The garden in November

I am aware that it has been ages since I have posted about the garden.  I have managed to post a vase most weeks but that is all.  Is it that I have been too busy?  or that I didn’t have anything new to share? whatever the reason I intend to post more regularly now that life has calmed down a bit.

The weather this autumn has been good apart from 10 days when it rained almost continuously and the wind was the strongest I’ve ever experienced.  This last week has been great gardening weather and I’ve had the time to be outside, weeding and tidying the garden before winter takes hold, I even planted a few more tulips (although realistically it is a little early for that here).

The best thing about this time of year is the light.  The lower angle of the sun highlights the bright colours of berries and seed-heads.

Pennisetum villosum picking up the last rays of the sun

The slope with Cotoneaster berries and the yellow berries of Melia Azedarach beginning to shine against the blue sky

Melia azedarach berries against the sky

Arbutus unedo fruit – not really like strawberries at all

This is the time of year when Arbutus adds most to the garden, the trees this year are full of flowers with a good few fruits from last year’s flowers now ripe.

Arbutus unedo flowers

Arbutus unedo there are many more flowers than usual

Dwarf miniature pomegranate still flowering and producing fruit

Considering the ornamental pomegranate is supposed to be less hardy than its full grown relative I am amazed to see how well it is growing this year – especially as it seems the beast from the east killed my 80 year old pomegranate tree last winter.

My holly has berries this year, the first time ever I think

Has someone not to far away put a holly in their garden?  I know that holly needs another tree to pollinate it and mine has always produced flowers but never any berries before; or did it appreciate the wetter spring and summer.  Hopefully they’ll still be there next month for me to use in the house as decoration.

Leonotis leonurus white form

Last year when I met up with Cathy of Rambling in the Garden she very kindly gave me a cutting of her Leonotis leonurus, that she had grown from seed.  It was planted into the garden last autumn and survived (the beast) while my orange variety died.  I think this is a finer form than my orange one as the white flowers hang on much longer.

Have a lovely week.  What is your standout plant this week?

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32 thoughts on “The garden in November

  1. Christina, so happy to see you blogging about your garden again. I haven’t found any good garden bloggers in Spain, so you are my number one reference point in our same climate and latitude, although I don’t know your altitude (I’m at 2300 ft).

    Your post has brought several questions to mind: how many arbutus do you have? Mine has flowered, yet never produced fruit. Are there males and females? Would another arbutus or two suffice?

    I am shocked that your pomegranate not only has flowers and fruit, yet it still has green leaves! Mine is nearly bare already.

    As for the holly, here they are native to higher mountain areas, so I have never grown them because I don’t think they would fare well. I am assuming that more water would be a factor for forming berries, but also greater cover from sun and wind if the companion plants of your holly have also been growing around it.

    And another question, if I may… I am currently looking to garden in other areas of our property that have been bare until now. However, given our summer water bills, I do not wish to extend the drip irrigation system, so these plants will need to withstand full sun, full wind, terribly poor soil (which I am ammending, slowly) and only receive hand-watering until they become established. Have you any plant suggestions for me? Until now, prostrate rosemary, our local iris and artemisia have done well, but little else. I might also try transplanting some native stipa Many, many thanks for any advice you could give me, or posts I could read. ¡Mil gracias!

    • Lovely to hear from you Karen. We are much lower than you, at 285 m. I have a lot of Arbutus now (they are native to this area and don’t need any water once established). Even when I only had one, I’ve always had flowers and fruit. Maybe at your altitude it is too cold in the winter? However it was minus 12 C last winter and there are more flowers than ever before. The Pomegranate is an ornamental variety and has always kept its leaves long after my fruiting tree. I can’t explain why! I only irrigate the vegetables and beds of cut flowers so everything else manages with no water. Stipa should grow well, it is almost a weed here, I just pull it out if I don’t want it where it shows itself. Teucrium always looks good and can be close clipped or allowed to grow naturally, both ways it is a joy. I’m sure you have Sedum, Cistus, Perovskia and lavender; they all survive the drought and high temperatures. It is very windy in my garden too so our conditions are very similar. Phlomis also takes all the heat and lack of water and seeds itself about so must be happy.

      • Christina, thank you for your response and suggestions.

        Teucrium does well here, so I have just set some clippings in pots to propagate. I’ve also fallen in love with T. hircanicum, so I’ll save my pennies for the spring (hopefully) to order some. I have tried sedum, but it didn’t survive, so I’m leary of trying perhaps another variety. I was given a phlomis from a former blogger in Tarragona, and I have seen many other varieties I would like to try, but here it hasn’t prospered (30cm high) and has never flowered. I should try moving it, but that might finish it off. Perovskia takes time, but eventually prospers, so I will propagate more of those.

        Basically, our plant selection here is very limited (most people pave over their “gardens” to have patios with select plants in pots), so most plants I have to order from France (ridiculous, I know), which is very expensive, and I am nervous about just throwing away my money on my irrigation-free experiment. Plus, this area of the garden has no shade whatsoever, so I think I will try to focus on establishing some mainstays (teucrium, rosemary, sage, iris and artemisia), and then try tucking in some of the new varieties you suggest.

        Sorry for my wordy response, but you truly have been a great help! Sincerely, Karen

        • It’s lovely to hear from you, don’t worry about writing too much. Teucrium hircanicum is very tough and seeds prolifically around the garden for me so maybe worth trying from seed or just buy a couple of plants and wait for them to seed. I have a similar problem with buying plants and often order from the UK.

  2. Lovely to see your autumn garden Christina. I hope one day my melia will look like yours, I have only seen the flowers but it is worth growing for the berries too as well as the lovely foliage. I have a small Arbutus unedo but your mature one is so beautiful. They grow wild in the Massif de l’Esterel in France. A French friend of mine thought they tasted quite nice despite the name ‘unedo’. He ate lots and was quite ill as a result.
    I have never seen a white Leonitis, they are such imposing plants. Do you save seed? I am saving seed and cuttings of mine as an insurance policy.

    • Arbutus is of course native here too. I do eat some but know the reputation (and from the name) that you should only eat one or two. I’ve actually seen them for sale here and they are commonly sold in Arab countries. I can’t see any cutting material at all on the Leonitis! I would take cuttings if I could. I’ve never saved seed but I will this year. I’m not sure where Cathy got the seed for the White Leonotis, maybe Chiltern seeds?

  3. Christina your photos are magnificent as well as your garden. The light is beautiful. The yellow berries of Melia Azedarach are beautiful against the blue sky, the whole tree is a marvel. Your Arbutus unedo is full of beauty: flowers and fruits, I like it a lot. The dwarf Granada is cute. El Acebo is charming with its red berries: hopefully they last until Christmas. The Leonotis leonurus white form is very beautiful and has proved to be resistant to cold; In addition, it is a memory of a good friend. I am in Madrid and the only plant that I have and my sister gives me is a bamboo stick of almost one meter tall with six stems with leaves on top. It has many roots and is inside a vase with large stones to hold it. At first I did not like it very much, but now I like it a lot. Christina takes advantage of the good weather to enjoy your beautiful garden. Here in Madrid it is raining since yesterday without stopping and what we have left. Have a happy Sunday afternoon. Take care. Greetings from Margarita.

  4. Sounds like fine weather for gardening. Your fruit looks great – do you eat the pomegranates? I love them while they are in season here (they come from California).
    We’ve already had snow and more expected tonight. No gardening for me! Although I did decorate the window box on the shed with greens and winterberries today, as the birds were making quick work of the berries on the bushes. They eat them earlier every year it seems so I must grab some while I can.

  5. So nice to see pictures of your garden Christina. Good to hear the weather (and life in general) has calmed down and you have been able to work outdoors. The arbutus is such a fascinating plant – great photos of the fruit. The pomegranate is also really pretty, and I love all that Pennisetum! We are having snow flurries at the moment and an icy east wind is keeping us indoors as much as possible.

  6. I’m glad to get another good look at your wonderful garden, Christina. Ten days of nearly continuous rain sounds like heaven to me. I’ve never seen nor even heard of a white-flowered Leonotis – I love it! I didn’t realize there was a dwarf pomegranate either and, after discovering that it grows just 3 feet tall, you’ve now got me thinking about putting in one of those.

    We’ve been horribly dry but the marine layer is mounting a tentative comeback and there’s even a slight chance of rain in the forecast for mid-week, although it’s not solid enough yet to get excited about. My standout plant is still the bush violet (Barleria obtusa), which seems unfazed by our long stretch of dry, windy weather.

    • I don’t really know how I slipped out of the habit of posting about the garden. We have had an amazingly wet year this year, beginning in spring. The garden looks much better for it and many plants have grown much more than in a normal year. The Pomegranate grows very slowly but is lovely. I think the miniature fruits will make nice decorations.

  7. Good to see you back Christina, I’d missed your lovely garden.
    I have a dilemma with holly. There is loads of it growing wild in the wood and I can’t believe every plant is the same sex. But I still get very few berries.

  8. I enjoyed seeing pictures of your garden Christina. I love Melia trees and they are in flower here just now. I particularly like to see their copper coloured berries against a grey sky during late winter. I have an ornamental pomegranate too. It has very large and beautiful flowers which always fall and never become small fruit. Here we call the Arbutus ‘Irish Strawberry Tree’, but it seems it’s not Irish at all!

    • In the UK Arbutus is just called a strawberry tree but not Irish. Funny how common names come about especially as I don’t think it would like the constant rain in Ireland!

  9. Nice to see a few highlights of the autumn garden, I really like the strawberry tree! You have so many interesting trees and shrubs, that’s something I need to be a little braver about. I usually worry too much about placing something larger in the wrong spot, even though my most well-thought out plantings don’t always work out that great either. I should just plant away willy nilly and enjoy it all!
    My first step will be planting a few things for autumn berries. Your range of colors and forms is so interesting!

    • I don’t always get placement right but my biggest regret is not planting more trees at the beginning and that I didn’t replace the two walnut trees with something better. It has been good working in the garden this week as it has given me some new ideas.

  10. Your fruiting trees might just make the trying weather this year worthwhile – they are looking lovely. I don’t know what it is with holly either but suspect it must be weather related as our holly is very variable – but having crown lifted it this year though it will be hard to reach any berries! I am so pleased the leonotis has done well for you, unlike here – it looks lovely. Can’t remember where I got the seeds but I will check and let you and Chloris know

  11. Garden looks great, what interesting things you can grow there. Is that a Burfordii Holly? I have some Leonitis in the garden that grew bent and hasn’t flowered yet. Chinaberry is considered a trash tree in the US South, yours looks beautiful! And the Pomegranates!

  12. Glad to see you back Christina, I have missed your posts. I have a wild holly in the woodland which is covered with berries and an Ilex Golden King which is female as it has berries, so one of my neighbours must have a male holly! We saw lots of Arbutus when we had a holiday in SW Ireland, they seemed to be thriving in the climate there.
    My stand out plant at the moment is still my variegated Yucca, how much longer it will last with our much colder weather now, is anyones guess!

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