Strange things are happening in my garden this Autumn, and I know I am not alone in this. The long mild spell has meant that things are flowering for longer, or re-blooming, that in most years would be just a memory by now. It is tempting to use close-ups to present an exagerated version of this. I could show you the Rudbekia ‘Rustic Dwarf Mix’ flowering happily alongside the Achillea ‘Cassis’…

Rudbekia And Achillea

…ask you to admire my lovely water lily…

Water Lily

But that would be to give a rather distorted view. Yes, my rosemary is trying to flower again, and the rose is still covered in buds, which sit side by side with the hips from earlier blooms. Seen from above, though, you can tell that it is very definitely Autumn.

Garden From Above

Lots of russets, browns, yellows from grass heads and perennials. They make for a rich combination of colour and texture that is very much of this season, despite the occasional foxglove flower and the fact that there is rather more green to be seen than normal.

Magnolia And Vine

The complex pattern formed by the almost serrated leaves of the magnolia, just beginning to turn, and set off by the deep red of the Vitis vinifera purpurea vine, is normal for this time of year, although perhaps the magnolia leaves would be more definitely yellow by now.

The Mahonia x. media ‘Charity’ has been flowering well, and should carry on for another month or so.

Mahonia Flower

The other stalwart of the autumn garden, the fatsia, is flowering prolifically, and I love the contrasting textures of white balls, which go from spiky to almost fluffy, against the large glossy leaves.

Fatsia Flowers
Fatsia Flowers And Leaves

A single echinacea flower, lovely though it is, does not have much impact when you stand back, where as the seedheads of its predecessors make a great architectural feature.


But Garden Bloggers Bloom Day is all about celebrating the flowers. Add in that Donna’s Word for Wednesday for tomorrow is actually two words, Texture and Pattern, and since texture is one of my obsessions when it comes to the garden, and I decided to combine the two and celebrate the texture as well as the colour of the little jewels, before the frosts finally arrive and kill off the dahlias. If you hover your mouse over an image you will see the name of the plant, thanks to the “alt” attribute in html which VP recently posted about which is so useful whether you are using a screen reader or not.

Verbena bonariensis Closeup
Achillea 'Moonwalker' Flowerhead
Dahlia 'Bishops Children'
Dahlia Bishop of Auckland
Dahlia 'Thomas Edison'

Thank you to Carol@May Dreams Gardens for hosting GBBD again, if you pop over to her site you will be able to see what is blooming in gardens around the world, anomalous or not! And do pop over to Donna’s blog and be inspired by all the posts on Texture and Pattern.

85 thoughts on “Garden Bloggers Bloom Day November 2011

  1. You found your color in amongst all the russets of Fall.The Dahlia macros are beautiful shots. It is amazing what detail is in the flowers when we looks so close.

    1. Thanks Donna. I think one of the best unexpected benefits I have got from blogging about the garden is the realisation of how fascinating plants – and critters – can be up close. Dahlias in particular have a velvety quality that I love.

  2. Lovely photographs! Am still enjoying flowers in the garden and the kitchen garden still has much on offer. Quite a treat for this late in the year. Oddities, such as the apple blossom in October, seem to have ceased. Though, am on the look out…

    1. Hi Petra, it is strange, but definitely to be relished, all these unexpected late bloomers. Though I have to confess I find apple blossom in October rather disturbing, hope it doesn’t disrupt next year’s harvest.

  3. Good that you put your paintbrush down again to share this lovely post. What a combination of the flowering and the decaying but in general from a distance your garden is in it’s autumn clothes. What a gem of an established garden…shame you have to change any of it to sell the house.

    1. Hi Janet, I am trying to take all the lovely advice I got from the comments on my last post to heart, and take time out to enjoy the moment! Mind you, there is still nothing forecast below 9C for the next 5 days. It does seem almost criminal to dig up the heart of the garden to sell the house, but I think it does just have to be done. At least it is making me appreciate it all the more while it is still intact, and I will get the challenge of planting up two newish borders.

  4. Sadly our fatsia is no more – it outgrew its allocated space and had to be sacrificed so we could restyle the part of the garden it was growing in!

    1. They can turn in to thugs – but at least they respond well to being cut hard back, which is what we have to do with the one that is growing out the front.

  5. Beautiful photos. It really has been a strange autumn. It has produced some very unusual combinations. I have hellebores flowering underneath an Acer that is in full autumnal colour and hydrangeas with Cyclamen hederfolium that have been joined in bloom by primroses. I’m still picking stocks from the allotment for the house along with the odd carnation. All very strange but beautiful.

    1. Not combinations you would ever expect to see! But as you say, weirdly wonderful.

  6. That last photo is stunning!

    What’s extra special about this year, because of the mild autumn is that most garden scape is a fine mix of repeat summer flowerers, autumn ones, and of course autumn foliage colour. Long may this mild spell last, who knows we may not even have a winter (that’s pushing it I know, lol!).

    1. Thanks, that’s my favorite one too. Almost makes me like the dahlia itself… It is nice not having to have the heating on, and being able to still enjoy so many flowers, but I confess it worries me, and I actually rather like cold crisp days, so I hope we get some. Not too many, but some!

  7. You still have plenty to give you pleasure. I know what you mean about close-ups giving a distorted view of what’s actually flowering well or just one bloom, I tried to show close-ups combined with overview, especially in the slide show. It is an amazing autunm everywhere. Christina

    1. Hi Christina, I always like to see the context a plant is growing in, it teaches me more than just beautiful macros, but I do love a good macro too.

  8. Beautiful images of your fall garden, Janet! I really enjoyed the overhead view–you certainly do have a lot of green remaining for this time of year. That last photo of the dahlia is stunning!

    1. Thank you Rose, it was strange looking down and seeing just how much green is left, particularly in the pond bed. I have quite a dew evergreens around the edge of the garden, but most of the perennials are still wearing green too!

  9. Hi Janet,

    Lovely post, it’s been a very very strange season that’s for sure!

    Guess what I spotted yesterday when pulling up some couch grass and spreading some mulch on the front borders??!! Crocus tips sticking up! I also found some other bulbs in a pot coming up; either snowdrops or tete a tete but I’m not qute sure which they were.

    1. Hi Liz, oh dear, poor bulbs, I hope they still bloom next Spring… I hear that this is likely to be yet another record breaking month, warmest since some long time ago. I’m actually rather hankering after a good frost, and not just because I want to get the dahlias lifted and dried!

      1. Hi Janet,

        Let’s just hope that it doesn’t do a complete 180 and we end up with opposite weather! Eeeek. I know I wished for our mild winters again but this is just a little too crazy at the moment :)

  10. aloha,

    wow, your garden is still blooming in all these colors…love the blooming fatsia…they are my favorite sub tropicals and are such hardy plants even in cold climates.

    1. Aloha Noel, I agree, Fatsias provide a wonderful tropical accent without requiring any special attention, perfect for our climate. Happy GBBD!

  11. I was browsing some of Carol links for GBBD, to really see what’s blooming around the World. Some of them aren’t very interesting to me, so I pass by but here I came. I like your blog and the first pic you published really caught my attention!

    I enjoyed the ‘view from above’ picture of your garden too. It is small but very cozy!

    1. Thank you Alberto, I’m glad you wanted to linger. The garden is small, but I think I have packed it with as many plants as I can!! Happy GBBD.

  12. Janet – Beautiful photos. You’ve helped me to identify a plant again. I’ve seen fatsias around but didn’t know its name. I was convinced that it is related to figs, but apparently not.

    1. Hi b-a-g, glad to have helped out with plant identification, I often discover new plants through other people’s blogs. I know what you mean about the fig relationship. Fatsias are great evergreens, they can get a bit tatty after the winter, but you just take the damaged leaves off and it bushes out again.

    1. Thanks Mark. Poor crocuses, I think you could be right, surely we are going to have a cold snap soon, though no sign of it on our five day forecast as yet.

  13. Lovely photos, Janet. I planted a fatsia at the priory but it didn’t make it. Must retry. I’m beginning to feel I’m gardening in another dimension. I’ve already had a couple of hard frosts at the Priory and it has trampled right through the borders. Am I being punished? Amazing that you’ve still got all that dahlia colour!

    1. Hi David, I am constantly surprised by the different conditions in UK gardens. I often find that Liz, who gardens up in Sheffield for heavens sake, has plants flowering earlier and carrying on for longer than I do here near Bristol. I would have put money on your climate being milder than ours, and in general that is probably true, but I think my garden is very sheltered, where as the Priory seems to get clobbered. Weird. But no, I don’t think you are being punished, you are very important, but I don’t think you are quite important enough to deserve a dedicated frosting…

  14. Your blooms are beautiful, but, then so is that lovely long view! It has been an odd autumn. We are used to blooms until November, but, the drought put an end to some. It must really be strange for folks in the Northeast. gail

    1. Hi Gail, it really has been odd, but there again, it seems there have been very strange weather patterns across the globe this year, which scares me.

  15. Thank you for joining in with your GBBD post. I was hoping people would, because at this time of year texture comes to the forefront. You really have some pretty examples.

    1. Pleasure, Donna, it was too good a W4W topic to miss out on, and you got some wonderful contributions.

  16. Lots of beautiful flowers, especially your dahlias and waterlily, I think we just have to enjoy them all while we can, one day soon we are bound to have a frost.Loved your overhead view showing more of your garden, as you say, having all macro shots make us think the garden is still in its summer dress, whereas a long shot shows the autumn foliage, lovely garden.

    1. Thanks Pauline, I do think seeing the context for macros is helpful, and I realised recently from some comments that people seemed to have formed the impression that I have a large garden – which clearly I do not! I think you are right about enjoying the late blooms while we can, though we are still not expected to get temps below 10C over night in the next 5 days!!

  17. Your garden is still looking gorgeous – I can’t help feeling that this is all going to come to an end with some sort of blizzard, but it’s all very pleasant. (I have a friend whose rhododendrons are flowering…)

    No GBBD post from me this time – very little in flower except for a rose that has never flowered at this time of year before, plus exciting new laptop to come to terms with… but I couldn’t compete!

    1. Oooh, new laptop! That is exciting, though I always get frustrated with how long it takes to get a new computer set up as I want it. Enjoy. You may be right about blizzards, but no sign as yet, in fact no end in sight to all this unseasonally mild weather. Still, at least the paint is drying quickly, and we are saving on heating bills…

  18. Gorgeous photos! We are having a very, very mild autumn here (more like mild summer temps), and I am really enjoying the extended blooms in my garden. I think the blooms mixed with the seedheads make things so much more interesting, too!

    1. Thanks Holley, and I agree about the flowers + seedheads combinations being really interesting, as are rose hips alongside rosebuds!

  19. Brilliant! Love the way you’ve presented the photos, getting brighter and more vivid as the page scrolls down. My favourite? The Bishop of Auckland dahlia, just wonderful! I’m with you on the cold crisp days front. All this damp weather is a touch too gloomy for me, plus I need a good hard frost to kill off any pests in the soil. The baby slugs are thoroughly enjoying this prolonged autumn!

    1. Eugh, yes, you are so right about the baby slugs, there are hundreds of the wretches! I think the Bishop may be my favourite dahlia, such rich colour, and much better for pollinators than the frou frou ones.

  20. We have had similar nice fall weather here in Pennsylvania also. It has been easier to enjoy the gradual color shift of the leaves without rain and snow to knock them off. The rain did come on Monday though, and snow tomorrow. But it will be nice to have some more cozy blogging time.

    I love your fatsia… probably not hardy in my area but I wish it was. And I love your overall view of the garden. I am sure I would enjoy spending some hours there; prefect for fall.

    1. Hi Julie, the idea of snow – or even frost – seems very remote here at the moment, very odd. It is making it hard to remember how close to Christmas it is getting! I don’t think fatsia would survive your cool climate, it is only meant to be hardy down to -5C, but on the other hand it got a lot colder here last winter and both mine survived. Given a sheltered position you might get away with it…

  21. I am glad you are taking advantage and enjoying your mild fall! Those are great memories to reflect upon during the cold and dreary months when we can’t get out in the garden. Lovely blooms still abound in your garden as well as textural elements. I enjoyed the tour!

    1. Hi Karin, glad you enjoyed the post, I wish I could just settle in and enjoy the mild weather, but it just seems so very odd!

  22. We’ve had a rather odd extended fall this year too. A couple hard frosts knocked most of the flowers out but the odd bloom is still showing up as we’ve had such warm sunny days.

    1. Hi MArguerite, it is intriguing that the mild fall is so widespread. It’s great for getting more done outside, all this mild weather, but it makes me wonder whether this is going to become the norm. Which would be odd! Though I am sure I could adjust, leaving dahlias in the ground would save a lot of work…

  23. Truly stunning photographs. I have somewhere to spend time during my Michigan winter. Thank you for sharing your flowers and your talent ~ Debra

  24. Your garden is still beautiful despite of the decreasing flowers. The last 3 macro photos are outstanding.

    1. Thank you Andrea, I do enjoy playing around with macro shots, it helps me appreciate the details of the plants I love that I often miss.

  25. the alt key informs me that your Rudbeckia and Achillea make a superb mid November, past their prime pairing. Am surpised by how much I like pink in this rusty time of year in your dahlias form and hues – the ice pink is a forewarning and hence could be named Cassandra!

    1. Hi Laura, I like it, Cassandra it is! I’m surprised at how well the pink is working too, and as for pink with orange – a ridiculous idea, but it seems to have worked. At least, I like it, which is really all that matters ;-)

  26. So many beautiful blooms filled with texture and pattern. I’m always amazed when I look at a flower in bloom, how intricate the petals are and how difficult it would be to replicate even one of those blooms with any success. You have a gorgeous garden!

    1. I agree Karen, when you get up close pretty much any flower becomes amazing. Glad you like the garden, I’m going to miss it, particularly at this time of year.

  27. My garden is very short of bloom right now. I am such a spring gardener that I rather pay the price. I have been trying to extend the season for a couple of years now and it is jut starting to pay off but with foliage and fruit rather than flower. I am seriously considering moving into grasses which have been a prejudice of mine for a long time. Blame Karen at @Artistsgarden for that!

    1. Hi Elizabeth, from what I understand Karen has been busily “corrupting” quite a few people viz. grasses, so I suspect you are doomed… They do provide great textures at this time of year, but I’ve found it really hard to learn how to use them in a small space. I think you will have the reverse “problem”, so much space! I think extending the seasons of interest in a garden has become something of a “holy grail”. Foliage and fruit are the perfect sources of interest at this time of year, I find I react rather badly to the sight of e.g. winter blooming camellias, by this point I want that “shutting down” look, otherwise I might as well up sticks and move to a tropical climate. I know its mild here this year, but I want four distinct seasons, and want my garden to reflect them. Enjoy succumbing to grasses, I think they could look fabulous in your setting.

  28. Wonderful post…just love the mix of blooming/faded Echinacea blossoms…and thanks for posting the wide shot from above…really puts everything into context!

    1. Thanks Scott, I always like to understand the context other bloggers are growing in, so I figured it was high time I did the same myself. Decorating a room I rarely go in gave me the perfect opportunity.

  29. Yes, the Fatsia has a lot of character! Oh my goodness, you need to enter those Dahlia macro shots in a contest! They’d make a stunning display, framed and posted on a wall. They’re exquisite. Enjoy the last beautiful days of fall!

    1. What a lovely thing to say, thank you. I would like to frame some small prints of macro shots at some point, but mostly I want to enjoy the real thing for as long as possible.

    1. Hi Sara, it is suddenly looking a lot more bare, and very definitely autumnal. Still dahlias flowering though, which is bonkers.

  30. Thank you for sharing your garden on Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. This year is certainly providing us with wonderful and unseasonal photo opportunities. I think I shall have a hunt tomorrow to see what is out there. Having been away and not getting home until the dark after work, I haven’t seen my garden for what feels like weeks.

    1. Hi Ronnie, don’t know how I missed this comment of yours, but I did – sorry!

    1. Thanks Les, the painting is going quite well, it is just always slower than you think! My new motto is “one wall at a time”. I’m trying not to count walls…

  31. It’s a funny old year isn’t it Janet ? After reading your post I have realised that a) I miss my fatsia and that b) I miss the overall view/perspective of the garden which you do not get when you live in a bungalow. Will replace the fatsia but moving might be more traumatic and expensive :)

    1. Mmm, the fatsia is definitely easier to fix than the one story living issue, but thank you, it has helped me realize that I would much prefer not to wind up in bungalow for that very reason. Maybe you could build a watchtower…

  32. Enjoyed your post Janet. Although a lot of our blogging friends may have a preference for the long shots, I think the close ups are equally important. At this time of year, even as far north as we are, I could be convinced of global warming, but why the heck is it now colder in Summer. Your Mahonia in flower!! early Spring before we see this. I have my doubts if Fatsia would survive even in a very sheltered spot here, I certainly didn’t realise they would flower even in your southerly location. I like the plant names showing when you mouse over the picture, I didn’t have to think of this one, wordpress does it automatically if you use their system for adding pictures. alistair

    1. Hi Alistair, glad you enjoyed the macros, personally I like both close-ups and wider angles, they just tell you different things. I know exactly what you mean about the weather, I’ve certainly had cooler days in the summer than I’ve had this October, which is just too disturbing. My mahonia is an early flowering type and I usually flowering by around now, I then get jealous of people who have the ones that flower in January!! You just can’t win… WordPress does indeed make it very easy to add the alt tag info, I was shocked to realise that Blogger makes it so hard.

    1. Hi Esther, sorry, I’d managed to completely managed to miss this comment of yours. Mahonias are lovely, but they are thuggish. I think you can prune them quite hard, but then you lose the flowers, so what’s the point? Sorry about your fatsia. Maybe a strong talking to.

    1. Hi Nathan, thanks for the compliment, I’m sure you will work wonders. It took me a long time to get to this point, but the process has been great fun.

  33. Wow, some beautiful photos in there! We’re getting the same here with all kinds of things flowering (or just about to try, poor things – sounds like the weather’s on the turn). Roses still going strong, yarrow, lavender, honey suckle… Not as much as you though, looks fabulous!

    1. Hi Nancy, thank you for the comment, sorry I am so late in responding. Would you believe that I still have dahlias to pick from the garden?

  34. It’s more than half-way to the next Bloom Day, but I’m glad to have had to finally check out November’s. The sole echinacea definitely points out that it’s a season for noticing the details and not time to be impressed by huge mounds of any color–something your “truth in advertizing” image with the many rich flavors of brown.

    1. Hi James, thanks for leaving a comment, it made me realise there were others I had missed too! The way things are going at the moment I might still have dahlias blooming on GBBD December, which really would be ridiculous.

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