First Frost

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.

First frost on the clover

Frost on the clover

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.

I'm still harvesting raspberries, among other things.

I'm still harvesting raspberries, among other things.

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.

In the greenhouse, safe from frost

In the greenhouse, safe from frost

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).

Red blooms of Echeveria 'Black Knight'

Red blooms of Echeveria 'Black Knight'

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.

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About hortophile

I am a very opinionated, slightly obsessed gardener with decades of experience in the retail nursery industry. A lucky resident of the "Wet Coast" of British Columbia I tread a muddy path between practicality and beauty, with my veggie patch, herb garden and fruits vying for position with the beautiful trees, shrubs and flowers that I can't resist. DON'T ask me to choose between them! I believe in environmental responsibility and common sense.
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4 Responses to First Frost

  1. barb19 says:

    You are so organized with your garden activities! We don’t have the problem of frost at any time of the year, so I guess I’m lucky – I can leave my plants exactly where they are!
    Bet you felt good after cleaning out the greenhouse to make room for your tender plants over winter – a job well done!

  2. Margie says:

    I love your greenhouse! Someday I hope to have one – of course, I’ve been saying that for about 40 years, so I don’t know if it will ever happen! We had our first frost on August 15 – but it didn’t kill too much. The hard frost was in the middle of September.

    • hortophile says:

      I procrastinated about a greenhouse too – until one practically fell into my lap! A neighbour was moving and didn’t want to move his greenhouse, and the new homeowners didn’t want it either (fools!) so he offered it to me at a price I couldn’t refuse. Six of us picked it up and heaved it over the fence into our yard and I had my greenhouse! Now I want a bigger greenhouse…

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