The Piedmont in North Carolina typically enjoys a mild autumn. This year is no exception. It even brought out a Cloudless Sulphur butterfly. We have seen the occasional Painted Lady butterfly as well. Most of the autumn leaves will have fallen by Thanksgiving. I am observing new growth on many plants while I mulch the gardens for winter. The chervil in the herb bed is popping up, buds for late Winter/early Spring are forming. The dogwoods and the ligustrums have berries.
We have two very large ligustrums in the back yard. They came with the house. Each year the Cedar Waxwings stop by for the berries. Yes, they are definitely invasive. I spend time pulling up their progeny throughout the year to control them. They were here before me, so I have left them alone. They do have their positive attributes. My husband limbed them up several years ago to reveal the pale colored bark on the thirty foot tall "shrubs". In summer they produce large creamy blossoms. It's hard to tell at a distance, but the berries are dark blue.
The cherry red Japonica camellia buds are forming. This starts to bloom in February or March.
Emerging Hellebore stems
Royal Star Magnolia with buds- I'm not sure if these are flowers or leaves. We planted this in Feb. 2016. This is a plucky little tree. A riding lawn mower broke one of the larger branches. Some of the limb was still intact at the main trunk, so I taped it. Nothing fancy, just clear wrapping tape. It has survived. We have an unusual branch that came up this year. It looks like the leaves of a large magnolia. I'll leave it alone and see what happens. You can see the large leaves bottom and center.
Diana viburnum, I assume this is a future flower bud. This is another free "curb alert" plant from our neighbors who own The Patient Pruner.
One of my favorite winter bushes, the Paper Bush. The leaves are still on the plant while the flower buds are forming. It's worth looking at the Jan. 17 post, Paper Bush Edgeworthia.
Now, back to mulching!