End of month review – November

Well today certainly tells me winter is here.  This is the first day when it has been raining and COLD, 4° C but with the rain it feels much colder; I am not working in the garden today.

To continue the theme of most of my end of month reviews, I’ll describe the progress of planting the bank. This shows the slope back in December 2008, when I was marking out the beds and pathways.

You can see the existing cypresses, umbrella pine and an Arbutus I had planted in spring 2008

The upper part of the slope above the level of my shelter belt of 4 Quercus ilex, a Viburnum tinus and a large bush Arbutus to the cypress half way up the drive I will describe soon in my borders and areas of the garden section.

Below the shelter belt the slope is quite steep; I have been straining to keep my balance while planting which has caused my back to ache.  This emphasises how important it is to plant closely not allowing any space for weeds as weeding will always be a problem here.  I also don’t want to irrigate this part of the garden 1) because the water would tend to run off anyway and maybe cause erosion of the soil and 2) I want areas that demonstrate that it is possible to have flowers and colour in summer without irrigation.

Looking accross the slope at the shelter belt planting

Below the line of shelter belt shrubs, in autumn 2009, I planted a second line of more decorative shrubs including Oleander, Teucrium, Lagerstroemia, and a Cotinus. Also present are: Perovskia, Panicum Heavy Metal and P. Warrior and a Feijoa.

My decision has obviously made my choice of plants more restricted but I think mass planting of just a few species will look more appropriate here so my overall aim is a prairie style of planting. Some of the existing plants in other areas are obviously very happy in free-draining soil, so much so that they have self-seeded profusely – so my decision was made, use what I have and try to plant creatively.

The plants are therefore: planted everywhere to create a grassland, prairie feel, Stipa tenuissima; Verbena bonariensis to give see-through height, Gaura lindheimeri to give the impression of a thousand butterflies floating in the air. Some clumps of wild Iris moved from the tuffo bank, I planted high on the bank where they should be visible when they flower but be hidden by flowering plants growing taller than them when they have finished flowering.  Below a Persimmon, I transplanted Euphorbia (the original plants I had grown from seed), interplanted with tulips.  Through this matrix there are three streams of planting.

  1. Artemisia ponticum with grape hyacinths, Allium aflatuense and Schizachyrium scoparium.
  2. Cerinthe major purpurascens – I will leave them until they set seed, then remove them – they usually flower very early for me, sometimes as early as Christmas.
  3. Prostrate rosemary.

There were very few plants in the garden when we moved here but one which always surprises me by just how long it flowers is Solanum jasminoides album – I have taken some cuttings, if they are successful I will plant several as ground-cover making a foaming white stream near the boundary.

There seems to be a lot of bare soil

I hope to be able to show you how all this looks next year.

Thanks to Helen the Patient Gardener for hosting the End of Month meme.

6 thoughts on “End of month review – November

    • Thank you for setting up the meme, I find it really useful to concentrate the mind in this way. I’d be very happy to offer more ideas for your front garden – I actually rather enjoyed designing front gardens as they are a kind of public/private space which interests me. Christina

    • Thanks for visiting Elizabeth. I will enjoy following your garden which I imagine has similar weather to ours. Sorry about the link thing – I think it’s Google not wanting to link to wordpress.

  1. Its really coming together Christina! Your plant combinations sound great, adn I can already see lovely contrasts in form. I can’t wait to see it next Spring. You’ve planted so many new plants, it must be a tad exasperating to see so much bare soil still, but I’m sure it will all knit together quickly. Mind you, if that’s you planting close together, no wonder you get amused at my attempts to leave more space for growth when I plant!

    • Thank you Janet. It is really closely planted, you just can’t see the Gaura seedlings (they blend with the soil) and the verbena grow very quickly so they should cover 30 x 30 cm by spring. It’s hard to get spacing right – I try to space trees and shrubs allowing for 5 – years growth and then fill with perennials or ground cover. I hate seeing bare soil because I know it will mean WEEDING!

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