End of Month – November 2012

I’m a little bit late today. Plenty of excuses this month tbh, mainly because of terrible weather last week and then dark days that mean it’s almost full dark when I get home, plus a busy Saturday = no chance to take photos until now.

There isn’t much to report back on, there’s less this month than last thanks to lots of rain and some rather chilly nights. I think the only thing left blooming are the Erysimum. I’ve become very detached from the garden after having spent almost no time in it for weeks.
It actually felt weird to be outside when I refilled the bird feeders earlier in the week. The cover that the shrubs and climbers give me is gone and I feel very exposed when I go to the top of the garden, and until the climbers are larger; this will happen every year.

I have a few bulbs left to plant, but most are in and I think the last will have to be planted into pots.

There’s some small splashes of colour in the front garden with white Salvia, Erysimum, Nigella and Roses blooming. Actually, after looking closely at these I have also noticed some of the ammi blooming. So far I’ve been unable to collect seeds still and I think it’s likely I’ll have to buy some instead.
The frost has had quite an effect on the Geranium, and until a couple of days ago it was looking good… However, the Centaurea behind it looks even worse! I don’t remember it going black before. I will cut it back and lay the leaves on the ground around it to help protect against frost.

Photos are difficult to take for me at this time of year… the sun barely comes over the hill and then is quickly hidden by houses behind us. The Garrya is preparing for a good show this year, and after producing no tassels at all last year it’s making up for it! The sweetbox also has some blooms ready to open, it is still small after being heavily damaged a couple of years ago in the snow.

After dressing the front border it now looks very bare. But there will be plenty of bulbs and some small primula seedlings under the mulch. So far, no sign of Hellebore blooms on any of the plants in the front or back gardens.

The right border has plenty of interest… Even if it is mostly dead. I just wish the sun would reach it and I can play with light on the dead blooms…

Pleased to see lots of buds on the Stellata; hoping for lots of blooms in spring.

The annual Rudbekia looks to survive another year… Surely it ought to have died last winter?
Crocus bulbs are pushing their noses in their little pots. I hope they don’t end up too damaged. And one of the David Austin roses I bought in October is attempting to bloom… I think it will probably be killed before it opens.

I want to add more grasses to the front of the right border. A job I meant to do over summer, but the poor weather hindered any attempt at working on the border. A lot of things need pulling up, moving or removing and then grasses added. There are a lot of spring bulbs around the area though, so waiting until spring is probably for the best!

Sedum is entering another phase of interest. And I know that with some frost or snow on the blooms, it will look very pretty. At the moment I love the range of shades it has!

I spotted the winter Jasmine in bloom today! So far only a small part is blooming so it isn’t easy to see.
Acer branches are just as pretty bare as they are with leaves on them… they are somehow very delicate…

NB I’ve just realised I haven’t posted any photos of the Autumn flowering Cherry blooms.

And perhaps the one plant I definitely didn’t expect to see… Pelargoniums! I thought they’d be long-gone after the recent frosts.

Who’s counting down the days to the solstice and the knowledge that the days are once again lengthening??!

Copyright 2012 Liz.
All rights reserved. Content created by Liz for Gwirrel’s Garden.

26 thoughts on “End of Month – November 2012

  1. Its the time of year to decide what needs cutting back so that the wildlife still has plenty of seeds, but also so the snowdrops can come up and be seen, difficult decision time! I once left all my seedheads so the frost could make them look beautiful, we had so much rain, they all ended up in a soggy mess!! I’m amazed at your pelargoniums still being bright and perky after the weather you must have been having, what a survivor!

    • Hi Pauline,

      Indeed, and there’s plenty that does definitely need cutting back! After looking at the photos I got it into my head to cut back the bird’s foot trefoil, then I remembered how cold it is outside and decided it would have to wait until it’s a little warmer :)
      Some plants are definitely better than others for leaving, some look awful – as shown above ha – in general though I tend to leave a lot of things as they are because I find they tend to help shield new growth from frosts as well as often looking pretty with frost or snow on them.

  2. What a great array of photos Liz. I know exactly what you mean being detached from the garden? With my bathroom at,the back I don’t see the garden at all for days. My kitchen looks over the side garden so ok have my pots there with the excitement of seeing the spring bulbs when they appear in the next few months. Your sedum I believe is the same as mine as you thought it probably was.

    • Hi Ronnie,

      Our kitchen looks out to our back, but with it tiered I don’t actually see much of it except for the borders closest the windows. However our living room does look onto the front garden, but I can’t see it unless I purposefully go up to the window to look out, as the house is set a few steps higher than the garden. All I can see are the Buddleja and Roses if I look out when on the sofa.
      So I’m counting down until the solstace and I’ll be happy in the knowledge lighter evenings are on their way!
      Last week when I got home it was still a little light, but today it was noticably darker so I think for the next couple of weeks I won’t see it at all either – does cause problems for refilling bird feeders though.

  3. I love the color of your sedums! You really have a lot of interest. But I completely understand the feeling of detachment. If I stay out of the garden for a while, I almost dread going back in it again. That is, until I do, then I just love being out there. It’s been so warm here it’s hard for me to believe the solstice is almost upon us. I suppose the plants know, though.

    • Hi,

      Haha, glad to know I’m not the only one dreading going back into the garden. It almost feels like it’s a strange land and I have to reconnect with it; which is unlikely to happen for a month or more until it’s lighter again. I know exactly how you feel!
      This time last year it was still quite warm, now however we’re flirting with snow and temps have dropped. So any snow that does fall, will probably stick. And I’m dreading it.

  4. I am counting the days down with a celebration if you want to join in…your garden is like mine this time of year…I had not thought of rudbeckias as annuals as mine come back every year even with our cold. Hardy natives here.

    • Hi Donna,

      I’d love to join in with your count down Donna :D
      Honestly, I feel so awful at this time of year; it’s a struggle to wake up in the morning and I’m seriously tempted to go into work later for the next month just so I see daylight in the morning.

      The other Rudbekias are perennials – Goldsturm etc, but these ones are annual seeds… At least that’s what it said on the packet!

  5. It’s a good opportunity to pay more attention to the structure of our plants when not distracted by flowers and leaves at this time of year :) Definitely looking forward to knowing that the days are growing longer again.

    • Hi,

      Some plants have wonderful structure and look very pretty in the low sunlight or with frost, ice and snow on them. Others collapse into a mess, turn black or sludgy. I always struggle in this last stretch to the solstice… Then with Christmas and New Year suddenly two weeks have past and we’re into Jan. Although normally there’s no real change until at least Feb; but I think a lot of it is psychological and I yearn for it still being light at 10pm.

      • I have a little jasmine blooming on my patio, and there is some forsythia blooming in my neighbor’s yard, just enough to tease and remind me of full blooming and beautiful times gone by until next year. I miss all the beauty of Spring and summer with all its’ beauty, but winter has a beauty of its’ own. I don’t live in a climate where snow abounds. We may have a little snow a couple of times a year but that’s all. But nature at any time is gorgeous to me anyhow. Every living thing in creation has to back off and grow or reproduce new roots and prepare for the glory days. Even my knockout roses took a dive after our first heavy frost and are awaiting a trim. The grow so fast during the summer. Happy weeding, everyone. Blessings.

  6. Amazing how a few flowers cling to life. My Rudbekias are so reliable year after year even in November. Interesting how some plants die gracefully and others turn into piles of mush. I like your Sedum – such a lovely rich colour.

    • Hi,

      The Campanulas and Eyrsimum are real stalwarts at this time of year and are always seen well into December and Jan – depending on snow.
      But yes, I have to agree – some have fantastic structure and interest, others just look terrible. I have some other Sedums which turned into a rotting, black mess but these ones always seem to keep their shape and interest all year.

  7. I agree with you completely about feeling exposed in the garden. Now that most of the trees and shrubs have lost their leaves, I can see the houses beyond them. Brings me back to suburbia, whereas in the summer I could at least pretend I was in the countryside.
    Thanks for the reminder about the solstice, something to look foreword to.

    • Hi Crystal,

      Lol@ being in the country. I know exactly what you mean! At one point there were only two houses that could see me when I was out in the garden; both neighbours. Both are retired, one is out all the time and the other is very frail so spends most of her time sitting. I therefore feel quite comfortable that no one is watching me – not that I expect people to be, but it’s the principle!
      Anyway, one house behind us chopped a large evergreen down, so they could see out back windows. Thankfully I don’t spend long in the spare room so don’t really feel overlooked, and the house is far enough away that they can’t see into our downstairs or garden. Then the people next to them massacred a Cherry in their garden. Now they *could* see me in pretty much every part of the garden apart from right down by the house, on the decking. Needless to say I’m not at all happy. It’s the fact that they could see me, should they wish to look out. And no one wants to be overlooked. I want to be in my own little world when I garden. The Cherry has put on some good growth this year, so maybe in another few years it’ll be back to normal again. Assuming we don’t have a repeat…

    • Hi,

      Thanks, I will enjoy taking photos of it with frost and snow on – if we get any! It’s often a favourite photo subject during winter until growth appears!

  8. Hi Liz! I must admit I like this part of winter, with it’s first frost and ice. I still enjoy being wrapped on the duvet in the morning and watching birds from the window with a warm cup in hand. In a couple of month time all this is going to make me sick but then only a few days will separe me from spring. I have a lot of things to do in the gardens too but I don’t feel like gardening these days, my gardening passion in winter becomes more lazy and moves from soil and weeds to books and magazines.

    • Hi Alberto,

      Frost, ice and snow are beautiful… When you’re able to stay in the house! It was OK when I was a student (frustrating too, as it lasted 2 weeks and I was going stir-crazy). But when I know I’m expected to somehow get to work even though attempting to get my car off our hill will likely result in me sliding into the houses at the bottom of the road, then I get really anxious! :D
      I’ve already told work that I just can’t get in; I could use buses but often the buses are the first to stop too because the hills are too steep.
      But if it falls on a weekend, then I’ll happily be outside taking photos of the pretty frost/snow :)

      Btw – are you OK after the big storms in Italy? Did they hit your area???!

  9. I had to chuckle – I’ve also been feeling detached from the garden after spending no time out there lately. But sometimes you need a break to get the creative energy back. Can you believe that one of my hellebores rebloomed in the middle of summer and the flowers are still hanging around – they’re very green by now, though. Keep warm and have a great holiday season!

    • Hi VW,

      I managed to spend some time in November, purely to plant bulbs so I didn’t really do much else because it’s been too wet – still. Compared to last year when I did a lot of work digging up borders and extending others. I probably won’t do anything now, except maybe have a small clear up, but it depends on how cold it is over the weekend.
      No Hellebores here, but they too were blooming very late here this year… I’m sure I still had some into June!

  10. What a knack you have for making things in the garden look interesting for the time of year!
    It’s strange how we can become detached from our gardens at this time of year. I think that last year’s mild winter spoilt us!!

  11. Hi Liz, it is easy to get disenchanted with the garden at this time of year, dark days and tattered foliage don’t feed the soul very well. I like the idea of you adding more grasses in though, plants that hold good structure through the winter are invaluable, and a garden of just sedums would be rather odd, though they are a must-have plant for anybody.

  12. I agree with Janet, it’s very easy to be disenchanted with the garden this late in the season. I keep thinking I’ll post a garden post, drag my camera out, walk into the garden and go ‘oh, never mind’. Although there is still a lot of structural beauty this time of year, and I’m impressed that your Sedum still looks so colorful. I do love the architectural qualities of dormant grasses in the autumn and winter though, and I planted a lot more this year. I hope to sow even more now our rains have returned. Even brown, their seed heads are still beautiful swaying in a winter breeze, so I don’t blame you for wanting more.

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