Last Saturday in November – a Look Back at the Week.

Sunday last gave us one of those all too regular mornings here close to the River Suir, a morning of dense fog when the gigantic bridge, which is so very close to our house, is completely obscured until gradually the tip of the main upright appears in a clearing sky above the bank of fog which persists at river level. When the fog eventually lifts and the day clears it is appreciated all the more for a clear blue sky is never more beautiful than after a foggy morning.

Monday and Tuesday were miserable days, raining and wet from morning to evening. Wednesday cleared a little and allowed a walk and a little garden work while Thursday and Friday were clear and cold, bitterly cold at times, days but days which allowed time in the garden – nothing particularly exciting but an opportunity to rake some leaves, to lift the first of the leeks and enjoy leek and potato soup, to run the lawnmower, just the pushmower, on the more open areas to collect leaves – though at the risk of sinking and certainly leaving very obvious tracks behind. Snowdrops are up and in flower but, frustratingly, snowdrops don’t open their flowers unless the air temperature rises above 10C and that didn’t happen this week. It may happen next week!

Christmas is coming when the Christmas Rose, Helleborus niger, comes into flower.

A garden club, of which we are members, hosted a garden talk this week using Zoom. It was the second such talk the club has organised this autumn and it is a great credit to the club committee to have been so enterprising and organised to provide some interest for members. Many similar clubs have been less active and members have been left at a loss. We have joined several such Zoom talks during the summer and early autumn. Most have been free-to-view and a few were with a charge. Obviously, those free-to-view -some part of our club membership and others a venture to test the market, I believe – were better value and, quite honestly, were every bit as good as the others. There are several advantages to these Zoom meetings: We don’t have to drive – this club is an hour and a half’s drive away which was justified when we would meet our son who was in college in Cork but he is now busy with work and not free to meet us for a meal before the club meeting. Of course, there was also the return journey which generally got us home at midnight. A disadvantage is not meeting the other members of the club, the chat and camaraderie which make a club so enjoyable. There are advantages to watching from home: it is possible to run to the kitchen for a drink whenever suits; there is less of a time commitment as there is no travelling and it is possible to simply switch off if one so desires and, at times, that is a wonderful benefit. I have found most presenters take a very relaxed approach to their presentation via Zoom. It is not quite the same as standing up in front of a roomful of attendees, something which brings home to most speakers that there is an expectation they will deliver something worthwhile. Presenting to one’s laptop, sitting at one’s desk/kitchen table/sitting room doesn’t seem to engender the same demands on most speakers, I have found and presentations are often below par. The off-button, the click to exit is a wonderful release on such occasions.

Now, after that aside, what was of interest in the garden this week? Let’s start with that foggy morning. The light was so very unusual that I dashed out in pyjamas, dressing gown and wellington boots – don’t panic, I have spared you any “selfies” and I have also spared you the hundred more photographs I took as the light was so special and the garden looked so different.

Click on the first photograph to start a slideshow:

A pair of salvias which Mary planted close together so that they have grown through each other has surprised me this past week by giving their best display of flowers of all the year. The red-flowered one is ‘Royal Bumble; the red and white is ‘Hot Lips’ and I have added a few shots of Salvia ‘Amistad’ as it is doing its best to keep the show on the road:

We have two fruits ready for picking in the garden at the moment. One is the medlar, Mespelus germanica, and the other Feijoa sellowiana. I grew the medlar from seed and have used the fruit to make a jelly on occasion. During the week I came on a pot of Medlar Jelly from 2016 – in perfect condition and now eaten – and decided it was time I made another batch. The feijoa can also be made into a jelly, I believe, but I think it is more tasty to simply eat it fresh.

We grow this Rose of Sharon, Hypericum, as a hedge running along the raised ground behind the wall which is the background to a small patio area at the back of the house. We cut it only once each year, at some stage over the winter or in early spring, and we cut it back quite harshly, by as much as 60cm, and it recovers with vigour and flowers profusely each summer. However, as a mere hedge, we don’t give it much attention nor stop to admire its flowers very often. Now, even at the end of the season, there is a good sprinkle of flowers:

During the week, a lone white flower on a large bush of Hydrangea ‘Annabelle’ caught my eye. I don’t understand why one flower remained white while all the others had changed to that straw-brown of winter. It prompted me to walk around to see what the other hydrangeas looked like and I found that there was one other which had flowers looking unseasonably fresh. It looks like ‘Miss Saori’ – white with red edging to the petals – but I’m not sure as it came to me as an unnamed gift.

Some flowers delay their performance unreasonably, I think. The tree dahlias might flower one day in our garden if we get and exceptional Indian summer but otherwise they will never get beyond being just a plain green foliage plant in our garden. Amicia zygomeris has always managed to put on the show before the frosts, just before the frost, one of those eleventh hour plants, at the very last minute but, that’s the way it is and it is, nonetheless, a pretty and interesting thing.

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!

Finally, on one of the miserable days at the start of the week we put up the Christmas tree and decorations and yesterday I made this wreath using hydrangeas flowers from the garden.

31 thoughts on “Last Saturday in November – a Look Back at the Week.

  1. The common names of plants will always lead to confusion when we communicate internationally. Here, the name refers to Hypericum but with you it refers to Hibiscus – a trumpet-shaped flower generally in red, white or pink, a nice plant but not so hardy in our climate and not often seen. A pretty thing!

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  2. I’m impressed with your hydrangea wreath! Your garden looks very moody! I’m reading the Tana French mysteries right now (set in Dublin) and this is exactly how I picture the landscape! I’ve only been to Ireland in the Summer, not quite the same effect!

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    1. Ah, sure, I’m moody myself! LOL “Moody” is a generous description – wet and cold might be nearer to the facts. Gardening is hard on the hands these days!

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    1. I saw it on the internet and had a go at it. Very easy. A circle of willow sticks and then just pushed in the flowers. Add a few sprigs of holly. (J.C. van Tol)

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  3. The range of hydrangeas you have is impressive – and your wreath even more so! Interesting comments about the garden clubs (especially about speakers being ‘below par’ when they are coming from home!). We don’t have any at all around here, although I’ve often wondered if I could set them up using a Facebook page.

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    1. Zoom seems to be the most used platform and seems relatively easy to use. There is an odd time before the talk begins with people filling in with chit chat and, of course, it lacks the interaction between club members which is generally better than the speakers!!! The talks I have seen to date on Zoom have not been great but few people make an effort to present well.

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  4. Winter mornings with fog and a ray of sunshine always give great photos.
    For the first year I had two fruits of feijoa and it ‘s true that it’s delicious to eat them fresh. How old is your tree?How many fruits ( or kilos? !) have you picked?

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  5. Wonderful photos as usual Paddy, I especially like all the different Hydrangeas (and such a pretty wreath) and the Tree dahlias, which I’ve never seen, but what a perfect shade of yellow the flowers are, and so graceful.

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    1. ‘Royal Bumble’ is a good deep red and, to my taste, a far better plant than ‘Hot Lips’ which I dislike very much.

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    1. Unfortunately, honesty makes one very unpopular. The Zoom events have not impressed me to date and the off button has been an appreciated escape. There are a number of very popular events here which I do not attend because I think they are not worth the, what I consider, exorbitant price charged for admission. From comments made when I did attend one event – Mary couldn’t resist hearing the speaker – it would seem that my absence had been commented on and had caused displeasure. I honestly feel there are a great number of scam artists and fakes who make good on gardening, people of little talent but hard necks, in it for the money! Enough said but I am in the company here of those with dirty fingernails, those who actually garden!

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  6. Paddy – a wonderful wreath and a tribute to all those beautiful hydrangea varieties you have there. I just planted some new hydrangea shrubs – both white varieties and I’m so looking forward to seeing what they look like next year. Happy gardening and I hope you have some warmer days for the snowdrops to open.

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  7. Your misty morning photographs are very atmospheric, though I doubt if I would have been going out in a dressing gown. Brrr…

    There’s still so much colour in your garden, a good thing at this time of the year – and particularly good when it presents you with the materials to create a magnificent winter wreath. Well done, Paddy, I’d be happy to hang that on my door.

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    1. We’ve had a good week here with dry weather, no fog, but it has been quite cool and today was bitterly cold. We were able to get out into the garden for long days and managed to get a lot of work done, mainly routing clearing up, cutting down, some weeding, freshening up, spreading compost and the likes. It was such a pleasure to be able to do so again after such a long wet period….and I did all this not in my dressing gown!

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      1. We’ve had a few showers, but mostly dry, sunny and getting colder by the hour. We’ve been told to expect snow overnight, it’s already on the hills but I think it might miss us.

        Glad you managed to get so much work done, it’s a joy to get back into the garden after a miserable spell of weather. Keep a warm coat by the door next time, it’s getting much too cold for dressing gowns! 😁

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      2. Double gloves is my secret – a light tight pair under a bigger heavier pair. Not good for weeding but good protection for the fingers. It is only my fingers which get cold in the garden!

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  8. Gold Leaf Winter Touch gardening gloves are excellent – they have a Thinsulate lining and keep hands warm and dry. Same as you find with your double gloves though – not good for fine detail work, but otherwise very cosy.

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