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Color in the November Garden in Indiana

It is possible to have color in the garden in November, even if you live in a cold climate like Indiana, which depending on which edition of the USDA map you look at, we are either a zone 5 (older map) or a zone 6. Due to global warming, the part of Indiana we live in became a USDA hardiness zone 6 several years ago.

The goal with my outdoor garden is to grow vegetables, herbs and flowers all year-round. Check out The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Year-Round Gardening by Delilah Smittle and Sheri Ann Richerson (that’s me!) for details on how you can accomplish this task too!

This is an autumn crocus.


If you look inside the bird house, you will see even though this was a decorative house, a bird took up residence. The plant is bittersweet, which will keep its colorful berries all winter until the birds eat them up.


A close-up of the bittersweet berries.


Here are some of the helleborus that grow in the shade garden. They will remain green all winter and bloom before winter comes to an end. Some varieties bloom as early as November.


Sedum is a colorful fall blooming plant whose faded flowers remain on the plant for most of the winter.


The fuzzy Magnolia buds create texture in the fall and winter garden.


The colorful foliage of ninebark is still on the shrubs.


The colorful foliage of the euonymus.


I simply love the foliage of the Korean Viburnum.


This is a different variety of Viburnum. The flower bud will open to reveal highly fragrant flowers in the spring.


Who can resist lamb’s ears? They are a great border plant that provides texture and a unique foliage color in the garden, not to mention hummingbirds love the purple flowers!


If you grow ornamental grass, leave it stand until spring. The foliage creates an intersting sound during the winter, helps block snow and the feathery flower plumes look good too. Winter birds love landing on large clumps of ornamental grass in the winter.


Some varieties of mums keep blooming even after several light frosts. The trick is to deadhead, or remove the flowers as they fade.


Here is another variety of mum that is still in bloom.


Rose hips are a tasty snack that is high in vitamin C. Pick them right after the first frost hits them and make rose petal jelly, rose petal syrup or a variety of other tasty treats with them. Dry some to add to homemade potpourri and leave some to create winter interest in the garden and give the birds something to eat. The seeds inside the ones you pick will germinate, so plant some to increase the roses you have and share some with friends! This particular rose has apple scented leaves.


A close-up of a cluster of rose hips.


Sometimes herbs or flowers that dry on the plant, such as these hops, create winter interest.


Bark often creates interest too. Here is a photo of Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick.


Another plant with interesting bark is the hardy orange, Flying Dragon, and yes, it is hardy here in Indiana.


Don’t forget to plant a red twig dogwood. The red bark looks fantastic against the snow. The birds love the white berries. Keep the bark red by removing the older twigs as they turn brown.

Don’t forget to grow some winter lettuce and radish in a cold frame!


Once the leaves have fallen, check shrubs and trees for bird nests. This will help you locate where the birds are nesting come spring and prevent any possible problems. Check out this bird nest in a pear tree! I guess I will need to use bird netting on this tree next year.


Finally, don’t forget to plant a few holly bushes, out in the landscape. The evergreen plants with red berries look fantastic against the pure white snow and you can take cuttings to use in your holiday decorating!


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