November Review

November’s last sunrise flared crimson and purple above frost-white fields and gardens.

Last sunrise of November

The sun rose swiftly, a flaming red ball, quickly swallowed by low pale clouds to restore a delicate watercolour palette to land and sky once more.ย The temperature in the greenhouse was only -1 C, with a recorded minimum a couple of degrees colder still.

Silhouette of birch against dawn skies

On the eve of December, the garden has at last embraced the change of season; the borders finally subsiding with a sigh into the soft browns and greys of their winter coat, crisp brown leaves stuffed into their pockets, rustling.

Frosty morning garden

Field border, end of November

Stripped back, the garden reveals its young skeleton, already much fuller than last year’s. I’m rather pleased with its progress; in years to come the shrubs and small trees will fill out and provide more structure through these winter months, but the garden is far from empty. I know that to many, the decaying stems and bare branches appear forlorn at best, but I rather like this wild tangle, and the muted colours reflect the season perfectly, as well as resting the eyes after summer’s riot of colour.

Brave Clematis flower on frosty morning

Occasional improbable splashes of colour still turn my head: Clematis Ernest Markham here pushing its last deep red flowers towards the cool blue skies; vivid purple flowers of hardy geraniums remain nonchalant while the pale primroses look perfectly at home amid the frosts.

Primrose flowering in frost

The kitchen garden is quiet now, chard and pak choi beginning to wilt until only the brassicas continue to stand tall against the onslaughts of the weather.

Kitchen garden at end of November

We have requisitioned a patch of bare earth in the kitchen garden to build an ad-hoc log store, stacking our excess logs on pallets and throwing a (blue!) tarpaulin to keep the worst of the wet off the wood as it seasons. If the recent low temperatures continue, it should not be long before we have made space in the static wood stores to reclaim the ground here.

Frost on Cavolo nero leaves

I think that Cavolo nero, with its riveted leaves, was made for frost; it always looks stunning sprinkled with white, and the savoy cabbages are standing up to the weather too. A fine set of Brussels sprouts look promising for our Christmas dinner – and several meals beyond. I’m pleased with these – one less thing to buy from the farmers’ market in a few weeks’ time.

Brussels sprouts growing end of November

We must remember to mark the row of parsnips now that the foliage is beginning to die back; last year we had great fun trying to find them in frozen ground, and several escaped us until they began to grow again in the spring.

So November has mostly been a quiet month, although my birthday did not pass unmarked.

Birthday champagne, flowers and bakingWe have wrestled with the first cold and flu of the season, managed to get all the spring bulbs and garlic planted – some woefully late – and tidied up the garden gently, leaving most of the ornamental plants to stand through the winter. It’s a delight to watch birds alight on the teasel seed heads for a snack.

Teasel seedheads against dawn skies

With the most pressing garden tasks completed, I’m sure that December will find us curled up beside the fire more than outside, dreaming idly over catalogues and books of plants, already thinking ahead to next year.

Thanks to Helen, the Patient Gardener, for hosting the end of month view.


26 thoughts on “November Review

  1. Those skies are amazing. the first really looks like the sky is on fire! Enjoy your time curled up in front of the fire, mind and body need some rest. Christina

    • Thanks, Christina. Alas, there’s always plenty to do here even when the garden relaxes its claim on us, but hopefully we will make time to relax too!

  2. Hi,

    Beautiful sky; last night was gorgeous, sunrise was also lovely today and sunset once again. Although I will be happy once it gets a little warmer again.

    It’s time to play spot the spring bulbs – already seen a few popping up in pots. Must try to have a wander in the garden to spot them too.

    • The high pressures do bring some beautiful skies along with the cold, brrr. I love watching the new foliage of bulbs pushing up with promise of next year.

  3. I do like your writing style so poetic.

    Carvelo Nero is one of the things I shall miss from the allotment so I am toying with planting some in the borders for winter interest and to eat of course. I took many photos of them at the allotment, they are such photographic plants.

    Thanks for joining in again this month and a happy belated birthday

  4. Those sunset photos are just amazing! I wish I had a property with a view into the distance. And I have Brussel Sprout envy (if there can be such a thing) – those sprouts look about three times the size of mine.

    • Thanks, Mark. It was such a beautiful sunset, I had to grab the camera, even if it delayed me to work ๐Ÿ™‚ We are really lucky to have such views around us.
      I’m really pleased with our sprouts, we didn’t get around to planting any last year, though now I’m worried that they may blow before the end of the month! I guess they like our heavy clay.

  5. Poetic writing and beautiful photography, great post Sara. I love the dramatic skies, but most of all I love the way the open fields form the backdrop to the skeletons of plants, not an effect I have ever been able to have, but beautiful nonetheless. Belated Happy Birthday, and thank you for reminding me that I need to get teasel seed…

    • Thanks Janet, I’ll never tire of the landscape that our garden gazes across, it more than makes up for the tireless winds that sweep through here. Your sea views aren’t too shoddy though!
      Teasels give such lovely structure to the garden, and food for the birds.

  6. Yes we have definitely moved into winter as your new header reflects so well Sara. Must plant teasel in the garden so I can enjoy them more – I have them at the allotment. Your plans for December sound most civilised including the eating of such fine sprouts. Wishing you a belated happy birthday. I hope that your special day was filled with fun and flowers xxx

    • Thanks Anna, I was beautifully spoilt on my birthday ๐Ÿ™‚ I love teasels for their strong form summer and winter – though I may be cursing them when I’m digging out seedlings everywhere!

  7. The sunrise shots are wonderful – a great improvement on the usual colours of November! Your Brussels are much better than ours so I am quite envious.

  8. Beautiful sunsets and sorry to read about your colds. We are mid flow with our first virus, passing it around the family, as happens. Belated ‘Happy Birthday!’ to you. Bethx

    • Thanks Beth, hoping we’ll both be fighting fit by the end of the month, being full of cold is so tiring! Hope you’re all recovered for Christmas. x

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