More results of freeze

I started looking at the results of our recent first freeze in yesterday's post, showing the beauty in the big leaves now dead.

Today it's less pretty, showing some of the more interesting observations of a post-freezing night.


Some perennials use the first freeze as the sign that it's time for leaves to start dropping. The rose mallow (Hibiscus lasiocarpos) leaf above is a good example of this.

Other plants use the first sub-freezing temperature as a leaf drop trigger:

The white mulberry tree (Morus alba) is my best indicator of the first freeze of the year, as it drops every leaf at once when the temperature dips below freezing. I kind of wish that all of the trees did this, as it would make raking the yard a one-time thing.

Then there are the non-hardy perennials, tropicals, and annuals. They don't typically like freezing.

A basil with foliage of this color during the growing season might be welcomed as a wonderful new cultivar:

It's difficult to see, but each of the papyrus head "filaments"has turned dry and crispy:

Much like some of the grasses:

Pennisetum 'Vertigo' may be big, but it's not tough -- can't even take a little freeze!

Other plants don't get crispy, they instead turn to mush:

Sometimes the freeze damage is only partial:

It's always interesting and puzzling to me when one part of a plant gets zapped, while the branch or leaves right next to it are spared:

Sometimes there are traces of beauty in the wreckage of a plant's collision with the freezing point:

Usually though, it's just a complete mess that requires pruners to pretty up -- when only the plant's removal improves the view:

There are plants though that quietly accept their one-summer lifespan, knowing they've done their part to ensure the survival of their species:

True that they don't always succeed...

...but they do the best they can. I'll have dozens of dozens of Datura inoxia next year regardless of how many unripe seed pods are still on the now-dead plants.

Even so, I get a bit sad when the first freeze hits... it really means that serious gardening season is over for another five months or so. Sigh.


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Salty Pumpkin Studio  – (October 31, 2013 at 8:51 AM)  

Lovely post
There are so many balsam in my tiny garden, after the first frost thawed, it looks like a slimy slug banquet.

Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (October 31, 2013 at 12:24 PM)  

Starkly beautiful photos but I'm not ready to face what is inevitable even in our climate. I prefer to be in denial :-).

Rock rose  – (November 1, 2013 at 6:17 AM)  

You had a freeze already! Well I guess it is November. It is odd how some parts of a plant might be spared. I have noticed that too.

Alan  – (November 1, 2013 at 8:18 AM)  

Rock rose: We seem to get that most years: one night of freeze followed by a week of warm days and nights. It's actually quite nice for cleaning up the tender plants before the colder weather comes in. :)

The Gardening Blog  – (November 1, 2013 at 8:54 AM)  

Love the leaf post - just saw Donna's post with autumn leaves and you both have such interesting views and colours! Love the autumn.

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