The First Bite

Last night we experienced our first bite of autumn. It wasn’t much of a frost (about 28F [-2.2C]), but it was enough to freeze the surface of the birdbath, sentence the mandevilla to the compost pile, damage a number of open azalea and rose blossoms, and discolor the hydrangeas.

The first thing I noticed was the covering of frost on the ‘Ever Red’ Japanese maple in the center of the back garden. In a few hours with the sun, the frost vanished, but I will have to wait to see if the foliage were damaged. I hope not, as it has yet to show its normal fall beauty.

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The frost created a lace-like edge on the tiny leaves of the ‘Royal Burgundy’ barberry.

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It did the same to the outer leaves of the ‘Endless Summer’ hydrangea. The inner leaves appear to have been protected. By mid-day the blossoms on all the hydgrangeas were starting to turn dark. Perhaps some still in the bud stage will make it to bloom before the next frost.

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There was just enough cold to finish off the basil, but the recently potted pansies and violas came through this first bite of autumn in fine style.

It seems to me that this was a bit early for a first frost for our area. Historically, the average first frost date here is 11-20 November. And we still have some six weeks until the arrival of winter. This one caught me off guard; I will have to pay more attention to the weather lady and remember what might need my attention. Perhaps I should consider this early November frost as a “promise of winter to come.”

About johnvic8

John Viccellio retired after 24 years in the U. S. Navy and began to dig into gardening when he could finally land in one place. He completed the Master Gardener course in 1992 and has since designed and constructed two of his own gardens. He wrote a monthly garden column for ten years and was a regular contributor to Carolina Gardener magazine. John published his first book, Guess What's in My Garden!, in 2014. He lives in Stallings, NC with his wife, in close proximity to six of his eight grandchildren.
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6 Responses to The First Bite

  1. pbmgarden says:

    You had a bit more nip of winter than we did. The frost makes some nice images. Hope the acer foliage is ok.

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  2. johnvic8 says:

    Thanks, Susie. The maple seems to be fine, but all the hydrangea blossoms are brown this morning.

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  3. We have yet to have the frost, but I usually look for photo ops when we do. Like you showed, the foliage takes on its own mystique.

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  4. johnvic8 says:

    Thanks, Donna. The changing weather is making a big difference in my garden.

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  5. Pauline says:

    I hope your Acer has survived the frost without any damage. We sometimes have our first frost October 15th, so that is when I bring my tender plants in, this year though we are still waiting for our first one. The frost makes lovely patterns round the edges of the leaves, so pretty.

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