November Sunday Garden


Which is the better picture?



Some Crocus speciosus are still flowering.

Crocus speciosus

But most of them look like this now.

Crocus speciosus

I found some mushrooms today. These are uncommon in my garden, for whatever reason.


Gnomes on the other hand are very common.


And this is the most common large insect out and about in my garden during the winter months. This is the second one I've seen this season.


And it's not even winter yet.

I'm sorry--that was a joke.

Except for the sun going down by 5 p.m., the last few days have been summery--warm and sunny with clear, blue skies. While typical summer days in San Francisco are not warm and sunny with clear, blue skies, I meant summery as an abstract idea.


My garden chores in November do not differ much from any other time of year. Do you add shredded newspaper to your compost pile? It helps to keep the flies down when you've added lots of kitchen scraps recently.


Who even reads a paper newspaper anymore. Guy reads the Wall Street Journal for work and San Franciscans get some free newspapers delivered every day even if we don't want them.

Some people don't like to put colored newsprint in their compost pile for fear of leaching out toxic dyes or something. I don't care to worry about that.

One thing you can be sure of as a garden blogger--the day after Bloom Day promises more blooms in the near future than Bloom Day itself. This is Tithonia diversifolia. The flowers are yellow asters that smell like chocolate. I would like that very much.

Tithonia diversifolia

I would also like to have Aquilegia flower in my garden, but it never has.


All columbines seem to do here is get major leaf miner infestations. And because one of my horticulture teachers once peeled apart a miner-infested leaf and to show the class the maggot feeding inside, the infestation is not only ugly, it grosses me out a little bit. So I cut back whole clumps of columbine to the crown, it resprouts vigorously, and then gets leaf miner. Still, I keep the faith.

Achillea is another one I have some trouble with. It might grow okay, but it doesn't flower that well. Especially after it's been there for a year.


I try different kinds. This one is a pink form from Southern California islands. I keep the faith.





EAL said...

I think all columbines everywhere have leaf miners and they're just supposed to be accepted as part of the columbine experience. But I wouldn't bother if I didn't get flowers.

Lovely autumn crocus.

Christopher C. NC said...

The first closeup is better.

Colored maple leaves and autumn crocus just like it was here only a few short weeks ago. It'll be snowing soon.

At least the sun sets here at 5:30ish now.

JvA said...

Yes, the first photo was better than the second. And the third was even better yet. Also loved the gnome photo.

Happy to see the sun is still shining there, as it was here today.

Anonymous said...

I like the top picture with the blue sky in the background best although both are beautiful. I am headed to CA in a couple of weeks. Touring Sonoma. Drinking wine! I will wave!

Annie in Austin said...

The close-in photo might be better as art. But the second one shows buds and leaves, so is more useful for knowing how a specific plant looks. Art photos can be useless for ID purposes.

I love the maple leaf over the edge of the blue glazed pot.

Chuck, the garden writer Allen Lacy says he cuts off the bad leaves and then microwaves them for a few seconds to kill the insects before adding the leaves to his compost. That's a dedicated composter!

I can't keep a columbine alive long enough for the leafminers to find them so haven't tried it.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Anonymous said...

Hi Chuck, I couldn't tell which was better, the center of the flower was clearer in the first one but there was more of interest to see, your deck, the whole flower, leaves, in the second. I liked them both. And the blue blue sky, I like that alot. All of my millions of columbines have leaf miner. I ignore them and they bloom just fine. Maybe you are taxing the plant too much by making it regrow leaves all the time so it doesn't have enough energy for flowers? Just a guess. I hope my fushsia blooms someday like that. It is growing anyway!

Weeping Sore said...

Your pictures show that as the garden cools, the gardener has to look closer for life, color and inspiration.
I pride myself that my compost is composed of equal parts of shredded junk mail and kitchen waste. I don't care about colors either, but I do try to catch those cellophane windows in bill envelopes - they apparently have a half-life of forever.

Curmudgeon said...

When I saw your crocus I got escited thinking it might be crocus satevus (saffron crocus). But you say it's not. I'm waiting on my crocus satevus--leaves are up but no buds yet. We're having a mild and dryer than normal Fall so I have high hopes yet.

Abigail Rose said...

I like the first yellow flower picture. It' so in-your-face.

Anonymous said...

Hi Chuck! my first visit to your blog, its great! I like the closeup best.

And what is the brugmansia type plant in the next to the last photo? Wow, its gorgeous!

I used to live in SF for over 20 years, so i got a real chuckle out of your observation about parking and wildlfe... how true!

Jenn said...

Which pic?

I like the one with the little fly (masquerading as a bee) showing off his shiny wings.

But they are both great shots.
The larger image of the flower has less distraction in the background, but the fly isn't showing off quite so perfectly.

Jenn said...

Columbine likes to be on the dry side. Try a raised area or a pot. And they do well in cloudy climates situated in full sun.

I kept a row of them in a very dry bed on the south side of my house, full sun, and they bloomed profusely, after which the miners moved in and I took them back to the crowns to be green for the summer.

Good luck!