Sunday, 15 November 2009

November garden blooms

Please excuse a little artistic licence with this contribution for November's Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. Usually I am fashionably late but this time my photos are actually ahead of schedule! Unfortunately I ran out of time last week to post them but as the same plants are still in flower I thought I'd share them today :-)


Above:
ECHINACEA White Swan?

Right:
VERBENA bonariensis

Below:
NEPAPTA Walkers Low




















The coneflower above is a new arrival to my garden (last year) but unfortunately I have mislaid the label for the moment. I’ve enjoyed this one at my front door.

The verbena and catmint (nepata) have been in my front garden for a few years now. This verbena doesn’t self seed in my garden as it does further south in the UK and other parts of the world were it seeds profusely.

This catmint I just wouldn’t be without. It gives a wonderful skirt of purple/blue flowers which the bees absolutely adore. Pruning it paritally back just as the flowers look like they are going over and then pruning the remaining stems after they have completely finished has given me a second flush of flowers every year without looking at the plant completely cut to the ground and waiting for it to grow back. There are always flowers for the bees this way too although none are visiting the last solitary blooms remaining today.



Above: ERYSIMUM Bowles’ Mauve

Left: RED CAMPION silene dioica

Below: ERODIUM Bishop’s Form


















Perhaps you’re tired of me mentioning how this year I have loved the perennial wallflower (ERYSIMUM) above... but perhaps other GBBD bloggers haven’t heard of it. It has a long flowering season and that’s exactly what attracted me to it. The bees and butterflies have loved this one too and it makes me smile every time I come in my drive. I have yet to see if it will be hardy in my garden and I plan to take some measures to protect two of the three plants I have.

The red campion above grows in my front and back garden but it is more common in woodland and hedgerows. I grew this one from seed and love it in my front garden where it is growing behind the ornamental grass stipa gigantea.

Completely in contrast to the habit of the tall floppy red campion stems is the tiny compact mound forming Erodium in pots at my front door. This was a new addition for this year too after seeing it on a garden centre sales table with bees going to its small cup flowers. Just how did they find them? Ah... the fine violet blue stripes lead them there!



Above:
Penstemon Etna

Right:
KNAUTIA Mars Midget









One of the most common flowers that you see bees visit are the ones with tubular flowers like the penstemon above. Now this plant is another I wouldn’t be without. I’ve had these wonderful coral red flowers in my front and back garden for a few years now. They prefer my sunnier front garden and I have multiplied my stock of this plant very successfully from cuttings.

I do love taking cuttings especially at this time of year and this is the time I find I use my small (6ft x4ft) greenhouse the most with them and over wintering a few plants too. I think I’m too late for trying cuttings of the little KNAUTIA above. This is another new addition to my front garden for 2009.

Unfortunately the foliage of this plant appeared to suffer from mildew after flowering. I considered pulling it out but am very glad it didn’t! The foliage looks fine again and its also giving a second flush of flowers too as if to say don’t give up on my quite yet! I wonder how hardy it is though. The bees and butterflies have loved its pincushion flowers.



Above:
GUNNERA manicata

Right:
JASMINE officinale

Below:
FERN, not certain variety


















Next, to a more unusual bloom… the cone flower of the gunnera shown above. Now, this plant needs protecting very soon in my garden. If the garden stays dry for a couple of hours today I’ll be out to do it. It's looking good at the moment. I’ve mentioned in previous postings about how to protect a gunnera for winter. You can read about what I do and see photos here.

A few hardy white jasmine flowers can be just spotted trailing over my walkway pergola. The sunshine just before lunchtime last Monday just helped me see them. But what’s going on in the fern photo taken at the same time? Nope… I wasn’t out watering it and nope it hadn’t rained either!

I do love taking cuttings especially at this time of year and this is the time I find I use my small (6ft x4ft) greenhouse the most with them and over wintering a few plants too. I think I’m too late for trying cuttings of the little KNAUTIA above. This is another new addition to my front garden for 2009.

Unfortunately the foliage of this plant appeared to suffer from mildew after flowering. I considered pulling it out but am very glad it didn’t! The foliage looks fine again and its also giving a second flush of flowers too as if to say don’t give up on my quite yet! I wonder how hardy it is though. The bees and butterflies have loved its pincushion flowers.

Can you remember the weather last Monday, the 9th of November? We had our first real frost! My garden was completely coated in frosty crystals and at 6.15am the car temp read -4 deg C! I didn’t manage to get out with my camera until 11.30am and by then some part of the garden never even looked like Jack Frost had been near them. It just shows what a warm little sunshine can see Jack Frost away!

My shadier back garden was a different matter as the fern above showed. If you stood under my main pergola all you could hear was drip, drip, drip as slowly the warmer temps melted the frost. However, not all areas were melting… Jack Frost remained in my back garden for quite a few hours more…



Do you recognise the frosted flower in the larger photo above?

I took many frosted photos that frosty lunchtime and it was very difficult choosing just a few. My favs were the flower above, the almost fossilised leaves on the fading hosta leaves and other Acer leaves making a crisp carpet in borders and sprinkled across the frosted lawn.

Heuchera leaves also caught my eye as you can see in the final photo above. Can you also see that this plant is also holding on to some flowering stems. I was surprised to see these tiny wonderfully delicate flowers.

Looking out on to my garden today and I can see I forgot to photograph some remaining Japanese anemone flowers. I can also see fluffy flowering grass heads and buds on my magnolia. I have plans to move that magnolia to my new pond area at some point but I’m not sure when I should do this.

So that brings this bloom day posting to an end. To see more blooms around the world do pop over to Carol’s posting to browse the list of participating blogs. This posting also brings something else to an end… do pop back on Thurday :-D

All photos above were taken in my garden on November 9th 2009. This was the first frost of this season.

22 comments:

Nan Ondra said...

Congratulations for being unfashionably on time for this Bloom Day, Shirl. You still have so many gems in your garden, but I especially envy you the erysimum; I'd dearly love to grow them ('Wenlock Beauty' is one is particularly covet), but they hate my garden. It's nice to see yours thriving. Your frosty photos are a treat, too. Happy Bloom Day!

Michelle said...

Beautiful photos Shirl! I love Gunnera but haven't tried it yet. Soon.

chuck b. said...

It's amazing to watch Gunnera make those huge leaves all over again every year.

Liz said...

Oooh, frost Shirl!! It looks like it was fairly harsh too and verging on hoare frost...

Lovely photos and still so much around for you.

I had forgotten it was GBBD... I've been busy 'receiving' guests *shhh, it's my birthday* so didn't get any real chance to get outside.

patientgardener said...

I like your coneflower - I just dont seem to able to grow them in my garden. I share your love of Erysisum always a good doer but I must remember to take cuttings more often as the plants are short lived

Rothschild Orchid said...

Lovely post. Really like the shot of the fern with the water droplets on it, just wonderful.

RO :o)

Garden Junkie said...

Lovely penstemon. Like you, it's a plant I wouldn't be without - although mine are white and pink.

Corner Gardener Sue said...

I enjoyed your blooms. I grow some of them, too. I have both Mars Midget and the larger knautias. I had bought one of them, and got a start of the other from someone, not realizing they were different.

I grow different kinds of penstemons, too, but none are blooming right now. Yours is a nice looking one.

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

I've got many of the same flowers here, although not all are still blooming. I grew Variegated Wallflower this year and it has not stopped blooming since early spring. I love Wallflowers.
Interesting that this Verbena doesn't self seed there, it's all over my garden here, but I love it so that's fine with me :)

queerbychoice said...

There's something wonderful about that first that I can't quite put into words. And I envy you the catmint. I had a Nepeta 'Walker's Low' blooming away last spring, but it died over the summer. I guess it needed more water than I gave it.

Penny at Neighbourhood Nature said...

Lovely photos. A quick scan of my garden shows fuchias, dahlias, the first of the winter jasmine, the last of the Echinops and lavendar, and even a few pelargoniums still hanging on - but then, we haven't had a frost down here yet.

Karen - An Artist's Garden said...

We have yet to get our first frost Shirl - which is good as I am not quite ready for it yet. (Note to self - put tender plants in the Greenhouse)

I bought that Erysisum for a customer this year and was so impressed with its performance that I have taken lots of cuttings - it is quite lovely.

Nice post Shirl :)
K

shirl said...

Hi again Nan – LOL… why thank-you… don’t like to be too predictable :-D

Gems are a great way to describe the flowers at this time of year. Yes, that perennial wallflower has been a revelation to me… a real treasure!

I have no tolerance at all for the spring bedding wallflower but the promise of the perennial flowering all the way from April had to be worth considering. I loved this variety for the foliage colour especially. The flowers? Well they did what they said on the label!

Ah... I didn't realise you got alpine wallflowers too. Wenlock looks good and what a pity they don't like your garden. Would it not grow in a trough instead :-D

Thanks, I love the frosty look on plants. Bloom Day was good with posting on time… it was nice to get new visitors and to visit others on the day… it’s been a while since I’ve done that :-D

It was also nice to be chatting to you throughout the day :-D

shirl said...

Hi there Michelle and Chuck – Thank-you! I do enjoy my well behaved gunnera. I agree it is great to watch the leaves grow again and counting to see if you get a few more :-D

Lots of people are scared to grow it because of its size but I guess that depends on how you treat it. Mine doesn’t get all the things the books suggest like full sun, an open position and feet in water. Mine is in a partially shady position, out of water and in a small area between a fence and pergola. It gets on fine I’d say :-)

I did have one little trick there though…. I cut a small shallow dip into this bed making a narrow gravel path for my (young at the time) daughters to walk underneath the gunnera’s leaves. Any rain water runs down towards it. There is also a basic little bridge made of three poles across the dip.

Between the bridge keeping the area a little damp below and the pierced compost bags lining the hole so water holds a little around the roots this plant has grown for (a guess) ten years. I’ve never moved it or divided it and it certainly hasn’t got too big for the space. I wonder how long it will be happy without it being divided. :-)

shirl said...

Hi again Liz, Helen and RO :-)

Liz – Oh yes… we didn’t expect it either! Thanks, I see your sweet peas are nearing their end for this year. Aw… On a brighter note I hope you had a very Happy Birthday :-)

Helen – Funnily enough I don’t know if I can either. I bought two coneflowers last year… a lovely deep pink one too. This one I thought wasn’t going to do anything. I put it in a slightly sheltered spot where I know it doesn’t get full sun (which I know it would have loved). The pink one I moved… maybe that’s where I went wrong with it. Time will tell if this one will be happy where I’ve put it… it looks great against the bricks of my house. Ah… that wallflower really is… the label suggests it will last for 3-4 years but I do intend taking cuttings too. We’ll have to see now if it is hardy enough to survive my garden this winter. I hope so :-D

RO – Thank-you, so did I. They were just beautiful to see with the sunlight lighting up the droplets like an electric bulb. I think I was just passing by at just the right time to see this magical moment :-D

shirl said...

Hi there Garden Junkie, Sue and Catherine :-)

Garden Junkie – That penstemon is a brilliant colour… not being completely red. I also have raven which is a very deep wine colour. I’m hoping it will survive the winter. I’ve taken some cuttings just in case. Great to hear from others who also enjoy this plant. There are many nice varieties with pink and white. Enjoy yours :-D

Sue – Thank-you, great to hear from another penstemon fan and you have Mars Midget too. I really can’t believe this one (in spite of the frost we’ve had) is sending up this new flush of blooms. This was a fav for bees too. I love the darker penstemons too and have the deep raven one also but it’s stopped flowering now. Happy GBBD :-D

Catherine – This is what’s brilliant about GBBD finding out that people in other parts of the world like you in Pacific Northwest, US, are growing the same plants as I am in Scotland. I’ve never noticed a variegated wallflower before probably as its only this year that I’ve given it a second look. I’ll keep an eye out now! Yes, I’ve read on many US blogs that verbena is almost like a weed with you… I wish. I take cuttings from mine. So good to hear you enjoy your seedlings :-D

shirl said...

Hi there Gayle, Penny and Karen :-)

Gayle – I know what you mean. Ah that catmint is a winner too. It’s the only variety I have ever grown and I like its habit. Pity you lost yours. Mine is planted with a gravel mulch around it and it can get baked in the sun. Only occasionally I water my plants in my front garden… at a tiny guess we get just a little more rain than you in California ;-)

Penny – Thank-you, you have some stunning photos on your blog! I see you are in East Anglia let’s hope Jack Frost doesn’t call anytime soon… that’s a good list of blooms you still have. Guessing you’ve still bees and the odd butterfly visiting too :-)

Karen – Oh… I thought being in Wales you might have had frost too. I was a pretty hard one we had last week but it’s been mildish since. LOL… I wasn’t ready for it either. I’m not ready for wearing gloves yet either! Yep… time to open up and stock that greenhouse I agree. Oh… (going a bit green) I had intended taking cuttings myself but I think I’m too late now. I could always try root ones I guess. I agree it really is a quite lovely plant. Thanks, I’m going to head over to your blog later to watch your slide show… love the seed heads too :-D

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

I really like the Knautia, too bad it has mildew problems. I hope I'll be as happy with my Erysium 'Bowle's Mauve' as you've been with yours. I bought it to put in a container for the summer, then learned it is not an annual, but a hardy short-lived perennial. I planted it in the ground immediately.

Mel said...

Hi Shirl!
It's great to be able to visit your garden again. I've been a bit busy lately, but I want to go back to do the things I love.
Take care!
Besos,
Mel

Midmarsh John said...

You still have a lovely selection of flowering plants there Shirl.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Happy GBBD Shirl. I like to look at your blooms no matter when you post them.

ShySongbird said...

How lovely to see colour in this drab weather Shirl, although I can see yours has been frosty rather than dull...minus 4! brrr!

I always admire Gunnera when visiting open gardens but have never tried it in mine.

Heuchera is always valuable I think, not spectacular maybe but very reliable. One of mine came originally from my late in-laws garden and never disappoints.

I have Coneflowers in a pot and was sure they had not survived after the Winter so I was delighted when they suddenly reappeared much later than I had expected.

We have very high winds here again today, hope it is better where you are :)