Blog Header

Blog Header

Friday, 27 November 2015

November blues, and still those nasturtiums keep on going

My least favourite month of the year is November. It's dark early and usually grey, drizzly and gloomy enough to give me the blues, but I usually think of it and December as a welcome break from working hard in the garden. I tend to feel much happier once January comes around and I know the days are starting to get longer, the dreaded C word has passed and there is lots to look forward to in the early spring garden. I usually feel rejuvenated by then.

I don't know if any of my nature blogging friends are feeling the blues but I've noticed a marked absence of blog posts!

However, there have been a number of days with blue sky (blues - geddit?!) so I have welcomed these opportunities to get outside with my camera. As I'm still suffering the post chemo blues, at least this is one thing which gives me some pleasure. If it wasn't for that (and having to look after animals), I'd probably barely get out of bed.

Lake looking blue, shame about the leaves and stuff floating on the surface!

Here you can see how low the lake level is. The autumn rains have been late coming this year, and the stream has only just started to flow, so in the last few days since taking these photos, the level has gone up by about 18". If we were to get a number of days with very heavy rainfall, then the trickling stream would become more of a raging torrent and the lake could fill in a couple of days, or even in one day as has happened before during the summer! I usually go out and play at diverting the stream channels, just like we used to do on the beach as kids. Little things, eh? :-)

This is all lake bed in the foreground!

Zooming in a bit towards the ducks.

The forecasted two frosts came but the temps weren't lower than 2c, so the nasturtiums and other flowers are still clinging on to life! When the sun shines there are still some honey bees and hoverflies about nectaring. And it's great to see a few butterflies, although it's only Red Admirals and Speckled Woods about now.

Nasturtiums creeping over the lawn and late honey bees still finding nectar.

I was pleased to see some Marmalade Hoverflies (Episyrphus balteatus) still about this week.

Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria) seen on 13th November.

Speckled Wood again on an Abelia.

The last few leaves of Smokebush 'Grace', and a few Bidens flowers.

A few days apart - the rose is Zephirine Drouhin although the perfume
is not very apparent now like it was in the spring.

Calendula aka Pot Marigold.

The following photos are in the veg patch which is now a complete jungle. Well it already was, but add to that a smothering carpet of chickweed which grows happily all through winter and is the bane of any gardener's life, due to its swamping nature and tenacious roots which have to be dug out and cannot be pulled.

These photos were taken before the two days of frost, but the flowers are still going strong, albeit rather soggy now after a week of on and off rain and drizzle.

Note the large brassica in the foreground,
that is SELF SEEDED PSB!!! There are five of them although 
I hardly need any more. Anyone else ever had a self seeded one?


Borage again with a honey bee.

Just a riot of colour.

And more - this is the plot where we grew potatoes!

Below is a mystery plant - yet another that came from a mixed seed packet 'for butterflies'. It's now on about its 5th cycle of self seeded growth this season. The flower stems are about 12" tall and if anyone recognises it, please tell me.

Do you know what this is?

Round the front by the front door is another mini riot of colour - we planted a couple of ivy leaf Geraniums here, but the Black Eyed Susan still self seeds and twines itself around whatever it can grab hold of. I only grew B-E Susan once here! But I spy Borage in the background, and that gets everywhere and only needs to be sown in a garden once ever. Ditto Feverfew, and Bronze Fennel - the list is endless!

I have brought inside all the Geraniums that are in pots now.

Another thing that can't be beaten at this time of year are certain photogenic seedheads and fading flowers. Hydrangeas carry on being wonderful photography subjects all through the winter as their flowers skeletonise. I know I will curse not having dead headed the garlic chives as those seeds mean new plants which will need weeding out, but for now, close up, they are beautiful.

Garlic Chives.

Mophead Hydrangea.

Mophead Hydrangea showing skeletonised petals.

I have a ton more photos to share of trees and leaves, so will try to get them posted soon. Plus autumn moths, and cats. My problem is the typing with this neuropathy as it takes so long - I can't add too much text using my kindle as it doesn't allow me to make captions, for example, so I need to do the vast majority on my desktop. 

There are definitely weird errors going on with Blogger as the html code is screwed up, the white margins outside my photos are odd shapes, and I've lost 4 followers overnight! Now that can't possibly be a coincidence. I also know from experience that once you follow a blog via google friend connect you cannot unfollow and get your avatar taken off their list.

Anyone else noticed any problems?


  1. Hi Mandy, know what you mean about this time of year, am in England now and looking forward to January, the longer days and being able to get back out to Brittany :-) Nice shots and your garden's looking good.

    1. Thanks Ian. I really hope I can shake off my depression soon as it's alien to me and very hard to cope with. Sure I've got my physical limitations too but there is so much I want to do outside tidying up a bit, but it'll have to wait (although I have managed to snip off all the flower stalks from two of my five giant lavenders).

      I'm looking forward to eating some kale but I'd rather wait until we have a proper below zero frost just to be sure of killing off any of my little buggy friends! :-) It's nice to have a change from courgettes though, isn't it? Oh and I've been really pleased that I have very little root fly damage on my carrots, some have none at all!

  2. Aww I thought our flowers were doing well till I saw your's, they're lovely. Though you don't get the cold we do (she consoles herself) Never had a self sown brassica, Dave would yank it out if we did....he's desperate to get my untidy sprouts tidied!

    Blogger are making changes but as I don't understand computer language I have no idea what the message they sent means. That might have upset your settings

    1. Thanks Dwoman - do you have snow now (yes I know I have a post of yours to read yet....). It's just that a fb friend with a holiday home there somewhere has snow. It was the first year that the finished brassicas stayed put for months before K got round to digging them out. I think they'll be composted eventually but I was surprised they survived the cabbage whites with no intervention from me.

      I haven't had any messages from Blogger - guess I could look up on their website but it's not mega important.

    2. No snow here, though some have had a smattering. A few light frosts but they are giving another mild (for Bulgaria) winter

    3. Though how anyone does long range forecasts is beyond me - and the ones they give for the UK are always wrong!!

  3. PS, I love your lake, that makes me really jealous

    1. One of the reasons for buying this place! :-)

  4. Lovely to see so much colour (and hovers and butter flies) in your garden still. Cosmos and nasturtium flowers are still hanging on here just...! I love the first photo of the reflections in the lake.

    The seedheads look lovely - we tend to leave ours until the Spring for insects to hibernate in and birds to forage although OH mentioned recently now he is at home and has more time he may "tidy" it up - I am not at all happy and hope he forgets!!

    Sorry I can't help about the id of the flower - hope someone else can. Not noticed any problems on my main blog although I did lose 2 Followers on my other blog recently - both at the same time. Although I was never sure how they had managed to follow it as I didn't add a follower option due to the problems of following people back! Have to say though that I use a very basic blogger set up!

    Look forward to seeing more of your photos soon.

    November is probably one of my least favourite months too - just haven't had much chance recently to go out and find anything to blog about!

    1. Hi RR and thanks. I hope your OH doesn't tidy up too much - maybe you can gently point him towards plants that are of less interest to wildlife and leave others. I have certain plants which look good all through winter too like Perovskia (silver stems) and some of the Sedums. Then there are those which have seeds which the birds will eat. Anyway as I said, usually it's a good time to just chill and have a break from much gardening!

      It's interesting that you too lost followers, that can't possibly be a coincidence. Ah well! I think re the plant, if I can remember how, you can do a Google image search for images that look the same or similar, so I'll see if I can find out what the plant is that way.

      And agree, it's hard sometimes to find things to blog about in winter, and hard to find the time in summer cos there is too much to blog about! :-)

  5. Your lake is lovely - very envious! Finally pulled up all my nasturtiums and fed them to the hens, they had grown right along the fly screen at the entrance to the house and I kept tripping in them. I have my first primrose flower out on the plants in the driveway - such mild weather for this month. xx

    1. Thanks Sandra. I had no idea hens would eat nasturtiums! They always swamp the compost bins here and sometimes I do have to rip bits off, next time l will give them to the chooks instead. Yes I've got a primrose out too! xx

  6. Gosh, so much colour still in your garden, agree about hydrangeas looking good all the time even throughout the winter.
    Our nasturtiums are still going strong and we have spring bulbs shooting up here in Devon, anemones, crocuses and tulips!
    Plenty of rain here too, I could send you some to help fill your lake!

    Philippa x

    1. Hi Philippa - great to hear about your garden. I haven't seen any spring bulbs yet but my garden is generally overgrown this year so any bulbs are probably hidden! The pond is now about 2 foot from the top so looking a lot better now. Thank you. xx

  7. Lovely to see your gsrden's still colourful. Our clematis still has some flowers, but that's about it in our garden.
    My blogger's always seems to be playing up because of our internet so I can't tell the difference. ;-)

    1. Hi Deb and thanks. Sounds good having a clematis flowering at this time of year! I only have the summer ones. Hopefully the blogger issues will eventually be sorted - guess I could go on their site and find out, but just haven't got round to it! xx

  8. Hi Mandy, November starts to look up here if you go to the right places that is. Shoreline birds and winter geese. Its October that is about the worse month as nothing much is happening, summer visitors gone winter visitors not arrived. This all has a bearing on the lack of posts as I can walk miles and see b..... all. somedays. Im also trying to restrict my posts to quality rather than quantity. Not doing to well so far. There is also the Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) that I'm sure a lot of us nature lovers suffer from.
    Beautiful images of your garden as always.

    1. Hiya Roy - sorry for delay replying. Yesterday I was having all the fun of a colonoscopy.... :-)

      Personally I think Oct is a brilliant month as there are still some bugs and butterflies around, as well as the great leaf colours, but it depends on what you want to blog about! If it's mostly birds that can obviously be different. I don't see many winter birds, but then again a lot of summer birds here seem to go into hiding and so I am seeing song thrushes in the garden again and loads of robins which seem to disappear during the breeding season. Saw a chiffchaff yesterday morning and often see them and blackcaps up until December and then they disappear until March! And I know about SAD as I had it one winter, not nice!