October 10, 2012

Preparing for the First Frost, and I'm off to Pittsburgh

THE LAST OF THE LATE SUMMER PERENNIALS ARE BLOOMING. THIS NEW MONKSHOOD HAS JUST  A WHISPER OF VIOLET.

The first frost of autumn never arrives conveniently. It never arrives on a Saturday night, or on a long weekend when the weather is nice, rather, it comes on a work night, after a heavy rain which makes all of the tubs of agapanthus and olive ten times heavier. It arrives while on vacation, or when I am on a business trip, and this year, it seems to be deciding to arrive while I am in Pittsburgh, speaking at the 2012 Study Weekend for the North American Rock Garden Society. 

A LONE DAVID AUSTIN ROSE BLOOMS IN THE YELLOW AND BLUE BORDER
This year, I tried to prepare for frost, moving the most tender plants one-by-one to the protection of the greenhouse, only a few each night, believing that after a couple of weeks, I could relocate a significant part of the collection instead of waiting last minute and hauling everything in on one chilly night. Even though I believed that I had fooled Mother Nature, the first frost of the season is still causes sheets and bedding to be brought out for the larger specimens of olive, gardenia and large, tubbed tropicals which will need to wait until I return next week.

PUMPKINS AND SQUASH THAT WERE PLANTED LATE THIS YEAR ARE JUST SQUEAKING IN SOME LAST COLOR, BUT MOST WON'T MAKE IT.

 Many plants can handle a frost such as agave, some South African bulbs, the Agapanthus, rosemary's and camellia. In fact, some prefer to get a nip of frost. The large bay laurel trees and rosemary topiary will remain outside until nearly December.

THE SMALLEST PUMPKINS WILL FREEZE, LIKE THIS ONE, WHICH WOULD STILL REQUIRE A MONTH OR TWO OF WARM WEATHER TO MATURE.

FROST WILL MARK THE END FOR THE MOST TENDER OF SUMMER ANNUALS LIKE THESE COLEUS, NICOTIANA AND  OXALIS. BY THE TIME I RETURN ON MONDAY, THEY WILL BE WILTED AND MUSHY.

I USED TO KEEP MOST CITRUS OUTSIDE UNTIL NIPPED BY FROST, BUT SOME SUCH AS THIS AUSTRALIAN FINGER LIME, REACT TO TEMPERATURE SHIFTS. THE FINGER LIMES ARE DROPPING THEIR FRUIT, MOST LIKELY DUE TO A COUPLE OF NIGHTS OUTSIDE WHEN THE TEMPERATURES DROPPED TO 39 DEGREES F.


THESE FINGER LIMES WILL MAKE SOME FINE GIN AND TONIC'S

CLIVIA CAN TAKE SOME FROST, BUT I TRY NOT TO RISK LOSING THEM. TONIGHT, JOE MOVED MOST OF THE PLANT WHICH SPENT THE SUMMER OUTDOORS, BACK TO THE PROTECTION OF THE GREENHOUSE.

NERINE SARNIENSIS ARE ALL WELL BUDDED. THESE BULBS SURPRISE ME EACH YEAR BY GETTING MORE FLORIFEROUS. SOME POTS HAVE THREE BUDS! I AM BEGINNING TO THINK THAT THE LARGER THE POT, THEY MORE BUDS THEY PRODUCE.

MY NEW LACHENALIA BULBS WHICH WERE PLANTED THREE WEEKS AGO ARE ALREADY EMERGING IN THEIR POTS. SUDDENLY, THE GREENHOUSE FEELS AND SMELLS ALIVE, AND ANOTHER GARDENING SEASON BEGINS - UNDER GLASS.

3 comments :

  1. I give you the Sunshine Award! Greetings!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Those finger limes are new to me.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Your plants are doing great. Wonder whether you wrapped up your melons and pumpkins with thick woolens for the winter. Those lime fingers are new to me.

    ReplyDelete

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