There are still various refugees from summer trying to bloom in my garden. The Campanula persicifolia ‘Blue’ pictured in the collage above is planted in a container by the front door. It has bloomed very happily in its north-facing position all summer, contrasting wonderfully with the wall behind, and it doesn’t seem to want to let go. I’ve collected seed and hope to see more of it next year, though I’ve had no luck with Campanulas in the main garden in the past, the snails devour them.

The Cosmos bipinnatus ‘Purity’ seems to be trying to make up for being late to the party by clinging on. I haven’t had the heart to oust it, despite the fact that it is increasingly tatty and is planted in the same pot as the Dahlia ‘Downham Royal’. I really should be digging up and smothering the Dahlia in shredded paper in the garage with the others, but it too is still trying to flower, although it seems unable to develop the sugary pink colouring it wore proudly all summer. A faint blush seems to be all it can manage!

The orange wallflowers have been going ever since I planted them back in April, and the fuchsia, an unknown hardy variety rescued from an old bucket by my father-in-law, seems intent on proving it is garden-worthy by carrying on regardless of the frost. It is planted under the Magnolia stellata, sheltered by the shed, and seems to be very happy despite being another plant late to get going this year. I don’t know the name of the pink Geranium, it was in a cheap and cheerful collection I picked up a while ago, but it makes up for being a bit of a thug by flowering continuously from early summer until, well, who knows!

Some things, though well past their best in the flower department, are still providing interest with their foliage. You really wouldn’t stop to look twice at the once-beautiful flowers on the Lysimachia cletheroides:

Lysimachia cletheroides

Fortunately the leaves turn a gorgeous deep orange:

Lysimachia cletheroides foliage

Some things in the garden have been deliberately chosen because they flower at this time of year.


The cyclamen that brightened up my day back in September glow in the low light levels, the foliage shining out from amongst the leaf litter of the Magnolia.

Mahonia x. media ‘Charity’

I grow Mahonia x. media ‘Charity’ for its large, shiny, sculptural leaves as much as anything, it provides great all-year structure in a dark corner by the compost bins and log pile. However, it really comes in to its own at this time of year, producing huge and plentiful sprays of deep yellow flowers. They remind me of an octopus for some reason…

Ivy Flower

The flowers of the Ivy are altogether more subtle, though the birds love the insects they attract.

Fatsia japonica

I always find it hard to capture the candelabra-effect of the flowers on the Fatsia japonica, another plant grown mainly for its architectural foliage but which adds a welcome extra dimension at this time of year.

I don’t have many plants with good berries. There are a couple of Pyracantha ‘Mohave’ planted round the front, barely seen because of the van that is usually parked in front of the bed.

Pyracantha ‘Mohave’

As you can see, we need to get to grips with pruning them, though I doubt we will ever be able to compete with one of our neighbours:

Expert Pruning

Some things are not going to plan. I love the architectural quality of Hydrangea quercifolia, the Oak-leaved Hydrangea, but the main reason I planted it was for the spectacular Autumn colour.

Hydrangea quercifolia

It is remaining resolutely green. I can only hope that it is saving itself for a dramatic last “hurrah”, and won’t just drop its leaves over night without putting on a show.

I’m also waiting for the berries on the Aucuba japonica crassifolia to ripen. I’m sure they are usually bright red by now, but at least they should provide yet another accent of colour in the otherwise dark north facing border at the back of the garden.

Aucuba japonica crassifolia

Mind you, that’s another plant I would grow for its foliage alone. The serrated leaves are very glossy, and reflect the light wonderfully. I know this is Garden Blogger’s BLOOM Day, but I think it is easy to forget how important a role foliage plays in the garden, particularly in Autumn when all we really want is those deep oranges, reds and golds. And thank goodness that there are still some foliage fireworks:

Blueberry Foliage Bamboo and vine

Many thanks again to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for hosting Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day. Pop over and see what is blooming in other gardens around the world!

31 thoughts on “GBBD 15th November 2010

  1. The pyracantha is amazing. Hope you get to compete, that is a show stopper. Your images are lovely and so is you garden plantings.

    1. Hi Donna, thank you for your lovely comment! The pyracantha pruning will be in my father-in-law’s very capable hands (suitably gloved, of course!).

  2. Hi Janet, your garden is looking spectacular. Even the plants I know you’re not so keen on are doing their best to enhance the overall effect of the garden. Very strange about the Hydrangea quercifolia, it usually looks amazing long before now! Do let us know if it does its stuff later. I agree that foliage is important always – not just autumn. Often my favourite parts of the garden are mainly foliage. Christina

    1. Hi Christina! I will definitely fill you in on the Strange Case of the Tardy Hydrangea… I must admit that, hydrangea aside, I am pleased with how well the garden is holding up now that most of the drama is over. The backbone shrubs were where I started, and it was good to remind myself of how useful – and beautiful – they are for this post.

  3. Plants and bread! Talk about a complimentary combination. :) Your photos are a delight to look at, thanks for sharing (and I can’t believe your neighbor’s pyracantha)!

  4. Your pyracantha is absolutely amazing… wow! I don’t have any but I know there are a new cultivar or two that could be hardy here in east central Wisconsin… I really enjoyed you photos… thanks, L

    1. Hi Larry, thanks for visiting – and commenting! Pyracantha are so tough, I’m sure there are some you could grow successfully, and they make great burglar deterrents as well as looking spectacular in Autumn.

  5. I’ve been coveting the Oakleaf Hydrangea this year and am hoping to find one for my garden by early spring. My flaming sumac never turned brilliant red this year and has lost most of its leaves…don’t know if it has been too dry or what. I hope you’ll have some color from your hydrangea before long ;-)

    1. Hi Cat, thanks for dropping by. Sorry to hear about your Sumac. Maybe it is all to do with the dry spell, we had one here too. I’ve not given up on the hydrangea yet…

  6. Janet, I love all the fall color. You certainly have a nice collection of plants. I think Fatsia is such a cool plant….think it tops the deer list of favorite foods.
    Your little woodland cyclamen is sweet. Need to find a source to get a few for my garden next spring.

    1. Hi Janet. Am glad – again – not to have marauding deer to contend with if they find Fatsia so tasty! I can just see drifts of cyclamen in your garden under the trees, its so exciting watching you build a new garden from scratch.

  7. An amazing display of colours and textures – especially for this time of the year. But I have to say your neighbour’s Pyracantha reminded me of “The Angel of the North” !!!

    1. Hi Mark – loved your ‘Angel of the North’ comment, it is now firmly lodged in my brain! Am envious of your impending new camera, look forward to seeing the shots!

  8. Hi there, thankyou so much for dropping in on my site and your lovely comments. I am really enjoying reading your blog – your photos are stunning, what an explosion of colour. I love the autumnal palate and I think youve got every shade of it in your garden!

    1. Hi, thank you for visiting, so glad you enjoyed wandering around my blog, I loved exploring yours too!

  9. I saw the mahonia in flower when we were in England last November. I thought it was stunning. That pyracantha espalier is incredible- A show stopper. Mine is espaliered but I can never manage to exert my will over it. Must try harder! PS- I like bread too!

    1. Good luck with the pyracantha! I’m leaving ours to my father-in-law, he enjoys a pruning challenge! Give him a couple of years and maybe we’ll be serious competition!

  10. So much lovely color – I’m a bit envious of the plants I can’t grow here, especially the fatsia and orange wallflowers. Your neighbor’s pyracantha is jaw dropping, but yours is also quite nice indeed!

    1. Hi Cyndy. I’ve been lucky with the Fatsias, even in the really cold spell last year they just suffered from a few blackened leaves. I cut these out in the Spring and on it goes! And thank you for being kind about our pyracantha, we’ve a way to go before we are competitors there…

  11. Such a shame that the lovely white cosmos has usually only got into full gear before the frosts polish them off. Liked the thought of an octupussy mahonia :)

    1. Isn’t it! Still, it has been beautiful, and I’l certainly grow it again next year. Maybe with the greenhouse I can give it a head start, so that it blooms earlier!

  12. Love those Cyclamen…so lovely. I’ll cross my fingers for your Oakleaf Hydrangea…I’m no stranger to the phenomena of non-existent fall coloring in plants specifically chosen for their fall color ;-)

    1. Thanks Scott – and thank you for dropping by! Always good to meet a fellow fan of Knautia macedonica.

  13. We don’t get autumn colour in our leaves here in my part of Australia so I love to see it. Your garden has such diversity.

    1. Hi Missy, thanks so much for dropping by and commenting. I must admit I would really miss the variety the changing seasons provide us with, though I imagine I could get used to your sub-tropical climate if forced ;-)

  14. The more I see of Mahonia, the more impressed I am by this plant. But I’m not sure I’d want your neighbor’s pyracantha:) Lovely blooms, but I agree it’s the foliage that is most beautiful in November, and you have a colorful collection of examples here.

  15. Janet thankyou for your visit yesterday – you certainly are alot further south than me to have such beautiful blooms still in your garden. What a pyracantha your neighbour has – 3 of mine died last winter as it got down to -17. Do you see that 2nd last photograph which has that beautiful autumn foliage – what shrub is that from? – a fothergilla maybe?

    1. Hi Rosie! Goodness, -17C! That’s cold… The shrub you asked about is a blueberry, so the wonderful foliage is a welcome added bonus to the lovely fruit. The variety is ‘Brigitta’.

  16. Hello there,
    I saw your post on MayDreamsGarden and thought I’d jump on over. Thanks for the nice photos. I have always liked the Fatsia bloom because it is a bit unusual. Flowers that are not real showy from a distance but are actually quite beautiful when you take the time to examine them closely always interest me. Oh and you might try planting the Campanula poscharskyana . It is a little bit tougher and just as pretty.

    1. Hi Rees, thanks for popping over – and for the Campanula tip, I’ll look out for it!

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