Saturday, 15 November 2014

Border Rebellion

Would you believe it? There are still bees bumbling about in the garden and brave butterflies are being buffeted by the autumn wind. Has nobody told them that it is mid-November in rural England?


Centaurea montana 'Alba'
I garden with wildlife in mind and spend time selecting plants so that my garden can offer year-round food sources just in case a passing creature should find itself in need of refreshment. This year, in spite of all of my painstaking planning, the plants have thrown the rule book out of the window and have decided that mid-November is the time to strut their stuff. It's a fabulous party of flowers which never usually meet. Eryngium, Chaenomeles - even spring-flowering forget-me-nots have all forgotten their slot in the gardening calendar and are joining in the fun. If they hang on a bit longer, we may discover Delphinium and snowdrops having a ball.


Astrantia major 'Venice'
To post photos of every last one of this merry band of rebels might lead to you being confronted by the longest post in the history of the blogosphere, so you will doubtless be mightily relieved to learn that I am only going to show you a small selection from this mutinous and beautiful bunch.

Cerinthe major
In the annual department, we have been enjoying Cerinthe major since March. March! For the price of a packet of seeds! Other exceptional performers which don’t know when to stop are Echium vulgare 'Blue Bedder', Cosmos bipinnatus 'Purity' and Nicotiana langsdorffii. I planted Nicotiana langsdorffii in the most windswept, inhospitable corner of the garden and it stood proud and unstaked all through summer. It remains unblemished by autumn and if we don’t get a frost soon, I suspect it might keep going into winter.

Nicotiana langsdorffii 
Of the climbers, the honeysuckles have lost all sense of timing and are continuing to bloom. Good old Lonicera x brownii ‘Dropmore Scarlet’, with its red trumpets blazing, is roaring across a rabbit fence to a family reunion with its quiet winter-flowering cousin Lonicera fragrantissima.

Lonicera fragrantissima
The flowering shrubs are showing unprecendented tenacity. Most of the Hydrangeas are sporting their lovely brown papery flower heads now, but half of the Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’ plants are still in flower, with some starting to take on that tinge of pink we see as they go over. 


Hydrangea paniculata 'Limelight'
Lavandula x intermedia 'Sussex' is still throwing out new flowering stems, while Choisya ternata is showing immense confidence in British winters with masses of buds waiting to come into flower alongside the blooms which are already out. Flower buds on Cistus and Helianthemum are valiantly unfurling while in the shops, Slade are belting out "Merry Christmas Everybody". Then there are the roses. Although a number of rose cultivars flower until November, Rosa 'Rose Ball' has really impressed me. It is blooming beautifully and the flowers are holding well, with only slight damage to their outer petals, despite strong winds and rain.


Rosa 'Rose Ball'
Summer-flowering perennials appear to be blissfully unaware that they are a fortnight away from being two seasons out of season. Echinops is a real bee magnet and it is still producing new flower buds. Lamium maculatum, both 'White Nancy' and 'Beacon Silver' are blooming, as is a Delphinium! My hardy Geranium collection grows by the year which is no surprise since there are so many to choose from and we have been enjoying flowers since late spring. I could have photographed any one of six cultivars in the garden today. This one is the reliable and very beautiful 'Rozanne'. 

Geranium 'Rozanne'
I suspect that this might be my favourite ever autumn. There are seed heads and berries for the birds; pollinators have more flowers than I could have ever planned for; and frost is a distant memory.

Echinops ritro
My gratitude goes to the weather for providing a mixture of sunny and rainy shots. Special thanks go to the wind for the fuzzy photos and to the temperature for convincing the flowers that it is June. Let's face it, if you were an Echinops, would you go to the trouble of throwing out a new flower spike if you sensed frost? Without you, beautiful English weather, this post might never have been written. Thank you. 


Echium vulgare 'Blue Bedder'

I am linking this post to Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day which is hosted by May Dreams Gardens. I am now going to grab myself a warm drink and read about what is happening in gardens around the planet. Why not put on the kettle and pop over to http://www.maydreamsgardens.com/ and see what’s happening in other gardeners’ gardens? 

44 comments:

  1. Our winter jasmine is flowering. I wonder whether the really dark days have spurred it on making it think it is later in the year. The butterflies and bees are maybe trying to make up for the poor August.

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    1. It is strange that last summer's flowers are still blooming and the winter ones are already out. It's good news for these unseasonal pollinators though.

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  2. Thanks for sharing the link up!!! How wonderful to have Cerinthe major doing its thing since March! That is a plant worth repeating and for the cost my goodness....you just can't beat that! I am amazed at what is still showing its colors in your garden! To have such blooms this time of year is such a treat! Happy gardening and thank you for the inspiration!!! Nicole

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    1. Hi Nicole - thank you! Cerinthe major is a fabulous plant. The best thing is that it seeds itself around quite happily, so I am unlikely to need to buy a new packet of seeds again!

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  3. A lovely post, full of inspirational plants and writing. I'm delighted to read that there is still so much going on in Norfolk. I am living inland at the moment and the cold damp weather doesn't help the flowers. I am sure my garden in Brixham would have still have had flowers to enjoy.

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    1. Thank you. I bet Brixham will still have flowers! We are very fortunate here this year - the weather has certainly been in our favour.

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  4. Amazing! YOur garden must be gorgeous. :o) We're in the grips of a nasty Arctic blast and my garden is frozen. I grew cerinthe from seed this spring and while it was very happy under the grow lights once it went outside and learned it had been tricked into growing in Virginia, it immediately refused to do anything. I finally pulled it.

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    1. I wondered where the Arctic weather had gone this year! I am sorry to learn that Cerinthe isn't happy growing in Virginia - what a disappointment for you.

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  5. What luck! So nice when flowers stick around for a bit longer. My cosmos kept going even after a frost this year. Seems only the snow is going to stop it. Can't say I mind one bit :)

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    1. It survived frost? Wow! Hopefully the longer the summer flowers stay, the shorter the winter will be.

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  6. Isn't it nice to have the scent of honeysuckle blooms still wafting in the air at this time of the year? It's been a wonderful autumn so far and long may that continue!

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  7. There's so much still happening in your garden. I fear the plants are all mixed up this year as I have cowslips flowering beside geraniums.

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    1. I think there is perhaps more happening than there might have been had I cut everything back. I never cut back until spring because the seed heads and flower stalks provide food and shelter for wildlife. I hadn't expected that my policy of not tidying would have such colourful results. I am now regretting mowing the lawn as that is where all our cowslips grow!

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  8. It really is a matter of Spring/Autumn confusion in most UK gardens. While I delight in the flowers and mild conditions I worry about the climate! : (

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    1. I will start to worry if it happens every year, but this year I will enjoy the mild autumn as a rare gift, especially as it isn't many years since autumn planting was halted in its tracks by snow. Let's hope I'm not being an ostrich.

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  9. It's amazing that so much is still blooming in your garden. Wonderful range of flowers. Rozanne is one of my favourites:)
    Have a nice weekend.

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    1. Thank you! I'm not surprised that Rozanne is one of your favourites. It's lovely!

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  10. Your weather must be taking some twists and turns. It does make for a lovely combination of blooms! We've had two snow events.....hardly storms. It never accumulated but was depressing!

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    1. Argh. The trouble with snow is I get all excited for it sticking and then once it has been around a day or two, I get bored with it. I never get bored of sunny days though. Strange...

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  11. Even this far north, plants are confused. It's nice to see them isn't it. I just wish there was some bees about to enjoy the blooms I have.
    Lovely blooms this November.

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    1. I am surprised at how many bees there are about still: I wish you had some too.

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  12. Fabulous! Note to self: move east.

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  13. Wow, your plants are having a very nice mix-up! Astransia is gorgeous. I wish cerinthe did well here but I suspect it gets too hot. 'Rose Ball' is lovely.

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    1. I'm sorry Cerinthe doesn't do well for you and I agree with you about 'Rose Ball' and Astrantia. Astrantia major seeds itself around very happily here and it is always a very welcome addition to a new border. I love the foliage - it is still looking good in December.

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  14. I'm enjoying your bounty, especially since an early blast has decimated most everything around here.

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    1. Oh that's a shame for you. Eventually winter will get these beauties, so every day with them in the garden is a bonus.

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  15. You have so much there still going on, it's lovely to see your photographs. I cut a lot of stuff back when expecting frost. My plot is looking a little bare now.

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    1. I never cut back plants in autumn. I view the stems as shelters for our wilder friends and keep them in the garden until early spring. They add to the winter garden by making wonderful silhouettes against the low winter sun and they always look fab with frost or snow on them.

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  16. You have a lovely collection of plants still in flower, this year has been a perfect gardening year hasn’t it? I just hope we get another frost-free winter, that would be the icing on the cake :-)

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    1. Ha! We can hope, although I do like a little snow now and then (note the use of the word, 'little'!)

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  17. It is all a bit mad, isn't it ! I actually do have a delphinium out at the moment.
    There is something surreal about plants meeting each other, when really, it should never happen! Some of my roses still believe it is June, and the ridiculously named 'Sexy Rexy' looks as luscious as it does in midsummer!

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    1. It has been amazing - such a treat! Summer will be here before we know it. We are being truly spoilt.

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  18. How much fun to see summer bloomers! Plants keep their own schedules, that is certain. Mild weather often lingers for months around here, but not this year! I am afraid the hard frost we are expecting tonight will but a stop to the few blooms left in my own garden.

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    1. Sorry about the hard frost. We have had some here now, but there are areas of the garden which are sheltered enough to have not been affected. Some parts of the garden are new this year and I have discovered a frost pocket in one of the borders. At least I know now and can adjust the planting accordingly.

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  19. Oh what a beautiful rose! I wish my garden had as many blooms as yours this time of year! Sadly, pretty much everything has succumbed to our freezing temperatures. I shall enjoy looking at yours!

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    1. That's one of the great joys of the blogosphere! I do enjoy seeing posts from countries where plants are in active growth at this time of year - it's good for my spirits!

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  20. You are showing me unusual flowers! I have never seen these vareties here. Thans for sharing!

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    1. My pleasure. Thank you for reading the post and commenting.

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  21. Hi Sarah, I saw a bee out in mid-November, I think it was trying it on with the pansies. The weather has been so mild that there is still the odd rose blooming and the spring-flowering Choisya finished a second flowering in the last fortnight. I hope the coming winter is short and spring starts early, there's still a lot of restoration work to do in the garden!

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    1. I bet you're still out there restoring! I got back from London today and went straight into the garden. It was sunny and the soil was workable - bliss!

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  22. Sarah, your resolution to learn to love your weeds is very nice but I hate them especially the dandelion! I always try to take them away of my garden!

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    1. I am with you all the way with dandelions!

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