Here Comes the Sun: November Blossoms in 2009

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Here Comes the Sun: November Blossoms in 2009

Categories: Blog, Garden Guru

After a cool, gloomy and wet October (Powell Gardens had measurable rain 19 October days for a total of 7.87 inches!) November 2009 is shaping up for make up sun and Indian summer!

The overall garden landscape speaks to the earthy colors of November. The baldcypress trees dressed in their rusty fall attire and the leaves of many oaks cling “marcescent” to their moorings on the twigs. The rich shades of prairie grasses contrast to the greens of the lawn. The sky is icy blue.

As you enter the gates of Powell Gardens you will see vibrant red Possumhaws, a.k.a. Deciduous Holly Ilex decidua decked out in brilliant berry attire.

A closeup of a Possumhaw ablaze in berries for the season. A winter larder for mockingbirds, robins, bluebirds and waxwings. This flame of red will last well into winter, far longer than a blooming tree’s color. See November’s Kansas City Gardener for my article on the possumhaw to learn more.

Flowers still garnish much of the garden: this Gaillardia (Gaillardia aristata ‘Arizona Sun’) feeds a grateful bumblebee.

The Visitor Center’s terrace beds are in full fall flower: planted with annuals that take a frost and will thrive until Thanksgiving or beyond. This gold Strawflower BracteanthaSundaze Golden Beauty’ has a name that says it all.

This Ribbon Yellow Snapdragon points skyward, occasionally snapdragons will even survive the winter and bloom next spring too.

Red Rocket Snapdragon glows when back lit by the low November sun. Look for it in the bed outside Cafe Thyme.

Pansies’ hardy faces are always a fixture of the season. This red-toned pansy has the boring name ‘Matrix Red Blotch’ and is teamed in the red themed bed with the Red Rocket Snapdragon outside the cafe.

Violas are smaller flowered Pansies and this one is the cool flowering cultivar ‘Penny Deep Blue.’

Some bedding plants really mimic the season’s colors — the “everbrown” grass is actually the sedge Carex ‘Toffee Twist’ and it is paired with two lettuces that echo its colors: ‘Little Brown Leprechaun’ and ‘Flashy Trouts Back’

Many cultivars of lettuce make awesome ornamentals to mix in the fall flower border. They provide for a quick salad as well if you like! This gorgeous Lettuce is the cultivar ‘Merlot.’

Ruffled and fresh springy green, Simpson Elite Lettuce adds a bright color and rich texture to a fall flower border.

“Flowering” Kales are some of the most colorful and hardy of fall plants (and delicious too). This is Tokyo Red Kale.

Kamome White Kale is blushed with rose.

Nogoya Emperor White Kale is always an aristocratic plant for the season.

Magnificent Cardoons (3 feet tall and 4 feet wide) get the most comments as you enter the Heartland Harvest Garden. This plant occasionally survives a mild winter and has huge, artichoke-thistle-like blooms the following summer. It is a relative of both.

Oregon Giant Peas got a good start this year and are decked in white bloom inside the wattled fence of the Potager Garden.

A few roses continue to bloom as the coldest temperature has only been down to 29F. Here’s Abraham Darby Rose (Rosa David Austin Hybrid). I believe this rose is named after the “father” of the industrial revolution. Look for this rose at the entrance gates to the Vineyard. It smells divine!

The weather has been ideal for “cole” crops as seen here in Barbara Damrosch’s Authors Garden.

The dark, corrugated leaves of Osaka Purple Mustard really stand out in the Villandry Garden. It is a delicious mustard greens.

Horticulturist Matt Bunch was wise to leave freeze dried ornamental peppers in place as they provide much color to the fall vegetable garden.

A view across the Villandry Quilt Garden from the barn really shows how rich a fall “vegetable” garden can be. Come see for yourself and get ideas for next year’s spring garden — most of these cold tolerant, cool weather loving plants are great for a spring garden as well.

Matt Bunch had to cut me up some Red Meat Radishes a.k.a. Watermelon Radishes. Sorry, I tried one and as beautiful as they are, they still taste like a radish. Matt says older ones are sweeter.

The Alpha Calendulas are probably the most colorful flowers in the garden. Look for this edible flower in the Kitchen Garden south of the barn.

Chard is always a beautiful ornamental with colorful stems from red to yellow. The low November sun back lights them beautifully!

Sweet Violets (Viola odorata) smell and taste wonderful — they make a beautiful and tasty garnish to a salad.

Volunteers John and Sandy Teeple had the pleasure to pick the saffron (Crocus sativus) today. I did sample one — its the 3 stigmas — the long orange-red filaments pointing left, right and down in this flower. Matt says they taste like “sweet buttery green tea.” They are the most expensive of spices as so much labor is involved in plucking 3 per flower. We planted 1,000 saffron crocuses and more and more are coming into bloom even though they often don’t bloom well the first year after planting. Look for the saffron in the Tapestry of Thyme bed south of the barn.

The weekend is predicted to be as nice of weather as it gets in Kansas City. Come stroll through Powell Gardens and enjoy the glorious beauty of late fall and all the splendid fall flowers.