Monday, November 18, 2019

November Happenings in the Cottage Garden

The Serenity Garden after a killing frost early in November.

I didn't write a 'this month in the garden' blog at the end of October because my computer was in the repair shop, so I decided to post my November one early. In the pictures, taken from the beginning of the month until today, you can see that many greens rapidly became browns. You will also note that I haven't yet finished 'putting the garden to bed' so to speak. I'm trying to accomplish a little each day, but it's difficult because I can't tolerate the extreme cold. The temperature is low enough that our nearby ski slopes have opened much earlier than any other year since their beginning. Nevertheless, I'm battling-on with the fall tasks even though the temperature is more like January. I finished the digging up, but I'm still cleaning up and covering up

Digging up: I dug up the tender bulbs -- cannas and caladium, storing them in the basement with some calla lily bulbs my friend gave me.

Cleaning up: I've cleaned up most of the beds by removing flowers and vegetables with brown and shriveled foliage. I cut down beebalm and phlox with powdery mildew; I burned the diseased plants. Unfortunately, I didn't pull out all the annuals until the ground started to freeze, therefore it was really difficult to get out their roots. I have left some perennials, like purple cone flower, standing.  They will supply seeds for the birds and shelter for insects. I will not cut grasses down until the spring as they provide wonderful winter interest.

Clockwise from top: Hydrangea 'Pinkie Winkie', Hydrangea paniculata 'Limelight', Japanase Forest Grass or Hakone Grass Hakonechloa macra 'All Gold.
Duane and I emptied all the pots and hanging baskets. The Boston ferns were the last to go.

 Today, I'm happy to see some green plants remaining in my gardens:

Clockwise from the top: Wood fern (Dryopteris marginalis) in the rain garden, rosemary in the herb garden, and Japanese holly (Ilex crenata) in the Cottage Garden

You can see that on each side of the kitchen garden arbor, the clay pots were still waiting to be emptied in early November. You will also note that the corn was still standing in our fields at that time. The farmer didn't harvest until November 9, so I'm not the only person late with my chores.

Early November: corn still standing, pots need emptying, and fading annuals peeping through the fence waiting to be removed.

The farmer harvested late this year
Today, I haven't raked the beds but at least I've removed all the dead stuff. Behind the Kitchen Garden - the fields sans corn.

My husband does the enormous cleanup job of closing the pond. He skims for leaves, removes the aquatic plants and places them in crates on the bottom (I cut them back first.) He switches off the waterfalls and adds a bubbler and a heater. He plans on putting a net under the weeping maple to catch any remaining leaves before they fall in the water.

Top: Dwarf cutleaf maple (Acer palmatum) early in November.  Bottom: today it is shedding its leaves

Cover up: The ground isn't completely frozen so I hope I'm not too late to protect the new shrubs with burlap. That is the next job, hopefully the last one, before the garden sleeps and I relax. I don't want to cover the new red twig dogwoods, so I hope they survive. I bought two to give my garden some color in winter.

Arctic fire™ red twig dogwood (Cornus stolonifera 'Farrow') living up to its name.

I'm missing the catalpa branch that was positioned outside the garden room window before the tree was removed last month. The birds would rest there while awaiting their turn on the feeder. There are plenty of birds visiting us still, but a photo of a bird on the ground isn't half as interesting as one captured on a branch, in my opinion.

Top: Eastern towhee.   Bottom: American robin
This picture taken last winter is so much more interesting. But the tree is gone, boo.hoo!

My pets may be feeling the cold in spite of their thick, winter coats. Each morning if the sun is shining they find a sunny spot in which to stand while waiting for breakfast.

My pets: Charm the miniature horse, Doodles the Nigerian dwarf goat, and Billy Goat who is an old fellow now.

I'm enjoying blogs of gardeners in Australia and those places where summer is now beginning. It gives me a feeling of warmth on these frigid days. I hope my friends in the Northern hemisphere have successfully put their gardens to bed, preferably in a less tardy fashion than me. I am looking forward to visiting Sarah at Down by the Sea. She will soon be opening her garden gate for a November view in Dorset, England.

Your gardening friend,
Pamela x

Interesting fungi on white pine stump

I love reading your comments. I hope you leave one so I’ll know you visited!
I look forward to visiting your blog in return.


  1. Looks like it's all tucked away and ready for the winter. Aren't the bird visitors the best? I'm not seeing as many this year; I'm not sure why. :(

    1. I read a study, Beth, that bird populations around the world have decreased 29 percent in the past 50 years. It is very troubling.

    2. I had not heard that until just now. It is troubling.

  2. You've had a busy month. I love that red twig dogwood and the pictures of towhee and cardinal. And you've reminded me that what I really need is a net to stretch over my pond to catch all those falling leaves. Must do that!

    1. We still didn't install the net. At the end of the season it is very difficult to complete those last few jobs.

  3. Winter's definitely settling in. We're getting frosts now too, it's noticeably much colder. Animals always manage to find whatever sunshine there is.

  4. We had our first frost this morning and although I have started covering some of my many pots with insulation, there are lots more to do, so I am a bit late with my gardening jobs too! I really enjoy reading about your garden.
    Best wishes

  5. WOW, your garden even looks great in the fall.

    1. That's very kind of you, Betty. I don't think of my garden as a four season one. But I'm trying to add interest for all year.

  6. I really enjoyed this post Pam, it's nice to see what goes on in other parts of the world. Lovely garden images, love the last one, it has so much feeling in it, it reminds me of times when I was young sitting in the sun to warm up, and cold country mornings of old.

    1. Glad you like my pictures, Karen. Praise indeed from such a wonderful photographer (I checked out your blog.)

  7. Your garden is beautiful in every season Pam and I love the feathered visitors as well. It's fun to see Charm, Doodles and Billy Goat too! Happy autumn!

  8. Tomorrow I will be tidying, photos and blogging my November garden.
    Heart-warming to hear that your grandson is still gardening with granny.

    1. Not just gardening, Diana; he will help me with the Christmas bake -- plum pudding, etc. -- we are a but late this year, but there is less time between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. I look forward to seeing your November garden.

  9. You are more organised getting your garden ready for the winter, I need more time and less rain to get mine sorted! The bird visitors to your garden look so exotic! Sarah x