End of Month – November 2013

November has actually been a rather OK month; in fact dare I say it’s even been quite nice. No real moans. Only the one frost I can remember, little rain, some cold and windy days but mostly mild and inoffensive. If only it had been slightly warmer then I might’ve been able to mow the lawn, which after a very wet and warm October now looks awful and the prospect of waiting another three months to cut it is very frustrating. Normally I wouldn’t be chewing at the bit until February/March when the grass is growing again but it’s still too damp to cut and being on heavy clay, it of course retains the rain and quickly becomes boggy.

Over the coming weeks, if the weather remains OK I’ll tidy these borders and spread some mulch on them ready for winter. I’m surprised the Black Elder hasn’t yet lost its leaves…

Photos are a little misleading this month as I have done a little work since taking the shots. I would’ve taken more photos if it weren’t for the banging migraine I had at the time. So instead of photos I crawled into bed and slept for the next few hours.

Basically, I’ve tided the Persicaria and cut back some other plants in the Aster border, I also emptied out the veggie bed and dismantled the carbuncle and spread its contents around various borders. My plan was to also rake up the leaves and debris from the flint on the tier but by this time I was close to fainting or vomiting and thought better of it.

I feel much better for getting the job done now as it’s been niggling at me to do it for a while.

The Autumn flowering Cherry has buds, so far no blooms so we’ll see if they open before Christmas. Previous experience is that if it’s not yet in bloom then it won’t bloom at all until March/April.
I’m also very excited to see the first Cyclamen Coum leaves; it’s blooms won’t arrive for another month or two.

A bloom which really ought not to be around is the White Campion… Very surprised to see it, in fact! Also the Corsica Hellebore is almost in bloom; I haven’t seen this Hellebore flower before so I’m looking forward to it.

Copyright 2013 Liz.
All rights reserved. Content created by Liz for Gwirrel’s Garden


28 thoughts on “End of Month – November 2013

  1. So sorry to hear that you suffer from migraine, my mother used to, so I know what you have been going through, as she got older though, it happened less and less. You sound as though you still managed to do quite a bit before having to stop, this time of year, it is all cutting back and mulching isn’t it? Love your new header!

    • Hi Pauline,

      They’ve actually got a little more frequent for me – 3 months since my last one, but I’ve also always suffered regular headaches. I really need to look more into having regular massages which are said to help with migraines and such.
      Tbh I forced myself to go out, because I was determined to get the job done. I knew that the migraine would only get worse and wanted to get out before it hit. I wouldn’t be able to get it done until after Christmas now, probably so really really wanted put my mind at rest.
      Generally I leave the garden to do its own thing and only get rid of the odd plant that is particularly ugly when it’s died. But knowing I want to get my house on the market is pushing me on to tidy those little things that otherwise don’t bother me, but may make potential buyers run away screaming 🙂 I’ve also been touching up paint on skirting boards and such this weekend. I’m on a tight schedule with the loft being reinsulated on Thursday, we need to replace all the boards in the loft, put all the boxes back in and clear the spare room before my brother arrives for Christmas… Of course a lot of it is his, so that I will leave down, let him look through it and get rid of whatever he doesn’t want.

  2. It’s hard for those of us who haven’t suffered migraines to conceive what it must be like – so sorry you have been suffering. Thanks for sharing your pictures – I am fascinated to read and see what different plants are doing. I have recently planted up some self sown hellebore foetidus which are doing well so I am interested to see that yours is getting ready to flower. And your carbuncle? Can you explain?

    • Hi Cathy,

      Basically the carbuncle is the raised veg planter. You can just make part of it out in the background of the first photo in the second collage. Plus I think it’s adding weight to the tier and causing some of the problems we’ve been having with the wood panels.

      I’ve suffered migraines since I was a teen as do my brothers and mum. Generally I just get headaches but sometimes it goes beyond that into dizziness, nausea and feeling generally rubbish. I can’t have the tv on, use the laptop, phone etc because it just hurts – no doubt due to flicker rates and all that.

      I’m not sure if Feotidus will bloom this year, although it does certainly look like it’s forming something – trying not to get too hopeful – it isn’t very large yet (nowhere near the 80cm as suggested on websites, which is probably a good thing, as it’s in front of my Garrya which is still relatively small)

  3. Lovely photos. Our plants and flowers seem to be having a second bloom and not yet gone to sleep for the winter.
    Sorry to hear about your migraines, I understand ‘cos I have them too. Thanks for an interesting blog

  4. I’m so sorry about your migraines. I suffe with them too and they are NO fun at all. You post was nice and the photos were very nice as well. I’m hope you head is better. Blessings, Natalie 🙂

  5. Ah, you are mild enough for Corsican hellebore! We are a little too cold here. Such a pretty one. Looks like Harlow Carr just doesn’t want to quit. Glad your month was decent, excluding that migraine. Enjoy December!

    • Hi VW,

      I believe Corsican Hellebore here in the UK is classed as fully hardy, so yes I guess we must be mild enough for it – is it not usually very hardy???

      We have lots of Hellebores here, and I don’t know of any that aren’t classed as fully hardy.

      I hope you enjoy the run to Christmas too; I know I will be! That is, if work calms down again. I knew I jinxed us when I said it’s been relatively quiet over the past few weeks. Christmas will get worse though, people will phone in ‘sick’ and then as the school holidays arrive it’ll be worse.

  6. My son is a migraine sufferer – so I know where you are coming from. They are not pleasant at all!
    Glad your November has been good – it’s not been too bad up here too.. The Corsican Hellebore is not one I’m familiar with – a quick google, it’s certainly very pretty.

    • Hi Angie,

      Most of the time I just get headaches which are manageable; but migraines just completely knock you out for a day or even two days depending on the severity. It’s almost like having a flu in that your body doesn’t feel your own; you feel spaced out and like you don’t quite know what’s going on. Add to that of course the thumping headaches which are usually at the back of my eye when I have a migraine and make it painful to cough, sneeze or even when your heart slightly races – i.e. walking upstairs. So I tend to move slowly to reduce any extra throbbing behind my eye.

      Even now I’d say the weather is OK! We’ve been in and out of the house removing wood from the loft tonight and I didn’t feel cold going outside. Of course I wouldn’t want to spend too long outside… 😉

      TBH I’m not familiar with the Hellebores either; I bought a variety bundle of them off the Crocus website and these are what came in it. So it’s a learning experience for me too, and if they usually bloom this early then I have no grumbles.

  7. Enjoyed your end of month view Liz. I detected the faintest wisp of colour on my autumn flowering cherry at the weekend and wondered how yours was doing. Whether it will now put on a good show before the hard weather is in the lap of the gods. I expect that like everything else it’s slightly behind schedule this year which is a shame. Glad that you are over the migraine attack and hope that you have a good run without any recurrence.

    • Hi Anna,

      I’ll have to check my cherry as that photo is a week old… I’m actually glad things are behind because it means it isn’t quite as dead as normal, however in autumn cherry terms it is disappointing because it now means based on previous experience I don’t think I’ll have blooms until spring… I live in hope!

      Spring at least for me seems to be on track with Hellebores in bud, winter jasmine blooming, and some spring bulbs developing leaves (muscari). I just hope the next three months fly by and spring arrives soon – and no white stuff.

  8. Your garden still looks great, Liz, especially the sedum which die beautifully. I should also mow my lawn but it’s frosty and wet. I’ve so many bulbs that the grass needs to be really cut short before they start peeping out. Still lots of leaves on our trees which seems very late but then maybe I forgot…

    • Hi Annette,

      I always leave the sedum because they look gorgeous with snow or frost on them. Even without, they still look good as they turn an orangey brown colour.

      Good luck cutting your grass; it’s unlikely I’ll get mine done until spring. it hasn’t rained for a while now, but the cool nights leave the grass damp in the morning and it’s not warm enough for it to dry during the day. One day I’ll try bulbs in the lawn; perhaps when I move!

  9. Sounds as if bed was the best place for you Liz, that job must have been more than niggling for you to keep going through the beginnings of a migraine. You have some beautiful winter structure there with the grasses and seedheads. Bet my grass is looking worse than yours… I am really looking forward to that corsican hellebore too, I hanker after one – just have to decide where to put it…

    • Hi Janet,

      I kinda hoped that the fresh air might do me some good. I’d had paracetamol and was unable to take any more a few hours and instead of sitting around feeling bad I figured I’d get something done and maybe even forget about the headache in the process. However, it didn’t go away and that’s when I finally admitted it was a migraine and not just a headache.

      Hoping your garden/house has survived the wind/flooding/storms???!!

      I wedged my Corsican Hellebore in a spot… It needs moving, but that’ll have to wait until I move. No sense in moving it now. I’ll definitely be taking with me the roses and Hellebores. They’re just too expensive to replace and considering I spent a lot on them over 2/3 years I don’t want to have to go through it again.

      • Hi, taking the expensive stuff with you makes sense, provided you don’t spend so much in extra petro/van hire that you lose the potential savings!! Something I was forced to confront, hence didn’t bring miscanthus, sanguisorba and geums with me… As for the storm surge, house is on a hill so were able to observe from a safe distance, plus we have an alternative pedestrian route to the hight street, but check outhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/madmaia/sets/72157638379310894/ to see enormous waves and what is left of our boat…

        • Hi Janet,

          Indeed, good point and exactly the reason I’m taking only the plants I can’t be without. I’m not moving far (a couple of miles at most, depending on where I settle on) so I don’t think really the petrol is an issue. At least those I have in mind shouldn’t even fill my car… I don’t think. The loft has been done, so now we need to get flooring back in the loft, move the boxes, decorate for Christmas and hopefully get some estate agents round. I’ve spotted a house with a gorgeous garden… must forget about it. Must forget about it 🙂 It’s near the tram so will be fantastic for Pete to get to work and it’s only about 2 minutes from my work (that wasn’t why I looked though, as really I’d rather not be quite so close to the office, but we won’t be there much longer as the council is trying to move everyone into the city centre to save on rent/sell off their buildings)

          I can only hope when I begin to look seriously, that I find something as nice. But then, I’ll also be happy with a clean slate.

  10. As with many others I too have suffered from migraines, but as off late I do not suffer from them as much. I used to drink coffee a fair amount but decided to stop and I now just drink non caffeinated drinks. This has helped greatly, I mean it was very difficult after the first couple of days I stopped but now I do not suffer from migraines. Maybe it is something in your diet that is not agreeing with your body for instance I get migraines also if I eat a lot of processed food or garlic, I have heard of others getting headaches due to meat as well. Try experimenting to see if change in diet helps.

    I also wanted to compliment you on your garden. Your Sedum looks beautiful. Which cultivar is it? Autumn Joy?

    Thank you again for the wonderful photos!


    • Hi,

      Yes, the migraines are most likely food/chemical triggered. I know a lot of the time they are smell triggered so I don’t wear perfume and have to be careful with other things such as washing powders for the laundry and batchroom/kitchen cleaners. When I was at school I could guarantee I’d have a migraine after every science lesson as idiots had allowed the gas taps to run so the room stank of gas. I also have lots of food intolerances – milk, caffeine and fruit to name a few. I’m becoming increasingly frustrated though because I can barely eat anything as it is. I think clearly I’m only meant to eat lettuce. Joking aside, I don’t think there are any vegetables that I’m intolerant to… Not that I’ve yet noticed anyway.
      My brother has to be careful with cheese, perhaps I do too? I have cut back a lot on cheese after discovering I’m milk intolerant but struggle to completely cut it out as I’d have nothing else to put on a sandwich because I rarely have meat (beef or ham sandwiches).

      I’m not sure which Sedum it is, sorry. But I think it’s most likely to be Autumn Joy, as it’s very similar to many others I see through blogs. It’s one of my favourite plants to photograph in winter/spring as it keeps its shape and is amazing with frost on it.

      • Interesting….perhaps the chemicals the cows have been given. Organic milk? Organic meats? The human body is a very interesting, curious thing with how everyone reacts to things differently.

        Yes the Autumn Joy does tolerant a lot from mother nature. They are also good in dried arrangements and centerpieces for the holidays.

        Thanks again, and hoping for a recovery and discovery of what is causing you pain.


  11. Migraines are the worst. My grandmother, and mother, both suffer from them, and knock on wood they’ve never found me.

    I’m impressed at how colorful your garden is, even in December. It sounds like it’s been colder here, in California. But then again, we’ve been colder than Alaska and New York some mornings. Crazy weather!

    I had to smile at your heather in bloom. I just don’t see it here, and I do so miss it. I just love that shade of pink too!

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