November Colour.

‘Autumn is marching on: even the scarecrows are wearing dead leaves.’  Osuyu Nakagawa.

The strong winds have done their worst but there is still plenty of autumn colour to enjoy.  A wonderful place to see autumn leaves, berries and fruit is the arboretum at East Bergholt Place founded by Rupert Eley’s great- grandfather.  The rowans are looking particularly good this year. I love the Chinese one called Sorbus huphehensis ‘Pink Pagoda’. This has lovely, ferny pinnate leaves and clusters of berries hanging like pink sweeties from every branch.   The other eye-catching one is Sorbus ‘Joseph Rock’. This rowan has a good autumn colour and amber berries.

Sorbus ‘Joseph Rock’

Amongst other glorious autumn trees and shrubs at East Bergholt Place there is the national collection of Euonymus, the spindle tree. The wild Euonymus europaeus is familiar to all of us with its startling pink seed cases splitting open to reveal orange berries inside.  For gardens the cultivar ‘red Cascade’ is the one to go for.  It is compact and slow growing and has lovely red autumn leaf colour on corky branches.  There is also one with delicate pale pink fruits and orange seeds called Euonymus hamiltonianus. This too has good autumn foliage.

Euonymus europaeus ‘Thornhayes’

Euonymus hamiltonianus

Another eye-catching shrub at East Bergholt Place is Berberis Georgii.   I have also seen it spelt Berberis Georgei and I’m not sure which is correct. I had never seen this before and from a distance I wondered what it could possibly be. It was decorated with so many bright red berries hanging in long clusters that it looked positively ablaze.   It is sterile and so in a vain effort to get pollinated it flowers profusely and produces copious amounts of fruit.  It is unknown in the wild so it must be a garden hybrid probably having B. vulgaris in its parentage. In spring it has racemes of bright yellow flowers.  Rupert Eley has a long waiting list for this shrub because to see it is to covet it. Let’s hope it will soon become more widely available. If you want to go to the arboretum it is best to ring first because on wet days it is closed because it gets very slippery under foot.

Berberis georgii 

Bereberis georgii

Still in flower in my garden are the gorgeous nerines. The most hardy one:  Nerine  bowdenii  increases yearly into large clumps.  It needs good drainage and lots of sun to do well.  It grows from bulbs and has glossy green strap-like leaves and sprays of trumpet-shaped pink flowers.  I also have the dainty Nerine undulata which is hardy but I grow it in a pot because I love it so much I like to put it on the table outside the window so that I can gaze at it.   The exquisite flowers are spidery and smaller than those of N. bowdenii.   Also in pots I have  the pure white Nerine  bowdenii  ‘Alba’  and a large-flowered dark pink one I bought in Cornwall called ‘N. ’Zeal Giant’.  I don’t think either of these two is reliably hardy so I over-winter them in an unheated greenhouse. The name Nerine comes from the Greek word ‘Nereis’ which means   ‘sea- nymph’- a lovely name for a gorgeous plant.

Nerine undulata

Nerine ‘Zeal Giant’


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2 Responses to November Colour.

  1. willisjw says:

    I have two Nerines species (sarniesis and pudica) growing from seed exchanges last year. I am inspired by your pictures to add undulate to the seeds I seek this year…

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you for looking at my blog and leaving a comment. I can thoroughly recommend N.Undulata, it is gorgeous. You will sometimes see it listed as N.crispa. N. pudica is new to me and I have just looked it up. It is lovely and I will look out for seeds of it.

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