Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Is it really mid-November?

I suppose our back garden is moderately sheltered but we are situated at the edge of Daventry, itself a small town, only about 300 metres as the Crow, Corvus corone, flies. The warmth associated with large urban areas, especially London, is hardly a factor and Stefen Hill is not really considered balmy. Yet a remarkably large number of plants are still in flower.
The climber, Thunbergia alata, commonly known as Black-eyed Susan, is on a wall which offers some sort of protection, but it is a native of east Africa and really enjoys warm conditions. Yet it seems happy enough. 

Thunbergia alata, aka Black-eyed Susan, remains in bloom on our
garage wall. Stefen Hill, Daventry. 15 November, 2017
Our plant of Salvia x jamensis 'Hot Lips' is also flowering profusely although most plant guides regard it as tender. The parents of this hybrid are Salvia greggi, from southern Texas and S. microphylla, a widespread species found from Arizona to Mexico. Neither of these species seems likely to have imparted hardiness to their offspring and yet it is unfazed by November's weather
Hot Lips - Salvia x jamensis - is still open for a visit from a bee.
Stefen Hill, Daventry. 15 November, 2017
From Mexico too come most of the Dahlia species involved in our garden varieties. The slightest of frosts usually reduces their leaves to a mushy, dark green mess but nevertheless they are still blooming happily for us with buds still being produced.
Dahlias on 15 November. Ridiculous! Stefen Hill, Daventry
Until I sat down to write this blog it hadn't occurred to me that, with the exception of the Thunbergia, all the species being considered are of American origin, for also in flower is the Argentinian Vervain, Verbena bonariensis. It hails of course from the vicinity of Buenos Aires, hence bonariensis, and should again be only borderline hardy. Having said that, I've never had trouble with this verbena in the past; maybe that part of Argentina gets chilly winters.
Verbena bonariensis goes on and on. Stefen Hill, Daventry.
15 November, 2017
What conclusions can be drawn from all this? Basically nothing I suppose. We have had a couple of light frosts recently but not enough, it seems, to damage these four plants and I am tempted to conclude that these lingering flowers owe their survival to climate. warming. Certainly in my youth we would have had frosts, or maybe even ice on puddles by now. One sharp frost however and we can kiss these flowers goodbye so we'll enjoy them while we can.

No comments:

Post a Comment