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Last Month in My Garden, November 2017

November has brought a mixed bag. There have been frosty mornings, followed by sunny days, but just as many dull, mild days. Fortunately, it has been warm enough for weeding and clearing but, sadly, I know I should have done more! Some plants have continued to flower, later than usual, but the most surprising was a snowdrop, Galanthus ‘Sybil Stern’, which opened early in the month: it usually waits until January.


Delphinium Nov. 5th

Galanthus ‘Sybil Stern’

Astrantias flowered last month, although not in the numbers seen in the summer. However, cold weather makes flowers last longer so they have had an impact. The photo shows a seedling which is one of several in the area and comes, I think, from Astrantia major ‘Star of Billion’. The plants are all quite good and, where they have chosen a suitable site to grow, I have left them. Sadly, the site is sometimes available because something else has died but the plants know better than I do what will survive! One white flower which has been appearing continuously for months but still looks good is Erigeron annuus; the plants have been better than ever this year.


Astrantia major seedling

Erigeron annuus Nov. 23rd

Chrysanthemums are usually the flower of November and they did not disappoint, although some of my clumps have suffered by being overrun by Michaelmas Daisies! One of my successes is C. ‘Anne Ratsey’. It has pale yellow single flowers, approx. 5 cm diameter, and occurred as a sport on a deep pink variety. Reversion frequently occurs and pink or pink/yellow striped flowers are found. Some growers reject it as “unstable”, others remove the reversion, but I enjoy the mixture. Pink and yellow are not always good partners but the pale primrose and strong pink contrast well. It is said to be a sport from C. ‘Nancy Perry’ but checking this recently has led to many e-mails from chrysanthemum experts and the conclusion that there are some incorrectly-named plants in circulation. If you grow ‘Nancy Perry’, it should be a strawberry pink, not sugar-pink or the deep pink of ‘Anne Ratsey’.


Chrysanthemum ‘Anne Ratsey’

Chrysanthemum ‘Anne Ratsey’

Clematis cirrhosa

Jasminum nudiflorum

Mahonia x media ‘Charity’ Nov. 23rd

Other regular November plants include Winter Jasmine, which has withstood the frosts better than usual, perhaps because we have had none below -5oC. Similarly, the evergreen Clematis cirrhosa is looking good; mine is unnamed but could be from seed. Mahonia x media ‘Charity’ I think of as a December flower but that was almost finished by the end of the month and the spring-flowering Mahonia japonica had started. Iris unguicularis are supposed to flower from November but mine do not always do so, although flowering has improved as the clump has grown older. This year they have been excellent.


Pyracantha Nov. 5th

Iris unguicularis

Iris foetidissima

Most books about “the winter garden” recommend berries for colour but few last long here. The magnificent orange euonymus seeds that I noticed in October are long gone and almost no holly berries survive, although some trees had a good crop. The pyracanthas have been stripped and I wonder what the birds have left themselves for winter. One berry that does persist (on a poisonous plant) is that of Iris foetidissima, which seeds about. In the past, I have tried white and yellow-berried forms but they died.

The trees were late starting to shed their leaves and they came off in bursts, when the weather was windy. I noticed that my young hornbeam (planted 2012) lost its leaves in a regular fashion, starting at the ends of the branches. It is a seedling from a larger tree, which I planted as a sapling more than thirty years ago; they grow fast and I remove the lower branches. Thirty years in the garden has brought about many changes but even one month sees quite a few.


Carpinus betulus Nov 5th

Carpinus betulus Nov. 23rd

Margaret Stone

Posted by Margaret Stone

1 Comments To "Last Month in My Garden, November 2017"

Sue Catchpole On 09.12.2017
Just to say I enjoy your blogs. Thank you for taking the time to write. Best wishes Reply to this comment
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