Looking Good November 20


Autumn progresses, as more and more plants in the garden go dormant. Walking around the garden, I search for those that are unwilling to pack it in for the year and are still strutting their stuff.

We received some much needed rain and everything looks so much more chipper after it has had a drink. Above is seventh-son tree (Heptacodium miconioides) with its parallel-veined leaves, vivid green edged in purple. IMG_9173Right, the gray-green culinary sage (Salvia officinalis) looks silvery, adorned with droplets of water.


Left, the fothergilla (F. gardenii) has dropped all its leaves except for these last hangers-on. It is a great native plant with brilliant orange and golden fall foliage. In spring, it has bottlebrush flowers that are coveted by pollinators.

IMG_9123At right, the forsythia (F. intermedia) at the edge of the lawn turned a brilliant yellow and from afar, it looked like it was having a second bloom. I had to go over and check, as some gardeners have reported seeing out of season blossoms, plants confused by the cold-then-warm weather we’ve had, but these were just leaves.

A few plants are still blooming despite many nights that have been in the mid-20sF (-4C). IMG_9180Deadnettle (Lamium maculatum) has sent up pink- and purple-lipped blooms continuously all summer and fall. With its handsome white-striped triangular foliage, its a regular trouper.

IMG_9177The yellow primrose (Primula vulgaris) has been blooming since September and I noticed the purple one has buds on it as well.

Below, I was delighted to see buds on the hellebores (Helleborus niger). This is the first year I’ve grown them and am pleased to see them coming into bloom.

IMG_9176IMG_9182To the right, the winterberry (Ilex verticillata) is looking fine against the backdrop of white pine and paper birch. I planted the birch and winterberry together here for that ‘Christmas card’ effect. Last year, cedar waxwings ate all the berries well before Christmas, so it was short-lived decor. Bluebirds and robins also favor the fruit, so they seldom last into January. I don’t begrudge them, matter of fact, I encourage them to visit by planting more.

Many thanks to Gillian at Country Garden UK for hosting the weekly meme Looking Good Friday (link for guidelines). We showcase highlights in our gardens each week and link back to her site. Pop on over to see what’s special in other gardener’s plots around the globe. Feel free to join us with what is ‘looking good’ in your garden!

About Eliza Waters

Gardener, writer, photographer, naturalist
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45 Responses to Looking Good November 20

  1. Beautiful plants :-). I wonder who will eat your winterberries this year? Do Hellebores usually bloom in November? I remember seeing them in January in Vancouver and for a few months after that.

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Thank you, Myriam. I saw a cedar waxwing this morning, so they may well eat all the berries by the end of the week.
      As this is my first year growing hellebores, I expect they will bloom in the next few weeks, unless we get freezing weather and snow (who knows what nature will bring?) to shut them down until spring. I always thought they bloomed when the snow melted in March. We’ll see!

  2. Pauline says:

    You have so much that is looking good in your garden. Really love your holly with all its red berries, such a feast for your birds.

  3. Murtagh's Meadow says:

    Love the rain specked leaves:)

  4. Cathy says:

    Your winterberry and birch really do make a pretty picture. It seems the hellebores and primulas want to get a headstart, and they do look very healthy!

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Thank you, Cathy. This morning I saw a cedar waxwing in the vicinity of the winterberry. If he tells his friends, the berries will be gone by the end of the week. Glad I got a photo yesterday!

  5. Gillian says:

    Your garden is looking fresh after the rain Eliza. Thanks for sharing your photos of some very interesting plants. I have never seen Heptacodium before or any leaves with veins like that. Quite fascinating. I have just been taking some photos (indoors today) of Helleborus niger. Mine are flowering because they have been forced in the greenhouse – there is just one flower bud so far on all the plants I left in the ground.

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Thanks, Gillian. Looking forward to seeing your photos. As this is my first year with the hellebores, I’m not sure what to expect. Will they bloom for Christmas, or just go dormant until spring? We’ll see!

  6. So beautiful, how there is lasting color. They are all thinking, Ooooh, here comes Eliza! Perk up!

    • Eliza Waters says:

      😀 I like the thought that they’re excited to see me! Sometimes when I’m weeding and hacking away furiously, I feel like apologizing, telling them that it is for their own good, a la “Secret Lives of Plants!” 😉

      • Walking My Path: Mindful Wanderings in Nature says:

        I do the same thing – especially when thinning trees! I hate cutting some down, but it really is like weeding. The others grow so much better, and it lowers fire danger. I always talk to them. Sometimes not even out loud and it feels like they still get it…you know…they speak a different language. 🙂

      • Eliza Waters says:

        Exactly, it’s all in the vibe! 🙂

  7. The one with the “hanging on” leaves really struck me. I always notice those last few leaves on the plants here.

  8. Lovely to see the vibrancy still continuing in your garden’s autumn showing.

  9. This is so beautiful! I love rain! Everything looks so beautiful with the little droplets on it. One of my favorite things to take pictures of is leaves and flowers with rain drops on them. I love the names of those plants/flowers, “Winterberry” and “white pine.” lol And they look beautiful together! I love how you have so much knowledge of flowers and names and things. I would never be able to identify them if I saw them. And I went to high school for Horticulture! Lol Maybe I will brush up on my knowledge and do some reading and looking at pictures! Your posts inspire me!

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Thank you, Kim. Glad to be an inspiration. I knew plants were going to be my life’s focus from about 14 yrs. old. I can’t imagine my life without them. 🙂 I hope you pursue your studies, horticulture is a balm for the soul. Plus, if you grow food, you can eat the results of your labor! 😉

  10. Laurie Graves says:

    Loved walking with you! The blooms might be gone, but there is still much to admire.

  11. Robin says:

    Your garden is still very beautiful. I love that winterberry. We’ve tried to grow it several times in NE Ohio (where it should have grown just fine), but never had any luck with it. Maybe I should try it here, especially if the birds like it. 🙂

    • Eliza Waters says:

      They like wet feet and full sun. They also require a male plant located within 25′ to fertilize the females. Mine are right next to each other to ensure simultaneous bloom times. If they don’t bloom in sync, no berries!

  12. Maria F. says:

    Wow, these images are so good Eliza. I love them all. The droplets add so much detail to the plants.

  13. MK says:

    How gratifying to watch the birds dine on the berries you planted.

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Yes, I love feeding the birds. I tried to photograph some cedar waxwings eating the berries today, but they are pretty shy. I’ll have to see if any turned out. 🙂

  14. Hard to believe that you’ve been hitting -4 with all those flowers budding up and flowering. The fothergilla looks to be a lovely multi-season shrub. I have some yellow primroses out too. They are so cheerful aren’t they?

  15. arlingwoman says:

    I love walking around with you! It’s really nice to see what’s out there yet, and what we’ll be seeing through the winter.

  16. We have already had at least 3 hard frosts and my parsley and tarragon still hanging on strong. My friend from Georgia sent me some seeds from a plant she grows there and it did well here in NY. It hung on even though the first frost. This was a wonderful fall. Not a short one.

  17. Debra says:

    Looking good! I adore primrose and the yellow is my favourite. What a treat to see it. Brrr. The raindrops look so icy. Hope you are keeping warm and safe.

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Thank you! It is sunny and windy today with a windchill of 7 degrees… totally brrr! I brought out the down coat, double mittens and scarf and took a VERY brisk walk. Invigorating to say the least… 😉

  18. Heather says:

    So many great plants in this one! Since I’ve been listening to instrumental Christmas music all day, the winterberry is pressing my buttons. But the fothergilla is nice. Glad you mentioned the forsythia; it really does look like it’s blooming. Ours is just a baby, and it only had a few golden leaves before they dropped. Speaking of out of season, I saw some crocuses this fall, and there are still roses blooming just down the street. Incredible season!

  19. Kathy Sturr says:

    Catching up! Some of my favorites here looking oh so good. I don’t think Forsythia receives enough credit for its fall display except from you! And oh the Winterberry! Mine still had berries when I left but they do disappear fast. Beautiful!

    • Eliza Waters says:

      🙂 Thank you, Kathy. Winterberry is a wonderful plant to have to brighten up the dull days of late fall and early winter, if the berries last that long. They’re about a third gone at this point. I love watching the cedar waxwings and the occasional bluebird pair.

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