November colour in the Garden
We are getting later and later frosts these past few years, so the first frost now seem to occur in November, rather than October. This helps prolong the colour in the borders, although as the winters are now effectively shorter, this leaves us with less time to thoroughly clear the borders - yes, it really does take about 4 months to tidy, clear away dying foliage, weeds, move stray plants and fork over the all the beds at Toddington Manor.
When we have the first frost it always seems to catch me by surprise - the summer evenings seem so recent and the borders still look good. I always keep a close eye on the water forecast so all the large summer pots placed around the garden with tender margurite Daisy's are all safely tucked away in the frost free vinery.
The dahlias and cleomes still look great while the frost is still on them, but tomorrow morning all the cells will have been ruptured and turn the whole bloom to a dirty sodden brown lump - not so attractive!
Our rich red rhubarb chard will not suffer so badly - the outer leaves may be for the bin, but the inner leaves will still be able to be harvested. In fact, this is one ornamental vegetable I would not be without in the ornamental potager. It seems to tolerate heavy rain, drought, pests leave it alone, it is easy to germinate, looks gorgeous whilst patiently sitting there waiting for a gardener to harvest the rich red, crinkly leaves.
It is even listed as a super food along with the equally spectacular kale. They both have an 'acquired' taste, which basically means they are both quite bitter compared to the ordinary vegetables you can buy at the supermarkets, but combined with other vegetables, especially in soups, they are really quite good.