I am rather late with my top ten blooms this month as I have been away to find some sunshine and flowers elsewhere in this, the gloomiest of months. Clearly, there has been frost here whilst I was away, as the dahlias are blackened and the garden is looking tired and a bit black and squishy.
But let’s look back at the month to see what November had to offer. My favourite November blooms are chrysanthemums and I dedicated a post to them recently. But for some reason I left out one of my favourites and here it is. It is a semi-double in a lovely pale gold colour.
Talking about favourites, I adore nerines and November brought some more delicate blooms in the greenhouse. I have two whites, both very similar. Nerine bowdenii ‘Alba’ and Nerine ‘Ella K’. My largest flowering is Nerine ‘Zeal Giant’ and the darkest colour is ‘Mr John’. None of these nerines are hardy but they brighten up the greenhouse on a gloomy day.
Outside, my November snowdrop is the dear little Galanthus ‘Barnes’ which I believe belongs to the elwesii group.
I am very fond of daisy flowers and there are some lovely ones in the senecio family. I believe the word ‘senecio‘ means old man and I can’t think why this word should be used for fresh, daisy flowers. Some of those dusty old grey -leaved shrubs that used to be called senecio are now brachyglottis, an ugly name for an ugly plant, in my opinion. Anyway, I don’t want to confuse you, but my next flower is an orange daisy called Senecio confusus. It is a tender climber and has spent the summer in my new exotic bed. Just like last year it has grown beautifully but it didn’t start blooming until late September and it is still blooming away in a pot in the dining room with the rest of the jungle which I brought inside.
If you are not confused then perhaps you will be after my next plant. I always thought it was a Cineraria which belongs to the senecio family. You know the sort of daisy plant you buy in winter and then discard when it has finished blooming. But this one is perennial and reasonably hardy, it has lived in a pot outside my back door for a couple of years. It is called Senecio or sometimes you will see it as ‘Senetti’ and sometimes Pericallis. I think the correct name is Pericallis x hybrida. But whatever it is called it makes a lovely bushy plant with delightful daisy flowers.
And now for a November flowering shrub which a previous owner has planted all round the garden. It is Mahonia x media ‘Charity’. I like it because the upright flares of yellow flowers bloom when there is not much else about and they are fragrant and abuzz with bees. It is evergreen and I appreciate its glossy leaves when the rest of my trees are shivering en déshabillé. I found labels on some of my bushes which said ‘Mahonia x media ‘Winter Sun’ but they look exactly like ‘Charity’ to me. They are not to be confused with the low growing, revolting Mahonia aquifolium which sprawls and suckers and seeds and is a brute to get rid of. The flowers of Mahonia media ‘Charity’ are not as fragrant as Mahonia japonica which blooms in late winter and early spring and has flowers which grow in whorls rather than upright. The flowers of Mahonia japonica smell of lily in the valley and I love it. But never mind, ‘Charity’ has flowers in November which are very welcome. The shrub tends to grow very tall and displays its blooms to the birds unless you cut it back each spring to just above a knobbly bit.
Ceratostigma plumbaginiodes is a low growing shrub which I have mixed feelings about. It comes into leaf very late and it sits in the front of the bed looking dead and ugly amongst all my spring beauties and I chop it right back and threaten it with eviction. In late summer it gets its gentian blue flowers but they are small and sparse. It is only in November when the flowers sit amongst bright red leaves that I feel a bit more friendly towards it. Maybe if I moved it I would enjoy it more somewhere else.
I love the winter flowering Clematis cirrhosa var. purpurascens ‘Freckles’, its flowers look so fragile but they start blooming in November and carry on whatever the weather. You have to hold the little bells up to see the freckles properly.
Plenty of salvias are still blooming in the greenhouse.
I rather like this red flowered one. It has yellow leaves so it looks decorative even when it’s not in bloom. It is a pineapple sage so it has fragrant leaves.
I try to keep to blooms that are in season for my monthly top ten but this month I am cheating a bit because I have a couple of delphiniums that were burnt to a crisp in the July drought and I thought they were dead, But here they are in November looking as if this was their proper season to look gorgeous. The white one is standing in front of Miscanthus ‘Morning Light’ which I think sets it off very well.
So there we are, I just made it in time to show my Top Ten November Blooms. Next month, December, it is going to be tricky to produce ten blooms which are blooming in season, but I shall see what I can do. Meanwhile, what has been cheering up the stygian dark of your November days?