Today, there’s sun in the usually shaded side garden, with sunlight streaming into rooms of the house that have been dark for months. Of course, this also means that there are now mountains of leaves covering parts of the garden, ripped from trees by another inch of rain as a chilly breeze pushed out a short spell of warmth.
The tall Chinese snowball (Viburnum macrocephalum, below) outside the library window remains in leaf, shading the morning sun, but also uppermost branches are flowering. While sporadic blooms are not unusual, I suspect that flowering in November is not typical, and certainly I’ve never noticed it before, though flowers fifteen feet up could easily be missed.
Fallen leaves in this area of the garden will remain for weeks, and usually for months. Some will be left undisturbed to decay, while deepest mounds must eventually be shredded and spread. Areas planted with hellebores are first to be cleared, sometimes before the year’s end, but more often by early February so that flowers can be seen.
Flowers of hellebores do not require insulating protection of mounded leaves, and in a mild winter the lack of sunlight can delay flowering. So, leaves are best removed earlier, but, best practices are not always necessary, and this is one that happens when good weather and mood align.