Saturday, October 15, 2016

A Second Frost For Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day

The first frost of autumn took me totally by surprise at the beginning of this week. I usually listen avidly to the weather forecast, but somehow I missed the warning. When I looked out the den window as the sun was rising, I didn't notice the telltale coating of white on the grass. It wasn't until I checked the thermometer that I realized what had happened. Grabbing a warm coat, I went outside to survey the damage.

At first I didn't see Jack Frost had left his silvery signature on the grass.
The frost was evident at the edge of the lower cornfield.
The roses looked so pretty sugar-sprinkled with frost.

Some plants seemed completely unaffected. The shrubs around yarrow 'The Pearl' may have provided protection. It's tiny white flowers continue to bloom unblemished a week later.

Achillea Yarrow 'The Pearl'

The real tragedy awaited me in the kitchen garden. Most vegetables and annuals were zapped.
I say 'tragedy' because I usually gather as many of the annuals as possible and fill vases in the house the day before an expected frost. I didn't anticipate this one, so couldn't enjoy the beauty of the blooms for a little longer. I gathered tomatoes, both ripe and green, and hope I saved them. Wrapping the green tomatoes in newspaper will ensure they ripen. We'll be eating them for months to come.

Tomato, zinnia and marigold plants hit by frost.
Zinnia elegans Zinnia 'Cut and Come Again' mix.
Tagetes erecta Marigold 'Moonsong'

On the patio the leaves of the cannas displayed white frosting. This will be my first attempt to overwinter cannas and my research tells me to allow a couple of frosts before cutting them back and bringing the tubers indoors. A second frost last night means that today I will take the necessary steps to ensure the survival of these tropical beauties.

Canna 'Striata'

At the beginning of the week there was insignificant color change in my garden. Some plants like vibirnum and gooseneck loosestrife obliged me with a little fall hue, but the leaves of most trees and flowers were extremely late acknowledging the new season.

Foliage of Lysimachia clethroides Gooseneck loosestrife

After the first frost, the leaves on the trees between the lower field and the top field gradually began to change. This is a less vibrant PA fall than other years and many leaves fell before changing color.

Autumn colors at last. Corn ready to harvest.

On this Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day some of my perennials continue to bloom: Agastache foeniculum Anise hyssop; Geranium Cranesbill gerannium 'Rozanne; Perovskia atriplicifolia Russian sage; miniature rose (forgotten which one); Phlox paniculata Phlox 'Bright Eyes' to name some of them. You will see many more flowers blooming around the world when you visit our host, Carol, at her blog, May Dream's Gardens. 

Clockwise from top left: Hyssop, perennial geranium, Russion sage, miniature rose, phlox.

I had difficulty choosing a plant that I 'couldn't live without' for Diana's Dozen this month -- I love so many. I decided on anise hyssop, not least for its wonderful licorice smell. Anise hyssop is a native herb with edible, fuzzy spikes loved by bees, hummingbirds and butterflies. I like to crumble the flowers into salads. I don't cut anise hyssop down in the fall but leave it standing for winter interest.

Agastache foeniculum Anise hyssop

The archway through to the shade garden frames the red foliage of the viburnum. The white morning glories continued to bloom after the first frost; the second frost finished them off.

In the serenity garden Calycanthus floridus Sweetshrub, or Carolina allspice, bears its unusual seedpods.

Clockwise from top: the serenity garden, hosta and sweet shrub, seedpod of sweetshrub

I haven't done much toward putting the garden to bed yet. It's been a bit cold for me and I'm waiting for the temperature to rise a little. The forecast says warmer next week, so I'm going out now just to take care of the cannas and leaving the rest of the work for a few more days.

Wishing you all a happy Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day.

Pamela x

Milkweed pods and seeds.

I love reading your comments. I hope you leave one so I’ll know you visited! I look forward to visiting your blog in return.


  1. So you were greeted by frost in the morning. As I see on the grass it was only groundfrost but it can be just too much for annuals and vegetables. We have not had any frost until now, last winter was also no real winter, it seems as if the climate is real changing. Lovely frosted rose photo and also the photo of the Milkweed seeds and pods is gorgeous.
    Regards, Janneke

  2. Frost already? It seems a bit strange here in zone 9a where our first frost generally comes around December 10. But frost brings its own touch of loveliness as well and gives the perennials the hint that it's time for a rest after their busy season of bloom. Even when it is a surprise, it shouldn't necessarily be unwelcome. Just another stage in the life of the garden. Happy Bloom Day!

  3. Fun to see your garden in PA, with frost, lawns that are green, not brown and dead, and so much else. Funny though, my milkweed looks about the same. Happy GBBD!

  4. Oh, but your blooms are so incredibly beautiful with that touch of frost! I can't believe you have so many things blooming even after the frost! We were dangerously close for two nights, but escaped the clutches of Jack Frost so far. It won't be long now.

  5. I love how you see beauty in flowers with frost Pam. Your garden is so beautiful.

  6. The same thing happened here, too, I was caught by surprise, though I guess there were frost warnings I apparently did not heed. Oh well, in a way this is easier for me for I would have run around covering everything and then have to deal with the covering material. This way I can just get at the cleanup. Your garden is so beautiful. :-)

  7. I'm sorry you had a sneak attack of frost....but love all your photos!

  8. I haven't put my garden to bed yet either, though we had our first frost a fortnight ago. It took me completely by surprise too. I love that first photo of the frosted rose.

  9. I enjoy being reminded about outside gardens with your blog and lovely pictures. I'm presently living in an RV with one small indoor plant and one outside planter holding two small mums. Hyssop was interesting to me. My gardens the last 32 years were either full shade, tropical or very severe winters for many plants. I found you through Katharine K. Her daughter and my son are married. Would you call that mutual mother-in-laws?

  10. Frost is sneaky. We are getting it this coming week I believe. I still am getting tomatoes so I guess they should be picked green. You still have a lot of flowers. I do too, and the local TV station was filming my garden today. They wanted me on camera, but I declined. No pictures of Dude?

  11. Oh, I'm sorry you missed your frost bouquets! That's one of my favorite traditions, too. We just had our first frost in the last week, too. Everything is beautiful with that little coating of white, isn't it? Happy Bloom Day!

  12. Ouch - I'm not a fan of unexpected frosts, although you seem to have got away pretty lightly. I love the frost on the Zinnia - sheer perfection. Isn't Geranium Rozanne a good doer? It seems to flower for months on end. I love Anise hyssop too - it seeds itself gently here and I am always delighted to see its seedlings.

  13. Second frost...oh no ! Everything still looks great usually the 2nd frost around here is the finish of all even the mums. Your red foliage of the viburnum is stunning also those frosty roses are beautiful. Anise hyssop in salad sounds good.

  14. Those autumn frosts are a sad thing. I've been away, so I wasn't sure if we got a frost while I was gone. Maybe not, but it's obvious that it was pretty chilly, because all the warm weather plants look very, very shabby. It won't be long now.

  15. Such beautiful zinnias and marigolds. The fall frosts are definitely difficult.