End of Month View – November 2014


November this year has been wet and mild resulting in the weeds and grass still growing, even the drop of temperature earlier this week was short-lived and we are back to mild temperatures for the time of year and fog. Whilst I’m not so keen on the continual dampness the fog does add to the real autumnal feel which is nice as there are less fallen leaves in the garden this year due to the removal of the majority of the willow and some of the large prunus.

The hardy exotic border and new seating area remains my favourite part of the garden and I hope the plants are hardy enough to come through whatever this winter throws at us. I am hoping that it will be a mild winter and the plant will have another year to establish before they have to cope with prolonged cold.


I am surprised at how lush the garden still is. The Rose Border (formerly the Cottage Garden Border) is filling out and I am hopefully for a good display next year when the roses, aquilegias and geraniums start to flower.


I worked through the Big Border last week, weeding and cutting back.  I want to move the Cotinus to the corner of the border in the foreground and I need to build up the log edging of the path but aside from that the border should look after itself now until the hellebores flower in the early spring.  I will cut the hellebore foliage back probably in late December.


The other end of the Big Border.  I have also tidied up the border on the other side of the grass path and as I mentioned last week this is an area I want to tackle next year to make the planting stronger, it can’t get any weaker!  I have finally got the start of an idea of what I want to put in here and it won’t surprise you to learn it is foliage based.  I have a hankering for a dark-leaved banana or maybe as Rusty Duck has suggested a hardy Hedychium and this has led to me deciding to extend the hardy exotic planting from the slope behind but with plants that appreciate a little more light.  2014_11280005

The other end of the border I am talking about which has been much shadier but I suspect will be lighter now due to the willow being cut back so drastically.  The planting here is predominately foliage based so I think I will finally be able to make the whole border work rather than it feeling like two halves.


The next area due an autumn tidy up is the original woodland border.  Again it will be interesting next year to see how the shade has been affected by the tree work.  I think I need to do a little re-jigging just to stop plants swamping each other but I need them to reappear in the spring so I can remember what I had planned to do. However, I am very pleased with how the changes I made to the back of the border have worked out this year adding depth and interest as well as height.


Going down in scale the spring/patio border is at one of its low points in the year.  The late summer interest is well over but hopefully come early spring there will be lots of colour from snowdrops and other bulbs.  Saying that I have a sneaky suspicion that I meant to add more bulbs this autumn and if so I have failed to do this.


The staging is still working hard and currently supporting the collection of pots planted up with collections of various alpine plants and the hardy succulents.  It is also hosting all the pots I have emptied of dahlias.  Last year I planted these up with tulips which were OK but I think I want to add some more permanent plantings in them so I have decided to leave them empty over winter.


Finally the hardy succulent trough has been more successful than I ever anticipated.  The various sempervivums have bulked up and filled out.  However, I will be happier once my amateurish concrete repair mellows a little.

As ever any one is welcome to join in this monthly post and use it how they wish.  Some focus on one area of their garden and others the whole garden.  All I ask is that you link to this post in your post and leave a link to your post in the comment box below so we can come and visit you.

26 Comments Add yours

  1. mattb325 says:

    The garden is looking great – I often fail to get my autumn bulbs in during autumn, but I’ve found as long as I get most of them in prior to the solstice, they are usually fine. Plus, you often find the bulbs marked down at the end of the season

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      hi Matt
      Very true but I can’t remember where the gaps are so I think I will wait and see what appears

  2. Your garden looks so lush and green. At this point in the year I have trouble remembering what the garden looked like in Spring so putting in bulbs is dangerous unless I have marked a spot and have a plan. Not as much to see in my garden since it has its first serious snowcover.

  3. Yvonne Ryan says:

    Have you tried painting yoghurt on your concrete planter? I know it is succesful on terracotta so maybe mellow the concrete. Lots of lovely leaves for compost! Just planted a VERY hot chillie in pot, as much sun as poss. Having competition who grows best chillie. Also have basil to plant as soill warm enough – yes I pulled my knickers off and sat on soil to test!!! ha ha old English tradition?

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Yvonne
      I thought about yoghurt but I dont want to encourage moss or lichens on it so I think I will just ignore it and hope the concrete fades

  4. rusty duck says:

    Hi Helen, your garden IS still looking so lush! Rather bare here by comparison and I think I have myself to blame. All that shifting about meant that plants didn’t get as established as they might have done. Hey ho.
    It will be very interesting to see how your garden responds to more light, positively I’m sure. The variegated euphorbia is a real stand out plant, does it stay like that all winter?
    Many thanks for the link! Here is my update:


    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi RD
      The Euphorbia has been in two years and came through last winter. I mulched around it with straw last year must do the same this year to protect the roots

  5. Alison says:

    Hi Helen Your garden is still looking wonderfully lush. Like you I have new opportunities since the removal of a large tree, it will be interesting to see how the garden develops with the new light.

    My EoMR is here: http://www.blackberrygarden.co.uk/2014/11/end-of-month-review-november-2014.html

  6. Hi Helen.I have a variegated Euphorbia..characias ‘Silver Swan’ growing in a clay pot as part of a group of pots for Winter interest. Has come through it 2 winters now with no extra protection,however it is positioned in a fairly sheltered spot.
    What is the really lush looking plant in the centre of your 7th picture? At first glance I thought it was a Francoa,but leaves look too big….or is it an Acanthus?

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Sue
      Yes it’s an acanthus. Been there for years despite me trying to remove it in the past!

  7. woodlousehouse says:

    Your trough is filling out nicely. It has been a beautiful day here but I wasted it as I didn’t know where to start! So many leaves to pick up and I still have a bag of bulbs to get in!


    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Woodlousehouse
      I am terrible at procrastination when I get good gardening weather as I never know where to start and I always end up on the same part of the garden – the easy bit – rather than tackling the bigger problems
      Off to visit your blog now

  8. jenhumm116 says:

    Hi Helen, I love your first picture where your new bench already looks so settled amongst the planting.
    Here’s my link, some clearing work done, but still plenty to do…

  9. Cathy says:

    The trough will age-up when your back is turned, Helen! Isn’t it exciting having a completely different kind of border to plan for – my new shrub border will be largely foliage based too, so I will be looking out for more suggestions too, something other bloggers are very helpful with. My November post is at http://ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com/2014/11/30/end-of-month-view-is-it-really-december-tomorrow/ Thanks for hosting 🙂

  10. Helene says:

    Hi Helen, like you I have still got bulbs to plant, got so much to do these days and the list of things to do seem to just get longer and longer. I have my fingers crossed for a mild winter too, I hope we will get a repeat of last year, that would be nice – just without the flooding 🙂

    Here is my EOMV post: http://graphicality-uk.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/end-of-month-view-november.html

  11. Julieanne says:

    That seat in the top photo always makes me smile, and how pretty it looks with the ferns next to it. It’s a wonderful success, along with the staging area and the succlent trough. It’s not too late to add bulbs; I planted many of mine in January this year and they all flowered wonderfully. Maybe I’m getting a little laissez faire, but I’m starting to think ‘out with the rules on bulb planting times’… As ever, I enjoyed this visit to your garden.

    My EOMV is here: https://patientgardener.wordpress.com/2014/11/29/end-of-month-view-november-2014/

  12. johnvic8 says:

    Thanks, Helen, for your review of your garden. It looks like you have carved out a bit of work for the future…but always fun work. My November offering is at http://johnsviccellio.wordpress.com/2014/11/30/end-of-month-view-november-30-2014/

  13. Amy says:

    It all does look lush, if a bit chilly, from here 😉 I am looking forward to seeing your Rose Border as it comes into bloom! The little trough garden is a charmer and encourages me to get succulents into the ground – I bought a couple on impulse but didn’t have a place planned out for them so they are waiting…! My November EoM post is up at http://smallsunnygarden.blogspot.com/2014/11/end-of-month-update.html

  14. That certainly looks like my garden; gray, overcast, wet, leaves covering the ground…Makes me feel right at home.

  15. Popping in to link in with my end of the month post Helen. It is nice to see the bones of your garden and get a great view of the different areas of your garden. I also love the bench area and the view from the grass path up is lovely too. The trough is filling out beautifully. I hope you do get your wish for a more mild winter. I have to believe that will never happen for us, but hopefully the snow won’t cover the garden and be too cold until after the new year.


  16. AnnetteM says:

    Hi Helen,
    Your plants are all looking very neat and tidy and waiting patiently to take off again in the spring. You also have a lot of wonderful green foliage – reminder to self, must get more of this.
    Here is my End of Month View
    Thanks for hosting.

  17. The weather here has been rather kind too and I’m most surprised at how much interest I still have in this penultimate post of the year.
    The differences you have made this year is already apparent and it will be interesting to read how much of a difference more light will make in your garden. I think most of us forget about the bulbs until it’s too late – I often end up paying over the odds come spring time just to fill the gaps. Your little trough is still looking great despite the time of year. Thanks for hosting Helen.

  18. Paul Steer says:

    I haven’t visited your blog for a while, but in a way I’m glad, because I can see huge changes, your garden looks very cohesive, has a good flow for such an elevated site, and I love that seating area.

  19. I can understand why your new seating area is your favorite spot in the garden, Helene — it is lovely. I’ve enjoyed reading this meme each month and must join in next year. P. x

  20. Diana Studer says:


    You remind me, that Melianthus is on my list. I was looking at pots. My dark red Japanese maple looks ill at ease in a nasty dark green plastic pot – will be much happier (AFTER the renovations are done) in one of the beautiful muted blue and green glazed pots I was drooling over at the nursery today.

  21. catmint says:

    HI Helen, it’s good to visit again, and see all the changes you’ve been making to the garden. I adore the picture of the plantings in the concrete trough, like a magical little world.

Please feel free to leave comments as its always lovely to get feedback. I try to respond to comments as much as possible but sometimes life and work get in the way but I will do my best to respond especially if your comment is a question.

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