Waiting around the corner of your life

Saturday, November 30, 2019

November is always a quieter month than almost any other in the year, with tidying up being the number one priority. We always try to get off to a good start before the worst  of the late autumn  and early winter weather begins. We could not however start straight away because I had 3 sessions of radiotherapy booked to treat the Mesothelioma lung cancer I have lived with for getting on for 4 years. Unfortunately I had an adverse reaction to the treatment and had an unexpected trip to A & E to treat the severe breathing problems that had occurred. After 9 days of being in hospital I could return home rather weak and lacking in energy. Not the best condition for gardening work!

But whilst I was ill Moira, trooper that she is, had made a full fronted attack on the November chores. the largest of which is the mass clearance of leaves.


The main culprit for leaf drop is our largest deciduous tree in the garden. This beech was a small sapling over 40 years ago and is much treasured  (and forgiven once the leaf drop is over!)




Fortunately many of the remaining jobs are not urgent but I do need to get back on track by cutting back  the spent herbaceous plants and the old hellebore leaves before the flower buds begin to appear. As I say in the News heading you never know what is round the corner of your life! As always however the garden continues to lift the spirits even in the most gloomy of weather and conditions.



My enforced absence meant that I could not record all the weather conditions, which included the first snow in November for some years, and the first proper frost.

Sun 7 days,  Max 14.6C

Rain 8 days

Chageable, 15 days, average rainfall 6.4" with 1.9" on 26th

Coldest night time -1C on 28th. 3 other night time temperartures at 0C

Settling snow on the evening of Wed 13th

On Mon 25th a ridge of high pressure built and the weather became drier an colder. with biting easterly wind.


Garden Update

Veggies still cropping well including the late sown carrots. The undoubted highlight and a first for me this late, were dwarf beans variety "Safari" that I sowed on 3 August. Blessed with favourable weather and protected by horti fleece they grew well and cropped prolifically, the last harvest being made on 6 November; crisp tender beans the last taste of summer.




If you look hard enough there are still some  plants in flower, augmented by some good leaf colour from trees and shrubs.

There are usually a few late flowers on roses, in this case French bred rose from the Delbard group. " La rose de Moilnard"


As comented upon last month Hostas are remarkably effective in holding onto their leaf colour for a good couple of month until they really start to get tatty!



 The last of the acer palmatum going out in a blaze of glory.


 Acer disectum and deciduous azalea along the stream bed


I must confess to cheating a little bit with a twist on the concept of "Borrowed Landscape" a garden design feature whereby a garden incorporates some of the the  surrounding landscape.

My new concept to get some more pictures to add value to this item was to go to a favourite garden( Aberglasney) and use some of those plants  that were looking good on the day of the visit.


 Ferns often turn  a rich colour


A superb plant for late autumn in shade and and humus  soil is gaulteria procumbens, a lovely hardy choice for the festive season. I wish we had one this big!


 Last month I raved about hardy begonias which even when the flowers are spent, continue to put on a good show from varied shades of leaf and stem colour. Abergalsney has so many parts of the garden suited to these choice perennials.


 Superb planting of shrimp pink shrub, part of a newer planting scheme



A choice purple hydrangea was a treat now tht all of ours have faded


I am sure that Joseph Atkin, the Head Gardener whom we know well would not object, given the extra publicity!! 

Back to Cilgwyn the polytunnels in gentle heat are a lovelyplace to be on a cold wet day justifying the cost of heating them, where there are always a few plants in flower and some other tender gems to admire

Ornithogalum thyrsoides


 Fuchsia bolivianum var. alba



Part of Moira's expanding succulent collection looking fresh and bright : no autumn colour needed here!






What is, was looking good

Clematis tangutica in full seed head glory. There a numerous forms to choose from but for me "Lambton Park" is the best with larger flowers and seed heads. Yellow Orange peel type flowers all summer



Wildlife and countryside


Having commented last month that I had not seen many blackbirds for some time, all of a sudden they were back again, attracted perhaps by the windfall apples that had been beyond my picking range.

Starlings are everywehere now, en masse but no special murmurations here unfortunately as  it is quite a sight, but rarely one we see here



Apart from the fleeting visit to Aberglasney, our nearest garden, there were no other visits this month for obvious reasons

However I have been holding back pictures from a visit we made in August to the National Memorial Arboretum  in Burton on Trent. A fitting and amazing memorial to the dead of many military campaigns over the centuries. It is really moving 


The site is on a massive scale and has a quality gift shop and cafe





Moira and our friend Diane who we stayed with 




All the arboretum largely surrounds an elevated area where the main memorial area is situated, and  all the names of  the fallen are recorded . What we found very distressing is all the space that exists for future combatants and  it really causes you question the futility of war.







Out in the arboretum there are many monuments commemorating aspects of  famous regiments, notable conflicts and the role the commonwealth and other nations played in their support of the British effort 










 It was a relief to old codgers like us to have a land train to get us around




 And a nice note to finish our visit was supplied by 2 meadows with a range of wild flowers, in particular some marvellous examples of echium vulgare, otherwise known for some reason by its common name of Vipers bugloss. I don't think we have seen such fine stands