine……. I am sitting in waiting, wondering when I will be told that news!
    Well that puts a stop to the Australian log book of gardens that I need to visit some day. Maybe that is a good thing…….I was counting! I look forward to reading and viewing what you find overseas and wishing you all the best in reestablishing yourself in a new but familiar country.
    By the way, my garden is looking fabulous with bursts of colour and new growth. I have had many comments from family, friends and complete strangers walking past. Still a long way to go but getting there. I am not moving yet! Love to you Louise.

    • jannaschreier says:

      Gosh, I do hope you don’t have to leave your beautiful home and garden, Louise. It’s so exciting to hear that it’s thriving this spring. We do hope to get in at least one more trip to Canberra before we go and I’d just love to pop and see you if you’ll have me!
      The garden log is still in progress; I’ll just be working on a European as well as an Australian itinerary for you! I’m not going to take on any new design projects now, so hopefully as I wind down and wind back up again I’ll have a bit of breathing space to get the log up and running.
      Thanks so much for your kind words; it means so much to me to connect with people whose gardens I have seen evolve from the start. I hope we can keep in touch through the blog and when we return I will be able to visit your even more amazing oasis that you have created. Thanks again, Louise.

  6. rusty duck says:

    Oh Janna, I can just imagine what is going through your head and wish you all the very best of luck. But with summer in Sydney and then spring and summer here, you couldn’t want for a more gentle re-introduction!

    • jannaschreier says:

      You’re very kind, Kim. I do promise to write about all those English and European gardens! Hope to see you in Sydney before too long; it’s great that we still have several months here. I think I would be sobbing every day if we were going sooner!

  7. Libby Cameron says:

    You certainly will be missed..I’ve only just got to know you, and you are off! Hope you will still get to the HMA christmas party! Best wishes with the move and exciting prospects for the future. At least with the internet we can still hear your news!!

    • jannaschreier says:

      Ah, thanks Libby. I have very definitely got my ticket booked for the HMA party; although I’m going to be a bit sad. I have met so many wonderful people in Sydney; it’s going to be incredibly hard to say au revoir. We will be back, though.

    • jannaschreier says:

      Thanks, Kate. I am lucky to have these experiences. It does worry me slightly that it’s all the English that are telling me I don’t want to come back until winter is over, though!

    • jannaschreier says:

      Thanks so much, Marian. You clearly appreciate travelling and seeing gardens throughout the world, so you’ll understand my excitement. In fact I might need to ask your advice about where to visit in my own home country!

  8. Helen says:

    Best wishes to you and Paul on your new adventures Janna. We already think of you often as we enjoy the way our garden is evolving near Canberra, especially in the spring.

    • jannaschreier says:

      Thank you so much, Helen. It is always a huge pleasure to work with ‘real’ gardeners; people who enjoy the process and the journey of garden making. Spring is such an exciting time for seeing change; do email me another photo or two if you take some at any point. And I really hope to come back and see you when I can get out to you; I might need a special trip for all the ‘regional Canberra’ gardens!

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