Acaena microphylla ‘Kupferteppich’

Best flowers and plants for November

There's plenty of ways to find colour and contrast in the garden on November days. Here Tom Brown picks the best plants for November. Photographs Jason Ingram

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Acaena microphylla ‘Kupferteppich’

Acaena microphylla ‘Kupferteppich’
© Jason Ingram

I grow this charming plant for its copper-coloured foliage, which comes into its own in autumn and winter. In summer the finely feathered foliage is punctuated by small, yellow flowers that in autumn develop into attractive red burrs. It makes a wonderful groundcover plant but doesn’t like to be overshadowed by others. It’s best grown in a gravel garden with plenty of light and air. It can also be used to great effect between paving slabs, as it is robust enough to tolerate being occasionally trodden on.

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Height 10-20cm.
Origin Garden origin (species from New Zealand).
Conditions Well-drained soil; full sun. Hardiness RHS H5, USDA 7a-8b.
Season of interest Interesting foliage throughout the year.


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Miscanthus nepalensis

Miscanthus nepalensis
© Jason Ingram

Miscanthus is generally thought of as a robust and solid grass for the back of a border, but this species has a delicacy that can elude more vigorous miscanthus and gracefully achieves a height of only around 1.5m. During November, the plumes have an elegance when they sway in the breeze and display an ease of movement and transparency that is incredibly appealing. If you believe there is no room for grasses in your garden then I suggest you give this one a try. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Height 1-1.5m.
Origin Himalayas.
Conditions Well-drained, reasonable garden soil; full sun.
Hardiness RHS H6, USDA 6a-8b.
Season of interest Late summer flowering; seedheads into winter.


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Rosa ‘Geranium’

Rosa ‘Geranium’
© Jason Ingram

This much-loved R. moyesii hybrid is incredibly robust and disease resistant. In summer it has large, delicately fragrant, bright-red blooms that in September make way for attention-grabbing red hips to bring a final hurrah to your beds and borders. Achieving a height of around two metres, it’s extremely effective at the back of a mixed border, patiently waiting in the background for its moment in the late autumn, when as perennials begin to fade, it reveals its fruitful beauty in all of its glory. AGM.

Height 1.5-2m.
Origin Garden origin (species China).
Conditions Moist but well-drained, fertile soil; full sun.
Hardiness RHS H6, USDA 4a-9b.
Season of interest Flowering during the summer, fruiting autumn into winter.

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Colletia paradoxa

Colletia paradoxa
© Jason Ingram

A plant that won’t be to everyone’s taste. In late autumn and winter its small, white flowers – which appear among a fortress of spines – have a sweet, almost honey and almond-like scent that is quite enchanting. On closer observation – but be careful, not to get too close – you’ll see that what on first glance appear to be the leaves are actually modified triangular stems. The true leaves are small and often appear in spring. If you’re intrigued, there’s a wonderful specimen in the winter garden of Hillier’s in Hampshire.

Height 2.5-4m.
Origin Uruguay and southern Brazil.
Conditions Tolerant of most well-drained soils; sun.
Hardiness RHS H4, USDA 7a-9b.
Season of interest Early autumn to winter.

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Euonymus hamiltonianus subsp. sieboldianus ‘Coral Charm’

Euonymus hamiltonianus subsp. sieboldianus ‘Coral Charm’
© Jason Ingram

A wonderful, deciduous, tree-like Euonymus that has tremendous autumn colour. In cold weather, its leaves gracefully drop to the ground to reveal clusters of coral-pink fruits with orange-red seeds that can persist well into winter, and which are a glorious sight when kissed with frost on a crisp, sunny November day. Makes a super tree for a smaller garden or as a lower-storey shrub in a woodland garden.

Height 4-8m.
Origin Korea and Japan.
Conditions Moist but free-draining soil; full sun or partial shade.
Hardiness RHS H6, USDA 7a-8b.
Season of interest Autumn and late winter.

 


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Acer griseum

Acer griseum
© Jason Ingram

In late autumn and winter, when its papery, peeling bark is backlit, it has a wonderful translucent quality. For the most dramatic effect, it is best sited where it can be viewed from all angles, and light can penetrate the peeling bark. Introduced from China by the plant hunter Ernest Wilson in 1901, it is slow growing and will struggle in exposed garden situations, but place this paperbark maple in the right site, with the right growing conditions, and you’ll be patting yourself on the back for years to come. AGM.

Height 4-8m.
Origin Central China.
Conditions Fertile, moist but well-drained soil; sun or partial shade.
Hardiness RHS H5, USDA 4a-8b.
Season of interest Autumn foliage and winter stem interest.

 


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Coronilla valentina subsp. glauca ‘Citrina’

Coronilla valentina subsp. glauca ‘Citrina’
© Jason Ingram

Flowering plants are few and far between at this time of year. Coronillas have soft-yellow flowers that are sweetly citrus scented and appear on stems that scramble and ramble over the ground in a charmingly haphazard way. Coronillas will grow happily in a container with extra grit in the compost to allow plenty of air through the roots in those winter months, but avoid exposed sites, which can become waterlogged in winter. AGM.

Height 50cm-1m.
Origin Garden origin (subspecies from Mediterranean France to Albania).
Conditions Well-drained soil with moisture during the summer; sheltered position in sun.
Hardiness RHS H4, USDA 9a-10b.
Season of interest Late autumn and winter.

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Galactites tomentosa

Galactites tomentosa
© Jason Ingram

In midsummer, this milk thistle produces scented, purple flowers that are much loved by bees, butterflies and other pollinating insects. But it’s in autumn and winter when you can really appreciate its stunning crisp, white-and-green variegated foliage. It is among the most stunning foliage found in gardens during November. This thistle adores free-draining, sun-rich locations in the garden and, once established, has great drought-tolerant qualities. I find it best to collect the seed and sow them straight away as viability can be erratic.

Height 50cm-1m.
Origin Mediterranean and southwestern Europe.
Conditions Free draining soil; full sun.
Hardiness RHS H4, USDA 9a-10b.
Season of interest Flowering in summer but excellent crisp foliage in winter.

 


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Prunus incisa ‘Kojo-no-mai’

Prunus incisa ‘Kojo-no-mai’
© Jason Ingram

Few plants can rival a cherry tree when in full bloom, but this one also has flame-like autumn foliage to give the blossom a run for its money. If you have only a small garden then it pays to demand more from your plants, and this compact Prunus not only gives two bursts of interest it also offers great winter structure. But, trust me, once you see it in late autumn, backlit by the
crisp autumn light, you’ll want this tree for your garden. AGM.

Height 1.5-2.5m.
Origin Garden origin (species from Japan).
Conditions Fertile, well-drained soil in sun or partial shade.
Hardiness RHS H6, USDA 7a-8b.
Season of interest Spring flowering and colourful autumn foliage.

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Abelia x grandiflora

Abelia x grandiflora
© Jason Ingram
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Plants that have become popular garden fixtures can easily be overlooked in favour of something new and unknown. But sometimes, it’s worth reminding ourselves that plants such as Abelia x grandiflora have remained popular for
a reason. It is incredibly versatile, providing structure and soft-pink flowers from early summer to late autumn. Given a reasonable garden soil, it is trouble free and stands strong with glossy foliage. A plant that offers structure without compromising colour and flowers.

Height 2.5-4m.
Origin Garden hybrid between A. chinensis and A. uniflora.
Conditions Fertile, moist but well-drained soil; sun.
Hardiness RHS H5, USDA 5a-9b.
Season of interest Flowering from early summer into late autumn.