Post Frost

It looks like we dodged the bullet, as the weatherman is fond of saying. The wind stopped blowing, the clouds moved away to the east, and the clear, still, dry air allowed the temperatures to plummet after the sun set, just as predicted. But the plummeting stopped short of a killing frost. At our place, we experienced what could be called a scattered light frost. The best kind.


Shown above, a sentimental purchase planted under the pines in the line of vision from my kitchen window over the sink, rosa ‘Chrysler Imperial’. This pulls my strings on many levels. My father was a car buff. He liked all kinds of cars and especially liked to wheel and deal at the car dealerships. One of the most memorable cars he came home with was an early sixties palest green Chrysler Imperial, brand new, the top of the line, with tail fins that reached for the sky. It was a massive vehicle, impressive in its size, especially when used to give rides to a bunch of elementary school age kids to the movies. Oh baby. Many years later, as my mother was suffering from the final stages of cancer, my father bought five of the hybrid tea roses with the same name for her to enjoy. She loved the velvety petals, and the exquisite perfume
of this rose. The shared name of one of our many cars was just a bonus. When I saw this rose at Lowe’s, at first I couldn’t believe it was still in commerce. But there it was, even in bloom. It was planted about three weeks ago, and is still holding that bloom, even with the cold nights. I couldn’t not buy it, even though it goes against all our rules of rose buying, it is grafted, a hybrid tea,and not from a reputable rose grower. It is lovely. In the front garden, down by the street, at the lowest point of our property, there was some frost. The salvia ‘May Night’ should be all right with the light amount of frost it received. It is a very tough perennial.

Tulipa ‘Ballerina’ is blooming extremely late. It was planted after Christmas, purchased again from Lowe’s, in a combo pack with t. ‘Queen of the Night’, marked seventy five percent off. Since we already had some of the queens in our black garden, this seemed like a good addition. I love the color and form of this little dancer, especially with the blue ajuga in the background. Some very promising lilies are right behind these tulips, I believe they are L. ‘Black Beauty’. It is the black garden after all.

Checking out the exbury and native azaleas for damage, this heavily budded R. ‘Arneson’s Gem’ is raring to go. The coloring on the open bloom is orange, yellow and red. You will be shown the open blossoms of all the deciduous azaleas as they are available, rest assured.

R. Admiral Semmes, is beginning to open wide. The light of the early morning sunrise gave this golden shrub an even more golden aura.

The offspring were all worried about the safety of their respective herbaceous peonies. Some chose to cover theirs. We did not cover ours, and even though there is the most delicate touch of frost on the buds, it is believed that they are unharmed and will bloom around Mother’s Day as usual.

This shot is for
Chuck B., an update of the sambucus ‘Black Lace’. Several flower buds have formed on this new, as of last year, shrub. Our big S. Aurea is also budded. We are expecting to get some berry production from these two flowering beauties, they are planted about ten feet apart so cross pollination is likely to occur.

Not really on the frost damage tour, but on the salad tour, the radishes look ready to eat. The lettuce and spinach under the frost cloth covered cloche are eating size as well. We will have our first food from the garden very soon.

The white tree peony flowers are mostly open now. They are dispursed in such a way on the shrub that a good photo of the whole thing doesn’t show the mass of bloom that is wished. This little group gives the correct view. There are still some tightly wrapped buds that will open in dribs and drabs. No damage is visible here.

The Japanese maples on either side of the pond are in full new leaf. The leaves are slightly droopy. It will be several days before any damage will be visible, but due to the lack of frost around the pond, no losses are expected. The tree on the left is Crimson Queen, the larger one on the right is Garnet. Click on the photo for a closer look.

Happily returning to the house after the garden is surveyed for damage and finding none, we spy a new flower on the blue anemone, looking pristine post frost.

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45 Responses to Post Frost

  1. Crafty Gardener says:

    Glad to hear you didn’t get the hard frost as predicted. That is a gorgeous rose you have.

  2. MARYYX says:

    Ah, a gardener after my own heart – posting lots of photos.

    I began the project of turning my yard into a park after my husband of nearly 40 years told me we were never moving to the country – and he never knew I wanted to. I was in shock.

    Good news is – we’re still married, and my yard IS now a botanical garden. One of my 100 plus rose bushes is also a Chrysler Imperial.

    Wishing you lots of blooms!

  3. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    OOoops, I lost the comment I was working on so if this is a repeat please delete it. I don’t think I can blame Blogger this time. I got so excited when I saw a House Wren out my window I called DB to come see and while we were talking I touched my laptop mouse and was gone. Anyway…

    The story about the Rose was so touching. I too buy plants that bring back memories or have names of people I love.

    That white tree peony is grand. My tree peony isn’t blooming as yet. it won’t be long. Maybe with this warmer weather we are having it will bloom.

    It is good that the frost didn’t harm any of your plants. Your garden is looking so lush.

  4. ourfriendben says:

    OMG, Frances! ‘Admiral Semmes’!!! One of my relatives, who knew a plant was named for him?! If you can recall where you got him, please let me know and I’ll try him up here in PA.

    And what a touching story about your parents. I’m so glad you found a ‘Chrysler Imperial’ of your own. These are the moments that make gardening most meaningful.

    Also, congrats on your M&T nomination! I’m rooting for you!!!!

  5. Nancy J. Bond says:

    To have so many blooms this time of year is spectacular! All your featured plants are wonderful and I really like your water feature. I like how the water falls from the stone ledge. I’m glad your frost didn’t do any damage.

  6. Frances, says:

    Crafty, thanks on both counts.

    MARYYX, welcome and thanks for visiting. My blog is photo driven, that’s the way I am comfortable doing it. Glad to hear you are still married, husbands are strange creatures sometimes. Good for you with the many roses, your area is perfect for them.

    Lisa, I don’t blame you a bit, the little wren is an exciting moment. We have them here, haven’t seen any yet though. They nest inside a metal clothesline pole every year. Hope your tree peony gives you a good show.

    Elly, thanks, thanks, and thanks. Admiral Semmes was purchased at a nursery in Cleveland, TN named Varnell’s. They had the whole series of the military brass names. Good luck with it, it has been a trooper here.

    Nancy J., thanks. We were lucky this year. The water on the ledge was falling in a really cool pattern following the algae bloom, the cold snap killed the algae so now it’s back to normal, still nice though.

  7. tina says:

    Glad no frost damage. I found a bitten (dead) potato from the frost, that is it. P.S. I covered my J. maples, no damage but droopy too. Yup, dodged a bullet.

    You know what? Forget the rules. Buy what you like no matter where you find it. That is a beautiful rose and all the more important for its history with you and your family. Enjoy this lovely day. You can find the best plants in unexpected places.

  8. Sylvia says:

    Frances, I don’t know what is best your garden, your pictures or your blog! All are equally lovely, thank you for sharing it with us.

    I love your white tree peony, I bought my first tree peony this year I just have to decide where to plant it! I would have more if only they were not so expensive and I had a larger garden.

    Late spring frost are the worst we lost all the magnolia blooms this year to frost – Oh well there is always next year!

    Best wishes Sylvia (England)
    PS when is Mother’s Day in the US? In the UK it was 2 March!

  9. Robin's Nesting Place says:

    I’m so glad you didn’t have frost damage. I enjoyed the rose story and the lovely picture. I’ve never had much luck with roses, but want to try a couple in the new border garden.

  10. Susan says:

    An absolutely gorgeous rose and striking blue anemone. Glad your plants were spared from a damaging frost.

  11. walk2write says:

    Frances, I tip my hat to your father and his tender tribute to your mother. My own dad would only order roses and usually only hybrid teas from J&P. You have to admit (if they send you their catalog), the pictures are pretty seductive. I guess I’m a renegade because I have been buying shrub roses the last few years, and sometimes they come from Home Depot or Lowes. I’ve had really good luck in Florida with the Knockout roses. When I get back there in May, they should be blooming like crazy. I’ll post some pictures then.

  12. Brenda Kula says:

    Oh, your father must have been, or still be, a gentle and sentimental soul. How dear of him! I love your flowers. Especially that last one. Such a vivid blue with wondrous texture. Did you build your pond? I absolutely love it. It is just what I want, that waterfall effect addition to my pond.

  13. Frances, says:

    Tina, thanks, glad you suffered only a single potato loss. It is a most beautiful day, have been out since daybreak working in the garden. Wonderful.

    Sylvia, my sympathies for your magnolias. Our mother’s day is the first sunday after the first something, maybe tuesday, that is a guess, in May, this year it falls on May 11. Thanks for the kind words, much appreciated. Good luck with your tree peony, it needs lots of water the first couple of years, but good drainage.

    Robin, thanks, glad you enjoyed it. Good luck with your new roses in the border. The knockouts and ones with carefree in the name are good and easy.

    Susan, thanks for visiting and the nice words.

    walk2write, thanks. I guess I should have mentioned in the story that my father never gardened, ever. If it couldn’t be mowed, he didn’t want it. He ripped out all the shrubs and plantings that came with out older Oklahoma home so he could mow easier. He put those roses in huge containers along the front of the house. Good luck with your roses, the knockouts are great here also. I am trying to train one to be a tree rose, lots of pruning, but why not?

  14. Layanee says:

    Glad you dodged the bullet and the photos are gorgeous. Love the overview of the fish pond and that last blue anemone is heavenly.

  15. brokenbeat says:

    the unimpeachable forcefield created by joni and the combined rain and frost freedom dance did the trick for us as well. hooray! i like what tina said about forgetting the gardening rules whether they be those of gardeners as a whole or those you choose to implement. you would have been angry with yourself had you not bought that rose. i’m glad you did so you could tell us the story of why you did. much love.

  16. Frances, says:

    Brenda, thanks, we did build the pond ourselves, it is not very professional. They make fancy waterfall pumps that might be more what you are looking for, ours is just a trickle, because I wanted to divert some of the water to the frog.

    Layanee, thanks. The pond is getting there, we just redid it last year.

    Brokenbeat, the power of Joni is well known. Thanks for your help. I was thinking as I was writing about that, hadn’t really intended to, the post is about the frost non damage, that these little stories should be written down for you and offspring of offspring since no one will ever know my family. love.

  17. GardenJoy4Me says:

    Frances .. I sit here slowly strolling through your post .. chin on hand .. big silly grin .. your garden is so beautiful and the stories you tell us about your life and what goes on is like a pair of the best fuzzy slippers possible !
    I love that rose and yes .. I know .. all the rules are broken but WOW ! what a beauty and it is such a piece of your heart .. I hope it stays with you for a long time : ) ..
    I just got in from working in the garden and I’m really tired .. but happy .. that is what a garden does to us .. works us almost to the limit at times but we are always HAPPY ! LOL

  18. Frances, says:

    Joy, thanks. So glad you are getting to be out in your garden too. Your words make me feel pretty fuzzy, like slippers, thanks for that.

  19. Phillip says:

    All gorgeous Frances! Your weather description is exactly what happened here a few nights ago. I’m relieved that there was no damage. I love your water feature.

  20. Frances, says:

    Phillip, thanks. We certainly feel lucky after what happened last year. It is a joy to see the buds on the azaleas intact and swelling.

  21. Blackswamp_Girl says:

    Great news… and great story about the ‘Chrysler Imperial’ rose. Definitely reasons enough to set aside your usual rose-growing rules.

  22. Gail says:


    Everything look delightful…I wish I were In Tennessee to see how the garden is progressing! I am surely a fool for blue but the anemone is spectacular!


  23. Kylee says:

    Frances, your pond and waterfall with the Japanese Maples is exquisite! I’m glad the frost didn’t hurt anything.

    I’m so behind in my reading and commenting on blogs. My apologies for not visiting more regularly! With Jenna’s shower this weekend and the wedding approaching, along with my training, it’s all I can do to even write my own blog posts! But I’m trying to get caught up now. I miss so many beautiful gardens, ideas, and great writing.

  24. herself says:

    I love the Crysler Imperial. Mine blooms about 11 months a year down here in Houston.

  25. garden girl says:

    Frances, your garden is simply breathtaking. It’s a treat to visit all that loveliness through your beautiful words and pictures.

  26. Frances, says:

    Kim, thanks. I don’t regret buying the rose, even if it doesn’t do well. It’s the thought that counts, right?

    Gail, hope you have a safe trip home, ‘fool for blue’, that’s a good one, HA. Your garden is probably looking for your return.

    Kylee, thanks. I am feeling behind also, since it is planting time here, then the internet went out, it’s always something, isn’t it? But the beauty is those posts will be out there to read for a long time, if not forever ;->

    Linda, thanks, that’s good to know that you are having luck growing it.

    Garden girl Linda, thanks so much for the kind words.

  27. Piondröm says:

    What a beautiful garden you have.
    And with
    much of our favorits, peonys, sambucus. Then you have plants that I dont think we can have in Sweden.
    You seams to have real spring now.
    regards Ken in Sweden

  28. Frances, says:

    Ken, thanks for visiting. Spring is really here now. It is interesting how many of the same plants we can grow as you can in Sweden, even though we are so distant. Gardening brings us together.

  29. Cindy says:

    Like Gail, I’m a fool for blue, so I’m coveting that blue anemone. Love seeing the differences between my corner of Katy & your piece of Tennessee. Oh, to be able to grow Japanese maples like that!

  30. The Gardeness says:

    Glad to see your garden is surviving the frost. We just got hail and snow today.Crazy. These photos are beautiful. Quite a treat to tour your garden.

  31. Frances, says:

    Cindy, Hi and so glad to see you here! Thanks, I know about your lack of the maples. When we moved to Houston, I bought the Garnet shown to the right of the pond to grow in my garden there. It did awful, so it was dug up, cut back to get it into the car, and driven back to TN to the house where my daughters were living, the house we live in now. It sat in a pot by the heat pump for three years, neglected, and was planted when the hill was planted. That it even survived is a miracle.

    Gardeness, Hail and snow sounds like a nightmare at this time of year. You have my sympathy. Glad you enjoyed the tour.

  32. Kate says:

    These photos are absolutely breathtaking! My garden is a good 2 months behind yours… making me wish I lived in Tennessee this morning!

  33. Frances, says:

    kate, thanks. I also wish you lived in TN, close to me so we could visit and share plants. You wouldn’t have to buy a single thing, I have an abundance.

  34. Marie says:

    Wondeful photos. A blue anemone, the most beautiful flower I know…

  35. Annie in Austin says:

    It’s so much fun to watch your garden unfold, Frances…although you might have preferred a less dramatic display by the weather gods!

    My parents were married near the end of WW2 and they grew the ‘Peace’ rose when I was a kid. When they had their 50th anniversary I planted one in my garden, too… we are sentimental, aren’t we ;-]

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  36. Frances, says:

    Marie, thanks. I agree that the blue anemone is exqusite.

    Annie, thanks, I do enjoy taking people on the garden tour, in real life and in cyberspace. I remember the Peace rose well, it was the knockout rose of its time. My neighbor behind us when I was growing up had roses he took to rose shows, he was one of those, and we had several Peace, his prize rose. So lucky that your parents were able to see fifty years together. Hope you Peace thrives, roses do seem to love Texas!

  37. Dee/reddirtramblings says:

    Frances, I’m glad you had so little frost. I like to read about the opening flowers in your garden because we almost live in the same zone, although I think your mountains make yours milder than mine.

    I got some frost damage on the roses and the container plants. I covered the two tropicals I have, but they still got some damage too. I think they will come out of it.
    Our gardens are opening at about the same pace.~~Dee

  38. Frances, says:

    Dee, thanks, our zones may be the same but our terrains could not be more different, for better or worse. Glad you only received minor damage. Looking forward to seeing what you have blooming.

  39. albertapostcards says:

    my goodness, so much in bloom. What a pleasure it must be to live where the growing season is so long. These photos are so inspirational and cheery.


  40. Amy says:

    Such lovely photos – I’m so glad everything came through all right. We’ve had a very cold weekend. It was -10C yesterday morning. Some of my tulips look droopy but more of the plants look like they’ll be fine.

  41. Entangled says:

    Wow, ‘Arneson’s Gem’ is going to look like a bonfire when the flowers open. I’m looking forward to seeing more of your azaleas!

  42. Frances, says:

    Diane, so glad you enjoyed the story and photos. We are fortunate in our climate and do appreciate it.

    Amy, thanks for visiting. Hope your tulips and everything survive and give you great pleasure.

    Entangled, Glad you are liking the azaleas, they are going to be featured during their bloom time alot because they are my faves.

  43. Katarina i Kullavik says:

    Such a lovely rose – with a very sweet connection to your father.
    Lots of nice shots in this post – I especially liked the white tree peony. So pretty!

  44. Frances, says:

    Katarina, thanks for the kind words. The tree peony is having a good year. I can’t wait until the red one opens.

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