[Editor’s note: I discovered this post unpublished in my drafts folder today. I had meant to finish it off at some point last November, but then November turned into December which turned into January and then… well, you know how it goes. So rather oddly, here’s a post about my garden in November. Even though it’s now March.]


Some of the achillea from the cutting garden I’ve been clearing on the terraces has made its way in here. Achillea – yarrow – is one of those mediaeval herbs which has fallen out of fashion nowadays, but in its time it was indispensable: most notably for its ability to heal wounds, as it’s antiseptic and relieves pain, too.


I have kept a clump of bergenia that was here when we got here, not because I like bergenia – I’m definitely in the Christopher Lloyd camp and dislike the particularly sickly shade of pink of its flowers. But it’s such a useful ground cover, and turns fetching shades in autumn. Nevertheless it will eventually be evicted: possibly in favour of Bergenia ciliata, which is a bona fide medicinal herb so earns its place here.


My collection of scented-leaved pelargoniums is kept in the herb garden: I’m particularly fond of this oak-leafed pelargonium, Pelargonium quercifolium, which smells sweetly of woodland floor when you rub the leaves. No frost yet, but these are coming in to the greenhouse very soon.


The hollyhocks are still determinedly flowering, ragged petals or no: these were from seed saved from my mother-in-law’s hollyhocks and they’ve done beautifully this year, not a patch of rust either.


And another plant which just won’t give up. I’m sure I don’t remember roses flowering in November and December when I was a kid but it seems to be a commonplace now. This is one of what I call the ‘grandma roses’ in the garden: planted a couple of owners ago, they’re a bit old-fashioned (and not scented) so will have to go, but I’m enjoying the colour for now.


The herb garden, once a rockery, always scruffy at this time of year: and I must do something about the bronze fennel, which is a magnificent plant but is reaching forest proportions. Editing out around half of the clumps should do it.

And this is how this area looked when we moved in three years ago. It’s a slightly different angle but reminds me how much we’ve done: both those looming conifers at the back have gone now, as has the out-of-control fuchsia. It may still be looking scruffy, but perhaps not quite as scruffy as it was…