November Bouquet

– Posted in: Garden Design, Garden Photography

Every year I garden in Northern California I am dumbstruck in November.  I do not have the words to describe what season this is.

California November Bouquet

California November Bouquet

I put together a hasty bouquet yesterday while tidying up my home office for a client meeting in hopes that some flowers might distract from the piles of books, files, and clutter all over every surface.

At first I dashed out to cut a few of the first narcissus, which always seem to arrive after our first rains.  These ‘Ziva’ paperwhites have even bloomed in October in previous years, reminding me that spring in California means the time when the rains begin.


They were blooming down near the asparagus patch, which has now turned an autumn butter yellow with red berries.   Hmmm . . . well, it doesn’t take much extra time to cut a bit of this, I said to myself as I considered the time before my client was to arrive.  And the yellow will pick up the color of the daffodil anthers.


This has the makings of a bouquet . . .  if any of the red Camellias are blooming.  Camellia sassanqua are reliable winter flowering shrubs here and my pale pink “Apple Blossom” hedge has been blooming for a couple weeks now, but the red “Yuletide”?

Well, it took no real effort to look.  I walked back up the driveway toward the office.  Not only were the first 3 little blossoms open, I had forgotten they have bright yellow stamens too !  Instant floral designer.


Gardeners can pull off an instant bouquet out of the garden almost anytime, be it spring bulbs, summer flowers, autumn foliage, winter evergreens, and all the interesting plants of every season, grasses, roses, wildflowers, branches, etc., etc.   There is almost always some bit of nature we can bring into our homes on any given day that reflects the season and connects us to the earth.  I bet many of you do it instinctively.

It just amazes me though, here in California, in November, that I can’t decide what season to call it.

Saxon Holt
Saxon Holt is the owner of, a garden picture resource for photographs, on-line workshops, and garden photography stories. An award winning photojournalist and Fellow of The Garden Writers Association with more than 25 garden books, he lives and gardens in Northern California. PhotoBotanic - Garden Photography online at
Saxon Holt

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vrtlaricaana November 25, 2009, 5:15 am

These are so lovely bouquets that you have this time of year…

I think any gardener can have some sort of “bouquet” any time of year. I learned this from my wife who has a “nature table” in her classroom. Even in the winter, berries, bare branches, dried flowers, and evergreens can become bouquets. I don’t forget though, that we have mild winters here are indeed blessed that we always have something in bloom. – Saxon

Nancy Bond November 25, 2009, 10:10 am

Just beautiful — what darling little flowers those red camellias are! A perfect November bouquet.

Thanks Nancy. Even though the sasanqua Camellias surprise me every year when they start to bloom, I have come to count on them to carry all the way to March. – Saxon

Debra Lee Baldwin November 25, 2009, 9:42 pm

Striking photos, Saxon. That black background really makes everything pop. Did you use any special lighting? I find shooting white flowers to be especially challenging. Those narcissus are exquisite.

Debra – The lighting was from overhead spotlights in the ceiling of my dining room; taken at night the window goes black (with subtle reflections in the glass). – Saxon

Carrie November 28, 2009, 12:09 am

wow, California may as well be on a different planet to me. Yes we have some yellowing asparagus but thats about it. My arrangement would be twigs and cyclamen!

Carrie – I sometimes feel like CA is a different planet, for many reasons . Twigs and cyclamen can make a bouquet too…. – Saxon

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