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November 2012
1st November: Heucheras

Heucheras like Caramel pictured here are still looking good and will go on adding interest through the winter. Many are still flowering and although the leaves are losing their brilliant summer tones, the more subdued hues, like the greenish apricot of Caramel are more attuned with autumn.

The only winter care they need is to remove dead leaves and flower stems and to watch out for vine weevil grubs at work under ground eating away at the roots.

3rd November: Biddulph Grange

We had a lovely afternoon out today at the National Trust garden at Biddulph Grange in Staffordshire. The trees provided a rainbow of colour with this Acer as my pick of the day.

12th November: Extra late Kniphofia

Kniphofia linearifolia is normally quite late to flower - mid to late October. This year it is extra late and just starting to open probably due to the rather cool summer we've had. The brown "knob" at the top of the flower are unformed florets that are waterlogged: the flowers can be prone to this in wet weather.

Some gardeners wonder about the black-purple spots and streaks you can get on the leaves of Kniphofia - these are completely natural and nothing to worry about.


15th November: Asters - naturally late

Many Asters are naturally late bloomers (but not all - there are spring flowering types) and Novemberlaan here is one of the latest at its absolute peak now and covered in glorious flower albeit a few weeks later than normal.  

Its normally best to divide fibrous-rooted perennials straight after flowering, but with late bloomers like Aster, Helenium and Rudbeckia its probably best to wait until spring as they may not have time to re-establish before the soil gets cold. I find it okay to start dividing them in late February or early march weather permitting.


Even Asters that finished flowering in October, like A. macrophyllus here, are still adding interest to the garden with their fluffy seed heads and starry spend seed cases.  

I don't find that Asters self-seed in my garden. Perhaps the finches and voles eat them all before they get a chance to germinate.

Its that time of year when we are just on tipping point between autumn and winter and we can enjoy the best of best seasons. 

Across the fields from our back garden the old-gold leaves of the Oak trees against the forget-me-not blue sky and the dark black bones of the trees are revealed stretched out against the pale sky 

Enjoy it while it lasts: the heavy rain forecast for tonight is likely to dislodge many of the golden leaves from our snake bark maples (Acer davidii George Forrest).