greentapestry : November Thoughts

Saturday, 27 November 2021

November Thoughts

"November provides us with a breathing point. Colour is going, if not gone, and branches are newly naked, revealing the bones of things. Scarlet hips are left starkly alone in the hedgerows, and the floor is littered with the fruit of a growing season. Birds are moving seed about, windfalls pecked to little more than skins. We may well have had the first frost by now; if not, it is sure to hit by the end of the month. With it the dahlias are suddenly blackened, to leave behind just a trace of their autumn bulk. The brick-red schizostylis and lipstick-pink nerine continue to flare for a while, yet in stark and diminishing contrast to the decline around them. There are a few other flowers out - perhaps a rose or two looking out of placeand left behind - so they are doubly welcome.

We are surrounded by rot and decay, but it is not a death to be disturbed by but rather celebrated as the cusp of this annual cycle. It's an appropriate time to pause for thought, and, with it, the potential for new planting. 

I wait until the garden starts to feel on the wrong side of neglect, before imposing any order, and even then I favour a less-is-more approach. Sweeping the mouldering leaves from the lawn or terrace imposes a little order on the chaos and allows you to stand back for a while to assess the departure of the growing season, but the pause is brief: there are tulips to put in the ground, plants that need their winter protection , and the season for planting bare-root trees and shrubs opens up again as nurseries start lifting them before the ground freezes. Use the time well to plant before the year is out and new plantings will be settled in before the worst of the winter arrives."

- an extract from 'Natural Selection' by Dan Pearson

- illustration by Eugene Grasset.  


  1. A nice November piece, I like Dan Pearson, he's always worth listening to. Your lady could do with getting her coat on, it was 2c today.

  2. Thanks Chloris 😄 I don't think that my lady would have survived the weekend even with her coat on - it was blowing a hooley here on Saturday and then yesterday we had snow. It's most grey out there at the moment but there was a glorious sunrise. Today should be slightly warmer - hope that is the case with you too.

    1. We haven't had it nearly as bad as you here.It has been cold but no snow.

  3. Glad to hear that you escaped the excesses Chloris 😂

  4. I don't think I have read anything written by Dan Pearson before and found it important to read every word as there was value in each one of them - thanks for sharing them with us Anna. I had the same thoughts as Chloris about your November lady!


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