In mid-November temperatures are regularly dipping below freezing, and late summer bloomers have faded. The late blooming camellias and ‘Winter Sun’ mahonia have only recently begun to bloom, and both will flower into December. The reblooming Encore azaleas melted with the first freeze with the exception of ‘Autumn Amethyst’ (below), which has weathered the cold to continue in bloom. The flowers are a bit rough around the edges, as I would expect, but there are more buds ready to open, I suppose so long as temperatures don’t drop into the mid-twenties.
The autumn foliage colors of Japanese maples are a highlight of the garden, and while some cultivars turn early and have nearly defoliated, others have just begun their autumn display with leaves that will hold onto the tree for another few weeks. The Fern Leaf maple (Acer japonicum ‘Aconitifolium’, below) is an exception, one of the first trees to show color in October, but also one of the last to drop its leaves. The foliage goes through a series of changes, and one part of the tree will display different hues, with marvelous effect.
Lion’s Head maple (Acer palmatum ‘Shishigashira’, below) remains green until early November, but then the change in color makes the wait worthwhile. While many trees, and most Japanese maples are more uniform, Fern Leaf and Lion’s Head maples display a range of colors.
The autumn foliage of Coral Bark maple (Acer palmatum ‘Sango-kaku’, below) is uniformly, and glowingly yellow. Once the color has changed the leaves do not last long, but the fallen leaves are followed by bright red stems.
The native dogwoods began to change color in September, and by mid-October were a deep crimson with the leaves dropping in my garden early in November. The Chinese dogwoods (Cornus kousa) do not color until late in October, or even in early November, but will hold their leaves for a few weeks longer. Their colors vary between cultivars, with the variegated leaf types fading to tan, but the pink flowered Satomi (above) and white blooming types (below) changing to reds and yellows.