Six on Saturday. November Stars.

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.

Hesperantha coccinea ‘Cindy Towe’

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.

Ageratina ligustrina

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.

Serratula tinctoria var. se

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.

Persicaria amplexicaulis ‘Orange Field’ with Salvia ‘Waverley’

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.

Dahlia imperialis hybrid

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.

Camellia sasanqua

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.

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43 Responses to Six on Saturday. November Stars.

  1. Noelle M says:

    So you are the same opinion as I am regarding Serratula tinctoria var. seoanei. I wonder how tall yours grows and how long it took to get to that sized clump. Like yours mine is flowering at about the same time and a real beauty, though I think I shall move mine to my gravel garden . Do you know whether it would be best to do that now or next spring? How nice to be able to peer up into that exotic Dahlia.

    • Chloris says:

      You have serratula too? You don’t see it very often, I don’t know why as it is so pretty. Mine has been there about 4 years, it doesn’t grow very tall. I think I would wait until spring to move it.

  2. You are having a lovely autumn with plenty of colorful blooms. My camellia has started to flower also.

    • Chloris says:

      So far November has been wonderful here but I think we are in for some changes, frost forecast for next weekend will probably ruin my camellia. I don’t suppose you have this problem.

      • We usually don’t have a problem with the cold. I have serveral varieties so I have blooms from October through spring. Although, one year in the 1980’s we had a horrible freeze that actually broke pipes in houses and killed many camellias. They fell out of favor with many after that. I live on the edge of the Piney Woods and the camellias love the acid from the pine needles or pine straw as we call it.

  3. I have a pink Hesperantha but I think I’ll have to look out for a red one now. Lovely.

  4. fredgardener says:

    I never grew hesperantha so far, but it will be for next year. Thanks to Jim, I will grow hesperantha huttonii. I don’t know the colour but I’m sure it will be pretty.
    Gorgeous serratula flowers and these dahlias imperialis … lovely with the blue sky! 😍

  5. Cathy says:

    A lovely selection. Do you have to cover your Camellia when frost is forecast? The dahlia looks gorgeous against that blue sky.

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Cathy. Yes, that is the problem with autumn flowering camellias. It has lived in the greenhouse so far, but I have run out of room so it has to take its chances outside.

  6. Jim Stephens says:

    ‘Cindy Towe’ goes onto the wanted list, I’d chuck the red ones I have now out if I got one that stood up. I have a good home ready for the Dahlia too. The Camellia looks like ‘Hugh Evans’.

    • Chloris says:

      Cindy Towe is tall, she stands up beautifully and the colour is richer and more intense than any of the others. Do seek her out. Thank you for the camellia name, I lost it years ago.

  7. Eliza Waters says:

    A lovely six, Liz. You always have unique blooms to share. I liked Ageratina, but sadly, it is not frost hardy, we are 4 zones too cold. Serratula tinctoria is also one I’d grow… is it a big self-sower?

  8. Kris P says:

    The tree dahlia is something that’s tempted me for years. It’s height is intimidating but the biggest obstacle for me is that it’s said to need protection from the wind, which is difficult for me to provide in my garden. The local botanic garden had one in a sheltered spot for years but, when they recently dismantled the cozy corner it had been fit into, they pulled the plant as well.

    • Chloris says:

      Oh yes, the tree dahlias do need a sheltered spot as they are heavy and have brittle stems, they are difficult to stake. But they are worth every effort to grow them.

  9. Cathy says:

    An interesting six from you, Chloris – but that’s hardly surprising! Like others, I think I shall be looking out for the serratula and that hesperantha too. I empathise with you about the dahlias as I have been harbouring similar feelings myself! I shall still be lifting mine but will mulch some salvias this year for the first time

    • Chloris says:

      I have too many dahlias to dig up although it is chore covering them all up too as I have so many. I haven’t tried mulching salvias they must take their chance altough I have cuttings of course.

  10. Hello, nice to come across your blog in The Propagator’s SOS comments section. Am relatively new to the SOS thing. I particuarly like your photo of the Salvia with the Persicaria, so fresh in the sunshine despite it being November. Salvias are among my favourites.

  11. snowbird says:

    What beauties you have in flower. Cindy Towe is such a beauty and that tree Dahlia is just stunning. How I would love to gaze up into those flowers. I shall take your advice re caring for Dahlias over winter, it’s a pain digging them all

  12. Ann Mackay says:

    I love the camellia – very pretty!

    • Chloris says:

      The camellia is pretty. I would like a few more autumn flowering ones but the frost can zap the flowers. There is a nursery near here that has the national collection of Camellia sasanqua and they make a lovely show.

  13. All lovely. I don’t know the serratula, very pretty. The hybid dahlia is fabulous!

    • Chloris says:

      I hope the treee dahlias will com back next year. I can’t be bothered to dig them up and Dahlia imperialis isn’t as hardy as the ordinary ones. Still I do have some cuttings in the greenhouse.

  14. Anna says:

    The tree dahlias are rather special. How long from seed to flower? I’m sure that you will dazzle the world yet Chloris with a gem of a new flower 😄

    • Chloris says:

      The tree dahlias grew and matured in the first year from seed. Unfortunately this was the only one to open its buds before the frost. Well, I’ve been hoping for something special to appear all unexpected in my gaŕden for years now. But you never know.

  15. That Dahlia slays me…as does the Camellia. Yum. You have a long bloom time for your Dahlias…wow!

  16. Heyjude says:

    A fabulous six from you, you always have such interesting plants to show us. Your garden must be wonderful all year round, and I’m sure I’ve said that before! I’m sure it is the wet that kills off so many of my perennials as we get so few frosts here, but my garden is very exposed.

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Jude, I do try to have something to enjoy in the garden all year. Yes winter wet does a lot of damage and in Cornwall you grow world class slugs and snails. But then you have the most glorious spring display and so early.

  17. Annette says:

    I have the feeling that slugs ate the flower bits of my dahlia imperialis as they don’t show any sign up to now. How tall is yours? I saw a pink hesperantha the other day and think I may give it a go. Had them in Ireland and I’m not sure how they like it here. My C. sasanqua has been stunning this year too. It so drought tolerant too. Hope all is well with you both. Happy days xx

    • Chloris says:

      Slugs love dahlias I always have problems with the first shoots. The tree dahliias vary in size as they are hybrids, the tallest is about 8 feet tall. Hesperantha needs a damp soil.
      I will email you soon to give you more details about our exciting news.

      • Annette says:

        As the tree dahlia flowers so late, frost is always a threat…as this year. Guess it should be in a sunnier spot as well. Looking forward to hearing from you xx

  18. tonytomeo says:

    Dahlia imperialis was a fad in and around Santa Cruz for a few years, but then suddenly disappeared. I mean, within a few years, established plants just stopped regenerating, and were not replaced! I dislike fads, but I sort of would not mind if Dahlia imperialis made a comeback.

    • Chloris says:

      You don’t see Dahlia imperialis here because it is so late flowering that the frost usually gets to it before it has chance to bloom. These new hybrids are supposed to be hardier.

      • tonytomeo says:

        I did not consider that. The bases of their stems survive through winter here, and can get an early start as winter ends. We prefer to cut them to the ground before they do that, in order to stimulate new basal growth that blooms better. They can start blooming before October, and continue late. I do not remember when they stop blooming.

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