End of Month View: November 30, 2014

My thanks to Helen Johnstone for her invitation to share what is happening in our gardens at the end of each month. I just returned from a Thanksgiving visit with my daughter and her family in San Diego. What should I find on my return but three inches of rain in the rain gauge, bare trees in the woods, and more evidence of freezing temperatures. There are a few stray oak leaves still hanging on…a few brightly colored by an afternoon sun…but the floor of the woods is covered with leaves.


I noticed a dozen or more clumps of wild ginger (Asarum canadense) growing in the woods. This is the first time I have seen them in my woods. A wider investigation turned up more clumps on both sides of the creek at the back of my garden. I must be more observant in the future for these kinds of natural gifts.


I did find a single Camellia japonica ‘Debutante’ bloom, a bit worse for the weather, but apparently protected in the interior of the plant at the edge of the woods. There are buds that look like they will survive to flower (if another frost doesn’t get them first).


The buds on the Camellia japonica ‘Governor Mouton’ have survived and look ready to open soon. (The dead leaves in the picture are the remains of this year’s ‘Blushing Bride’ hydrangea.)


The colored patterns of the bark on the ‘Osage’ crape myrtle are particularly attractive on a winter day and help bring unique color to the garden:


The only other blooming plants in the garden right now are the annual pansies in our pots:

IMG_0625      IMG_0627

Looking through the Carolina jessamine (Gelsimium sepervirens) arbor from the middle of the back garden:


A bit of color also comes from the foliage of Euphorbia x martinii ‘Ascot Rainbow,’ and the berries of Nandina domestica ‘Gulfstream.’

IMG_0612     IMG_0619

I like to use colored pots throughout the garden as architectural accents. Their presence is particularly helpful in winter.


Taking a walk through the garden at the end of the month, even in winter, helps me in so many ways to appreciate what we have, to see areas that can be improved, and to dream about “next year.” Please visit the postings of Helen Johnstone, the originator of this meme, and share with her what is happening in your garden.




About johnvic8

John Viccellio retired after 24 years in the U. S. Navy and began to dig into gardening when he could finally land in one place. He completed the Master Gardener course in 1992 and has since designed and constructed two of his own gardens. He wrote a monthly garden column for ten years and was a regular contributor to Carolina Gardener magazine. John published his first book, Guess What's in My Garden!, in 2014. He lives in a retirement community in Matthews, NC.
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11 Responses to End of Month View: November 30, 2014

  1. pbmgarden says:

    That’s a great blue urn in your last photo John. How nice to have wild ginger.


  2. Come spring, you’ll have to remember to look for the “little brown jugs” on your wild ginger (Hexastylis arifolia). I have a bit in my garden too, but not as much as my neighbor. I guess the English ivy that was once rampant here was responsible for its demise. The jug-like flowers are pollinated by flies, while the seed is dispersed by ants. Fire ants, however, eat the whole seed (not just the elaiosome), which is just one of the ways they contribute to native habitat distruction.


  3. Annette says:

    I love the crape myrtle, stunning bark. Lots to cherish in your garden…looking forward to seeing the camelia bloom!


  4. johnvic8 says:

    Thank you, Annette, It was just by chance that the crape myrtles we bought (‘Osage’) have this bark characteristic. Others we have are just a boring gray.


  5. bittster says:

    Your garden still has so much promise for the winter and next year, all the bark and winter foliage, plus the buds for winter color! I’m a little envious as I look out the window at the cold gray!


  6. Connie Olney says:

    so nice to see your garden and blog. I am PRIVELEDGED TO BE Jack Olney’s mom. gEORGE , Jack’s dad AND I have been living in Mt. Dora, Fl.for last 14 years. we look forward to pleasure of meeting you and elizabeth’s mom next year when those two tie the knot. you might like to know that our Woods “N Water Park has begun this year a nice raised garden box garden that about 18 folks sign up for . It is going well and they have regular dinners to raise money for citrus trees added and reflecting spots to just relax and watch it grow. Papaya grows well here. It is nice addition WHICH BENEFITS WHOLE COMMUNITY. LOOK FORWARD TO HEARING BACK. fellow plant lover, CONNIEOLNEY@GMAIL.COM p. S. I have 2 large pink vinca pots that are happy over winter and have been reseeding themselves. i have a nice bleeding heart plant that is thriving on side of home (afternoon sun ) just there one year and is now visible out that dining window.


    • johnvic8 says:

      Thanks, Connie. We too are looking forward to getting together and meeting you and George. Your Park project sounds like a winner; glad you are involved. Will be fun to discuss it with you.


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