First Frost Of Fall

October 19, 2009 002 (2)
Upon returning to the changing scenery of the Fairegarden after some out of town overnight stays, getting recharged and well rested, finding inspiration at every stop, the glimmering dawn revealed a scattering of frosty fairy dust on parts of the garden. Only sporadic, it was as if the wee folk had brushed only their favorites with a stroke of their wands. The daylily referred to by Mister Semi as Fire In The Hole, aka Hemerocallis ‘Raspberry Rasper’ had decided to try its hand at fall blooming. It has been a race to see if the buds could open before the cold would put a stop to this intrepid blooming. This, the first flower was flash frozen before it could fully unfurl. There are still buds in waiting as the days rewarmed.

October 19, 2009 004 (2)
Son of Cosmos sulphureus ‘Cosmic Orange’ has grown to normal size, as opposed to the unchained growth of the Pater. Click here to read about his ebullient efforts. The petals of this offspring are double. Seeds have been scattered in the area and some will also be saved for next year’s orange themed area.

October 19, 2009 005 (2)
The marginally hardy Salvia ‘Indigo Spires’ has been an enchanting performer. So much so that two more of this statuesque blue beauty were added to the area known as the white/yellow bed. It really should be the white/yellow/blue garden, but that is too cumbersome a moniker. The frost fairies must have been buoyed by the boundless blooming, for many of the spikes are smeared with icy sprinkles.

October 19, 2009 006 (2)
Let us pull back a little to show the masses of sapphire spires. The spent stalks of the veronica collection can be seen to the left, the raw umber rods offer winter interest, along with a few enchinacea seed heads still standing.

October 19, 2009 011 (2)
The red rose, Rosa ‘Altissimo’ wraps around the rusty metal clothesline pole that is now repurposed as a trellis along with R. ‘Moonlight’. The ruby hued single bud was barely glittered and opened without damage.

October 19, 2009 017 (2)
Golden spikemoss, Selaginalla kraussiana is used in container plantings as a ferny groundcover. The tips have been dipped in the frozen icing and sprinkled with sugar. There are little bonsai pots filled to overflowing with it that have already been brought into the safe haven of the greenhouse/sunroom for the colder months. It remains to be seen if this can withstand the onslaught of freeze/thaw that is our southeastern US winter out of doors. When the temps fall to their lowest point, usually mid February, we might have to make room for this blue glazed container inside.

October 19, 2009 018 (2)
A volunteer seedling buddleia has a sparkling sheen. Once the flower color reveals itself on these self sown gifts, the decision is made whether a place for them in the garden can be found. All butterfly bushes are grown as standards here, staked with sturdy metal poles to hold the weight of flower laden stems, to use less of the precious garden floor space. Like a floor lamp versus a table and lighting device in a small living room. Added: click here to read about the Butterfly bush standards.

October 19, 2009 030 (2)
The rising sun quickly does away with the magic of the diaphanous fairy frosting. It is not quite time for winter to take over the garden just yet. Much of the foliage still bears the green of summer, but the colors are changing more each day. The lower angle of light gives a new aesthetic.

October 22, 2009 new 023 (2)
Soon enough the architecture and structure will be the inspirational wellspring for to do lists and garden blogging posts. The metal pineapple sculpture, first mentioned here, a gift from the Financier many years ago was recently unearthed and repositioned. The garden had evolved since it was staked in place with rebar in 2000, burying its beauty. It deserved better.

October 22, 2009 new 025 (2)
There is no hibernation of the garden here. It does not get put to bed, covers pulled over its head. Evergreens, hardscape and those plants that die well will keep us in thrall until the renewed green of spring arrives. Some, like the Sleeping Maiden snooze through the four seasons, however. Click here to read her story. She is surrounded by the native wild ageratum, Conoclinium coelestinum inherited with the property and planted with bronze carex self sown seedlings.

October 7, 2009 new 071 (2)
It is the time for form, texture and color to take the stage as the transition of seasons tick tocks along. The orange sedge, Carex testacea ‘Orange New Zealand Sedge’ is part of the new manifesto of container gardening here. Permanent evergreens, one plant per pot will, it is hoped, provide beauty and ease of care. There is another plant of similar form that is the delight of the Fairegarden at the moment…

October 19, 2009 014 (2)
Like the fireworks on the Fourth of July, Muhlenbergia capillaris remains at the forefront as the color fades to honeyed hues. The pinkish purple collects the rays of the sun still.


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47 Responses to First Frost Of Fall

  1. Sylvia (England) says:

    Frances, I am not ready for frosts yet but they will come here very soon! We have been alternating between heavy rain and sun/clouds so it is mild but the ground is very wet. You have taken some lovely photos and have reminded me that I have one small plant of Salvia β€˜Indigo Spires’ but it has got hidden and isn’t doing well, I must move it!

    Best wishes Sylvia (England)

    Hi Sylvia, ready or not, here they come! Thanks for visiting. Indigo Spires has been the very best of the Salvias planted this season. If it doesn’t return, we will get more. Glad you are able to grow it as well. πŸ™‚

  2. gittan says:

    As you know we’ve had an early frost this year. But now I hope we’ll have to wait a feew more weeks for next. Everything sure looks nice with some crystalls on it. Your garden’s still beautiful and that Fire in the hole looks real nice. Is it a new one?
    Today we have the same gray sky as we’ve had last week. The kids are free from school all week and today me and the little one (17 years old) are going on a shoping tour in town. We hope to find some new warm boots for both of us and a new pair of skates for me. maby we’re going to the rink and skate later this week, that’s fun! Kram gittan

    Hi Gittan, thanks. The daylily is one that was given to us by our neighbors, Mae and Mickey. The real name is Raspberry Rasper, it is a dark pink with an orange center and one of the earliest to bloom. It has never bloomed in the fall before though. Must be the rain we have had this year. Your day sounds wonderful, warm boots and some theraputic shopping with loved ones. Have fun skating! πŸ™‚
    Kram, Frances

  3. Hi Frances love the changing scenery of the Fairegarden as well as my own, would not like to live without the changing seasons. Gorgeous picture of the frosty flowers. Have a great week/ xoxo Tyra

    Hi Tyra, thanks. I have lived where there is little seasonal change, in southern California and while it was nice to be outside without heavy coats, I missed the changing of the weather very much. A great week to you too, my friend! πŸ™‚

  4. Les says:

    Hopefully we are still a few weeks away from frost here. Last year our first freeze was mid-november. I love the frosted orange of the Cosmos – looks good enough to eat.

    Hi Les, thanks. The orange cosmos is such a good performer, still going strong after the light frost. Our heavy frost will come sometime in November, with the massive leaf fall.

  5. Darla says:

    The sprinkling of frost brought by the fairies was placed perfectly….wonderful photos!! Love the fireworks display!

    Hi Darla, thanks. The fairies did a good job of frosting a few things, most were untouched. The muhly is still giving us plenty of smiles. πŸ™‚

  6. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Your garden always seems to have so much going on Frances. Even after frost and the cold of winter sets in.

    Thanks Lisa. There is always stuff going on around here, the garden has a lot of different types of plants. That’s what a lifetime of plant collecting will get you. Getting them to become a pleasing whole is the hard part. It means editing and that is hard to do. I can’t hardly get rid of anything, just moving it someplace else while concentrating on a certain bed. Our climate does allow for many things to look good during the winter months. We have no snow cover to speak of. Evergreen trees, shrubs and perennials are key. πŸ™‚

  7. Joy says:

    Frances I just came in from standing on a chair on my deck to get pictures of a pink sunrises (finally!) so my hands are stiff and my head is dizzy (OK, more than usual ? : )
    I love pictures of the first frost on plants .. I have missed my own so I have to enjoy everyone else’s and yo have some beauties there .. my favorite is the spike moss ! that does look like it had been dipped in sugar .. great way to describe it : )
    I always remember your garden when ever I come across the pink muhly grass ( I still lust after that big time !! haha)
    Joy : )

    Hi Joy, thanks. Do be careful out there in the early morning standing on a chair! We have noticed the muhly grass in a couple of mass plantings at public parks recently. That is a good way to get the word out to home gardeners to ask for it by name! You would certainly be growing it if you could! I am on a mission. πŸ™‚

  8. Magical…. Frances, that frosty blue salvia is just beautiful. Thank you for sharing your First Frost with us.

    Hi Jacqueline, thanks. I know you can grow the Indigo Spires well in Houston. We had some in our front garden there and it was gigantic.

  9. Absolutely gorgeous, Frances….you always seem to capture the “moment” so beautifully – scenes like this are so shortlived and you were there as always.

    Hi Heather, thank you for those kind words! I am a very early riser, waiting for the sun to bring us out of the darkness each day. A good time for picture taking. πŸ™‚

  10. Gail says:

    You have captured the frost beautifully Frances. I had to go back and reread the post, because the garden had all my attention. I must have forgotten that buddleia was trained as a standard! That’s such an excellent idea; stature and cleared floor space! That may be what I need to do here. The Conoclinium coelestinum is long gone here….but when it blooms it sure is lovely! What’s the weather forecast for the next several days;) Boots or sloggers? gail

    Good morning Gail, thanks for going back and reading! The forecast for tomorrow is RAIN!, I am so sorry to say. Footwear? Both. The wild ageratum is still going strong. It might have been pushed back in bloom time when I cut it down mid summer. A good thing to do! πŸ™‚

  11. The frost certainly adds character to the garden. We’ve had 4 or so frosts already, but then I’m in a frost pocket. Conversation to a gardener who lives less than a mile away found that she had no frost damage yet while all my annuals are DOA.

    Hi Dave, it does look pretty but did not last long at all. It was barely there in fact, except on the rooftops. There are some coleus losses, not all though, and the lantanas here. We don’t have many annuals. The frost is patchy even in places in my yard. The leaves are really coloring up though. Almost time for the fall foliage post! πŸ™‚

  12. ourfriendben says:

    Love that salvia, Frances!!! And your buddleia volunteer is outstanding. I adore selaginella but grow it as a terrarium plant. You say you have pots that are overflowing with it; do you propagate it yourself? And if so, how? Please do tell all!

    Hi OFB, thanks. The spikemoss roots everywhere it touches ground. I just stick a pinch of it in potting soil and water well. Try it! πŸ™‚

  13. After the snowy icy blast we have only been hovering around frost. Though I understand why, it is still odd that down in the valley they will get a hard thick frost and we remain above freezing up top.

    Hi Christopher, good to hear you have been somewhat spared. I know you want to continue working outside on the cabin in above freezing temps! πŸ™‚

  14. Janet says:

    Your first frost pictures are great. Love the tinged edges on the Cosmos and Salvias, but my favorite is the Selaginella — it almost glows.
    Like Les I am hoping our frost is still a few weeks away.

    Hi Janet, thanks. I wish the selginella was hardy enough to grow outdoors all the time, but it makes a great container groundcover. I hope you can remain frost free for a while longer too. πŸ™‚

    • Janet says:

      Just reread my post, would be nice if I could spell!! Hoping…not hopping!!!!

      HA Janet. You threw me with the spelling of selaginella, I had to look it up since you usually are correcting me. I didn’t even see the others, but have fixed them now. πŸ™‚

  15. Joanne says:

    Lovely post. The pinneapple sculpture looks lovely with the Mulher garss behind.
    Interesting to hear how you grow your buddlea.

    Hi Joanne, thanks. The pineapple deserves to be a focal point. It was half buried with mulch that had slid down the hill. I did a post about the butterfly bush standards, and the pee gee hydrangeas are also grown as standards. Let me look for it. Oh, there were two posts. Here is the butterfly one.


  16. Lovely garden tour!

    Isn’t Indigo Spires just the best plant? I am totally smitten with mine as well as the compact version ‘Mystic Spires’. They are so reliable all summer — these are the ones that I’d hate to lose over the winter. I can think of a hundred ways to use them.


    Hi Cameron, thanks for stopping by. If these salvias don’t winter over, we will definitely add more, same with S. leucantha. Those bold blue flowers are just what the fall garden needs. πŸ™‚

  17. Becky says:

    Absolutely Gorgeous…APPLAUSE!!!

    Hi Becky, thanks and welcome. Glad you liked it. πŸ™‚

  18. Carol says:

    Lovely post Frances… I am surprised you are having a frost already… but then you might be in a higher elevation. I love the cosmos with the dusting of frost and the shot of the birdhouse and your hydrangea trees is beautiful. All your photos are gorgeous as always… your poetic text is a joy to read. Carol

    Hi Carol, thanks so much. It was a very light dusting, very sporadic too. Then it warmed up. Our normal first frost date, not killing heavy frost, that comes in a few weeks, is October 21. We were right on schedule.

  19. Tatyana says:

    Lovely frosting on your multifaceted garden! The rose bud is so innocently elegant!

    Thanks so much Tatyana. It sounds good enough to eat! πŸ™‚

  20. Lzyjo says:

    WOW, I think I had a dream about frozen moss, last night, that’s all I can remember, no other context as to what was going on. LOL! Your frost kissed garden is gorgeous, the frosted rose and stunning Indigo Spires are my faves!

    Wow is right, Lzyjo! That sounds like a pretty, if cold dream. Thanks for stopping by. πŸ™‚

  21. I always relish the first frost–it paints a pretty picture. I love the fern leaves inthe background of the first photo.

    Thanks Monica. You are the first person to mention the ferns, the Japanese Painted Ferns that grow everywhere here. They make a nice background to the daylily. πŸ™‚

  22. lotusleaf says:

    Your words describing the garden make it so vivid. The blue salvias are beautiful, and of course the muehlen grass takes the prize.

    Thanks Lotusleaf, I do appreciate your kind words. The Muhlenbergia is still looking very good, even though the color has faded a bit. Glad you liked it. πŸ™‚

  23. Lola says:

    That is a great looking garden with a sprinkling of what looks like sugar frosting. Ever so light to make all look as tho it’s been blown a kiss from the cold fairies.

    Thanks Lola, I love your description! πŸ™‚

  24. Oh Frances, how I love everything in your garden, and your pictures… so, so amazing!!
    I promise IΒ΄ll improve my pictures when I got a new camera.
    MarΓ­a Cecilia

    Hi Maria, thanks so much. You will love your new camera, whatever you end up getting. πŸ™‚

  25. Jenny B says:

    I absolutely adored the pic of the Cosmos, Cosmic Orange edged in silver frosting. Lovely.

    Thanks Jenny, glad you liked them. The orange cosmos are very photogenic, it every kind of weather. πŸ™‚

  26. Amy Emerick says:

    Very pretty post! I love the rose πŸ™‚

    Hi Amy, thanks. Glad you liked it. πŸ™‚

  27. rosey pollen says:

    You have a very long gardening season! To have a rose still blooming in October is mind-boggling. And such lovely shots of your garden. How long have you been gardening where you are at? It looks like you have been there a long time to get such established looking beds.

    Hi Rosey, we do have a long season here. There can be roses until December most years, though not many and sort of straggly looking. We have lived here nine years and I have worked ceaseslessly nearly every day on the garden since we moved in. There are mature trees around the property edges that are not ours, it helps to have those borrowed views. πŸ™‚

  28. Hello Frances,

    I love these visits to your garden. You capture the beauty of flowers and frost so well. I also enjoyed your ornamental grasses.

    Thanks Noelle. I appreciate those kind words. Glad you liked the show. πŸ™‚

  29. Catherine says:

    I’m glad your first frost was a light one. You have so much going on in your garden. I love how the frost looks on the flowers. Still no frost here, just lots and lots of rain.

    Me too, Catherine, thanks. There is a lot going on here, I am a bit of a collector of everything! πŸ™‚

  30. Pam/Digging says:

    I have had good luck over the years with Indigo Spires too, Frances, although it tends to look a bit beat-up at the end of the summer. But a good pruning and it’s back to blooms.

    Hi Pam, thanks for that. Ours will die back to the ground this winter. We’ll see how quickly it returns, if at all. A worthy annual if it doesn’t make it. We had some huge ones in our Texas garden, they had to be pruned quite a bit.

  31. Racquel says:

    I can’t believe you have already received your first frost of the season Frances. How pretty everything looks with that delicate dusting of ice. πŸ˜‰

    Hi Racquel, thanks. Our first average frost date is October 21, so we are pretty close to the average. Of course it warmed back up again. The hard frost will come soon though. Then it will warm up again. That is the way of it here.

  32. Jean says:

    Lovely photos and post Frances. I plan to read your post on butterfly bush standards. I bought one last year but it needs to be a bit taller. Plus it keeps getting sprouts at its base. Do you plan to keep your carex in containers outside in the winter? I bought a bunch of them a week ago and now I don’t know what to do with them. (I couldn’t help myself I guess!) But container planting for them was my first thought. I just don’t want to have to haul them to a warm location though. :-p

    Hi Jean, thanks. When training the standards, it is best to let them grow a couple of years and remove the weaker shoots before deciding on which stem should be the trunk. Ours sucker at the base too, I just keep them cut off. There is pruning involved during the year to keep them the size you want. But since they bloom on new growth, that helps keep it flowering. I do leave the carex in the pots all year. They are nicely hardy and look great. One of the few things that can be treated like that here.

  33. Sweet Bay says:

    Beautiful shot of the Cosmos laced with ice, and beautiful shots of your garden. I love the pineapple metal sculpture with the muhly resplendent in the background.

    Thanks Sweet Bay. Great word, resplendent! The pineapple sculpture was half buried in mulch and dirt after nine years. It looks so much bigger now.

  34. Rose says:

    The fairies have done well at Fairegarden, Frances! Just the right sprinkling of fairy dust to add a bit more magic to what is already a beautiful garden. And, of course, the Muhly has to be their favorite as well–I picture them riding its fronds in the breezes, their own little ferris wheel:)

    Thanks for the comment on my last post–yes, I did survive Spanish class. Today, as well as tomorrow, I was in Chemistry class–which might as well be a foreign language:)

    Hi Rose, thanks. I love the vision you conjure of the fairies riding the carnival ride muhly! Chemistry? Foreign to me as well. Why not English classes, she wonders? I guess where there is the need… πŸ™‚

  35. Patsi says:

    Say it isn’t true…frost ?
    Great captures !!
    The Mulhy is still my favorite.

    Hi Patsi,thanks, it was only a very light frost, only the few coleus bit the dust from it. The muhly is still looking good, happily. πŸ™‚

  36. Anna says:

    Brrrrrrrrrr. – but your gardens still looks great Frances. There is no right time for that first frost to arrive is there but having said that I would not like to be without distinct seasons. I do so like that muhlenbergia capillaris – must do some research.

    Thanks Anna. The frost is inevitable and is just considered part of the wheel turning around in nature. Makes us appreciate the spring that much more. Hope you find that the muhly will grow there, then demand it at the nurseries! πŸ™‚

  37. The single red rose bud is my favourite here. It look so real, I can almost touch and smell it! Actually now, I am imagining your garden in crystals and ice.

    Hi Autumn Belle, thanks so much. That is a lovely vision. The frost only hit certain more exposed areas here. The heavy killing frost will come in a few weeks, and it will be gorgeous! πŸ™‚

  38. Beckie says:

    Oh Frances! What beauty you have captured in your frosty-morn gardens. I love the delightful colors the touch of ice gives and so glad it was a light icing so you can still enjoy those budding beauties.

    Now that you’ve had your first frost, you can enjoy and glorious Indian summer. πŸ™‚

    Hi Beckie, thanks. Of course it warmed right up after that cold snap. I really enjoy all the seasons and know there is beauty in them all. I do like to wear sweaters and coats and boots too. πŸ™‚

  39. Urban Green says:

    Gorgeous pictures! The spikemoss with the frozen ice is my favorite.

    Thanks Urban Green. Glad you liked the post and the ice. πŸ™‚

  40. Mary Delle says:

    Lovely shots of the garden in transition. The frost on flowers are my favorite shots. So beautiful, almost otherworldly.

    Hi Mary, thanks so much. I love seeing frosty flowers too. It is pure magic crystals. πŸ™‚

  41. Balisha says:

    The picture of the garden path…the one with the birdhouse is my favorite.

    Thanks Balisha. The photo did not come near showing how beautiful the light was on the garden, it absolutely shimmered. πŸ™‚

  42. Nell Jean says:

    It takes careful planning, ever vigilant to keep the garden in tidy, attractive condition year around. You do an outstanding job.

    What a nice thing to say, Nell Jean, thanks so much. I don’t do nearly as much tending as when the garden was younger, more like editing now. It does get quite a bit of my time however, I love being out there.

  43. Layanee says:

    Sleeping maiden’s sister says hi. She must spend the winter inside since we have such extremes here. Your garden is glowing.

    Hi Layanee, she says hi back at ya! Thanks for those kind words. The light is especially nice right now, when the sun comes out. I plan to leave the maiden outside, I do hope that is wise.

  44. Kathleen says:

    A light frost is a good way to ease into the changing season. We usually have some of those too but I never capture it like you do (I remember your great frost photos from last year). This year our first frost was a doozy ~ setting a record low of 16 degrees on Oct 10th. Too much cold, too soon and no more lovely blooms like you still have. The Muhly grass is (as always) so beautiful. btw, I caught up on a couple of your previous posts and my favorite Cobaea photo was the one taken with your old camera. It’s fabulous.

    Hi Kathleen, thanks, so nice to see you. Sixteen degrees!!! That is shocking to the plants and human alike! You are too sweet with those kind words, thank you. You own captures are fabulous and my point and shoots cannot compare. Sometimes I get lucky when the conditions are right. Sixteen degrees is NOT right! πŸ™‚

  45. chuck b. says:

    Frost already… Where did the year go?

    So true, Chuck. It will be 2010 before we know it! I have already started some seeds in the greenhouse. I think the warmer temps outside still will help germination. A couple have already done so. The Cobeae will definitely be started again. What a success story it has been. πŸ™‚

  46. Hi Frances

    I’ve just come back from spending a few days down in Provence. No frost there!

    Unfortunately we do get frost here in the Perigord, we had a 28F a week or so ago. What a shame.

    You mentioned as to where I got the chocolate shop picture on my last post, well I shot it through the window of a chocolatier in a town called Sarlat.

    Great shots as ever, you know, on the flipside of frost is of course those brilliantly sunny mornings which lift the spirits.

    Welcome back, Rob, Provence is a place I would love to visit someday. Thanks for letting me know where that array of goodies was located. It was displayed so beautifully. Thanks for the kind words. I really don’t mind the frost, at this time of year it quickly burns off for those sunny mornings you mention. Nothing better than the sun and blue skies to lure me out the door. πŸ™‚

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