Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Before the Frost

We're supposed to get a frost tonight, finally. Like a lot of the rest of the country, we're in line for a cold front coming down from Alaska, and the temperature tonight and tomorrow night is supposed to get down into the high 20s. There was frost on the roof shingles this morning when I got up, but none on the ground, and the outside thermometer said the temp was 39 at 7 a.m. It will get even colder tonight. Our temperature today didn't make it out of the 40s, and there was a high wind warning as well. When I went out to the grocery store, tree debris was all over the roads.

I went out and took some photos to document the garden before the frost. I'll probably go out tomorrow or the next day and get some frost pictures too. I still have a surprising number of plants that look pretty good. I do have to be honest, though, and admit that for the most part the garden right now looks terrible.

In fact, at this time of year, every year, I realize that I despise my garden. Everything is dead or dying and a soggy, mushy mess. I'm in a funk. I'd just like this gardening season to end, and for the next three months -- November, December and January -- to go by as quickly as possible. Spring comes early here -- starting in February -- when plants start nosing their way up through the soil. It can't come soon enough.

At this time of year, my garden is like that rich uncle on life support, who keeps hanging on and refuses to die. I just want to attend the reading of the will and find out what I've inherited.

Panicum virgatum 'Rohtstrahlbusch' in afternoon sun

This Clematis keeps producing flowers

Clematis seedhead

Begonia sutherlandii

Fabulous Digiplexis 'Illumination Flame' is still going strong

Grevillea 'Marshall Olbricht'

Salvia 'Wendy's Wish' will probably be mush tomorrow

Ricinus communis 'New Zealand Purple' will probably also collapse after the frost

My Mahonia x meadia 'Charity' are gearing up to flower profusely this year, even the one that lives in almost complete shade on the north side of the back porch.

As they say on Game of Thrones, "winter is coming."


  1. Ya gotta admit, Panicum virgatum 'Rohtstrahlbusch, looks pretty cool this time of year. Mine is like a flame, in the middle of my yuck. lol! Alison, this is the time of year you need to take a vacation to somewhere tropical :) But, I do understand what you are saying. Chin up friend! We're all muddling through the muck together!

  2. Your Mahonias are glorious! I'm happy to hear about the one in the shade blooming. I have a Charity that is all budded up getting ready to bloom in the shade too. I was about to give up on it. Are you going to leave our Digiplexis in the ground this winter? I just put a good straw mulch around mine and am hoping for the best they are really amazing.

  3. Tom has our tender plants moved into the green house, and has tended all of his pelargonium cuttings since we returned home last Friday. We have spent several hours each day on yard clean up. After the first frost there will be more clean up. Like you, we just want to get it done.

  4. Your Panicum, Grevillea, and Mahonia all look great! I like the begonia against the fallen leaves, too. I feel the same way this time of year, when things turn to ugly mush. But I also see the challenge and opportunity for finding plants that look good even in our soggy winter. I won't grow lamb's ears anymore because they just get too mushy, even though I love the deer-resistant, fuzzy grey leaves and even the little purple flowers on their big branched stalks. I'd rather have something that looks good all year, or has the grace to be neutral-looking or disappear in its off season, rather than be outright ugly.

  5. When you commented on FB yesterday about felling grinchy I wanted to ask if it was strictly holiday related or if there wasn't some garden sadness mixed in, I guess I have my answer. There was nothing frosty around here this morning but I suspect there will be tomorrow, and the wind, OMG the wind. It's insane.

  6. The Grevillea looks fabulous, Alison, as does the Digiplexis - mine haven't bloomed since I hacked them back after they were attacked by mealy bugs. I'll keep my fingers crossed that the storm won't hit as hard as predicted. Sit out the arctic blast with a fire and hot chocolate and, when it's over, go into your beautiful greenhouse and enjoy the wonderful plants you mothered through the storm.

  7. You got some really great pictures! And we had cold last night--I don't know how cold, but the tops of the trash cans were frozen shut, so it had to be pretty cold.

  8. Your analogy made me laugh Alison (although it shouldn't be funny really but in this case it is). Your garden seems to still be looking good despite how you view it and hopefully winter will just breeze through quick. And before you know it spring has arrived :)

  9. It's hard to accept those plants falling to frost, snow and wind. I go out well before a killing frost and start pulling out annuals.

    Looks as if that cold front will take until Friday night to get here coming diagonally across the continent; Sunday night rain and Monday night 32ยบ -- I hope the cold is kind of worn out before it reaches here.

    I need to go out and gather bouquets of things with blossoms like Pentas whose stems will root in water, always a last minute task.

  10. Even if things are not looking good now or are mushy, you have many that look pretty good for great pictures :) beautiful plants and flowers.

  11. We seem to be having similar temperatures Alison, despite the time of the year, I can't get over how much light you appear to be having. Your pictures are incredibly bright.
    I love the blooms on your Grevillea and of course the Salvia is delightful. It will be a shame to see the frost knock those right back.
    If only I had a rich Uncle, I think I'd be making a similar Analogy. Instead I use a good old Scottish word to describe how the garden looks right now....Clarty!

  12. Ha! Like a rich uncle on life support! I hadn't heard that one, but it is apt. On the other hand, my mom (in Minnesota) said they got a foot of snow on Monday, so it could be worse...

  13. Not a nice thought that the frost is going to destroy all that. I hate winter too. The next three months I shall just ignore it and start again in Spring.

  14. You may be grinch, but you still get a chuckle or two.

  15. I forget, probably because I restrained myself and didn't buy one, but is that digiplexis hardy?
    I need to find Wendy's Wish next year.

  16. I'm also ready for spring! Perhaps it's time to move to California as I do not find this cold and that awful wind amusing in the least; your analogy on the other hand is hilarious! Thanks for the chuckle! Hey, did you know that galloping gertie collapsed in a windstorm on Veterans day?


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