A splendid start to November

Stewartia autumn foliageAt the start of November, the garden shows mixed results from recent frosts and a single night of twenty-eight degrees. While brightly colored leaves of ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) and blackgum (Nyssa sylvatica) have fallen, stewartia (Stewartia pseudocamellia, above) has only recently changed color, and it is as lovely as in any autumn. Earlier, I observed that autumn foliage colors have been delayed and perhaps are more muted this year, but with the marvelous colors in the garden today, I am less certain that the colors are inferior to any autumn in memory (Fernleaf Japanese maple, below).Fernleaf Japanese maple

While ‘Arnold Promise’ witch hazel has already gone bare, foliage colors of Vernal witch hazel (Hamamelis vernalis) and ‘Diane’ (Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Diane’, below) are now at their peak. I suspect that the native American witch hazels (Hamamelis virginiana) would also be at their peak if caterpillars had not stripped them bare two months ago. I suspect this will not be harmful, and could be beneficial since the foliage will not hide flowers when the witch hazels begin to flower in a few weeks.Diane witch hazel

Encore azaleas were in full bloom after a frost or two, but flowers wilted overnight in the freeze. With milder temperatures the azaleas are flowering again (below), with continuing blooms expected for another few weeks, or until the next freeze. In the odd year when temperatures don’t regularly drop below freezing, I’ve had azaleas flowering into early December, but flowering into the middle of November is a more reasonable expectation.Encore azalea

Most of the garden’s toad lilies (Tricyrtis) collapsed in the freeze, though some lower foliage remains green along with a few flowers. A few scattered toad lilies survived the freeze (below), with no discernible pattern that ones that are green and flowering were more protected.  Admittedly, I am a poor judge of these things. Too often I have planted a marginally cold hardy something or other in a spot that I supposed would be protected, only to see it fail while marginals planted without a thought survived. Whatever the formula is to determine a more protected spot, it’s a mystery to me. Toad lilies are dependably cold hardy, so there are no worries that they must be protected, but in the warmer spots of the garden I’m pleased to have flowers for a few weeks longer than expected.Toad lily

There is no surprise that scattered flowers remain on ‘Eternal Frangrance’ daphne (Daphne × transatlantica ‘Blafra’, below) into November. This is typical for this sturdy daphne, and even through the winter I suspect a few flowers would pop out in an extended spell of mild temperatures. The past two winters since these were planted have had no such mild periods, but with warm temperatures expected through much of November, there is hope that this winter might not be so severe.Eternal Fragrance daphne

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