Last night (Oct 14/15) we had our first frost. By the time I dragged my carcass from between the covers at 8:30 (hey, it’s Saturday after all) the sun was shining and the rooftops were still sparkling with frost. There was even some ground frost on the lawn where the sun hadn’t yet touched.
It was a lovely, sunny autumn day and I decided to take advantage of the weather to begin putting my garden to bed for winter. It seems a little premature because I’m still picking raspberries, but it is mid-October and around here that means the rainy season will soon begin. And it’s much nicer to work outside in sunshine and warmth than in sideways rain.
Before I could put away my tender plants I had to make room for them, which meant it was time to dissect the remaining tomato and pepper plants in the greenhouse, harvesting what I could. I also cleaned out all the garbage, empty plant pots (I swear they multiply like rabbits when I’m not looking) and half-full bottles of fish fertilizer and liquid seaweed. I swept all the shelving and the floor, and began loading in my geraniums, callas, cannas, begonias, echeveria, aeonium, and other plants that need protection over winter.
Quite a few of these will migrate further into my garage in a few weeks where they will bask in the glow and relative warmth of grow lights until spring arrives. And that will make room in the unheated greenhouse for those hardy souls that just need a touch of winter protection, like my bay laurel, the potted rosemary, fuchsia Wilma Verslot and my trachelospermum jasminoides (Confederate or Star Jasmine).
It’s always a little sad, putting away summer, but I also like how clean and tidy everything looks when I’m done. And I’ll feel better when the sideways rain starts and I don’t have to watch my poor plants thrashing around in the cold and wet.