It’s Bloomin’ November


The mophead hydrangeas are having their moment.

I inherited several and moved most to positions where they would offend me the least in their gaudy summer livery. Maybe they don’t warrant close inspection at this time of year but it’s the faded, shabby chic stage that has saved them from an appointment with the man and his winch. It was on my list to cut some of the flowers for drying and then along came the October storms. Oh well.



Some are taking on bluer tones now as they adapt to the more acid conditions of the woodland floor




If they were ever named varieties the identities have been lost in the mists of time



The grand old dames are joined by an increasing number of Hydrangea paniculata. ‘Pinky Winky’ was slow to colour up but the lower temperatures of recent nights seem to have done the trick.



Rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’


November may seem an odd time for rusty duck to be re-entering the world of Bloom Day but there is still beauty to be had, even if we do have to look harder for it.



The rich purple foliage of Persicaria microcephala ‘Red Dragon’ has provided a stunning backdrop for astilbes, echinacea, crocosmia and other neighbours throughout the summer and now her own clusters of diminutive white blooms are coming to the fore.



Hesperantha coccinea ‘Major’

It’s been flowering for weeks and is still going strong.



Alstroemeria ‘Princess Diana’

An old fashioned plant now perhaps but it provides me with a reliable drift of colour for months on end. For that I’m prepared to sacrifice a little bit of ‘cool’.



Hardy fuchsias the same. The garden was overrun with the things when we took it on and I’ve dug up very many. But on the precipitous bank they’ve been blooming non stop since July. The raging storms of October and the recent sub zero temperatures have barely left a mark so far and they look brilliant with grasses. I wouldn’t be without them now either.



Gentiana ‘Cairngorm’

Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today. I saw this bloom, just the one, poking up out of the alpine trough a few days ago. But it was getting late. And cold. Coffee time was approaching. And it would still be there for a photo opportunity the next morning, yes? Well, sort of. This is its good side. The slugs nobbled it overnight.



Salvia ‘Wendy’s Wish’

The wretched molluscs have had this one too. According to the RHS ‘Wendy’s Wish’ is supposed to be three feet high. Mine is six inches. And only in the last couple of weeks, since slug activity has fallen off, has she been permitted to bloom. I did take cuttings though. Which are doing very well. Next year I’ll try again.



And speaking of sage.. Pineapple Sage

I bought a pot of it for the kitchen thinking it was ordinary culinary sage. I’ve since learned that it’s a really good idea to take your reading glasses with you while plant shopping. We used it once. But it’s given me the bonus of blooms. And the slugs, it appears, are not so fond of pineapple. After a few tentative early munchings they left it alone. It has reached three feet high.



The sedums are colouring up..



Rose ‘Desdemona’

And we still have roses..



Rosa mutabilis

..including the one which has become my very favourite.


So November is not looking entirely shabby is it?


Linking to Carol and Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day (here) at May Dreams Gardens, where you will find many more November bloomers from around the world.


2017-11-25T10:19:28+00:00November 15th, 2017|Tags: |


  1. karen November 15, 2017 at 8:46 am - Reply

    How beautiful. So much colour still. I keep trying to find that salvia Wendy’s Wish. Such a lovely colour. It’s certainly a blooming November for you Jessica. All the best, karen (ps, is it just me, but there are two pages of coding at the top of your post. I don’t know what it means.)

    • Jessica November 15, 2017 at 8:58 am - Reply

      Thanks Karen. And for letting me know about the coding problem too. I’ve tried to replicate it, on Firefox, Safari and iPad, but haven’t been able to so far. Anyone else have this issue?

  2. derrickjknight November 15, 2017 at 8:56 am - Reply

    More beautiful photographs. I wish you well next year with Wendy

    • Jessica November 17, 2017 at 6:55 pm - Reply

      Thanks.. it might need the wish! 🙂

  3. New Moons For Old November 15, 2017 at 9:11 am - Reply

    Gorgeous amounts of colour. Thomas Hood did November a disservice with his well-known poem. I can definitely understand your feelings towards Rosa mutabilis – single roses are so often overlooked in favour of their more bosomy sisters.

    • Jessica November 17, 2017 at 6:59 pm - Reply

      I agree. I’ll always love the David Austin flamboyance but the single ones are rather special too. This one starts off pink then takes on increasingly apricot tones as it matures. It ends up with both pink and orange on the same bush.

  4. Anne November 15, 2017 at 9:24 am - Reply

    We are so lucky to have colour at this time of year, and yours is lovely. I seem to remember you trialled nematodes once, a while back. Did you continue, or give up with them like I did?

    • Jessica November 17, 2017 at 7:06 pm - Reply

      Ha! Gave up. Nematodes may well work if the bed is relatively isolated (surrounded on each side by three acres of sharp gravel) but for me it certainly didn’t. And they were so expensive. As well as a faff to apply. I have to confess I’ve grown no vegetables this year, just salad leaves and tomatoes in the greenhouse. Between slugs, rabbits, deer, blight.. it was just becoming impossible.

  5. VP November 15, 2017 at 9:46 am - Reply

    No coding seen here in Chippenham Jessica 🙂 I think the mophead hydrangeas come into their own this time of the year* – I prefer their faded glory to the sugar pink we have around here when they’re in flower. I’m drying some to make a wreath this year, fingers crossed.

    * = code for I’ve hidden the bush in a corner of the garden behind the apple tree so I don’t usually see the flowers until I start picking the apples or the leaves drop of the tree 😉

    • Jessica November 17, 2017 at 7:13 pm - Reply

      Good luck with the wreath, that sounds lovely. I’ve shifted most of our hydrangeas into trees as well. A flash of pink glimpsed between trunks does look OK. Same with some of the more strident of the rhododendrons that I also inherited.

  6. surreycottage November 15, 2017 at 10:49 am - Reply

    Ha! You have identified a random interloper for me – one single Hesperantha coccinea had popped up next to a hydrangea cutting gifted to me by a neighbour. Now I know what it is, I’ll be hunting the garden centres for more. My birthday rose (The Generous Gardener) has just finished flowering against the garden wall, the leaves are all gone from the copper beech, and the leaves on my Cotinus provide the only colour at the moment. The garden looks tired – but bide a wee, for I have plans (and lists and gardening catalogues, LOL).

    • Jessica November 17, 2017 at 7:16 pm - Reply

      Plans are the things to have! I shall be spending many of these long dark evenings researching shade plants. By the time Spring comes around again the list could be quite extensive..

      • surreycottage November 21, 2017 at 12:32 pm - Reply

        Ooh yes, plants for shade (got more areas like that than those in full sun, courtesy of that copper beech). I may be investing in checkerberry plants (Gaultheria procumbens) – there’s a lovely article in one of my favourite magazines that makes great use of them and they’d provide a welcome splash of red at this time of year.
        I’m an inveterate list-maker – I have special notebooks for my WishLists, much to my husband’s amusement!

        • Jessica November 24, 2017 at 8:25 pm - Reply

          The Gaultheria would look great planted in a group under a tree. Love that pic on google with the frost rimmed leaves.

  7. sigrun November 15, 2017 at 11:09 am - Reply

    Your novembergarden is looking beautiful. I love hydrangeas and have some of it, my favorite is Limelight and the little *Bobo*.
    In my region it is 6 ° today and the sun isn’t there. Cats don’t want to go out, me too!


    • Jessica November 17, 2017 at 7:21 pm - Reply

      We’ve had a lot of those days too. Mostly rain. Today though, glorious sunshine. Cold but no wind. I was digging Enchanter’s Nightshade out of the woodland by the barrow load. Tomorrow.. back to rain.

  8. Lea @ Lea's Menagerie November 15, 2017 at 11:37 am - Reply

    I enjoyed your GBBD post. ‘Princess Diana’ is fabulous, and I love the Sedum!
    Happy Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day!

    • Jessica November 17, 2017 at 7:26 pm - Reply

      Thanks Lea. The sedums seem late this year. I chop them back in May to keep them compact. Perhaps I was a little over-enthusiastic!

  9. Peter/Outlaw November 15, 2017 at 3:07 pm - Reply

    November looks far from shabby in your garden! An impressive array of beautiful blooms!

    • Jessica November 17, 2017 at 7:27 pm - Reply

      Thanks Peter. Luckily for me the shabby areas were hiding from the camera.

  10. hb November 15, 2017 at 3:29 pm - Reply

    November isn’t so bad. I’m not sure about Hydrangeas here–but yet they stay. There’s something about a completely effortless plant, I suppose.

    • Jessica November 17, 2017 at 7:30 pm - Reply

      Completely effortless is good. And they give me at least a square yard of weed free ground apiece. That’s not to be sniffed at either.

  11. Dorothy Borders November 15, 2017 at 3:53 pm - Reply

    Welcome back to Bloom Day! I do love your hydrangeas, so beautiful and colorful right up to the end.

    • Jessica November 17, 2017 at 7:31 pm - Reply

      Thanks Dorothy. They look good all through winter too, with their lovely rusty tones. Especially with frost on them.

  12. offtheedgegardening November 15, 2017 at 7:59 pm - Reply

    There is still plenty going on, you might just have to look a little closer, sometimes with your glasses! Lovely x

    • Jessica November 17, 2017 at 7:36 pm - Reply

      I have to take them with me when I go out with the camera. Or I can’t read the display.

  13. Diana Studer November 15, 2017 at 9:15 pm - Reply

    Pineapple sage has nectar – our sunbirds like it.

    • Jessica November 17, 2017 at 7:37 pm - Reply

      I remember sunbirds from Australia. Gorgeous little things.

  14. Kris P November 15, 2017 at 10:07 pm - Reply

    Wow, there’s a LOT going on in your November garden! I think I like the cone of the spent Rudbeckia even better than its full-flowered form. The Alstroemeria blooms surprised me as mine seem inclined only to bloom during spring – perhaps they’re intimidated by the intensity of our summer heat and only gather up the courage to reappear in the spring but I shall look for ‘Princess Diana’ to see if she’s more resilient. Happy GBBD!

    • Jessica November 17, 2017 at 7:45 pm - Reply

      It’s the first time I’ve managed to keep the rudbeckia cones, or rudbeckia flowers come to that. Usually something consumes them as soon as I put them in the ground.

  15. CherryPie November 15, 2017 at 10:52 pm - Reply

    Wonderful colour for this time of year 🙂

    • Jessica November 17, 2017 at 7:45 pm - Reply

      November is the new October!

  16. annamadeit November 15, 2017 at 11:35 pm - Reply

    I know what you mean about the Hydrangeas. With a few exceptions, I tend to like most of them best in their autumnal dress. Fuchias, on the other hand – well I love those! Total work horse goodness – at least where I am. Fabulous shot of the Pineapple sage, and I’m with Kris on the Rudbeckia – those left-over cones are wonderful!

    • Jessica November 17, 2017 at 7:46 pm - Reply

      I’m hoping I can keep the cones over winter. Imagine how they will look frosted!

  17. Beth @ PlantPostings November 16, 2017 at 2:17 am - Reply

    Your November looks glorious! Those Hydrangea blooms never fail to please. Happy Bloom Day!

    • Jessica November 17, 2017 at 7:49 pm - Reply

      Thanks Beth. They’re lovely aren’t they. Shame I missed picking them before the storms pulled them about. I shall have to try and keep the ones I cut last year.

  18. Pauline November 16, 2017 at 6:20 am - Reply

    Your hydrangeas are beautiful with their faded glory, lovely for picking at this time of year. Fuchsias never seem to want to stop flowering, they are such good work horses in the garden.

    • Jessica November 17, 2017 at 7:51 pm - Reply

      The fuchsias have survived two sub zero mornings now, I wonder how much longer. They are in a reasonably sheltered spot so maybe I’ll be lucky.

  19. Susan Garrett November 16, 2017 at 11:08 pm - Reply

    There is still lots of interest in the garden isn’t there. We didn’t find pineapple sage to be hardy so you may want to take some cuttings as an insurance policy. If it isn’t too late for cuttings.

    • Jessica November 17, 2017 at 7:53 pm - Reply

      Worth a try. I wasn’t going to keep it until I saw the flowers. It’s worth having even if just as an ornamental.

  20. germac4 November 17, 2017 at 12:25 am - Reply

    Love all the colour in your garden .. I will look out for Red Dragon .. red is such a great colour amongst others in the garden… also love your Alstroemerias .. I ‘ve just noticed a cluster of them in a neighbouring garden … very rewarding to have so much blooming in November.. all that rain is worth it!

    • Jessica November 17, 2017 at 7:58 pm - Reply

      The leaves of the ‘Red Dragon’ (more of a purple) act as a really good foil for so many summer blooms. And it does relieve the endless green of so much of the perennial foliage. Perhaps just a little less rain..

  21. Torrington Tina November 17, 2017 at 10:06 am - Reply

    What a great variety of colour in your garden. The Persicaria you gave me has settled in and has had a few flowers. Alstroemeria ‘Princess Diana’is a lovely colour to have at this time of year. Do you have Salvia uliginosa? That has not been troubled by slugs here and the sky blue flowers have been going for weeks, they even stood up to Storm Brian. Lovely blog as usual.

    • Jessica November 17, 2017 at 8:05 pm - Reply

      Oh good, I’m glad the persicaria settled in. Its parent, the original one, sits next to your Crocosmia ‘Carmen Brilliant’. They work really well together. I don’t have Salvia uliginosa. Looks interesting..

  22. Island Threads November 17, 2017 at 2:01 pm - Reply

    some lovely booms Jessica, the steep slope must be looking quite good now, Frances

    • Jessica November 17, 2017 at 8:10 pm - Reply

      Thanks Frances. The slope is coming on. I don’t suppose I’ll ever be completely happy with it because it’s such a challenge to get right. Parts of it look good. But then next year the plants may grow to different proportions entirely!

      • Island Threads November 17, 2017 at 8:24 pm - Reply

        plants growing differently every year is something I have come to embrace as it means there is always hope, there are so many variables in gardening, nature and the weather are always going to put their stamp on it, so enjoy the things you like in the moment, tomorrow, next week, month, year it will be something different, Frances

        • Jessica November 19, 2017 at 8:51 pm - Reply

          That’s very true Frances, the essential challenge and opportunity of gardening. Hopefully some of the things that didn’t work this year I’ll have a chance to put right next time around.

  23. Island Threads November 17, 2017 at 2:02 pm - Reply

    ok! so that should be BLOOMS! must hit the keys harder, F

    • Jessica November 17, 2017 at 8:10 pm - Reply

      Could have been worse… 😉

  24. smallsunnygarden November 17, 2017 at 6:16 pm - Reply

    Must admit my jaw dropped a bit when the shot of your Hesperantha popped up – I do love the bulb family and especially the brilliantly colored ones. And speaking of brilliant, my attempts with pineapple sage have always succumbed to the full blast of summer, so I’m admiring yours doubly. Also Wendy’s Wish. I wonder whether the slugs are any less destructive with the more pungent salvias?

    • Jessica November 17, 2017 at 8:23 pm - Reply

      You could have something there. Some salvias have psychoactive chemicals that cause hallucinations. So I have read.. not tried it obviously! If the slugs start acting strangely around here I’ll know why.

      • Cathy November 19, 2017 at 9:44 am - Reply

        Clearly the pineapple sage doesn’t…. or maybe it did..,? 😉

        • Jessica November 19, 2017 at 9:32 pm - Reply

          Both the slugs and the humans tested the pineapple sage and neither went back for more. I don’t remember any psychedelic trips. Perhaps we just didn’t have enough of it.

  25. Brian Skeys November 17, 2017 at 11:23 pm - Reply

    Hydrangeas and Fuchsias are not fashionable plants at the moment, although hydrangeas are starting to become fashionable. I do like fuchsia for their non stop flowering this time of year.

    • Jessica November 19, 2017 at 8:56 pm - Reply

      I held back on my instinct to rip everything out of this garden I didn’t like and now I’m so glad I did. Not only do they fill up an awful lot of space but some of them really add to the planting too. The lovely faded hydrangeas and as you say, the non stop fuchsias looking so good against the yellows and oranges of the autumn foliage.

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