We definitely expect a freeze by tomorrow night.
We feel it coming in the wind blowing through the garden. With our high for today in the low 50s, we know it will drop quickly from here on.
The winter storm which has so much of the country in its icy grip is blowing into Williamsburg this weekend.
Many of the pots have been replanted now with Violas and ornamental kale.
With so much of the country under snow, and threat of snow, we can hardly complain about a mid-November frost.
But the day is still tinged with a bit of sadness. Sadness, and motivation to take care of everything we possibly can before the cold settles in this evening.
The African Blue Basil may be tough, but it isn’t cold hardy. It will die with the first heavy frost. We still see bees and butterflies. We hope they find shelter or fly south today.
After making the coffee this morning, I set about bringing in those last few pots of tender perennials.
I’ve filled every possible spot now in the house and garage with overwintering plants. The main body of them in the garage got re-arranged this morning to make room for a few more pots.
This Begonia has been lifted from its pot by the door and brought inside to the garage for the winter.
Even the brave Bougainvillea, which only started blooming in mid- October, finally made the journey from patio to garage this morning.
Our three year old Bougainvillea has waited until October to bloom. It came back into the garage this morning, covered in bright cherry flowers.
And the supposedly hardy “Pewter” Begonia got brought in to the garage, as well. Its leaves are so pretty, I hate to let it go to the frost.
A pot of tender ferns, a few more pots of tender succulents, and a final mish-mash pot of Begonia cuttings completed the morning’s efforts.
The last pot to come in this morning, these tender ferns now have a snug spot by a basement window.
My ever patient partner assisted (supervised) this final effort until getting called away to assist a neighbor. And from there to another neighbor’s yard, and then to another.
His work out may have been more strenuous than mine, but we all now have covered outside faucets, covered foundation vents, and we’re as ready as we can be for the prolonged stretch of cold ahead.
This winter I’m using watering globes to care for the indoor plants. Neater, they offer a nearly constant supply of moisture. The fern hasn’t yet adjusted to the drier inside air.
And at noon our local weather guy confided that we may have some “Bay effect snow” by Saturday morning.
That seems to be the way our forecasts evolve around here. They prepare you for a little change, and then the forecast continues to shift towards the extremes as the system progresses.
We are promised only rain this evening. And I can feel the falling barometer and approaching storm in all of the usual places….
A final photo of our roses before I cut them.
But we have today to enjoy the garden before Frost’s icy fingers have their way with it. I’ve moved all those things for which there is simply no spot inside up against a brick wall on the patio.
Petunias survived there two winters ago.
Our sheltered patio provides a micro-climate which stays warmer during the winter. Petunias survived all winter here in 2012, and I hope tender plants will survive here this winter, also.
They began blooming again in February, and just kept going right on through the following summer. That gives me hope that the few geraniums and succulents I couldn’t bring in have a chance to survive.
And the little olive trees I’ve been nurturing along in pots should make it there, too.
Although the Colocasias look unhappy, the ginger lilies and Canna lilies have managed fine in our cool nights. They will all crumple when hit with freezing temperatures this weekend.
I’ve read they are growing olives in parts of England, now. I hope these are hardy enough to survive our winter outside, in this sheltered spot.
They traveled in and out, as the weather shifted, last winter. It got to be quite a chore, but the olive trees were in much smaller pots then, too.
And the many Violas we’ve planted will be fine. They will shrug off the cold.
We’ve planted lots of ornamental kale, a pot of Swiss chard, hardy ferns, bulbs, and our beloved Violas.
Our garden will continue through the winter, even though much will go with the coming frost.
So, we are bracing ourselves for what we’ll find Saturday morning.
The landscape continue to edit and simplify itself. As the brilliant leaves fall from their branches, so will our Ginger lilies and Cannas also crumple to the ground.
Iris “Rosalie Figge” normally blooms into December for us in Williamsburg. This is our favorite, and most prolific, re-blooming Iris.
The bright Salvias will shrivel back to the soil. The Lantana will lose its leaves, though the berries will remain until cleaned up by the birds.
Basil will freeze beside the stalwart Rosemary, which grows and blooms all winter long.
Mexican Petunia, a consistent bloomer all summer, won’t survive a freeze. But its roots are hardy. It should return in this pot early next summer.
The last of autumn’s roses will soon freeze, but the Camellias will continue to bloom until spring.
I harvested roses and Basil, scented Pelargonium and ivy ahead of the coming rain and cold. We’ll enjoy them a few more days inside.
It is the way of things, this annual turning of the seasons.
Butterfly tree produces wonderful turquoise blue seeds, which are much loved by the birds. Only a few remain.
Something is always coming on, and something is always fading in the garden. And we are endlessly fascinated as we witness the changes which come each and every day.
We’ll enjoy these last roses of the season on the kitchen counter, so we want them to look interesting from all sides. They are a bit floppy yet, but with a little tweaking will be pretty for a few more days.
Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014
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