End of month view, November 2015

November-view-1The wind is howling, the clouds racing across the sky. Every now and then the wind comes loaded with rain. There’s a trellis panel down and for now it’s going to stay down. My end of month view is the view from indoors.

Earlier this year I paved the various gravel paths we had in the garden. They were very weedy and getting narrower as the beds encroached. It will be some time yet before they are weathered in properly, but it does mean that getting around the garden, even during or just after heavy rain, is not really a problem. In fact it’s become my routine to do a circumnavigation just after breakfast every day.

At this time of year it all looks a bit of a mess. I’m tidying up a bit, but I want to leave some dead stuff for whatever benefit the wildlife can derive from it. So I’m not really concerned with how the garden as a whole looks in winter. I’m happy to have individual plants looking good and I can get to them to see them. The evergreens come into their own for sure, but they look the same all year round and I want them to fade into the background in summer. The trouble with evergreens is that like trees, they get inexorably bigger unless clipped, which I mostly hate. If you plant too many, sooner or later it will be all you have.

So hopefully there are enough for the garden in winter to still be recognisably a garden, but no more. Not easy when one of my obsessions is camellias. As well as being evergreen, some are winter flowering, and scented. I have Camellia sasanqua ‘Navajo’ flowering now, though it was in a pot and rather undernourished until this summer, so its leaves are rather pale.

Camellia sasanqua ‘Navajo’


There are plants that I really love that play second fiddle to the flowery divas all summer then come into their own in autumn and winter. In this picture the grass front left is Chionochloa rubra, the bronzy mounds in front of the Taxus and elsewhere, various forms of Hakonochloa. Over the back in front of Pinus koraiensis ‘Silver Ray’ is Astelia chathamica. I absolutely love Astelia chathamica. It’s everything you wanted that Phormium to be but didn’t get. It gets to three feet and stays there; it gets brighter, not duller, over time. It will grow in full sun or light shade.


I haven’t spent the entire month indoors, though I’ve spent more time on my allotment than in the garden. I did a bit of fairly drastic pruning on my family apple tree, that’s the one on the right here. It started out as Elstar, which turns out to be too scab prone for Cornwall. So I grafted Holstein, Meridian and Red Windsor onto it. Now I’ve cut away most of the remaining Elstar and I’m buying Lane’s Prince Albert and Newton Wonder which I will eventually graft on as well. They’re late flowering varieties that I need to get decent pollination of Suntan, the apple in the middle. I spur pruned that in August and am pleased to see almost no late growth. It flowered beautifully in spring, but didn’t set much fruit.


The Echium looks good at the moment but I shall be amazed if it survives the winter out in the open like that. The Miscanthus at the left is Septemberot, which has stood up very well to the gales; better than the bamboo, Phyllostachys aureosulata ‘Spectabilis’, which keeps losing canes.

The glasshouses and tunnel are absolutely bulging with plants that have been moved in for winter. Cornwall rarely gets very cold so it doesn’t take much to keep it from freezing, fortunately. Cacti are surprisingly hardy and Echeveria will take a bit of cold if very dry. Aeoniums are more vulnerable and will get moved to the lean-to on the house. Our biggest problem is that we’re both retired nursery people and we cannot stop ourselves growing more plants. There are worse addictions.


So that was November. One more month and it’s a new year. I could seriously wish they didn’t come round so fast.

I just switched from BlogSpot to WordPress, so this is the first EOMV on this blog, but it’s still inspired by Helen Johnstone’s The Patient Gardener and her end of month meme. I’m now off to visit all her other contributors gardens again, a monthly pleasure.

2 thoughts on “End of month view, November 2015

  1. oh my goodness your greenhouse is amazing, so many delights. The real question is do nurserymen ever really retire, I suspect not.
    Astelia is something I keep toying with but I’m not sure how it would fare in my clay soil, any advice ?


  2. The glasshouse is Sue’s domain really, my main role is to move the big spikey brutes in for the winter.
    Our Astelia is in pretty ropey soil, but well drained. The RHS say clay or loam, but well drained, so somewhere the water drains away freely. You’re northern-ish too aren’t you? So it might need protecting from hard frosts for a year or two.


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