November is not my favourite month but this year it has not felt as gloomy as usual. We have had some beautiful sunny days, occasional frosty nights with glittering displays of stars and a gleaming new moon. There has been very little wind which can be so damaging at this time of year and it is mild. Warm days mean that the garden keeps on growing and flowering and although it is boring to have to keep mowing the grass there has been time to enjoy the late blooming salvias, nerines and asters as well as beautiful autumn leaves on the cherries and acers and the butter yellow leaves of the tulip tree. Salvia Phyllis’ Fancy has been particularly good forming a six foot mound of purple and white flowers, dark purple Amistad is always brilliant but the great surprise has been S. elegans planted in front of the house and left out all last winter. It took its time but now is a shapely five foot bush smothered in scarlet flowers and of course it smells deliciously of pineapple.