Here we are deep in gloomy November and seasonal blooms are getting ever scarcer. Every month, I include blooms from the whole month, so the ones I feature might be past their best and this is the case for some of the chrysanthemums. Some of these starry stars of autumn make their appearance in September, others are at their best in October and I featured some of them last month. Here are some lovely November chrysanthemums. The first is a very vigorous, tall -growing one which was found growing in a Suffolk garden by a member of the Suffolk Plant Heritage and it is named ‘Mavis Smith’ after her. I love it for its unusual quill-shaped flowers, it looks like a pink shuttlecock.
I have another chrysanthemum which I suppose was discovered in Suffolk but I don’t know anything about its history. I see it a lot in gardens round here so perhaps it has been around for a long time. It is called Chrysanthemum ‘Suffolk Pink’, it is very strong growing and a lovely bright shade of pink.
I have a new one this year which is also rare and on the Plant Heritage Red List. It is new to me, but in fact it is quite an old one and an adorable short-growing little pompom in bright yellow. It is called ‘Jante Wells’.
Chrysanthemum ”Edelweiss’ is supposed to be white but it is actually more a parchment shade. It is also quite rare. It is semi-double and clearly needs staking as it is collapsing onto the lawn here.
I have a lovely orange one called Chrysanthemum ‘Cottage Apricot’.
All these chrysanthemums are reliable November bloomers but after a few frosts and deluges they are looking a bit battered. But my favourite chrysanthemum is a late November bloomer and goes on quite unperturbed by whatever the weather throws at it. It is an old variety called ‘Chelsea Physic Garden’. It is double and a bronzey, burnt orange shade and the reverse of the petals are gold.
After all the rain and frost ‘Chelsea Physic Garden’ is still looking fabulous. I took the next photo in the rain today.
If your garden is looking dreary in autumn then chrysanthemums give lovely spots of colour and they are long lasting in flower arrangements.
People who follow my post will know that I am crazy about nerines. The last one to bloom in the greenhouse is Nerine undulata. The flowers are smaller than those of my other nerines but they appear in profusion and they are quite charming . The petals of the pale pink flowers are crinkled and frilly. Clive Boyce who used to be the President of The Alpine Society and has many unusual and rare plants gave it to me more than twenty years ago and it has lived in a pot ever since. He assured me that it was hardy and could live outside but the flowers are so late that I think November frosts would kill them. It has more than forty blooms and although nerines bloom best when they are pot bound I think this potful is more than ready to be split and repotted.
Sternbergia lutea is sometimes known as the Autumn Daffodil but I can’t think why it looks more like a crocus than a daffodil. In fact it is neither, it belongs to the Amaryllidoideae family. I love Reginald Farrer’s description of it ‘gleaming goblets sitting close to the ground through the saddest hours of weeping autumn‘. It needs a spot where it can soak up the sun to do well. I have a clump in semi-shade which I keep forgetting to move. Each year it has masses of bright green leaves but doesn’t bloom. The one in the photo is in full sun and never lets me down.
Of course there are plenty of autumn blooming crocuses, I don’t know why I don’t have lots more and drifts of all different ones. Next year I will certainly get some more. They are readily available. They are nice in pots in the greenhouse too. The one I have is Crocus specicosus ‘Conqueror’ I took the photo today and it is very gloomy so the blooms aren’t open. They are a lovely colour.
I showed my autumn -blooming snowdrop, Galanthus reginae-olgae last month but this month another clump is looking even better with loads of blooms. I appreciate this snowdrop particularly because my other autumn flowering ones, Galanthus ‘Barnes’ and G.’Remember, Remember’ seem to have disappeared. Reginae-olgae is very dependable and clumps up beautifully. It does appreciate a bit of bonemeal now and again and enough water.
Mahonia x media ‘Charity’ and ‘Winter Sun’ are indistinguishable to me. I have both, they were here when I arrived and the previous owner clearly liked mahonias because they are all over the place. I know a lot of people don’t like them because they are popular in municipal planting, but I like the structure of their spiky foliage. They have to be pruned each year to stop them getting leggy and producing their racemes of yellow flowers over your head. I appreciate them particularly because they bloom in November when flowering shrubs are scarce.
I do try to feature seasonal blooms each month but in November there are slim pickings so I have to resort to flowers which are looking wonderful even though they are out of season. I have a lovely anemone which should be in bloom in summer but it is still looking stunning. It is called Anemone x hybrida ‘Dreaming Swan’. I have an anemone called ‘Wild Swan’ which isn’t nearly as good as this and anyway it finished blooming months ago. The blooms of this one are semi-double and white tinged with violet.
The flowers of my hydrangeas have turned to lovely antique shades now but I have one which is as fresh as the summer time blooms. It is ‘Ayesha’ grown from a cutting from my old garden. Hydrangeas are very easy from cuttings. This is one of my favourites with its heads of little incurved flowers.
I have a little shrub which somebody gave me and it is something that I have never grown before. The label says Rhaphiolepsis ‘Crimson’. I have looked it up and Rhaphiolepsis ‘Coates Crimson’ is supposed to bloom in spring and summer so I am confused. Is this something different or does it bloom again in autumn? Anyway it is blooming happily in the greenhouse as I am not quite sure whether or not it is hardy, perhaps somebody could enlighten me.
I have one more to go and I am puzzled as to what to write about, after all I want to leave some blooms which have started blooming now for December. I am going to have to finish with another summer straggler. It is a very confused Phygelius capensis ‘African Queen’. It should be blooming in August but shush, don’t say anything, it is a pleasure to have it now.
So there we have it, I just managed ten. If you have any November blooms to share I would love to see them, it doesn’t have to be ten, even one would be lovely during these ever darkening days of November.