13 November 2011

Nothing Subtle about November in Nova Scotia!

Today was one of those weather-perfect days that are rare gems in my province during the month of NO-vember. Regular readers of my writings know that I regard this month with about as much enthusiasm as I do filing my taxes or cleaning out the cats' litterboxes, because it can be such a dreary month, full of storms and grey drabness.
This November has been a month of bombast. We've had several wicked wind and rain storms, and when it hasn't been raining, it's still been blowing gales of wind. Enough wind happened this weekend that it knocked down my blue pergola (since repaired and uprighted by Longsuffering spouse), flattened some perennials not already flattened, and just generally created garden mayhem. But it's getting to be that time of the season, when things are truly winding down.

This was the first day in over a week I actually spent much time in the garden, and the light was agreeable, and there was no frakkin' wind. So I took some time to admire some of the foliage and flowers still hanging on in spite of the gales of November. This Miscanthus 'Malepartus' is framed by a golden nine bark to the left, and a copper beech to the right. (the same copper beech whose leaves are displayed in the first photo.)
This sturdy rugosa rose is still pushing out flowers, even as its foliage is mostly turned to shades of gold, crimson, and faint tints of green.
The microbiota, or Russian cypress, is an underused and amazing conifer. In the summer, it could be mistaken for a chamaecyparis or a juniper or thuja. In the winter, it turns from green to this lovely bronze-plum (it will get darker as the days go on, so I'll be showing it more as the fall goes on.)
This euphorbia is called 'Tiny Tim', and I'm not sure that it will survive winter here, as it's zone 6. But it's in a spot of good drainage and sun, and I'll cover it with some evergreens by Christmas time, so we'll see how it fares.
Since we moved here 13 years ago, there's been a clump of sky-blue delphinium in the front garden. There's now a clump in three gardens, and I sent plants and seeds down to my friend Captain Steele about 7 years ago, as he expressed interest in its colour and vigour. So while I have no idea what cultivar this really is, in my garden it's now called 'Captain Steele' delphinium. You have to give it credit for enthusiasm--it has several stalks of flowers attempting to open, despite the wind and weather we've had.
I planted two wayfaring trees this year (Viburnum lantana); this is the variety 'Mohican', and it has some yummy colours in its foliage, which it has not yet dropped. It's intriguing to me how the various viburnums in our garden behave--my double file viburnum wants desperately to bloom again this fall, while the witherod (V. cassinoides) has long since cast its leaves to the wind. 'Chicago Luster' arrow wood viburnum has pretty much dropped its foliage now, and the variegated-foliaged wayfaring has too, while the high bush cranberry (V. trilobum) is festooned with hundreds of fruits and not a single leaf left. I'm quite fond of viburnums, does it show?
Most of the vervain has surrendered to the wind and cold weather we've had, but this plant is on the south side of the house, and I'm optimistic (perhaps overly) that it might overwinter--or at least drop some viable seed that germinates before August. I have a seedling plant in another part of the garden that I didn't notice until August, and while it never flowered, I'm hoping it will overwinter, having come from a plant that was here last year.
You know it is calm in my garden when I can actually catch the flowers of a panic grass (in this case, I believe it's 'Prairie Sky' in focus without them moving in the slightest whisper of a breeze. The panic grasses are sizing up beautifully and next year I expect quite a show from the dozen or so cultivars I have around the property.
We'll call this picture "Missed it by that much!" The giant Miscanthus almost got a flower opened before it gave up being harassed by the wind and cold. Maybe next year...
One of the most interesting of the creeping sedums in our garden is 'Angelina', which is already starting to turn her gorgeous fall-winter colours of bronze, red, copper, orange, rose and gold. This plant spreads but isn't hard to control, so I recommend it as a ground cover in dry areas like slopes where you want colour but not a lot of fuss. It's also glorious in containers.
One of the yellow digitalis species (D. grandiflora) has decided to put on one last hurray of dainty, softly yellow flowers. This species comes back year after year for me, probably from self seeding, as does the straw foxglove, D. lutea.
Indoors, my phalaenopsis orchids are busily pushing out flower stems and buds and new flowers. I love what breeders have done with these durable, lovely plants, and will likely add a couple new ones next time I'm out at a nursery or florist's shop where they are sold.
I did promise to see if I could find the plans for my potting bench, and the good people at Saltscapes magazine kindly sent me the URL to the original article with its plans. We modified my bench after several years, removing the backing because it was hard to transport, and this year we painted it a brilliant, TARDIS blue to match the arbour, my lawn chair, and hopefully next year, the renovated greenhouse.

Next time, we'll talk about bulbs, and I'm happy to report I've planted all but about 2 dozen of mine. Unless of course I succumb to more next time I go to Blomidon Nurseries (their bulbs are on sale. Uh oh.) Still have amaryllis to plant for indoor enjoyment, too. A gardener's work is never done, but it's happy work--even in NO-vember!


  1. LIZA AND JOHN’S GARDEN enjoyed our visit today.
    It's always a pleasure to visit Bloomingwriter.

    Have a great evening,

  2. We are glad to know you are maybe not as busy as before, as you are posting more often again. Your colors are still beautiful with the bad environmental conditions you mentioned. But i am curious why the grass is called Panic Grass, it sounds silly for a grass! Lol.

  3. Fabulous Autumn colours. How I long to see the real thing, and your photos certainly feed this longing. The Delphinium is quite lovely and so is that sturdy Rose. There's still quite a bit of beauty in your garden.

  4. I am always intrigued by the plants you have collected. It is good to hear that weather is NOrmal, unpredictable. It is a windy fall here too.

  5. Wonderful. I have Microbiota on my wish list. In addition to its other charms, it's one conifer that will perform in shade.

  6. I love messing about in the dirt Jodi. You give me so many wonderful ideas and provide real inspiration.
    Love the blooming rose.

  7. I always love to see your garden, because it's generally at about the same point in time as mine, with spring bulbs one exception. We've had a lot of wind to deal with here, too. But that's why we're home to Ohio's largest wind farm now. I'm glad to see they're harnessing some of it.

  8. I really like the rugosa rose picture..thanks

  9. For such a 'dreary' month you captured some beautiful garden moments -- I think I need to take a new look at my own garden this time of year. Thanks for the inspiration.

  10. Your gardens have lovely fall colors and textures. Leaves are a wonderful thing

  11. Wow! Nova Scotia looks like an amazing place. I've always wanted to visit and your blog has made me want to even more!

  12. Almost a couple weeks later and we are getting the high winds, but our grey winter has yet to arrive. I am a bit wary of what is coming though. The wind today took down a huge poly greenhouse and I should have had pictures of that, but was too busy helping in the cleanup. You got some nice garden moments in photos for the weather you have been having.


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