End of Month View – November 2011

It’s been a difficult past week with lots going on in the family so I was going to give the End of Month View a miss, especially as at the end of November there is nothing  really to show what was happening in the garden.    However, having had a read the EOMV of  Alison at The Blackberry Garden and  Janet at Plantaliscious to name but two, I  changed my mind.   Even though we are now in the first week in December, I thought I should take a look at what was going on in the garden, so I can review it this time next year.   After all, that is what Helen’s End of Month View is all about.

The lawn is soggy and felt like walking on a sponge this morning as I squelched my way across it.   My garden faces East/West and has very little sun in the Autumn and none in the Winter, this is mainly due to the ivy growing in abundance around the garden.  I really must tackle it again now I can reach it across the flower beds, although it does seem to thrive on being savagely cut.

The ferns, in what I lovingly refer to as “my damp corner”, are looking wonderful and healthy,  ideal for Winter flower arrangements.  I am dreadful at making a note of the name of some of the plants in the garden and I can’t remember for the life of me what the glossy fern is.  I am delighted to see that after taking a few years of doing nothing it seems to have taken off  this year.

I tidied up the bed at the end of the garden, and chopped all the hardy geraniums down to the ground which uncovered  the Agapanthus,  which is throwing up new shoots.  I have pegged a bamboo cloche over them and will cover it in fleece if we have very hard frost.   This seems to work well as frost protection and also makes the beds look a little more interesting than plastic cloches, although I also use them.

In October, the Holly was bursting with berries and I took lots of photos so I could make Christmas cards.  How lucky was that?  Now all the berries have gone.   I posted a question on Gardens Weekly Facebook page  for any ideas why this has happened.  The general consensus of opinion was that this can happen for a variety of reasons but nothing to worry about.  I hope not but it would have been good to have berries on the Holly so I could make a wreath for the front door, but I have my Christmas cards. so I shouldn’t grumble.

We have all remarked on how the mild weather has meant that the gardens are still pleasing us with flowers that should have been long gone by now.   As I was walking around the garden with my camera, I saw the lovely rosehips that are on the Golden Showers rose, then I noticed that it too is still flowering.

I am really not sure what to do about this rose.  It grows straight and tall, like a tree, and the ivy is wrapping itself around the stems.  Some of the branches are a good 8 ft high.   It is probably the ivy that  keeps it from falling over.  The problem is that there is about  4 ft of bare stem, which is probably due to bad pruning.  It is a lovely rose and I am worried that if I give it a hard prune it will just not flower again – any advice on this please?

While I am asking advice, this is my Elderflower – Sambus Nigra.

I am truly amazed at the height it has grown this year.  At the beginning of the year I drastically pruned it down to about 3 ft, and then panicked that it was never going to recover.   Unfortunately, it only flowered on the lower stems so there were very few berries, when in previous years it has been laden.  Clearly I had taken out the branches that were due to flower this year.  I would like it to be a little shorter so please can I have some help on the best way/time to prune this massive tree and manage to have lots of flowers and berries again next year.

Ten years ago I was bought a very small Olive Tree by my daughters.   It has flowered for the past few years and this year it has tiny little olives, silly how little things are quite exciting!

Lastly,  a little visit to the front garden.    The Iceberg rose is still flowering and will do so well beyond Christmas, it has been known to flower all year round.    The berries on the Skimmia have remained on the bush throughout the year and are making up for no berries on the Holly.   The Cotoneaster is looking good too, although I can never work out what it is living off because it is growing in the wall.

The main thing that struck me today was that I no longer like gardening regardless of the weather.  There was a time, when I would be out there digging, pruning and planting no matter how cold it got.  Today, come 2:00pm my hands were red and I was feeling the cold so I packed up and came in.

Thank you Helen at Patient Gardener who runs the End of Month View meme, without whom I would not have almost a whole year in pictorial diary form to look back on in 2012.



9 thoughts on “End of Month View – November 2011

  1. These are gorgeous photos… After our October storm, the weather turned around and now we have a mild winter with some flowers blooming as in spring… Sad really because when the frost or snow comes, it will kill them and then we’d lose more flowers to the crazy weather… Phew! 🙂


  2. Hi Ronnie, sorry to hear that you have been going through it somewhat, but glad you joined in after all. It is rather wonderful to have a full record of the garden through the year, and there is clearly still plenty going on in your garden – including the rose still flowering! Beautiful photo of it by the way.


  3. I wouldn’t worry about your Holly berries, you must have some very contented birds in your garden, most of mine have gone and the berries on the Pyracantha, but then I do plant for the wildlife to enjoy them.
    I prune a third of my Elder bush back each year, taking out the oldest growth, that seems to keep it in check and I still get flowers and berries on the rest,
    You still have lots of lovely interest in your garden, enough to tempt you out for a bit !


  4. It’s nice to look back over the last year! I started doing a monthly review of my attempts at vegetable gardening and it ended up as a scene from a comedy sketch. I love your garden but it makes me homesick.
    Lovely to see all the plants with berries on in your garden just right for the birds!
    Gardening is certainly “different” here in Portugal


  5. I have a similar rose and sambuca, pruned them very hard in spring, gave them a good feed and mulch, had a major panic that it was too savage …. the plants responded very well and we had excellent flowers a few months later.
    Try planting garlic around the base of the rose, am not sure why it works but it does.

    I love your blog.


  6. Glad you joined in again this month, I think we will be struggling in December. The growth on your Elder is amazing, mine has hardly moved all year.


  7. Cotoneasters seem to sprout up anywhere in my garden even cracks in the path, I’m always pulling them up. But they are lovely at this time of year. The blackbirds love the berries. My holly still has berries on and we’ve cut some branches for christmas before the birds get to them! I love your skimmia berries they are really colourful, perhaps you can make a wreath from them instead.


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