12 November 2008

Waiting On The Frost

The end of the season comes to an abrupt end when the killing frost comes. It is a final exclamation point to the summer season, and signals the time to begin the big cleanup in the yard that includes cutting out the dead material, leaf mulching, and planting spring bulbs. The problem is that this year has seen no killing frost yet. Mid-October is the normal time around here. I hate ripping out plants still growing, even if they are on life support, so I wait.

There is yet some color in the front display garden. The cosmos [27.6.2008] are all but gone, but a few flowers continue on, making them even more striking against the dark brown backdrop of the jumbled mass of dying twigs. Their fiery red color is now a soft warm yellow. The suspicion is that either the cold weather, or short days and lack of sunlight cause them to lose color, or maybe both. At this time of year, several plants, mostly annuals, change from their normal habit and appearance but continue to hang on.

The cannas [24.7.2007] have never multiplied like they did this year. The flowers are not as abundant now, but this variety keeps on giving with their variegated zebra leaves. These leaves are now the eye catcher in the garden because of the size and quantity.

What can be said of these miniature Mexican zinnias (zinnia agustifolia)? These little fellows refuse to give in to the season and continue to look as healthy and fresh as when they were planted. They were purchased in spring to fill in where the grape hyacinth foliage was going to die off. They neatly spread into mounds of ever-blooming color, and continue to this day, fighting to the finish for attention with the canna leaves.

Other holdouts include everlasting green flowering nicotiana [17.7.2007] and purple-leaf basil with its light purple blooms. The purple salvia has also sprung back to life after some cutting back and deadheading last month.

Garden Calendar:
  • Blooming: purple salvia, green nicotiana, cosmos, canna, basil, zinnia
  • Leaf color change: star magnolia, dogwood, chinese redbud, hostas

2 comments:

Northern Shade said...
You have to cheer for the holdouts that don't give in to fall.
Can your cannas overwinter outside, or do you take them in when the cold comes? I like their striking foliage, with nice colours.
Swimray said...
I lift the canna rhizomes and store them over winter after the frost. They are replanted in the spring, (but there has always been casualties during winter.) This past year, one canna accidently left in-ground over winter sprang back to life in the spring - getting a jump start on the rhizomes I replanted from the previous year.

So, I guess they can possibly overwinter here. But last winter was mild.

My landscape architect friends think the striped leaves are hideous.