November 15, 2012

November: more vibrant than I remember

If I had to rank the months in my Wisconsin garden, generally November would be toward the bottom of the list. But sometimes I'm bowled over when I set low expectations.


For example, the sun glinting through the layers of an ornamental Kale (Brassica oleracea) caught me by surprise the other day. This is the first year I've planted it, but I'm thinking this will be a recurring late-autumn choice from here on out. The colder weather brings out the more vibrant colors of the Kale. And I've seen these beauties around town through December in previous years--brightening up the landscape until the subzero weather hits.


Surprisingly, I still had enough Snapdragons (Antirrhinum majus) blooming the other day to pick a small bouquet. They're not at their prettiest, but they're nice enough in a small bud vase. We've had a lot of overnight frosts and freezes, but these beauties are planted near the house on the west side--where the afternoon sun bakes the soil and sustains life even under the winter snow.


If you live in a cool climate but want blooms for most of the year, Deadnettle (Lamium maculatum) is a sure bet. I probably should stop mentioning this plant in my Bloom Day posts. But it's among the very few plants in my garden that actually flower nine months out of the year.


As the more exposed foliage of Lamium meets the frozen wind, it shifts to interesting shades of burgundy and brown.


Autumn Joy Stonecrop (Sedum spectabile) pleases the eye even in the depths of November. Its delectable wine-colored flower heads complement the golden and fading stems and foliage underneath.


Another Stonecrop (Sedum kamtschaticum) shifts from green to shades of gold, peach, and pink before taking a winter rest.


I have no Rose buds or blooms to offer, but this healthy branch of foliage is stunning in its simplicity.



Hollyhocks (Alcea rosea) and Lupines (Lupinus polyphyllus)--residing with the Snapdragons in the warm western microclimate--appear confused. Should they go to sleep, or stretch out with new growth?


Bishop's Weed (Aegopodium podagraria) is still green, blanketed in the embrace of fallen Oak leaves.



Dwarf Forsythia (Forsythia viridissima) and Alpine Currant (Ribes alpinum) are tinged with frost damage and losing their battles with the cold. But their golden hues are brilliant in the afternoon light.


Burning Bush (Euonymus alatus) has lost most of its leaves, although a few still cling stubbornly to delight the eye.


Rockspray Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster horizontalis) is at its loveliest--with bright red fruits adorning its multicolored branches.


Evergreen Iris fans anticipate a warm blanket of snow.


And the glorious Barberry (Berberis vulgaris), that I probably should dig out because of its invasive reputation, seems to plead for its place in my garden. No other plant is more brilliant in this November landscape.

I guess November is more vibrant than I remember. I might have to move it up in the rankings.

Special thanks--particularly appropriate this month--goes to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for hosting Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, and Pam at Digging for hosting Foliage Follow Up.

38 comments:

  1. That ornamental kale is just gorgeous! And I love the barberry! Its striking color took my breath away!

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    1. Yeah, I've been wanting to plant Kale/Cabbage for a while, but couldn't think of an appropriate location. I ended up going with three--two in hanging baskets and one in a planter on the front porch. I can't bear to dig up the Barberry--especially when it adds so much to the November landscape.

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  2. Beautiful...I agree about November...I don't think of it as colorful...but, it really sort of is...just in a different way. I'm SOOO tempted to plant Berberis, exactly for the reason you mentioned...that glorious fall color!

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    1. I'm re-evaluating my thoughts about November. Next up...attempting to appreciate February and March in this climate. Ick. Although they're great months to travel...

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  3. Wow, i really love that kale, we call ornamental cabbage, bot the first and last photo. I guess it is always beautiful at whatever angle. And i also love that leaf photo with shadows on it, i always shoot them whenever i see one! I guess i have to post different leaves in my next post, you inspired me!

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    1. Thanks! Yes, the Kale/Cabbage is a keeper. I know what you mean about the leaf images with shadows and light behind them. Actually, photos can't really do them justice, but they are magical moments!

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  4. Yes, the colors in the garden this November are quite lovely. I enjoyed your photos.

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    1. Thanks, Sue. Everything seems greener this November than I remember--which is nice because soon it will all be brown and gray. And white!

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  5. Hi Beth,

    In Holland, this year november is too wet and there is too little sunshine for colouring the nature so beautiful as on your photos.
    You show us how good the nature can painting his own decoration.

    Thank you for your nice compliments on my blog and....when we where nabours, I would help you with all the love to decorate your house (hi, hi, hi)
    Lots of hugs from me,
    Elly

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    1. Hi Elly: My dream would be to have you redesign my entire house. It needs some serious work. But I'll have to work on one room at a time. Your blog is inspiration for me. Thanks!

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  6. I do enjoy the colours of November in your garden where foliage takes centre stage. The only bright orange and reds I have are the flowers. Chrysanthemums grown in the lowlands here will not flower, so we buy them as cut flowers to decorate our homes.

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    1. Thanks, Autumn Belle. We are in near opposite climates, which makes our comparisons so fascinating! I'm always stunned by the incredible foliage and flower images you share on your blog--year-round!

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  7. I like November color, even the muted color of many plants like you have shown. They have such an expressive, stylish sensibility about them even in decline.

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    1. I'm coming around on November. The shock of dying things has worn off by now, and there's something calming about the idea of plants preparing for a winter nap.

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  8. It's certainly been a vibrant November, everything kept on growing.

    And then we got a dump of snow, but it might be going away for awhile.

    Jen

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    1. I'm not ready for snow! But once it hits, it can be really pretty, and of course it brings needed precipitation.

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  9. The barberry is glorious, I would also feel conflicted about removing it. Actually I have a similar situation with a burning bush

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    1. Thanks. I know, I struggle with that one, too. They're so beautiful, but not native and apparently invasive (because of bird seed droppings) here. I noticed a lot of them died around town during the drought. I sort of half hoped mine would, too, but it didn't.

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  10. Hi Beth, you and I have many plants in common in our gardens this month: two types of Sedum, two types of Lamium, roses of course, and I bought a Dwarf Forsythia this summer, can’t wait to see it in flower next spring. And top of my wish list I have a Berberis helmond pillar, a slightly more manageable size than yours! I love than glowing November sunshine, makes even plain leaves look so special!

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    1. Thanks, Helene. I noticed, too, that we have a lot of plants (and gardening ideas) in common. The November weather has been very nice this year. I'm worried that it's too mild again, though. I hope we get enough precipitation so we won't have another drought next summer. But I'm not complaining about the comfort of it all.

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  11. Your garden is very similar to mine, though I have no lovely kale to appreciate! I too am amazed at how the snapdragons seem to bloom in the cold... mine look so green even at 0 F! Happy November!
    ~Julie

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    1. Yeah, the Snapdragons kept blooming. I finally cut them back today. They were still growing, but winter is just around the corner. My garden has a nice warm blanket of Marsh Hay on it now. :)

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  12. It is funny when we take the time to really look, just how much color and interest there is in a winter garden. I'd say that Barberry is pleading its case quite well, although having removed a few thugs from my garden, I know that some of even the prettiest plants can have a dark side. The kale though really does add a fabulous splash of color to the winter garden. It almost looks like a flower!

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    1. Yes, I'm so glad I added the Kale. It's kind of a second-round potted plant for me. I had a weird hope that some of the nonnatives would die during the drought, but they didn't. I don't have the heart to dig them out. :(

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  13. My lamium also is blooming and I love the colors of the foliage of sedum...my upright barberry is stunning but I am looking for a replacement...winterberry looks stunning like your barberry...I love that kale!

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    1. Thanks, Donna. I know, I'm starting to think of replacements for some of the nonnatives. But I really don't have the heart to dig out healthy plants...

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  14. I too love the kale. Hopefully next year I will remember to create a pot or two of lovely autumn plants, like kale.

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    1. I want to try some different varieties of Kale next year--I planted three of the same kind, but there are several different ones, and they're all so pretty!

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  15. Everything looks fabulous! Most of my fall color/foliage shots have turned out really blah. Not sure why. Doesn't your bishop's weed take over? I had probs with it in my garden in upstate NY. It was a complete thug.

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    1. Thanks, Tammy. I'm losing my enthusiasm for November...ha! That was fast, wasn't it?! Although I can't complain about our weather lately--50s and 60s. Yes, the Bishop's Weed can be a thug. We have it in a couple of very small circular areas. And we simply mow around them. No problem containing them that way. The Corn Gluten Meal that we put on the lawn seems to keep them under control, too.

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  16. Hi Beth, I'm so pleased that you are having a superb Novembeer. I love all the plants you've shown, and it's interestingly completely different to my garden, not one of them is the same! Gorgeous photos too.

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    1. Thanks! It's great fun to compare notes with gardeners of all types--those in similar climates with similar plants, and those in totally different climates and different plants. I will be visiting your blog soon!

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  17. A lovely post, Beth! This really has been a nicer November than what I remember from past years. Mornings are frosty, but they give way to sunny afternoons; lately, it's even been warm enough to work outside. Your barberry is beautiful--I'd have a hard time pulling out something that has such bright fall color. You're right, too, about the lamium; I too often overlook it, yet it usually remains green all winter.

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    1. Thanks, Rose. I thought last year was mild, too, but maybe that was mainly in December and January. Now I'm starting to worry about the mild weather portending another drought. We've mostly recovered from the summer, but I don't want it to happen again. Regarding the Lamium, I think I'm going to have to avoid mentioning it for a while to avoid repeating myself.

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  18. (YOUR chosen plant - no requirement for the plant to shine in November. I welcome any beloved plant to Dozen for Diana, with archived pictures from May perhaps which would be the same season of the year)

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    1. Thanks, Diana. My next post (I think) will suit us both. :)

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  19. November is the gray month here as well but there are still a few bright spots. One has to look closely though. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving week.

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    1. Yes, the beauty is always there. I just have to put on my glasses. ;-)

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