As the nights draw in and the days become shorter, there is still lots to enjoy in the garden. The low sun light at this time of year highlights the last of any autumn colour in the borders and seems to make the red, yellow, and orange berries, foliage, and hips glow like the embers of a bonfire.
Perennials like Sedum ‘Herbstfreude in late summer and autumn had deep pink flower heads loved by bees, now turns a tawny red as seed heads die back looks great covered by a layer of sparkling frost.
Trees like Betula Jacquemontii and Prunus Serrula have great bark colour and texture and when combined with the stems of Cornus Midwinter Fire or the golden grass stems of Stipa Gigantea, look stunning back lit by the sun and under planted with winter flowering heather and bulbs.
I have previously spoken about including evergreens in your garden and how important they are in giving the garden structure, so here is my selection of some shrubs that look great at this time of year.
Ceratostigma Willmottianum this dainty true-blue shrub likes to be in a sheltered spot, in well-drained soil. This shrub has tightly packed flower heads that open a few at a time
Viburnum Opulus ‘Xanthocarpum’ or guelder rose this yellow fruited shrub makes an excellent large specimen in the garden. In June, this shrub has white lacecap blooms that develop into bunches of translucent amber bead like berries.
Traditionally roses are grown for their beautiful blooms and gorgeous scent, but there are varieties at this time of year that produce fantastic hips of all shapes, colour and size, and one of them is Rosea Moyesii ‘Geranium.’
The arching habit of this Chinese species of rose has scarlet blooms early in the year and then delivers with a bang again later in the year bearing bright red hips on thin stalks.
Clerodendrum Trichotomum var. Fargesii - I remember the first time I saw this exotic looking shrub growing in full sun in a sheltered garden on Exmoor. This large deciduous shrub comes from China produces fragrant sprays of white flowers in summer followed by shiny berries surrounded by beetroot-coloured bracts that start green before turning to duck-egg blue which ripen to a dark teal colour.
November is the perfect time to plant your tulip bulbs in beds and borders. Last year I planted combinations of tulips in containers, and I will do the same again this year.
Choose a couple of varieties that complement each other. Tulips do not like standing in wet soil so place some crocks over the drainage hole in the base of your container and add a layer of grit.
Place the first layer of bulbs in the base of the container on a layer of compost and then cover with another layer of compost. Add a second or even third layer of bulbs depending on the size of your container and remember to add a label recording which bulbs you have planted in which containers. Then finally to make the container look attractive until the bulbs pop up, add winter flowering pansies for an instant splash of colour.
Until next time