Depending on which way you look at it, November is either approaching the end of the gardening year or the start of the new one. Once the autumn leaves have fallen the evergreens come into their own; having been the backbone of the garden all year round, in November they make a colourful backdrop to seasonal flowers, frosted grasses bare branches, and the coloured stems of shrubs.
This is peak season for easy-to-grow evergreens such as Arbutus unedo (Strawberry Tree) which at this time of year displays white flowers and pink fruit both at the same time (the fruits are from last year’s flowers). A compact shrub or small tree, it’s undemanding, thriving in sun or light shade, and will tolerate pollution.
Fatsia Japonica (False Castor Oil Plant) looks exotic but is equally unfussy. Left unpruned it will grow slowly to a large shrub but it’s not difficult to prune to the desired size. At this time of year the glossy dark green leaves are joined by clusters of fluffy cream flowers followed by black berries. Best in light shade.
Eleagnus ebbingei (Silverberry), is another garden stalwart. It’s silvered mid-green leaves are completely silver coloured on the undersides. It bears fragrant creamy-white flowers. A large shrub which is useful for hedging, it will grow in any soil (except boggy) in sun or light shade.