Tuesday, November 15, 2011

GBBD: November Swan Song

This is the time of year when garden bloggers living in zone 5 or farther north are forced to get rather creative, especially on the 15th of each month when we join in the monthly celebration known as Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day.  With several nights of frost the past few weeks, my garden is pretty well done for the year and ready to hibernate for the winter.

This is what most of my garden looks like--a few spots of green here and there, like the lambs' ears, but mostly dried seedheads and fading foliage like the amsonia, all covered with a thick layer of leaves blown in by the wind.  Even the grasses are losing their fall color.

Still, there are a few jewels to be found.  The beautyberry may have lost all its leaves, but the purple berries remain for a bright accent in an otherwise mostly brown landscape.  In case you're wondering about the strange foliage here, those are pieces of dried cornstalks blown in from the fields that have wrapped themselves around the plant.

The Knockout roses, especially the yellow 'Radsunny,' are still putting out some blooms, but even they look ready to give up for the winter.

 One of the best parts of participating in GBBD is that it makes me hunt for something in bloom, especially during this time of year.  If I hadn't been looking for something, anything at all blooming,  I would have missed the few delicate alyssum plants finally blooming.

Another surprise as I walked around the garden beds was this solitary bloom on the daisy 'Becky.'  Looking back at last year's November post, I realized that I actually have much more in bloom this year than last.

Not a bloom, this little seedling has me mystified.  Does anyone recognize what it might be?  I have several of these seedlings growing in the lily bed, and though I'm pretty sure they're not a weed, I have no idea what they are. 

Most of the hydrangeas have already faded to shades of brown, but 'Let's Dance in the Moonlight' is the belle of the ball and still turning heads with its aging blooms of burgundy.

Nearby, the Itea 'Little Henry' is hanging on to its fall color.

As is the Spirea 'Magic Carpet.'  The two spireas were afterthoughts planted last fall to fill in an empty spot among other shrubs.  I didn't realize until now that they had such pretty fall color, so I'm really glad I chose them.

The last few weeks have been a real rollercoaster in terms of weather.  We've had some days in the 70's and some mornings below freezing.  The plants that remain must be totally confused.  This geranium in the porch planter apparently isn't going to give up until the bitter end. 

A few petunias are also bravely soldiering on.

Not surprisingly, the new Rudbeckia  'Prairie Sun'  is still looking good in a container.  I really need to plant this in the garden soon, though, because I definitely want to keep this one around.

The kale, however, will stay in its container for the winter, along with the pansies.  Neither will survive our winter, but they're just too pretty to toss on the compost pile.

One last potted mum is still blooming away.  Soon it will be time to put these fall decorations into the compost heap and bring out the Christmas decor.

There will be a scarcity of blooms the next few months here on the prairie, but on a positive note, I finally finished planting all my spring bulbs on Sunday.  So, while my garden may be shades of brown and white for awhile, I'll have visions of  colorful tulips and daffodils dancing in my head!

To see what's blooming today in other gardens all across the world be sure to visit the ever-entertaining Carol at May Dreams Gardens.


  1. Now if you can find a bloom or two surely I can if I get out there and look. I do have some alyssum still blooming. Not much going on here though for sure. Happy GBBD.

  2. I'm in Zone7 and the bloom finding is challenging. Not because of frosts, but, the very dry fall cut lots of blooms short. 'Radsunny'is the bestest of the Knockouts...don't you love it's sweet rose fragrance? Happy GBBD! Gail

  3. Hi Rose, I didn't even attempt a GBBD post! My garden is brown and grey. The few roses that re-blooming are looking very bedraggled. You did very well to find little bits of color in your garden. I am going to guess that your mystery plant is calendula. Can you believe that I still have bulbs to plant? Shameful, I know!

  4. My eye really stopped on that photo of the intense beautyberries lying amid the buff colored dried cornstalks. You can't make that stuff up, nature creates the most beautiful accidental combinations.

  5. Love all the color and texture in your November garden Rose! Radsunny has been seducing me all season in the garden blogging world. Those beautyberries are fantastic. Ours didn't bloom this year - might be time to look for a sunnier spot for them. Happy Bloom Day!

  6. Next month I will be hunting too. Is that seedling fleshy? Could it be a sedum? Happy GBBD.

  7. We have had a wacky fall. I can't believe all the plants still in bloom in my garden. Your rose looks really good for having survived several frosts. I hope yours and mine have time to fade and go dormant before the real cold arrives. Remember that year the roses were blooming in December and then were killed by the sudden onset of cold?
    Your mystery seedling could be any number of things. What were you growing nearby? Nicotiana? Maybe jewels of Opar (Talinum paniculatum)?

  8. Sunny Knockout just doesn't know when to quit, does it? Alyssum is my new old favorite.

  9. You have lots going on, Rose! Congrats on finding those little hidden gem, too. That's what we all have to do, and use the macro function. I love those purple beautyberries, so well named. Magic Carpet is the best spiraea, by far. We have spread the suckers hither and yon in classic tightwad gardening mode. The fading foliage looks great, well done planting for extended interest!

  10. I think your garden has some very pretty colours in those lovely plants.
    That ornamental cabbage looks quite striking and all those pretty, delicate pinks look stunning with autumn leaves all around them.
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

  11. Your mystery seedling looks like honeywort, Cerinthe major. It has a dark blue flower. If you've ever grown honeywort, it does self-sow. Lovely November garden!

  12. Rose, thanks for stopping by my blog. Yeah,I have a few blooms hanging on just like you. My violas will survive the winter here. Thanks again for the lovely comments and encouragement. BTW, that Rudebeckia is awesome.

  13. It's looking quite good in your garden. Sometimes I think fall is just as good as spring and you show that in this post.

  14. You still have a lot of beautiful touches in your garden in spite of the lateness of the year. Blooms are scarce here too, in spite of the fact that temps got up to 80 here today. Prairie Sun does indeed look like a keeper!

  15. Hi Rose. Jewel is the perfect word to describe beautyberry berries. They look amazing in the brown landscape of late fall.

    All of our Spirea 'Magic Carpet' are looking pretty, too. They make me happy this time of year.

    I agree...the kale should not be tossed onto the compost pile...it still has a big smile on its face:)

    Glad you got your bulbs in the ground. I planted mine about a week ago and included tulips for the first time.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family, Rose.


  16. You still have a lot going on. Lovely blooms and photos both.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

  17. It is bittersweet, admiring those late blooms and fall foliage. Your garden is lovely.

  18. I'm glad you explained the dried leaves wrapped around the beautyberry. I was looking at it wondering how in the world the leaves of that bush were so different from others I've seen. My garden is very similar right now. A couple spots of colour but we're definitely sliding into winter now.

  19. I had to laugh at the corn stalk wrapped around the beauty berry as I have it all over the place, even in my garage! :)
    How awesome to still be finding blooms, we had 35* with 20 mph winds, sending the wind chill (bad words!) to the 20s.
    The "weed" looks all the world to me like brussel sprout seedling!!

  20. I like your stalwart pink geranium. I remembered to pot a couple of mine and bring them inside before our snow, but I lost quite a few that I just forgot.

    The purple berries are quite stunning, as well!

    I was going to plant some flowering kale this year, but some brave creature climbed up onto my porch and ate it up!

  21. Nice to see some color in your neck of the woods. Jack Frost did a number on my GA gardens but still a bit of color hanging on for us. Blogging is a great way to document our gardens from year to year and so happy to have that diary to look back upon for timing, color, etc.

    Yep, hard to believe that soon the Christmas deco will be in place. Time really flies these days...

  22. Your foliage is still looking amazing...and that Beauty Berry is as lovely as any bloom!

  23. Hi Rose, You TRULY have a LOT more color than I. Perhaps it's the sunny beds? At any rate, raking is more my speed these days!

    Happy Thanksgiving to you. I hope you are blessed by family and friends with whom to celebrate!

  24. Happy mid-November, Rose. I must say, #2 image ... the purple berry/ cornstalks blown in from the fields is stunning!

  25. I see someone has beaten me to it but your unknown seedling is Cerinthe major as I grow it in my garden though it doesn't like the frosts and I keep it as an annual. I couldn't do without beauty berries either at this time of year - I like the way you left those bits of cornstalk around the branches.

  26. You've still managed to find lovely colours in your garden, rose.

  27. Sometimes it is so amazing to see what is still blooming this late in the year. I adore alyssum, such a heady fragrance!
    Thanks for your comment. I feel so un-connected right now.

  28. Lisa, Thanks; I was surprised to find anything in bloom at all right now.

    Gail, I do love the 'Radsunny'--Knockouts are the only roses I'm brave enough to try.

    Jennifer, There's still time to plant bulbs! I think I picked the windiest day of the year to plant mine.

    Laurrie, Glad you liked the beautyberry photo; I almost cleaned out the cornstalks before taking it, but the wind kept blowing them back in.

    Linda, This is the first year for the beautyberry, and it's been a real winner for me. Wish I could say the same for a few of the other new plants I tried.

    Carolyn, The seedling isn't fleshy; otherwise I'd think of a sedum, too. Next month will really be a challenge!

    MMD, The weather has been so up and down, I'm surprised it hasn't killed some plants. I still have geraniums/pelargoniums blooming.

    NellJean, Alyssum isn't showy, but it's much appreciated this time of year.

    Frances, I've been working harder on including more four-season interest; thanks for the comment! Glad to hear the spirea is so hardy.

    Maggie, The colder it gets, the more vibrant pink the center of the kale becomes--too pretty to eat!

    Denise, You are right--it is Cerinthe! I know only because my best friend confirmed that she had given me some small starts this summer. I sure don't remember planting them:)

    Greggo, I'm hoping this Rudbeckia will come back or re-seed next year. It's different than any of the others I have.

    Tina, I do love fall, but my garden is pretty well done for the year.

    Sweetbay, I am crossing my fingers that 'Prairie Sun' comes back next year.

  29. Donna, The kale just looks prettier as the weeks go by--it will probably stay in its pot all winter. I planted lots of tulips--they may not last long, but I just love them. Happy Thanksgiving to you, too!

    Sunray, Thanks for visiting.

    Sarah, Yes, it's a bittersweet time of year, but I do like the cycle of four seasons. Besides, I need a break:)

    Marguerite, I thought the photo would look strange if I didn't explain it:) My garden is pretty much brown right now.

    Sissy, I have some cornstalks in my garage, too! The winds have been awful here at times, but the good part is that they blew away most of my leaves so I didn't have to rake.

    Kimberley, I still haven't potted up my geraniums; I'm hoping they'll last through Thanksgiving. Somebody got a good dose of antioxidants:)

    Skeeter, Even though I don't have much to show this time of year, Bloom Day does give me a nice record of what's going on in my garden, especially since I'm so bad about keeping a journal.

    Scott, Yes, I love the beautyberries; after admiring them for a few years on other blogs, I was glad I finally planted one.

    Shady, We may be just a bit warmer down here than you. A very happy Thanksgiving to you, too!

    Joey, Thank you! Time is sure flying this year.

    Rosie, I'm glad to know these are Cerinthe. I wonder if they'll come back next year?

    Liz, I had to use my macro setting to find most of this color:)

    Rosey, Hope you get all your technical issues straightened out.

  30. Hello, Rose,

    Gosh it's been a while since I've visited... seems I haven't been able to get out of the garden and kitchen. ;) But it is colder now, less vegetables to harvest but time to mulch leaves.

    Your garden is still filled with color. We are always amazed at what is still blooming even following several frosts.

    Rose, we wish you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving. Many blessings!

  31. I know what you mean about roller-coaster weather. It's been doing that here in Florida too. Love that contrast of the beauty berry and cornstalk. Thanks for reminding me about planting some bulbs. I think I'll try some here at the rental house. The yard could use a little spring color.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  32. Looks like you had a great Thanksgiving. Lots to do, but so much to be thankful for. It was warm enough for us to head out to the backyard at football halftime for pics in our Packers T-shirts and sweatshirts. :) I hope you'll join in the "Lessons Learned" meme again this season. It will be live on PlantPostings until Dec. 22. Happy Winter!

  33. This colors are a treasure for my eyes. My garden is still gone to sleep untill spring.
    Have a nice day


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