Garden Views-11-November 2018

November began with a couple of lovely sunny days and hard frosts, before the weather turned, and milder wet, windy conditions predominated.

The heavy frosts brought all the flowers which typically last well into the month to an abrupt end – Dahlia merkii, and our much loved and propagated Saxifrage fortunei – no seed will be set on this in 2018.However our many Acers which colour late in the season have once more excelled, and at last after much effort spent in the lower meadow copse this year, parts of it are beginning to hint at their longer term potential – particularly at this late stage of the year.The very early frosts also meant that we cracked on with the annual autumnal tidy up much earlier than usual. Fiona battled on and finished relaying, and edging, the central tyre garden path, which will visually tidy up this area, as well as easing annual maintenance.

I managed to top up/mulch with leaf mould from the compost reactor most of the snowdrop tyres, and in addition all the inter-tyre spaces with home produced wood chip from earlier in the year, in time for the very first snowdrops, beginning as always with G. reginae-olgae.

Fiona and I had a major session weeding out the big bag vegetable/daffodil display area, and then reworking and tidying it up with Yorkshire boarding. Many thanks too for a fair bit of help from William in lugging up extra compost and wood chip. At last the area looks more presentable and we should manage to be more self sufficient with fruit and vegetables – just in time for the possible post Brexit crash out scenarios of doom and gloom and shortages of such food in the shops!

There was still time to enjoy the views from the shepherd’s hut, when the light improved, with rainbows and the first starling flocks of the year providing extra interest.

The latter part of the month was typically grey, gloomy and mild, with a second named storm “Diana” blowing metal sheets off one of our wood stores, over a gate and fence, and into the meadow copse! A reminder not to be too relaxed about tying things down in advance of impending storms.  Within the garden robins and wagtails were still often found close to where we were working.By the end of the month although the PV inverter reading of 111 KWH wasn’t too bad for November, although the rainfall of 252.2 mm was typically high, and the wettest month of the year. So far! The photos below show that under grey skies, photographic images make this last fortnight of November one of the least appealing in the garden. Particularly since so far, almost no Cyclamen coum flowers have emerged – the latest start to their season I can recall.

Thank goodness that by the end of the month, not only did we have 5 different forms of snowdrops already “out”, but also masses set to join them. By Christmas we’ll hopefully nearly match the numbers we enjoyed last year.