By late October there have been a few warnings of frost and freezes, but so far no temperatures low enough to put an end to the gardening season. Certainly, that will come soon, at least for plants not tolerant of cold, and toad lilies (Tricyrtis, below) that remain at peak bloom will shrivel overnight. Several that have flowered since August are now fading, but others that begin to flower later are still going strong. Toad lilies will survive mild frosts, but with the first freeze, they’re gone until next year.
This garden has been planted so that frost does not end the season. While there will be something flowering every day through the winter, unquestionably winter blooms are fewer than in other seasons (and spring is anxiously awaited). But, there are ample goings on to pull me out of the warmth into the chill, and occasionally to see how flowers fare through a snowfall.
As temperatures turn cooler, with the possibility of frost imminent, buds of many winter bloomers have been evident for weeks. But, before leaves fall and a freeze starts the dormant phase for perennials, abundant flowers remain in the garden.
A few of the autumn flowering camellias are in bloom (Camellia ‘Winter’s Star’, above), and buds on most others are beginning to crack. These will not be bothered by frost or freezing temperatures, and most will flower through December. Scattered buds will remain into the winter, and in spells of mild temperatures there will be a few flowers that are usually damaged quickly by the next twenty degree night.