Leaves and flowers in November

Our Ash trees along our border are the first to lose their leaves and our Liquidambar the first to glow with autumn colour. In the foreground of the photo above, the Anisodontea is still producing its pink flowers and is still being visited by bees. Today the rain has stopped but there is not much sunshine.

The Eriobotrya japonica is full of flowers and attracts lots of pollinators, while the leaves of our white Mulberry tree have turned yellow and started to fall. This tree has been grown from seed. We hope it will produce tasty white mulberries that are very sweet. There are so many varieties of mulberries but they are not well known and it seemed the only way was to grow one from seed but it is not a method for the impatient gardener to replicate.

Stretching taller than our garden wall, the blue sage is visited daily by the bumble bees.

The pink sage close by is also visited by the bumble bees that pierce the long flower from the outside to reach the nectar. This piercing will be reused by the bumble bees and also facilitate an entry for the honeybees.

This honeybee is on the sage leucantha but the hole she is using will have been made by a bumble bee.

There is something else making holes in the flowers.

It is so little that it is difficult to tell what it is. Possibly a Painted Lady but I don’t think November is a good time to be a caterpillar. I have never seen a caterpillar on the sage flowers before.

At the moment I am raking leaves for the compost and sorting out the borders. Our old Veronica had died completely on one side and we felt it was well past pruning and hoping for new growth.

Out came the old plant and then we discovered a self-seeded new plant growing at its side. We have enjoyed watching the bees on the flowers of the old plant so we were pleased with this phoenix successor. In fact there were a couple of other little seedlings in the roots so those were potted too. Just in case!

Rain

From the middle of November we have been having rain, at last. That means less days sitting watching the garden in the sun and more time viewing it from the inside.

At least the Lagerstroemia is getting enough rain to drain the leaves of their precious nutrients and allow the dry shells to fall. Gradually the bark is becoming mature and starting to peel.

The Salvia leucantha is still going strong, and with the bees and its long stems in constant motion, it draws your attention as soon as you look outside.

The saffron has been harvested and although I did not think it was as plentiful as last year my harvest was 5.5 grams against 3.8 grams of last year.

We had an unexpected harvest from our Acca sellowiana or feijoa bush this year. Perhaps it was just the very hot summer but it was the first time that our plants had given fruit. We had planted them as the pretty flowers attract the bees and had not really expected them to give fruit and we were surprised at how good they tasted.

Our Eriobotrya japonica is in full flower at the moment but I can only smell the lovely perfume when I go to the bottom of our garden which has not been so frequent in this rainy period.

The flowers attract a lot of pollinators including the Asian hornet. I just hope the fruits will manage to set before we get really cold weather as we had no fruit last year.

Although this year we had hardly any apples or pears, at least our Malus has given fruit for the birds.

The birds come to have a bath even in the rain, so this is something else that we can watch from the window. I think this is a female black cap (Sylvia atricapilla).