You Are Mistaken, Thomas Hood!

leaf.dropThe weather forecast having just indicated that there would be little chance of seeing the sun yesterday I was taken aback to then hear a reference on the radio yesterday to the poem ‘November’, by Thomas Hood – ‘No sun…. no warmth, no cheerfulness …… no flowers, no leaves, no birds….’ etc and felt almost affronted by the suggestion that there was nothing whatsoever in November to bring any joy. Admittedly poor Thomas did not enjoy the best of health, our winters do come later and are milder than those of the early nineteenth century and there certainly are still flowers and leaves and birds in our gardens in much of the UK – but even without the presence of the sun if we have warmth and cheerfulness in our hearts we can be joyous all the year round.

What made it strike home all the more was that yesterday was in truth the most pleasant of days (here, at least), the mildness after several days of relatively low temperatures bringing out that lovely wholesome earthy smell of damp gardens and emphasising the contrast between decay and new growth. Despite the milder night, fresh IMG_0647falls of leaves lay around the feet of many trees and shrubs, leaving distinct patches of varied shape and colour – clockwise from above top left are magnolia, Vitis vinifera ‘Purpurea’, Hydrangea petiolaris and hazel – whilst many others like the old plum trees and the field maples (left) in the woodland still cling to their thin green coats like teenagers on a winter night out (and just look at that beech behind…..gorgeous……).

The joyous November afternoon was perfect for planting the additions that the Golfer had forced me to buy at the weekend (dare I mention H*****ores…?), and in doing so I was thrilled to find a decent clump of snowdrops pushing their way out of the soil and anxiously wanting to get going with next year’s display – if I hadn’t been so liberal with the compost a week or two ago there would be many similar clumps readily visible, I am sure. These ones were in the woodland edge border, so I did then allow myself a gentle dabble in the species snowdrop border and was well satisfied to see promising green spears of many little beauties under their warm composty duvets. Further good news – after Pauline told me about the progress of her Hellebore ‘Winter Moonbeam’ I looked again, and several inches away from the label found a rather battered leaf* of my own specimen – all is not lost!

November.joys* look for the marbled leaf under the geraniums and the hart’s tongue fern….

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This entry was posted in Autumn, bulbs, corms and tubers, Gardens, Poetry, trees, Winter and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to You Are Mistaken, Thomas Hood!

  1. Pauline says:

    I have to disagree with Thomas Hood, we have had some really sunny weather and still lots of beautiful colours in the leaves of all the trees around here, November certainly isn’t a dull month!
    So glad you have found your ” Moonbeam”, I too have found some tiny snowdrop spears by the front door, so maybe I will have snowdrops for Christmas!

    • Cathy says:

      There was certainly no sign of snowdrops here at this time last year – just another reason why November can never be dull when you have a garden 😉

  2. rusty duck says:

    There is always something joyous to be found if you have a prod around. Working outside on a really dull day here today I found lovely new buds on a Magnolia I planted last year. Cheered me up no end. Hurrah for the Moonbeam!

  3. Annette says:

    So glad about Moonbeam, Cathy! And I suspect, Mr. Hood didn’t call a garden his own…or not a very pleasant one. 😉

    • Cathy says:

      I think you are right Annette, and even if he lived with a Capability Brown landscape he could have found plenty to love with all those trees and the distant views

  4. croftgarden says:

    Poor Thomas Hood obviously a bad case of SAD or perhaps he lived in the North!

  5. Even with the snow here, I was able to find herbs in the garden for the feast!! Much to love in November.

  6. lizjwells46 says:

    Well a girl can never have too many hellebores. So it’s probably a good thing to start early. Look out for Galanthus elwesii ‘Barnes’ if you want a snowdrop that flowers in November
    Chloris

  7. Christina says:

    If there was any month that I felt the same about as Thomas Hood for me it woul dbe the drought of August; and even then I would find butterflies and other treasures to enjoy. Poor Thomas Hood indeed! If we open our eyes and our minds there is always some beautiful thing to enjoy in the world.

    • Cathy says:

      You are so right about keeping our eyes and minds open, Christina. Do you always have a drought in August, I wonder? And do you always have some rain to make up for it?

  8. Anna says:

    Tried to comment last night but my comment disappeared but also has problems with other WordPress blog 😦 I must admit that I do find November a struggle and it is my least favourite month of the year. Having said that it does not seem to have been a particularly cheerless one this year. How exciting to see the snowdrops emerging Cathy 🙂 I have a ‘Moonbeam’ somewhere – must check on its progress when I’ve finished my coffee. Fingers crossed that this comment is not swallowed up into a void.

    • Cathy says:

      Do you think your struggle is related to lack of light levels, Anna? How will December be, do you think? Hope you found YOUR Moonbeam and lots more snowdrops!

  9. Anna says:

    How odd – there must be gremlins at work 😦 Copied above comment just in case and it disappeared again. Then switched browser from Chrome to Safari and tried again. Result!

    • Cathy says:

      How frustrating is this, Anna?! Hope changing browser has sorted it – I changed from IE to Firefox after various editing problems on WordPress and it was SUCH an improvement – it’s hard to believe the browser could make such a difference. I wonder if this will resolve your comments issue..?

  10. Pingback: Up, Down, Round and Around | Rambling in the Garden

  11. well perhaps Mr Hood was visiting the northern Hebrides because I can see exactly what he meant and agree, the only thing I might slightly dispute is that the temps are above freezing and there are a very few birds, we don’t even get many butterflies in summer due to being so far north, still think you live in shangrilar …………… enjoy! Frances

    • Cathy says:

      And having studied English literature for A level many years ago, Frances, I wonder what our teacher would have made of the poem – we would have had to pull it apart and look for some deep inner meaning, I expect!

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