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Before and After the Frost

October 15, 2009

Frost has finally come to my little corner of Maine, a light frost two nights ago and then a more serious freeze last night.

Two days ago, I had a surprising number of flowers still in bloom.

Deck container (photo credit: Jean Potuchek) Petunias and dianthus were still blooming in a container on the deck,

Petunia (photo credit: Jean Potuchek) Dianthus (photo credit: Jean Potuchek)

Rudbeckia ‘Herbstsonne’ and Coreopsis ‘Moonbeam’ in the blue and yellow border,Rudbeckia 'Herbstsonne' (photo credit: Jean Potuchek) Coreopsis verticillata 'Moonbeam' (photo credit: Jean Potuchek) and deep pink blooms of Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ and Spirea japonica ‘Magic Carpet’ in the deck border.

Sedum 'Autumn Joy' (photo credit: Jean Potuchek) Spirea japonica 'Magic Carpet' (photo credit: Jean Potuchek)

In the fence border, Phlox paniculata ‘David’ and Tradescantia ‘Zwanenburg Blue’ still bloomed,

Phlox paniculata 'David' (photo credit: Jean Potuchek) Tradescantia 'Zwanenburg Blue' (photo credit: Jean Potuchek)
Furled morning glory bud (photo credit: Jean Potuchek) … and morning glory buds still struggled to open on the fence.

On the back slope, daylily ‘Happy Returns’ was trying to open one last set of flowers, and chives were coming around for a second blooming.

Hemerocalis 'Happy Returns' (photo credit: Jean Potuchek) Fall blossom on chives (photo credit: Jean Potuchek)
Today, after two nights of frost, the morning glory vines are hanging limp on the garden fence. Morning Glory vines after frost (photo credit: Jean Potuchek)

But I am surprised to find some things still in bloom.Deck container (photo credit: Jean Potuchek) The annuals growing on the deck have somehow survived for another day.

Petunia (photo credit: Jean Potuchek) Dianthus (photo credit: Jean Potuchek)

The ‘Autumn Joy’ sedum is a deeper wine red, but is still beautiful.Autumn Joy sedum (photo credit: Jean Potuchek)

Oregano vulgaris in bloom (photo credit: Jean Potuchek) And oregano blossoms still grace the back slope.


But even without flowers, there is much beauty in the fall garden:

…in the feathery foliage of amsonia, Foliage of Amsonia tabernaemontana (photo credit: Jean Potuchek)

and in the fall-tinged foliage of geranium and rhododendron,

Fall foliage of Geranium x cantabrigiense 'Biokovo' (photo credit: Jean Potuchek) Rhododendron foliage in fall (photo credit: Jean Potuchek)

and in the seed heads of astilbe and siberian iris that remind us of the cycle of life and the promise of flowers for next year.

Astilbe seed head (photo credit: Jean Potuchek) Siberian iris seed pods (photo credit: Jean Potuchek)

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. October 15, 2009 7:49 pm

    Lovely post. Yes, the cycle of life that has a thing of beauty in it each day.

  2. October 16, 2009 8:40 am

    I love that amsonia. I have never grown it, but I have decided to do some research to see if it would be possible to grow it in my zone 9a garden.

    I am enjoying your blog. Gardening is gardening, regardless of where you plant yourself!

    • Jean Potuchek permalink*
      October 16, 2009 9:02 am

      Thanks for the comment, Janie. I just looked up Amsonia in Armitage’s Herbaceous Perennial Plants, and it turns out to be a U.S. native. The one I grow, A. tabernaemontana, is the only one that grows this far north — but it will also grow as far south as zone 9. Some of the other species he lists may be a better match for your Texas garden, especially A. hubrichtii (Arkansas Amsonia), zones 6-9, A. ciliata (Downy Amsonia), zones 6-10, and A. ludoviciana, which is native to southern Louisiana. If you try it, I’d be interested in hearing how it works out.

  3. October 16, 2009 9:22 am

    Ouch! Poor flowers. But still beautiful. That morning glory bud is a little masterpiece!

  4. October 16, 2009 3:25 pm

    Jean, we had a hard frost last night as well. The dahlias are toast, as well as the last of the tomatoes. At least the autumn colour that Eastern North America is famous for will give us something to admire!

  5. October 16, 2009 10:15 pm

    Great pictures, Jean. I find it so difficult to get a good accurate photo with detail that isn’t so huge a file that it takes hours to upload!

    Your Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ is gorgeous. I seem to have a different strain which is kind of salmon coloured, which is hard to fit in some colour schemes.

    I’ve got Amsonia tabernaemontana for the first time in my garden, can’t wait for it to bloom but right now it’s sulking and has one spindly stalk with about five leaves on it. Maybe next year…

    • Jean Potuchek permalink*
      October 16, 2009 11:00 pm

      Thanks for the comments, Jacki. I hope you have as good luck with your Amsonia tabernaemontana as I’ve had. I planted a 6″ pot of it 5 or 6 years ago and it’s now a clump about 4′ in diameter. I love it. Since it’s not a plant that a lot of people know about, I’ve been thinking of writing a blog post about it; but I want to wait until next summer when I can get some good pictures of it in bloom.
      Regarding the photos, my photo software (which came with my Canon camera) has a feature called “export still images” which allows me to save a smaller version of the photo without losing resolution. The original photo of the Autumn Joy sedum, for example, was 1.1 MB, but the saved down version was less than 150 KB, which solves the problem of them taking forever to load. You might want to check and see if your software will allow you to do this.

  6. October 17, 2009 9:35 am

    Frost is the deciding factor that tips the garden towards winter. It is still surprising how some flowers still keep blooming for a little longer. My Morning Glories have stopped flowering too. They seem to hate cold weather – just like me!

  7. October 17, 2009 12:27 pm

    An array of beautiful flowers, some I have never seen…. ~bangchik

  8. October 18, 2009 5:35 am

    It’s so wonderful to browse through garden blogs that present a different clime environment…one gets to enjoy beauty never seen before and to understand problems encountered too. I always feel that a temperate gardener faces more challenges than us tropical gardeners.
    Love your garden blog, Jean…it’s vibrant with colors and garden ‘chatter’.

  9. October 19, 2009 12:49 pm

    just wonderful flowers- we’ve had many hard frosts so just a few hardy snapdragons are left

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