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A Mild November: GBBD, November 2015

November 16, 2015

November in Maine has a well-deserved reputation as the least desirable month of the year. It is typically cold, wet and raw. Last year, I wrote that

I think the whole point of November in Maine is to prepare us psychologically for winter. At the beginning of November, we don’t feel ready for winter. But November is dreary, and when the temperatures dip low enough for the precipitation to fall as snow instead of rain in late November or early December, we will greet the snow with pleasure. (November Transition)

November asterSo far, this November has defied these descriptions. Continuing the trend of an unusually mild autumn, November has had warmer than average temperatures and sunnier than average weather. The unlikely result is that, in mid-November, I still have flowers blooming in my garden! This despite many frosts and at least one night with a low temperature in the teens (F).

The flowers still blooming — the aster (Symphyotrichum laeve) ‘Bluebird’ and a late phlox, Phlox paniculata ‘Robert Poore’ — are tough native plants that are unfazed by a light frost. November phloxThey are also planted in two of the new flower beds facing south and southwest at the front of my house. These locations provide some protection from fall’s cold weather, soaking up the sun’s warmth during the day and radiating it back overnight.

Most plants in the garden have gone into dormancy, and flowers have turned to seedheads. On my witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) trees, the seed capsules look more like classically shaped flowers than did the yellow fringe of the blooms. The seed pods of common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) have opened and are scattering their seeds to the winds on puffs of silky down.

hamamelis seed pods milkweed seeds

windowsill gardenAs the outdoor garden transitions to winter, my attention turns to the indoor blooms that light my life in winter. In the living room plant window, two varieties of cyclamen and my holiday cactus (Schlumbergera) are all in bloom. Each year at this time, I am reminded to be thankful for the faithful cyclamen plants that bloom for most of the year and that I am often tempted to take for granted. The holiday cactus is a more fleeting pleasure, but its relatively short bloom period is more than offset by the extravagance of its flowers.

November pink cyclamen Thanksgiving cactus flower

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day is hosted on the 15th of each month by Carol at May Dreams Gardens. Visit her blog to see November blooms from many gardens.

15 Comments leave one →
  1. November 17, 2015 2:55 pm

    I have been amazed by those online sharing what is blooming right now…It is a wonderful reminder of how much we actually have that either blooms, or is still blooming in November.

    • November 19, 2015 10:07 pm

      Charlie, Outdoor blooms in November in Maine are extra delightful because they are so unexpected.

  2. November 17, 2015 4:46 pm

    enjoying your new home? Looks like it!

    • November 19, 2015 10:08 pm

      Diana, I am very much enjoying my “new” home — so much so that I’ve almost forgotten the pain of the construction phase 😉 .

  3. November 17, 2015 7:45 pm

    It has been an amazing autumn and equally likable November….love the lingering blooms.

    • November 19, 2015 10:09 pm

      Donna, I’m wondering if we’ll get that miserable November weather in December or whether we’re just going to skip November this year and go straight to winter (which would be okay with me 🙂 ).

  4. November 17, 2015 8:00 pm

    Even here in southern California, we’re feeling a touch of cold, although I suspect our definition of cold and yours are far different. It’s nice to see that you have flowers both inside and out, at least for the present. I’ve begun to worry a bit about my own Thanksgiving cactus – at present, it appears there’s little likelihood of blooms by the end of next week but then it’s surprised me before.

    • November 19, 2015 10:12 pm

      Kris, I remember chuckling at the temperatures at which people would get out their winter coats when I lived in southern California. I think they were about the same temperatures that people start going around in their shirtsleeves here in spring.
      My Thanksgiving cactus didn’t bloom last year; it had had an unhappy summer out in the weather during the construction in my house and was sulking. So I’m extra happy to see it full of blooms and buds this year — and just in time for the holiday.

  5. November 20, 2015 12:49 pm

    November has also been mild here in the UK, I don’t have so very much in bloom, plenty green saving the garden from looking bare. I like your Cyclamen, must get a few of those hardy ones that thrive outdoors.

    • November 21, 2015 8:20 pm

      Alistair, In my cool house and cool climate, the cyclamen thrives. The pink one pictured here is more than 20 years old. The only care it has gotten from me is once-a-week watering and once-a-decade repotting. It blooms continuously for months on end.

  6. November 22, 2015 12:27 pm

    We just made a sudden turn from mild to cold. There’s snow and ice everywhere, and tree branches can be heard cracking in the night.

    • November 23, 2015 9:46 pm

      Jason, I thought of you when I saw the weather reports from the Chicago area. We got a very light coating of wet snow here last night, but nothing that will last — very different from last year’s big storm before Thanksgiving.

  7. November 22, 2015 3:04 pm

    Your cyclamen is gorgeous! We had our first sub-freezing temps this weekend, and every day draws us closer to winter. I will miss the fall foliage and those lingering blooms of fall. Seed pods are a special winter pleasure. Love your witch hazel and asclepias seed pods!

    • November 23, 2015 9:47 pm

      Deb, Cyclamen love bright and cool, so this is the perfect climate for them. Like most Mainers, I keep my house cool in winter, and it seldom gets seriously hot here in summer.

  8. November 24, 2015 3:42 pm

    Hi Jean, as usual I’m so disorganised with GBBD that I’ve simply stopped trying but had I succeeded, I would have posted pictures of roses, delphiniums, dahlias, begonias, lupins and calendula that are still flowering, making the most of the mild autumn. It the first time I’ve seem many of these plants continuing to flower so late.

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