November dull – never!

The sun is shining today and the garden sparkles with colour. I always used to think that November was a wet, dull , cold month, but this year I have had to change my opinion. We normally have a lot of rain in November, but not this month, we have had a few frosts, but nothing serious, just enough to make the leaves look more interesting.

Frosted leaves

Frosted Acer

One of next door’s Acer leaves which has dropped in our garden.

Prunus leaf

A Prunus leaf by the front entrance, it almost looks as though it has teeth round the edge.

Ophiopogon frosted

Ophiopogon looks as though it has a silvery sheen with the frost.


Everywhere I looked, some of the leaves had their dusting of frost, in this case a hydrangea.


The hellebore leaves were looking lovely with their frosty coating.

Poor Bonica

Poor Bonica, after flowering non stop from June….


… had to come to an end. The flowers are now rather brown and messy, I will have to finally cut it back.

R.Brother Cadfael and Viburnum bodnantense New Dawn

But at the other side of the garden Rosa Brother Cadfael is untouched by the frost as are the flowers behind of Viburnum bodnantense New Dawn.

Acer Osakazuki

After the frost, the sun comes out and it is soon surprisingly mild. My other two acers have lost most of their leaves now but Osakazuki is holding onto hers and they glow in the sunshine……..

Acer Osakazuki

……..especially if you can get underneath!

Field Maple

There are trees and shrubs in the garden that are looking very golden at the moment. I’ve never really had so many glowing in the sunshine before, the autumn tints have been wonderful this year, maybe it is all the sunshine we have been having lately that has emphasised the colours. This is a field maple which is beyond the top of the garden where the veggies usually are, Acer campestre.

Acer campestre

I am finding seedlings in various parts of the garden which I think will have to be trimmed to keep them to a manageable size. The wood from Acer campestre is used for making violins.

Acer campestre

If they aren’t trimmed when young, they grow rather huge like this one at the back of the bog garden, the books say they grow to 25m tall. Please excuse the bin bag covering my carving!

Acer campestre

I found this very spindly specimen in the woodland, at the right hand side, growing almost horizontally. I think this one can be cut back and used as hardwood cuttings, I can grow my own hedge if they take!

Acer campestre

At the left hand side of the woodland, I found this tiny specimen growing right next to one of our huge oaks. I have been told that Purple Hairstreak butterflies live at the top of oaks and ash, we have quite a few of each, this morning I read that the butterflies also feed on the honeydew that Field Maple leaves produce, another reason for letting them grow in the garden here.

Acer campestre

And the smallest seedling of all. I only noticed all these seedlings because they are such a beautiful colour. Our village is full of hedges and trees of Acer campestre so driving through now is as colourful as the next village which has its beeches.

Cornus stems with B papyrifera

Lastly, when the sun gets round to the front border, there is so much colour now with the bright red stems of my favourite Cornus alba sibirica Westonbirt,  with the bright white of the trunk of Betula papyrifera.

Cornus with B jaquemontii

Further down the border are 3 small trees of Betula utilis jaquemontii with the cornus. These are planted along the drive and greet me each time I go in and out during the winter, they brighten up a dull day!

Well that concludes the wander round my garden today in  lovely warming sunshine, I just can’t believe it is December tomorrow!

Many thanks must go to Helen for hosting the End of Month Review, do visit her at The Patient Gardener to see other reviews.

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36 Responses to November dull – never!

  1. pbmgarden says:

    Your frosty images are so colorful Pauline and how about that Osakazuki in the sunlight! Still a lot to enjoy in your garden.

    • Pauline says:

      Yes, Susie, there is still plenty of colour in the garden at the moment. I can see A. Osakazuki from where I’m sitting at the moment and it is still glowing with the sunshine coming through it – looking really beautiful. I think we are going to be free from frost for the next few nights at least, so any flowers out now should last for a while.

  2. Helen says:

    Love the frosty images, my garden has had such a frost yet. Still looking very autumnal well until you go outside! Thanks for joining in again this month

    • Pauline says:

      We don’t get many frosts down here Helen, so I have to make the most of when they come, to photograph the beautiful patterns that are made on the leaves. We still have wonderful sunshine today, but it is definitely getting colder now!

  3. Some of the loveliest autumn images I have seen in a while. Nice work, my dear. Your cornus are so much brighter than ours in the central US. Sure it must be a pleasure to see them from the driveway.

  4. You are having a wonderful autumn! I am actually jealous of your frosts, I will quite probably have to wait until January before I can take any, by which time all pretty autumn leaves and late flowers will be a distant memory! I love the combination of the birch trunk and dogwood stems, stunning. I miss my birches.

    • Pauline says:

      Janet, I do like a bit of frost to kill of all the “nasties” in the garden, I don’t think it has been quite cold enough yet! I was thinking the other day of which plants I would have to repeat in any future garden (when this gets too big for me to cope with) and top of the list were silver birches and Cornus Westonbirt!

  5. Angie says:

    Pauline, what a pleasure! Those colours are tremendous. My favourite is the Birch and Cornus – if only I had the room! All in all November has been pleasant here too despite the now regular frosts (nothing major). Have a good weekend!

    • Pauline says:

      Angie, hopefully the colours will carry on for a bit longer, they certainly make such a difference to a November/December garden. The birch and cornus would have to be my desert island plants, I would want them wherever I would go!

  6. Cathy says:

    What a gorgeous Acer! It seems so long ago that ours was that colour. Love the shot from beneath it! The Cornus is wonderful too. Looking at your garden I can also hardly believe it’s nearly December. Can you send some sunshine our way Pauline! 😀

    • Pauline says:

      Cathy, the A.Osakazuki gets better and better each day, it was a struggle though, getting underneath, I’ll be glad when it grows a bit taller! I’m not sure how long our sunshine will last, I’m making the most of it while we have it.

  7. rusty duck says:

    Your frosty photos are fantastic Pauline. Bonica looks so lovely covered in frost, if only it didn’t mean an end to the flowers. Love love love the combination of the Cornus and the birch.

    • Pauline says:

      Thanks Jessica, Bonica did look lovely with her frosty coating, but not any more unfortunately. The Cornus and the birch will keep my spirits up until the snowdrops start in about a month, I can see some shoots by the front door, so it won’t be long now!

  8. Cathy says:

    Yes, as everyone has already said your frosty pictures are beautiful – we haven’t had hard enough frosts for pictures like these yest, so it must have been cold down there! Interesting to read about and see your field maples as I planted two or three in our woodland – here they are very late to lose their colour and are not dropping yet.

    • Pauline says:

      I’m amazed Cathy at your lack of frost, I thought the Midlands was colder than Devon, this doesn’t seem right! There are lots of field maples in the village, but the autumn colour has never been as pronounced as this year, they all look so beautiful!

  9. Lyn says:

    Leaves rimed with frost are always so lovely, but roses rimed with frost are a new look to me! Gorgeous, as is your Cornus and Birch combination. A hedge of field maples sounds like it would be an awesome feature, especially in autumn. Were you serious about trying it?

    • Pauline says:

      Yes Lyn, I will certainly try some hardwood cuttings from the field maple. At the left hand end of the woodland there is a bank to mark the end of our land, the other banks have hedges on the outside, but not this one and I have been wondering what to plant there. Poor Bonica, she looked so pretty with her sprinkling of frost, but not any more, unfortunately.

  10. Caro says:

    What a wonderful autumn this is for colour, Pauline! I love it when the cornus stems come into their own – also loving that betula/cornus combo you’ve got there! If you’re ever in Cambridge in the winter, have a look at the cornus/hellebore borders in the Botanical Gardens there, stunning! I don’t often get frosts here in my veg garden as the buildings are too close but the frosts at Capel in a sunlit morning are breathtaking! Lucky you, still having Osakazuki in leaf – at Capel, the leaves are all on the ground now, a bright red carpet.

    • Pauline says:

      It is wonderful isn’t it Caro, I don’t think I have seen such wonderful colour everywhere before. Was it the heat and sun in the summer or is it the sunny days and cold nights that we are having now, that has done it? Cambridge Botanic Gardens are on my wish list for gardens to visit, I’ll get there one day, photographs of it look stunning! I can see Osakazuki in front of me, through the window and she is still fully clad, she was the last to colour up so I hope the display lasts a bit longer.

  11. Anna says:

    Glad that you’ve had less of that wet stuff this November Pauline even though it’s let the frost in. Poor old Bonica but oh what a good run she’s had. I wonder if ‘ Brother Cadfael’ escaped frost damage because he is higher up or whether it is a direction related factor. I imagine that your betula trio with cornus is a stunning visual treat at this time of year.

    • Pauline says:

      I think Anna, you’ve hit the nail on the head, Brother Cadfael is half way along the side border by the field and I suppose frost rolls rolls downhill passing it by. Bonica however is in the front garden and backed by a hedge which could stop the frost in its tracks. The silver birches with the cornus is striking for the next four months before the cornus has to be coppiced. We also have 3 Betula ermanii, but they still haven’t got their creamy white bark yet, I keep saying “next year maybe”, so hopefully it will be soon when they join in with the party!

  12. Liz says:

    Hi Pauline,

    It isn’t often that I’ll say November has been alright! It makes a nice change to be able to say it.

    We’re in a similar situation here too and it’s only been recently that trees are beginning to look bare now.

    I’m going to make my parents plant birch and dogwood together like you have. My mum is already planning on some birch, but I’m going to buy her some Dogwood too and have a glorious combo like you have. Truly wonderful 🙂
    Your Acers are of course also stunning and I can’t wait until mine are large enough to catch the sun like yours… Well worth the wait me thinks.

    I hope you’re looking forward to Christmas! I’m surprised how many people on facebook already have their decorations up; seems everyone this year has put them up today! I’ll be waiting a week or two before I do. Although saying that I don’t think there’s much I can do; the house is such a mess as we’ve cleared the loft out ready for insulating later this week.

    • Pauline says:

      Hi Liz, lucky Mum to have a lovely daughter buying her dogwoods!
      Lots of leaves have come down over the last couple of days, but Osakazuki is still holding onto hers.
      Yes, I always look forward to Christmas, a wonderful time for families to get together.I wait until almost the day itself to decorate the house, with as much material from the garden as possible. Hope your loft insulation goes as planned!

  13. I enjoy every season in its turn but fall is a favorite. You have wonderful color this year and the frost photos are stunning. Osakazuki is a real show off. I need a good Japanese maple so I’ve made a note of this one. My fullmoon type is variable with it’s color–sometimes good, sometimes not–and a good number of the leaves hold on until spring, which is an aggravation.

    • Pauline says:

      We are so lucky aren’t we, having 4 distinct seasons. This year the colours for autumn have been amazing. much stronger than usual and showing on far more trees and shrubs. Acers are so wonderful for their autumn colour, I must try to search out a couple more small ones to fit in somewhere. I would be tempted to remove the leaves from your Acer, or is it too tall for you to do that?

  14. debsgarden says:

    The red stems of the Cornus combined with the white of the Betula are just wonderful; certainly nothing dull about that! The frost encrusted plants are worth getting out to photo before the sun’s warm rays melt the glistening jewels! The photo of the prunus leaf is truly amazing.

    • Pauline says:

      Deb. the combination of birch and dogwood always lifts my spirits on a dull day. I only ever notice the edges of the Prunus leaf when photographing them for autumn colour or when they are frosted, the rest of the year they don’t stand out at all!

  15. Christina says:

    Pauline! All that frost coated foliage is beautiful, so your frost came quite soon after mine in the end. I so wish I could grow tht Cornus, perhpas I could try one in a pot and keep it constantly moist.

    • Pauline says:

      Yes Christina, I think we both had frost at more or less the same time, and very pretty it was too. Do give Cornus a go, it really is a super shrub and maybe doesn’t need as much water as you think if it was in the shade, out of your hot summer sunshine!

  16. Wendy says:

    Although it is sad to see the end of your lovely rose, the frosty coating does look beautiful. Still no hard frosts here yet, in fact, only a handful of very light ones. Strange to think that three years or so ago there was thick snow everywhere (I’m happy not to see that yet!)
    The Cornus and the Betula do look very striking together – a gorgeous combination.

    • Pauline says:

      Bonica does look rather sweet Wendy, with her bonnet of frost, but not any more! I’d forgotten about our pre Christmas snow a few years ago, so glad that there is nothing like that at the moment, although on Countryfile yesterday, I think your side of the country might have a few white flurries some time this week! Hope it doesn’t last long for you.

  17. Annette says:

    Hi Pauline, your frosty pics are adorable and only show how much beauty is out there even in the dullest months! Like me you still have lots of leaves on the trees, wonder whether it’s always like this? Don’t remember…getting old ;). Acer campestre is a favourite of mine but I think in my new garden I will replace it with Acer monspessulanum which is growing in the region; like all Acer it has magnificent foliage. Have a good week 🙂

    • Pauline says:

      Hi Annette, we haven’t had any more frost since I photographed it, it has been quite mild. Lots more leaves to come down, mainly the oaks, the ash and chestnuts have dropped all theirs, I think autumn came late this year, about a month late. I like the sound of your new acer and will wait to see photos of it when it is eventually planted!

  18. wellywoman says:

    It has been quite a strange month weather wise. I was just walking past a field which last year had standing water on it for about a month with very little growing in it. A neighbour said he had never seen that amount of water before. And then this year the field is full of young plants all much bigger than they probably should be due to the mild weather. Think we’re in for a touch of winter over the next few days though.

    • Pauline says:

      I don’t know about you but we have had a very dry and sunny month, not normal November weather at all, but yes, winter is coming soon. Gradually the wonderfully colourful leaves are coming down, but there are still quite a few left. Gales are forecast so I think that will be the end of them.

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