November Garden Cleanup and Review

Today we raked up the last (hopefully) of the leaves that have completely covered our yard. Our town has a pickup program for yard waste, but it also has a once yearly citywide vacuum of leaves. These are all composted at our local landfill and distributed for free next year.

Free Compost from our local landfill

Not too many townships have this leaf pickup program, and I’m not sure if it is environmentally correct, but we have gone with it for this year. Many people recommend leaving the leaves on the garden and grass, but chopping them up with the lawnmower – but our yard was COMPLETELY covered in deep layers of leaves from the Norway Maples. This was just too much for our lawnmower, and would have smothered the lawn and garden. We raked all of our leaves into the road in one fell swoop. (Well WE are not quite done yet. I’m inside having a coffee writing this while my husband continues to rake away). Tip: want to avoid leaf-raking? Write about it while your husband stays outside……

While he’s working, it’s a good time for me to review some of the plants in our garden, to decide what’s working and not working in our garden this year.

Our Rose of Sharon “tree” was beautiful again this year.

It freely seeds in the garden and last year, I transplanted some of the seedlings but they didn’t come back in the spring. This year I have only transplanted a few, and I have marked them with tomato cages so that they are not raked away, and I know where they are in the spring. I have left ten or so seedlings in their original spots, and I will see if they do better than the transplants in the spring. I can always move the survivors then.

Shasta Daisy were late and shy bloomers. I didn’t see them until the end of August, but they are still blooming in November. They were hiding beneath the showoff Foxglove and Veronica. Maybe I should move the daisies somewhere next spring where they can show off a little more.

Shasta Daisy and Foxglove in November
Veronica and Shasta Daisy in November

This year, the Veronica and Perennial Long Blooming Sage stole the show. They are in big drifts near my garden fence, and I will try to relocate them a little bit next year. The sage has reseeded everywhere, and maybe I will regret these plants as being invasive, but for now, I’m happy with them. I’m all about the biggest bloom for the longest time, and I JUST LOVE pink and blue.

Veronica earlier in the season, but still blloming in November
Perennial Long Blooming Sage in the summer
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Perennial Long Blooming Sage – in November, only a few blooms after the deadheading

When we planted and relocated everything in July of 2018, we did not get to see where the spring bulbs were and what they were. We placed a stone walkway where we thought there were no plants. Guess what? Tulips and Star of Bethlehem grew through the stepping stones. I believe I have moved most of the tulips now, but it looked awful this spring, so I hope they don’t pop up there again next year. The Star of Bethlehem I watched and waited forever before I moved them. I had them in my previous garden, and I let them sprout under later blooming perennials. They worked well in that garden. In this garden they are almost an invasive species. I couldn’t tell what they were at first, they had a striped long crocus like foliage, and so I knew they were a bulb, but they took forever to flower, and when they did the little white starry flowers were disproportionately small compared to the long bossy grassy foliage. Next spring, I promise myself to move any of these plants that come up through my steps as soon as they emerge! They were not worth the wait.

Star of Bethlehem foliage popping up again in November

I’m excited to see what the biennials do next year. I have distributed some of the Hollyhock and Foxglove seeds myself in a few locations around my garden, and we will see if anything blooms next year. I have also planted Peach Leaved Bellflowers, – they did not bloom at all this year – but next year they will bloom – Gee I hope I bought blue ones!

One straggly Hollyhock bloom left in November
Peach Leaved Bellflower plant on the left – there were no blooms this year

Most of my sedum were wildly successful, but these Autumn Joy Sedum weren’t as colourful as I remembered.

Autumn Joy Sedum were a little dull

And this poor Autumn Joy Sedum was not able to survive the neighbourhood dogs out for their walks visiting my corner garden outside the fence.

Autumn Joy Sedum didn’t survive the heighbourhood dogs

In the herb garden, the parsley, thyme and chives were successful, but the rosemary and tarragon were lost – maybe just bullied out by the bossy parsley. The thyme took the full season to spread out a bit and is finally thriving.

Variegated Lemon Thyme

The Lavender survived, but just didn’t stand out. It just seems to be lost in comparison to some of the other plants. It did bloom, but it is just a more modest plant than the others and perhaps could use another location.

Modest Lavender still blooming in November

Now my husband is inside putting his feet up and deserves a coffee. The leaves were a solid workout!

Photo by Oziel Gómez on

Soon it will be time for Christmas decor and I’m just not ready for that!

November is too early for Christmas decor

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