Mid-November Saturday Look-Back.

Saturday, 14th November, Waterford, south-east Ireland.

With the exception of a few hours on Friday, this was a non-gardening week. We had days of light rain, others of heavy rain and some torrential downpours. Rainwater ran down through the garden in sheets and the lower end was under water for most of the week. The ground was soft and muddy, a quagmire, and any work was out of the question. Even on Friday, some areas were still so soft that I left footprints in the grass wherever I walked and was happy to confine activity to one area where leaves were particularly heavy on the ground, to clearing drains and dykes on the roadside while Mary cleared the area immediately around the house of fallen leaves. I got out in the garden for a few minutes on Wednesday, to break the monotony of being indoors for so long, and pictured Ten Pretty Things.

On broader matters, we have completed three weeks of the highest level of lockdown, which aims to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus Covid19, and is scheduled to continue for another three weeks. We are fortunate to have an excellent walkway almost on our doorstep and, while remaining within the permitted 5Km radius of home, we can take a 10Km with convenience. We avail of this facility every day weather permits which is particularly good when we can’t garden. We order our groceries online and they are delivered during a reserved timeslot, an efficient service by very obliging people and we are very grateful for it. Hopefully, all reading this are keeping well; staying safe and healthy and that we will see the end of this situation soon – the recent announcement of a promising vaccine gives hope.

Gardening extended no further than leaf-gathering this week and that for only a few hours. The prevailing winds lead to a heavy collection of leaves on one side of the garden, particularly in an areas we call The Lane, and if they are not collected they cover the grass so heavily that the area can become bare as the grass dies. I bag the collected leaves and stack them in the compost bins. The leafmould will be ready for use in a year’s time or longer if the leaves are too dry. It is an excellent addition where bulbs, particularly snowdrops, are grown.

Click on the first photograph to start a slideshow in each of the photo galleries:

The first of the open-garden snowdrops have begun to flower here. I have had some in flower earlier in the glasshouse – the last three in the set below, which are all of the Greek species, Galanthus reginae olgae, which demand a hot and dry summer, something not regularly experienced in our open garden. The first two open in the garden are varieties of Galanthus elwesii var. monostictus, one named ‘Barnes’ and the other, ‘Hoggets Narrow’. This latter is a new one to me, a gift from a snowdrop friend last year.

The berries of Callicarpa bodinieri var. giraldii ‘Profusion’ are of an extraordinarily unusual colour and brighten up a corner of the garden at this time of year and then, they disappear in the blink of an eye. I assume they reach a degree of ripeness and are suddenly attractive to the birds. Blackcaps are very uncommon in our garden but visit for a few days which coincide with the ripening on the Callicarpa berries. They are also attractive to the blackbirds and we have a great number of them in the garden at the moment as the resident population is swelled by winter visitors from more northerly countries. The resident pheasants also find them a treat despite being well fed already on the rolled barley I put out for them each day.

Bergenia ciliata is one of those bergenias which responds to the drop in temperature which comes at this time of year by a colouring of the foliage. It is more tender here than most other bergenias so the display is rather short lived before the leaves move from yellows and reds to a mucky brown black and then to slimy mush. It is well to enjoy the display while we have it for it is already nearly finished.

Clerodendron trichotomum gives a pleasant display when in flower, clusters of white flowers, but the berries are special with such an unusual colour. It is inclined very strongly to sucker about and needs to be watched so as to pull these out when they go where not wanted – and, of course, they will always choose to come up in the centre of a particularly special clump of precious snowdrops as often as not. One must be diligent and ruthless in its control but the autumn display makes its inclusion in the garden worthwhile.

The autumn colour display of magnolias can be a brief affair; they colour and drop quickly and especially so in these days of wind and heavy rain. It is best to enjoy them while they look well and I expect there will be few leaves on these trees after the weekend.

I’m sharing this blog with a group of fellow bloggers who contribute to a “Six on Saturday” theme which is hosted by “The Propagator” on his blog site. To read more contributions to the Six on Saturday theme go to The Propagator’s entry for today, scroll down to the comments and you will find other bloggers have posted links to their Saturday entries there. Lots to read

25 thoughts on “Mid-November Saturday Look-Back.

  1. I’ve been clearing leaves too! Wonderful Callicarpa, it’s a lovely colour to have at this time of year, with the mellow fallen leaves all around too. Great shot with the pheasant! I also love the delicacy of those snowdrops.

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  2. Such pretty callicarpa berries. I also grow 2 in my garden with 2 different shades of purple. (Great to take a pheasant with this photo!)
    I also like the flowers of Clerodendron trichotomum in your Six. I grow Clerodendron bungei but this one is eye-catching as well.

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    1. The bags have the advantage of making it easy to use the leafmould when ready, easy to drop into a wheelbarrow, or take a small amount to make a potting mixture. Also, I use the bags to pile on top of the last filled compost bin so they provide insulation and help keep the heat inside – and that helps start off the decomposition of the leaves.

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  3. I like the shape of your Magnolia stellata ‘Centennial’. I’ve often been put off buying M. ‘stellata’ because of their shrubby appearance, but yours is clearly a single stem variety. Have you pruned it to this shape, Paddy, or bought as a single stem tree?

    Lovely to see your snowdrops – and your resident pheasants enjoying a good lunch.

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    1. This one was on a stem when bought but I have continued to lift it further over the years. I have done the same with other plants of M. stellata with success. They take to pruning very well.

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  4. I just went out to see if my Bergenia ciliata, planted last year, had any colour; grass green. I have Magnolia ‘Vulcan’ with leaves turning green to almost black, my Hedychium has a suggestion of yellow if I screw my eyes up. I’ll stay in the warm and enjoy yours.

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  5. Ah, I did not know that leaf mold took so long! I gave up on my bag of leaves after a year, and just added them to the compost heap. Lucky for you to live so close to the greenway and to take advantage of that!
    Hopefully, ‘the numbers’ will come down enough for us to enjoy our Christmas celebrations. It’s been quite a year… As always, so lovely to see your beautiful garden!

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  6. Paddy, your snowdrop pictures are delightful. I really like the one amongst the acer leaves. Hoggets Narrow is a new one to me – great name. And you have some of the lovely greek ones – just marvellous.

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  7. Very wet indeed, Paddy. Leaf collecting seems to be a tough chore, but you’ll have a wonderful addition for the heap.
    This week was OK here with the exception of Tuesday, but I’ve been too busy with other things. I hope you had a seachtain maith.

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    1. Wednesday was good enough for a walk. Thursday was good and we spent the day in the garden. Friday was only reasonable but I spent the morning outside. Generally, miserable!

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