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.
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.
|Milkweed pods and seeds.|
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