November Parking Lot Gardening

Last week we had one lovely day of above freezing weather. The snow melted, the ground was soft, but I was too busy to garden. My youngest had an appointment for his third driving test. For some odd reason, this young genius had just not been able to pay attention long enough to pass a driving test after 3 years of practice and lots of lessons. So we calmly drove around the driver test facility – for 2 whole days before his appointment at the end of the second day.

The plaza where the driving test facility is located is under construction. The building looks completely different than it has in the previous 2 test visits. The parking lot and garden are now being completed in cold November. I most enjoyed as we circled around the parking lot what seemed like 100 times, watching 2 workers dig up a small triangle of garden or about 4 by 4 by 8 feet in length over a course of 2 days.

2 men with digging equipment and one shovel gardening a very small plot

After 2 days, using a small digger, taking lots of breaks and occasionally using a shovel, the garden digging was finished.

The garden – a lot of dirt moving back and forth
A meeting to discuss the work

I captured an image of 4 people meeting – but I had just missed capturing a picture of 8 people standing discussing for a half an hour or so.

It’s amazing how a simple gardening project which could be achieved with one person and a shovel can take such equipment and manpower. Perhaps I am just jealous to be driving around in circles while my son practices driving, when I would rather be experiencing one last day of gardening! Does this remind you of those how many people does it take to screw in a lightbulb jokes?

While I waited on the other side of the parking lot as my son finally did his test, I watched a new planting. The gentlemen doing the planting were happy that I photographed their planting work. The planted some nice evenly spaced plantings of small shrubs, decorative grass, daylilies and something labelled as Bergenia Cordifoilia. I was intrigued. The driving test was forgotten.

An interesting planting in a shopping mall parking lot
A new planting of shrubs, grass, daylilies and bergenia cordifailia

The Bergenia Cordifailia had small but broad leaves, something like my Bugleweed, and I was interested that a soft leaved plant was being placed in the ground this late in November – after the frost and snow had started.

Bergenia Cordifailia or Elephants Ears

Wikipedia tells me that these plants are Elephant’s Ears – a perennial, evergreen plant which produces a rosette of large leathery leaves, and a pink flower. The leaves are generally glossy and green, but in cooler weather they turn burgundy or purply-green.

What a perfect, hardy but interesting choice for a dry, well-trodden area like shopping mall parking lot. I am always inspired by industrial and commercial plantings, even when I find some of the major construction make-work projects silly!

While I was distracted by the plants, my youngest finally passed his driving test!

November planting of grass, shrubs, daylilies and bergenia cordifailia

I will take November gardening wherever I can find it!


  1. Interesting…I’ve always heard Bergenia called “Pig Squeak” because when the leaves are rubbed they make a high squeak sound. Mine grow best in shade with adequate moisture, getting about 8″ tall with clusters of reddish or pinkish flowers.

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