Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Blooming November

The onset of winter is so often seen as the death of the year, a rather depressing time when we withdraw to a more interior life and peruse seed catalogues in front of the fire, or feel guilty about unplanted bulbs. Some of the plants in my garden, however, actually come into flower about now, which I always find cheering and intriguing. It's a comforting reminder that life goes on, even in the darkest times.

Flower clusters on x Fatshedera lizei (Fat-headed Lizzie). This one is 'Aurea Maculata' and it's a really lovely plant: tough, untemperamental and looks especially good on a north-facing fence like this, because it always appears to have sunlight on it. The clematis is Clematis armandii 'Little White Charm'. It's supposed to be less vigorous than the normal armandii. Hmm.

A Fatsia japonica in full bloom. This one is in a pot, but that hasn't stopped it flowering. Since I took this picture, it has become an even more spectacular froth of white, but I haven't had time to take a new photograph.

Flower buds on the loquat (Eriobotrya japonica). It's a bit late into flower this year, probably because we've had a cool summer. Normally by the beginning of November, it's in full swing, providing food for the last of the butterflies. The flowers aren't very spectacular but once they come out they scent the whole garden with a frangipani fragrance

Flower buds on Tetrapanax papyrifera. As you can see, the inflorescence is very similar to those on the fatsia and fatshedera, which isn't surprising considering that tetrapanax was once classified as a form of fatsia. Apparently, the flower spikes can get up to a metre long, but I haven't managed to find any pictures of tetrapanax in flower on the internet, so I've no idea if this is true. It was quite difficult to take this picture as I wasn't really tall enough to get level with the flowers, so had to stand on tiptoe with the camera above my head.