There isn’t much flowering in my garden in mid-November so I won’t be joining in with May Dreams Gardens Blooms Day round-up but in order to do better next year I’m going to write about what is looking good on this mild, damp and windswept day. No photos I’m afraid, unless I find some of relevance in my archive.
As I look out of the window as the light fades the first plant that I see is Nandina domestica and there is absolutely nothing wrong with the barely blushing leaves and teeny tiny cones of pink berries. Behind is a generous mound of Sarcococca, not quite ready to burst into fragrance, and in front flowering lavender and Erigeron. Two clumps of panicum are looking good, but they need the sun to alight on their inflorescences to really shine. Geranium leaves are colouring red and the flower heads of Sedum are a pleasing peaty brown. Undoubtedly the highlight of this south-facing border is the combination of Pyschocarpus opulifolius ‘Diabolo’ with its interestingly-shaped burgundy/red leaves against the solid green of Euphorbia palustris and the orangey-yellow leaves of Cornus ‘Midwinter Fire’. Up and over the pergola the yellow wisteria leaves are showering onto the deck and blowing into the pond whose margins are still studded with red hesperantha. The pear tree is in that fragile ghostly state where the grey leaves have turned even paler. Sometimes this tree goes out in a blaze of glory – not this year though, the next cold day it will literally shiver its remaining leaves to the ground. Viburnum bodnantense ‘Dawn’ is flowering and the leaves of Magnolia Stellata are the colour of caramel. Looking good all year round is the closely planted combination of Euphorbia characias wulfenii, Helleborus Corsicus and Bergenia Silberlicht. The white nerines are a little frost-damaged but from the kitchen window look just about ok. But my absolute favourite right now is the warm orange light coming from Sorbus Hupehensis and at its feet amplifying the glow is Hakonecholoa macro ‘Aureola’. I love this grassy plant which earns its keep for about 10 months of the year and changes from the freshest lime-green in spring to the most gorgeous rusty hue through autumn. The pink-flushed white Sorbus berries will be a feast one cold January day for the fieldfares who fly in from Scandinavia. There is another buttercup yellow Cornus in this bed showing up well against the glossy green leaves of a camellia. Moving round there are hips from Rosa Glauca Rubrifolia combining with the last of the fuchsia flowers and the remains of Dianthus Barbutus, sown from seed as an annual last year but flowering here almost all year round. There is more yellow glow coming from the garage bed where I have a large stand of Cornus ‘Midwinter Fire’ and on the right-angled corner where the soil is practically non-existent there is a successfully-placed Panicum which catches any low sun at this time of year.
Reading this back has certainly made me feel better about the garden. Yes, there are few flowers but there are interesting shapes and once the wind has scoured the garden of its litter of leaves I have some good evergreen structure and tall trees to draw the eye up to the sky.
Today, and proof that my shoulder is finally on the mend, I gave the cedar deck its annual scrub to remove the layer of algae. I have a system for this job which just uses warm water, a stiff brush and my muscle power as I cannot bear noisy garden equipment. Today it took me an hour from start to finish and as soon as I was done I jumped into a hot bath to release my shoulder.
Talking of which it turns out that I had sustained a new muscle tear to the subscapularis muscle which lies underneath the scapula (shoulder blade) which was why every forward and backward movement made in an arc from the body was so painful. I still can’t front crawl (I tried again in the pool yesterday) and tying my apron strings behind my back is impossible but I am so much better than I was six months ago when I fell off my bike. I have found an excellent physiotherapist and after only two sessions I am starting to re-build strength in the shoulder. I’m sure that like many of us being unable to do stuff in the garden is the worst thing so I am very relieved to be on the mend after a somewhat frustrating summer.
I think a visit to Wisley may be necessary to see what is blooming locally in November. I usually avoid Wisley at this time of year for fear of stumbling across a Christmas craft fair or shopping event, but needs must and I think my garden has room for a special purchase or two.
Oh and look what I found in my archive, a mosaic of November 2015 photos. Not quite the intensity of colour I’m seeing this year, but a good enough flavour I hope.