First freeze

Last weekend, the garden woke to 29° F. It was quite a shock to the garden, but the gardener was secretly relieved at the first freeze. Between two motorcycle trips, a train trip, moving my mother to her new home in an independent living facility, and selling her house–insert sigh–I am exhausted in the purest sense of the word.

Thanksgiving is this month, and I hope I have the gumption to cook. I am giving myself permission not to if I don’t.

Thanksgiving is this month, and I hope I have the gumption to cook. I am giving myself permission not to if I don't. Click To Tweet

So, while I would normally run out and cover a few things before the first freeze, this year I did not. Mom’s house closes on November 9, and we’ve nearly finished moving everything off the premises. I’m so grateful for all of the help I’ve received especially from Michael. Hey Mike! He did a yeoman’s job of helping sort and package, lift and tote. In fact, yesterday, we painted.

Rosehip on Baseye's Blueberry rose. This rose always has rosehips.
Rosehip on Baseye’s Blueberry rose. This rose always has rosehips.

I’ve done nothing in the garden this fall except for a couple of days when I took cuttings of coleus and other tender plants for the greenhouse. I didn’t get all of the plants I wanted, but I did get most of them. I also planted peonies. They came two days before we left to ride the Coast Starlight from Los Angeles to Seattle. If you want, I might post about that trip. Let me know if you’re interested.

I opened the peonies’ plastic bags to keep them from rotting and left for a couple of weeks. One afternoon when it was a little warmer, I dashed outside and planted them all the while remembering when my children were small, and and I gardened in fits and starts all the time. Thirty minutes here, an hour there. The garden was much smaller then. I was much younger too.

Will's Wonderful mum. I know these pictures aren't my best, but I just wanted to snap a few shots to show you the garden. It's still alive.
Will’s Wonderful mum. I know these pictures aren’t my best, but I just wanted to snap a few shots to show you the garden. It’s still alive.

I need to order tags for the peonies. Otherwise, I’ll never remember what their names are. I’m putting this here so I won’t forget. I’ll also tell Siri to remind me. Now, where is that phone?

I have too many plants, but I also never have enough. It's the gardener's lament I think. Click To Tweet

What happened after the first freeze?

The tropicals were goners of course, and many perennials were tired too, but my ‘Raydon’s Favorite’ asters are still going strong, bless them.

Aster oblongifolius (syn. Symphyotrichum oblongifolium) 'Raydon's Favorite' still blooming in my garden after the first freeze.
Aster oblongifolius (syn. Symphyotrichum oblongifolium) ‘Raydon’s Favorite’ still blooming in my garden after the first freeze.

The few pollinators left in the garden are grateful for any nectar source and for places to hide.

After the first freeze, good old Miscanthus sinensis, maiden grass in my garden.. It is next to Blush Knockout rose.
Good old Miscanthus sinensis, maiden grass, in my garden.. It is next to Blushing Knockout rose. I’m not even sure that rose is sold in commerce anymore. I still like it a lot, and so far, no RRD.

Speaking of pollinators, I’m giving you and me permission to leave our perennial stalks up and waving in the wind. For one thing, it provides winter interest unless we get a lot of snowfall. For another, all those little flower flies and bees have placed their children into the stalks of various perennials like Phlox paniculata, garden phlox, Leucanthemum × superbum, shasta daisiesand Echinacea purpurea, purple coneflower. 

Their children are figuratively in your hands. If the stalks stay vertical, on the first really warm day in March, in Oklahoma anyway, some of the little darlings will emerge and begin visiting your flowers, especially those with simple flowers. Then, they and their successors will be a joy to you all summer.

Taking care of the creatures in the garden is part of our charge as gardeners. That’s why I don’t use pesticides. I love my flowers, but I love the creatures more especially as I garden longer and longer. It is the busyness and buzzing of the garden that makes me smile.

So, I won’t be doing a large cleanup this fall. I will rake up the oak leaves and shred them placing them in large piles at the end of the lower pasture. I also have a big project for the upper pasture. I’m creating a meadow from seed if I get the time.

For now, I must go. I need to meet the HVAC guys at Mom’s house and make sure they have what they need to get that finished. Hopefully, the gutters will get handled too. It’s nearly done.

Fall is a busy time, and we’re supposed to have some lovely days. Be sure to get out and enjoy them before the winter winds blow.

13 Replies to “First freeze”

  1. Thoughts and prayers (and ibuprofen!) are with you as you transition your mom and get her house ready. I hope she adjusts quickly to her new home. It’s so hard on everyone involved, not only physically but mentally as well.

    On a different note, where do you order your plant tags?

  2. Sounds like you’ve been busy, busy, busy! We had late frosts and freezes here this fall. I can’t believe I still have things blooming into November. I haven’t seen any pollinators in a while, thought, but it is pretty late in the season for them here in Wisconsin. Dee, I’m thinking of you frequently as you move your mom. 🙂

  3. It sounds like you have been on an emotional roller coaster. The remains of your post frozen garden look terrific. Sounds like a good year for soup and sandwiches for Thanksgiving. Everyone bring a dish. You have my permission. 😉 Would love to hear about your trips. I travel vicariously now days it seems.

    1. Lisa, this entire year has been one emotional rollercoaster. I vote for soup and sandwiches for Thanksgiving. It would be fine with me. Why do you no longer travel my friend? I’ll do my Coast Starlight post soon.

  4. I would love for you to share about the Coast Starlight trip. It is on my bucket list for my husband who loves trains and the coast. You have been very busy! Hoping things settle down with sale. Your garden is always beautiful.

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