Sunday, October 18, 2009

The fat lady sings....

Woke up to a lovely autumn sunrise this morning. The sky was just ablaze. What a great day!

Then I pulled my gaze down to the gardens and -- and sighed.

It's over. Last night the fat lady sang. Thick frost covered everything and the birdbath was frozen. Sparrows hopped onto the ice looking for a drink, frustrated. Records show that the last Spring freeze had been May 17th. That's only 5 short months ago!! Can that be right? Only 5 months?? (Note to self: contact the 'global warming' folks. Maybe someone's missing a decimal point....!)

The thermometer on the deck registered 28F. I'm just not ready for this. The gardens have been dodging the earlier shots Mom Nature took over the past couple of weeks - light frosts and cold wet winds. But there's no denying she scored a direct hit last night.

Even the fabled castor bean plants are not looking good this morning. This week is supposed to 'warm' up with no freezing nights, but I don't think these giants will survive into Indian Summer.

I'd pulled in most of my tender plants last week (geraniums, fuchsias, coleus) but I did leave about a dozen of the zonal geraniums in the ground. In the past they've shown they could take a little frost, and then they bloomed through until November. I hope that's the case this time and that my gamble hasn't cost me some very pretty plants.

The tall castor bean seed pods have not ripened and turned brown. I wonder if I'll be able to save any seed from them after all their splendid summer display. If not, I (and several others hoping for seed) are sure to be dissapointed. Keep your fingers crossed! X


  1. ugh...that fat woman is heading this way too. And with 74 in the forecast next week, it's just not fair. I'm hoping overnight the wind continues to blow here so that frost can't settle onto the yard. Humidity is way up though. And it's been cloudy the past few days allowing the soil to really cool down. Seems like the perfect storm is heading my way.

    I assure you, I feel your frustration. It seems early this year. I remember sweating and wearing shorts last Thanksgiving. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh!!!!!

  2. Sorry she came back so soon. 5 months doesn't seem fair. I hope you're Castor beans can recover and that you're able to save some seed.

  3. Thanks to that frost also killing off all my pepper plants (or ALMOST killing them), I picked over 15 lbs of peppers yesterday! And most of them are small serrano, cayenne, habanero sized peppers...with some jumbo jalapenos in the mix and very few LARGE peppers.

    I see many other plants out there also didn't make it, but the geraniums ARE toughing it out.

    One good thing about this cold weather is it seems to be bringing in more birds to the feeders for us to watch... (Hey, gotta find that silver lining!)

  4. I wanted to tell you that I had a lot of apples on the ground this year that were being enjoyed by dozens of bees. I had never see them do that before, but other bugs had opened them up and so they were sucking sugar from the apples. I was encouraged to see so many.
    The fat lady frosted us good but no hard freeze in the birdbath. We actually have finally warmed up to low 60's this week.

  5. Tom - What's really frustrating is that we get a killing freeze, then the weather is nice for weeks!

    Catherine - Those crazy castors! The 6 little ones succumbed, but the 5 big ones are still going strong after 2 nights of 28 degrees and ice. They are amazing. I may have to string them up with Christmas lights! LOL

    Jeph - My zins and red salvia really bit the dust. I pulled them out today and now the beds look so naked...

    L.D. - My mother has the same situation - lots of bees and wasps all over the fallen fruit. Last year I put out saucers of sugar water this time of year and the honeybees bellied right up to the bar. Today's temp was in low 50s. Even warmer predicted for the next day or two. Oh well, at least it's comfortable enough to be outside to clean up after the frozen annuals...

  6. "Fat woman" meaning Fall? Oh well, you can't void meeting her, but not so soon!
    From now on, you can go over to my garden and look at my plants, Kris. We are approaching the sunny season on this side of the planet.

  7. Ha Xuan! LOL "...the sunny season on this side of the planet..." Isn't the Internet wonderful?

    The "fat lady" reference is a colloquialism. Some comedians say that an opera is not done/ended unless the fat lady has sung (since a lot of divas tended to be large women). The term "the fat lady sings" has come to mean the ending of something - in this case the growing season hereabouts.

  8. Gosh that is a harsh frost....we are having warm days and mild nights at the moment. Unusually warm for SE UK.

    I do hope that your castor oil plant survives....mine is in a sheltered area but has been hit by harsh frosts in the past and survived.....

  9. The first hard freeze of the year is always sad. I know it is coming but never really ready to say, "Goodbye."
    Looking forward to reading your journal and getting to know you.

  10. Cheryl & Q - thank you both for visiting my blog. Yes, we had hard freezes 2 nights in a row. That was the end of the annuals. And while several of the castor bean plants seemed to survive, they are obviously not going to ripen any seeds. The unripe pods all have freezer burn. Luckily I still have some of the seeds from last year and will try again next season.

    Meanwhile some perennials still sport limited blooms: phlox, butterfly bush, cardinal flowers, catmint. The native asters are actually thriving right now and late bees are all over them. :-D

  11. I don't know what's worse - a sudden frost or the grey, mild, nondescript conditions we've been having.

  12. Linda, for my money I'll take the punches vs. the dismal days....


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