Gardening · In English

Of Winter, and November foliage

I have been a bit busy in the garden, as recorded in my Gardening Diary page. Winter finally seems on its way, and I should be planting the last tulips, had I not run out of decent containers and compost. I have bought a few oxalis corms which also need to be planted. When I left Paris, I had to part with an oxalis triangularis which was not doing very well, to be honest, but that I loved as it was offered to me by my best friend after one such plant featured in a novel I wrote.

I don’t do Winter bedding. I tend to (try to) appreciate enthusiasm in gardening regardless of how the outcome suits my taste. However, although I feel appropriately amused and cheered, walking along the garden centre’s shelves of colourful pansies, dainty cyclamens and ornemental cabbage, I dislike the artificial coating they give to winter gardens.

Winter’s beauty stems from bleakness, starkness (of course, this statement comes from a person priviledged enough to have shelter, central heating and so on, I appreciate that). I admire gardens which understand and celebrate Winter’s bare grace instead of trying to conceal it or dress it up. In their contemplation, I find a gripping emotion related to the acceptance of truth. Stripped of all adornment, what is there left ? Bare stems, barks, seedheads, structures, skeletons, decay – death, and life within it. There is such power in the darkness of winter. Sleep and hibernation are for plants a gathering of strength. As for beauty, I don’t think anything can beat the glory of a silver birch against a winter sky.

But I am getting ahead of myself, it is only November after all. A few pictures of some treasures found in my garden or near my house.

Acer palmatum Osakazuki

Photo 10-11-2017 09 10 37

Acer palmatum Redwine


Photo 10-11-2017 09 05 27

Anemone japonica Honorine Jobert

Photo 10-11-2017 09 11 49

Cornus alba

Photo 10-11-2017 09 06 48

Hosta Canadian Blue

Photo 10-11-2017 09 08 49

Hydrangea (can you spot the snail ?)

Photo 10-11-2017 09 09 52

Fagus sylvatica purpurea

Photo 10-11-2017 09 06 03

And a felled tree in the field, death’s ever open eye.

Photo 09-11-2017 15 14 08

10 thoughts on “Of Winter, and November foliage

  1. Cela me demande beaucoup de concentration pour essayer de comprendre ce que tu dis, je ne suis pas sûre de très bien y arriver. Mais je crois que nous avons en partage le goût des jardins qui s’inclinent au froid qui vient, qui lui font place et prennent ses couleurs.

    Oui, il y quelque chose comme la vérité acceptée, et cette acceptation, cette métamorphose non gênée par une volonté, et seulement guidée par la saison, est émouvante – sage.

    Les photos sont belles: quelle variété, quelle délicatesse des couleurs, foisonnements de détails – petits univers.

    (pas sûre d’être très claire, ni sûre de t’avoir bien lue mais c’est ainsi que la nature hivernale m’émeut.)

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Je suis touchée que tu fasses l’effort de me lire malgré la langue, et oui, tu as très bien compris mon texte ! J’aime les effets de la morsure de l’hiver autour de nous et en nous. Merci de ta lecture.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. J’ai essayé de comprendre le texte mais mon anglais est vraiment trop médiocre.
    J’admire en tout cas vos photos tellement colorées et vivantes malgré la saison, “fagus” ça me dit quelque chose (chêne ? hêtre ?) et l’hydrangea doit être un hortensia …

    Liked by 1 person

        1. Il y a encore quelques fleurs de dahlia, de sauge, d’éphémère de Virginie. J’attendais impatiemment que tout meure et disparaisse pour épandre du fumier, mais comme les plantes ne se décident pas à aller se coucher, j’ai mis mon fumier aujourd’hui. 🙂

          Liked by 2 people

  3. I wouldn’t want beds full of bedding plants – but not even a few pots near the door or on the garden table?
    To me, the contrast of these to the rest of the garden enhances the seasonal quiet even more. I wouldn’t go for technicolour primulas or some such. But some pansies or cyclamens, preferably miniature whites, combined with foliage plants of various textures/ shapes and colours – different greens, silver, bronze… – and perhaps some berries is what can really lift my spirit and give my mood a boost when I most need it.
    Love your photos!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Technicolor primulas 😀 ! You made me laugh ! OK, reading your suggestion to enhance the wintry landscape, I totally surrender. That sounds very nice indeed. If I had a garden table, I might be tempted ! 🙂 And I confess hovering above pots of small cyclamens.

      I think that in a way, I too want a season of dormancy. Maybe it is laziness speaking. I was offered pots of pansies on my first year of gardening. They looked lovely and at the time, I enjoyed deadheading them, but I don’t feel like doing that anymore. It feels to me that something else owns the garden in Winter, that I have to let “it” take control.


      1. Agreed: those pots are only for “looking at from inside”, I offer no more than the occasional glug of water. If I wasn’t such a sucker for Christmas I’d start hibernating now. Anyone offering to introduce hibernation for humans from end December to mid-March will get my vote!

        Liked by 1 person

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