This Japanese maple, Acer palmatum, of unknown origin broke off in the ice and snow in January 2011. For a photo of it then, click here. It has recovered beautifully with an even more interesting habit.
I have said before that no matter how much I try to enjoy it, November is not my favorite month. As I wander around, all I see are plants dying back, work to be done, and time running out. Last year wasn’t too bad because we had a long warm fall with beautiful weather and plenty going on through the middle of November. I even called my Garden Bloggers Bloom Day post “Prime Time” (click here to see the show). This year most gardeners in the mid-Atlantic US agree that fall colors on many plants have been muted and gardens have gone by early. Even September and October contained few of the clear, crisp, and sunny days we look forward to, and then along came Sandy.
Despite the bad fall, there are plants in my garden right now that make a stroll outside worthwhile. What is it about them that so attracts me? It is that these plants are reaching their ornamental height right now. They are not just re-blooming or showing a few flowers on a plant that really peaked earlier like asters or phlox, and they are not producing lovely fall color on a woody that I grow just as much for its flowers like hydrangea or viburnum. November is the month when they reach the top.
In this post I re-introduce you to some of the plants that show their best side in November and December. I have written about many of them before, and I will provide links to those posts. However, I wanted to gather these plants together here to provide a complete reference of fall stars to use during your spring shopping trips.
When all the other trees have shown their colors and lost their leaves, Japanese maples are just starting to turn. Every time I go outside I grab my camera to take one more shot of their eye-catching color. I think it is their prime ornamental characteristic, especially because of its timing, even though I also appreciate their fine branching structure, delicate leaves, and variety of habits.
Fall-blooming hardy cyclamen is dormant in the summer and re-emerges in the fall. To get all the details, click here to read my recent post on this unusual but easy to grow plant. For the purposes of this post, what makes it so desirable is that November is its peak when its leaves are fully emerged and provide a stunning backdrop for the flowers.
Italian arum’s life cycle is very similar to hardy cyclamen: it goes dormant in the summer and comes up fresh and beautiful to peak in the fall and through the winter. It makes a great groundcover, and you can read more about it by clicking here.
I couldn’t write a post this time of year without mentioning fall-blooming snowdrops. Although we think of snowdrops as blooming in March, there are several species that bloom in the fall, including G. reginae-olgae, which blooms in October and is done now. Also the giant snowdrop, whose flowers are quite variable, blooms for a long period from November to February so I have included some photos above. But the king of fall is ‘Potter’s Prelude’, a very robust and vigorous snowdrop that blooms reliably in November. For more information, click here to read my post on fall-blooming snowdrops.
‘Josef Lemper’ and ‘Jacob’ Christmas roses are also stars in my November garden, producing pure white 3 to 4″ wide flowers set off by smooth evergreen leaves. Fall is their season, and they produce copious amounts of flowers to cheer up dreary November days. For more information on fall-blooming hellebores, click here.
The last photo is a teaser because of course fall-blooming camellias play a huge part in my November garden. As with the other plants profiled, they are not just hanging on into November but instead come into their own then. Look for an upcoming post featuring my camellias and my recent visit to the garden of a customer who also loves camellias.
All these plants (except the single flower of ‘Josef Lemper’ Christmas rose) are pictured blooming in my garden right now so I am linking to Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day (“GBBD”) hosted by May Dreams Gardens where gardeners from all over the world publish photos of what’s blooming in their gardens.
Nursery Happenings: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is done for the fall. Thanks for a great year. See you in spring 2013.
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