End of Month Review November 2018

November has been mild and cold and is ended wet and grey.  It feels like winter is now upon us.
In the driveway the mahonia I bought a couple of years ago is thriving and getting ready to flower.  After many years of not liking mahonias I have finally put my feet on the road to becoming a convert.
In the front lawn there are signs of bulbs emerging.  This always makes me happy.  
By the front gate the Winter Honeysuckle is flowering, which is a sure sign of winter in my world.  This is probably my favourite winter scented shrub.  It is often described as ordinary looking and scrappy looking the rest of the year (this is because it is) but when it has its moment to shine then it makes up for the other ten months of the year.
and by the front door the Gertrude Jekyll rose is having its last hurrah.
Around to the back of the house, the Stewart 'Varese' planter is now planted up with primulas and violas.  I was given this planter, I did not pay for it, but I do love it very much.  I know we have to limit our use of plastics, but this lightweight planter will last for years and I can move to where I want it to be with ease.  For a woman of a certain age with a dodgy back this is no bad thing.
The greenhouse is relatively full of overwintering plants.  I have not fleeced it yet as it has not quite got to that level of cold.  I harvested the last couple of chillies the other day and it feels like the plants are gently snoozing before going into their proper winter sleep.
In the vegetable beds the broccoli is thinking about broccling.
and the self-sown cerinthe is colonising the marigold bed.  I am hoping that the marigolds self-seed well and that next year it will be a marigold and cerinthe bed.  Time will tell, if you get no further updates you will know that history has been rewritten and this was never a thought or a plan.
I love the early signs of next year's colour.  This poppy is in the raised planter.  I shall not nurture it, the winter will take its course, but I will hope to see it flower next year.
The Long Shoot is looking quite brown, there is little colour left.
The sedums provide red and structure along the border.  They are my winter stalwarts. 
I would not expect you to know what the picture above is meant to be showing you, as it looks at first glance just like a muddy scrappy bit of largely empty border space.  This is because that is what it is.  The perennial sunflowers occupied all of this space until recently.  They have been reduced back to about one eighth of what they were only a few weeks ago.  They are a fantastic plant, they stand tall to give height and structure; they flower late so pollinators love them too.  The only problem with them is that they run.  They run fast and they run long.  This time of year though, when the soil is quite friable, they are easy to remove.  The added bonus is, I now have a lot of space to play with next spring.
I like this view along the Burtonesque Curl.  I often sit here on the wine bench (quite often just drinking tea) and just look and enjoy.  The last of the sun hits this bench, hence it being perfect for an evening glass of wine.
The Spring Border is under a carpet of apple leaves.  The hellebores are stirring and it will soon be looking its best - promise.
The Prairie Borders are also a joy in the winter.  They will be cut down in spring when they start to grow again, but until then they are a blonde delight.  They also provide cover for many insects, the diversity of life that enjoys these borders is a constant surprise and delight to me. 
Leading into the Prairie Borders is the teasel patch.  This patch varies hugely from year to year.  This year has not been a prolific year; which is good going in some ways.  Anyone who grows teasels will tell you they self seed easily.  They can be a bit thuggy.  They are easy spot in the seedling stage and edit to manageable proportions; but if you grow them you have to love them as they do like to make their presence felt.
My current delight in the Wild Garden is the amount of cyclamen seedlings that have started to appear.  After many years of planting little pots of them every spring, they have finally taken the hint and started to wander around a bit.  
This is the view from the side of the Wild Garden.  The Beech Pillars are really starting to do what I hoped they would.  They almost look like pillars and they punch points of colour along the ripple line that cuts across the garden.  You can also see my constant companions in the garden, Esme in the foreground and Trevor lurking near a beech pillar.  
Spring beckons, the Cornus mas is budding up.
Magnolia Leonard Messel is covered in buds
and Prunus Ben-chidori is in the pink.
Esme has joined the accordion playing gnome on Edgeworthia-watch.  Every year I write that the edgeworthia is now a year older and a year more mature and therefore hopefully a year more able to cope with a hard winter.  I shall still watch it with anxiety until I know it has made it through for another year.
I end, as is traditional, with the pond view.  It is slowly refilling.  I think it is about half full now.  I shall be happy when it reaches full.

Thanks as ever to Helen for hosting this meme.


  1. After reading the article, I remembered the time I stayed in Russia for about 5 years. We did some gardening there, good times. I always love winter and Autumn. Why don't you try growing some blueberries ? it will be a good experience. Thanks for your beautiful post.


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