I try to grow something exciting for each month of the year so there is always something to look forward. Of course, as we slide into winter it becomes more difficult. But November is not a problem. I wrote about my chrysanthemums recently and they are really the stars of my November garden, but there are other blooms to give me pleasure as the gloom intensifies.
I grow quite a few hesperantha, ( we don’t call them schizostylis anymore, thank goodness; I could never spell it.) I have pink ones and white ones and they are pretty, but most of them flop about rather. The new one I acquired this year is tall, but doesn’t flop. It is also absolutely stunning with bright red, satiny flowers. It is called Hesperantha coccinea ”Cindy Towe’. It was found as a seedling by June Towe in her garden near Ludlow, she named it after her dog. I always carefully grow on seedlings that appear in my garden, hoping for something amazing like this or the Oriental poppy, ‘Patty’s Plum’ which was found on a compost heap. I am still waiting to dazzle the horticultural world with something stunning like this fabulous hesperantha.
Another new acquisition this year is a shrub called Ageratina ligustrina, which means it has privet-type leaves. I read that this is a late summer, early autumn flowering shrub but mine is in full bloom right now. It needs a sunny spot and I am not quite sure of its hardiness as it comes from Mexico. It is a great plant for bees and butterflies if they are still about as late as this. This is another plant which has had a name change. It used to be called Eupatorium ligustrinum.
I have a late -flowering little plant with similar shaped, tufty flowers to the ageratina. It is called Serratula tinctoria var. seoanei. If that is too much of a mouthful, I can’t help it, I didn’t name it. It is a very pretty knapweed -like plant and belongs to the thistle family, although it is not spiny. I grow it in my Mediterranean garden. All the books say it blooms in August and September, but my plant hasn’t read the books. Having said that it has been in bloom for weeks. I wouldn’t be without it.
Persicarias are great summer-flowering plants, although some of them can be quite invasive. Most of them have finished blooming in my garden long ago, but Persicaria amplexicaulis ‘Orange Field’ is fabulous and is still blooming away happily. I grow it with Salvia ‘Waverley’. We are forecast frosts next week, but never mind I have plenty of cuttings of this lovely salvia in the greenhouse.
My dahlias have been blooming since the end of June and although they haven’t been frosted yet I have started to cut them down. It sounds ungrateful to say I am getting fed up with them as they have been magnificent for months, but I want to start tidying up. I don’t dig up my dahlias, I have far too many. When I have cut them down, I cover the tubers with several layers of newspaper and then a mulch of wood chippings. I never lose any this way and I am convinced that it is winter wet that kills them rather than cold. But I am leaving my tree dahlias until the last minute. They are tall and majestic and some of them are blooming way above my head. They are not all in flower as Dahlia imperialis blooms very late in the season and in the UK will usually get zapped by frost before all the buds have a chance to develop. But even without flowers the giant plants are a fine addition to my exotic garden. They are all different and the seeds are the results of complex crosses made with the tree dahlia, Dahlia Imperialis and other species dahlias by Dr. Keith Hammett in New Zealand. I am very grateful to Matthew Long for giving me the seeds and an opportunity to grow something new and exciting.
I will finish with my first camellia into bloom. It is the autumn flowering Camellia sasanqua, I can’t remember its name but it is very pretty and a welcome addition to the November garden.
Many thanks to The Propagator for hosting this Saturday meme where bloggers discuss everything horticultural as long as they keep to the rule of six.