The morning after

This mild autumn has been abruptly interrupted by an inconvenient freeze. While not unexpected, and hardly unusual, the harsh result of temperatures in the low twenties after an early autumn with so many mild days is disappointing to the gardener. Flowers and lush foliage have melted overnight in the cold.

Encore Carnation has been the star bloomer of azaleas this November. While the bubblegum pink color is hardly a favorite, heavy flowering since mid September is appreciated.

Encore Carnation has been the star bloomer of azaleas this November. While the bubblegum pink color is hardly a favorite, heavy flowering since mid September is appreciated.

The morning after the freeze, the season for Encore Carnation's flowering is over.

The morning after the freeze, the season for Encore Carnation’s flowering is over.

A day ago, with only a light frost or two, hydrangeas and reblooming azaleas were at their autumn peak. But now, the gardener must make do with frost resistant, but fleeting flowers of long blooming daphnes (Daphne × transatlantica ‘Blafra’, ‘Eternal Fragrance’, below), and camellias that are only beginning their autumn flowering cycle.

'Eternal Fragrance' and 'Summer Ice' continue to flower through this first freeze.

‘Eternal Fragrance’ and ‘Summer Ice’ continue to flower through this first freeze.

A bee finds this flower of 'Winter's Star' camellia on this sunny afternoon following the freeze.

A bee finds this flower of ‘Winter’s Star’ camellia on this sunny afternoon following the freeze.

Flower buds of hybrid mahonias (Mahonia x media ‘Charity’, below) swell to show first signs of yellow that will persist through December, and often into early January. Colorful leaves of native witch hazels (Hamamelis virginiana and H. vernalis) are dropping, exposing buds that will open into small, ribbon-like flowers in the weeks ahead.

'Charity' and 'Winter Sun' mahonias will begin flowering by late November, with blooms persisting for many weeks. 'Arthur Menzies' has not set flower buds.

‘Charity’ and ‘Winter Sun’ mahonias will begin flowering by late November, with blooms persisting for many weeks. ‘Arthur Menzies’ has not set flower buds.

Leaves of the forest that borders the garden have fallen, exposing neighboring homes that have not been seen for months. Deep piles of leaves must be shredded in coming weeks or early flowers of hellebores will be buried, and a large branch of a maple that crashed down the forest’s edge must be removed, so there is plenty to occupy the gardener as the garden turns to winter.

Leaves have gone limp and fallen overnight on this white beautyberry.

Leaves have gone limp and fallen overnight on this white beautyberry.

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s