Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day: November

– Posted in: Miscellaneous

There’s no more denying it: winter’s right around the corner. Wait! is that snow falling outside? Shucks. Winter is here. I’m not going to say “already” because there’s been other years when we’ve had enough snow to go sledding at this point, and that snow falling out there today is having a hard time sticking and accumulating. Oh, you want to know what’s blooming in my garden? The only thing that was blooming in my garden yesterday and looking like it was enjoying it was the Johnny-jump-ups:
Johnny-jump-ups(There’s a reason why they’re called cool weather annuals.)

Image of phlox flower clusterThe phlox is putting on a brave show but isn’t fooling anybody. The yarrow that bloomed in October still looks presentable, though faded. And that’s about it, folks. The foliage of a lot of plants still looks fine, which is surprising when you realize we’ve had a good 14 nights of below freezing weather, and on two of those it got below 20F (-6.6C). Hollyhocks, catmint, foxgloves, and coral bells all have no flowers but sport impeccable foliage, and the primroses are sending up new growth.
Image of golden-hued larch on the far hillside
However, all that remains of the spectacular autumn leaf color on the far hillside is the golden hues of the larch, which was still evergreen in October.

About the Author

Kathy Purdy is a colchicum evangelist, converting unsuspecting gardeners into colchicophiles. She would be delighted to speak to your group about colchicums or other gardening topics. Kathy’s been writing since 4th grade, gardening since high school, and blogging since 2002.

In its own way, frost may be one of the most beautiful things to happen in your garden all year . . . Don’t miss it. Like all true beauty, it is fleeting. It will grace your garden for but a short while this morning. . . . For this moment, embrace frost as the beautiful gift that it is.

~Philip Harnden in A Gardener’s Guide to Frost: Outwit the Weather and Extend the Spring and Fall Seasons

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Carol in the Northwest November 26, 2007, 8:10 pm

Its nice to see those friendly faces of Johnny Jump Ups in our gardens this time of the year. Here in the Northwest, we have had some hard frost, and things have turned ugly in most parts of my garden. Against a south wall, I do have a window box that still has a few flowering geraniums hugging the house. They must be feeling some heat from the house. I think I’ll move them into the barn and see if I can keep them going a bit longer. I just love to see their red color on these dark, sleepy days of winter!

Kathy Purdy November 20, 2007, 7:19 am

Hi, Lynn, so glad to meet you, and so sorry we won’t be neighbors for long. As a kid you think all needle-leafed trees are evergreen. Larches are not. They are deciduous. Those needles will eventually drop, and then there is no denying that winter is at the door.

Lynn November 19, 2007, 2:26 pm

Hi and I’m so happy you posted about larches! I live down the road from Mr. Hollow and have been wondering what all those pine trees were that looked like they were so gorgeously dying (I’m new up here). I’ve yet to post my bloom day pic–one last lonely strawberry blossom on the day before the snow fell 🙁

Mary Ann Newcomer November 19, 2007, 10:18 am

Every day, I am out in the garden taking a mental inventory of what has made it……we haven’t had a really hard frost… is due this week. I find myself rooting (hahaha) for the agastache ‘Ava,’ and the handful of helenium that still hold their heads up high. The pink dahlias succumbed last week when i wasn’t looking.

layanee November 18, 2007, 7:09 pm

The larches are lovely! Who doesn’t love a Johnny Jump up! I do pull them out with abandon when they reseed so freely but there are always a couple to enjoy!

Robin (Bumblebee) November 18, 2007, 10:44 am

Hi Kathy,

We have johnny-jump-ups growing like weeds here in the spring and summer, but I don’t see any this time of year.

Does your family tolerate you putting them in salads?

–Robin (Bumblebee)

Kathy Purdy November 17, 2007, 9:52 pm

Yes, Kerri, that mum sure did bloom . . . and flop! I shall have to divide it next spring, and pinch it back more than I did. The snow didn’t stick here, so no white for us.

You know, Pam, I can’t figure out where that person who made up the stereotypical seasonal events lives. They always have the leaves at their peak of color for Halloween, but we normally don’t have any leaves left on the trees by then, and we’ve usually had our first flurries. And if you read all the lyrics, the guy dreaming of a white Christmas doesn’t live where it snows.

As for snow losing its romantic appeal, if you’re cooped up in a small house with a lot of kids it can lose its appeal very fast, likewise if you have to go to work in it. If the fridge is full, the furnace is working, and all the children are quietly occupied while the flakes continue to fall, it can be quite wonderful.

Kathy Purdy November 17, 2007, 9:34 pm

Crafty Gardener, I have Christmas cactus, too. When I was careful to move them to my cool bedroom around Labor Day, they would bloom for me. But these last few years I have left them hanging in the kitchen, and I don’t see buds on them, even.

Kathy Purdy November 17, 2007, 9:33 pm

Well, Ellis Hollow and Annie, I have never read Sand County Almanac, but I must make a point to do so this winter. And all you larch lovers put me to shame; I had not been appreciating what a gift they were. To me, they signal the end of warmth even as they glow.

Pam/Digging November 17, 2007, 8:31 pm

Lovely larches. In many ways, I think it must be nice for your seasons to mirror the popular conception. You know, frost on the pumpkin in October, golden leaves in November, snow in winter. Soon we’ll be hearing Xmas carols about white Christmases and Jack Frost, and it will sound like some far-off land to us Austinites.

Though I suppose by January or February, the romanticism of snow may have worn off. Does it?

kerri November 17, 2007, 4:24 pm

Hi Kathy, I’ve just enjoyed catching up with your posts. I see you had a nice visit with the Austin Bloggers…..and your Colchicums were beautiful! Did that lovely pink Mum put out lots of blooms this year?
I took a picture just the other day of the larch that are still showing color on the hillside that’s part of our front view. The rest is pretty gray today…and white, of course, after our recent snow. We had a spectacular fall, didn’t we?
My last blooms were Alyssum, Diascia, a few Gloriosa Daisies, pansies, JJUps, Yarrow, Snapdragons, Verbena, and a rose bud or two, plus some container flowers. It’s sad to see them go and spring seems a long way off at this point in time!

Crafty Gardener November 17, 2007, 1:00 pm

Your johnny jump ups are lovely. Not much at all blooming in my garden but I did post some pics of the Christmas cactus that is blooming.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter November 17, 2007, 11:33 am

It seems that the flowers at the gardening season’s beginning & end are those tiny gems that would get overlooked in summer’s abudance of bloom. I’ve always liked the little violets & violas. I’m glad you had something still flowering for Bloom Day.

Annie in Austin November 17, 2007, 11:05 am

From A Sand County Almanac, chapter Smoky Gold

“This is written for the luckless ones who have never stood, gun empty and mouth agape, to watch the golden needles come sifting down, while the feathery rocket that knocked them off sails unscathed into the jackpines.”

You’re one of those who have seen the tamarack, Kathy!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

mss @ Zanthan Gardens November 16, 2007, 9:40 pm

I love Johnny Jump Ups…I just planted out some for winter. As you say, they’re cool weather annuals and it’s finally getting cool enough down here for them to be happy.

But my-oh-my! That gold color of the larches. What a wonderful sight.

Kathy Purdy November 16, 2007, 8:36 pm

Yes, tamarack is another name for larch. It’s funny, when I was a kid I lived on Tamarack Rd., and I never knew what a tamarack was. Who knows if there were any in the area, or if they were all bulldozed over to make our subdivision. I know we had oaks on our property, but I was unaware of what was growing in the neighborhood.

Carol, I doubt Mr. Ellis Hollow has much beyond his ornamental grasses looking good at this point either, as we are very similar in our climate. I should get more ornamental grasses myself.

Ellis Hollow November 16, 2007, 8:12 pm

Your last image reminds me of the title of a chapter from Aldo Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac (if I recall correctly): When the tamaracks turn smoky gold.

Carol November 16, 2007, 6:35 pm

You have to admire those Johnny Jump Up’s. They just keep going and going.

After looking at most of the posts for bloom day, I was starting to think that central Indiana where I garden had somehow been singled out for killing frosts and other areas, even north of me, were still enjoying ‘fall’. Well, thanks to you, now I know I’m not alone!

Carol at May Dreams Gardens