Just as we did in October 2010, we skipped the early frosts of September and went straight to a hard freeze: 22F on October 13th. With a cold snap like that, you might think everything would be flattened. But you would be wrong.
Gotta Love That Rose!First a tip of the hat to Rosa ‘ZleMatinCipar’, better known as Oso Happy Candy Oh! Landscape Rose. I received two of these shrubs as trial plants in 2010. This year I moved them to the new house in July. They had been getting no supplemental water at the old house, and it had been dry for so long the leaves were starting to curl. When I moved them, they wound up dropping most of their leaves, but then sprouted new ones, and even started blooming. I have to say I’m impressed. Here’s what a bloom cluster looked like last year: This rose is tough! Bred in Minnesota, it is hardy to USDA Zone 4. It is not fragrant and its flowers look better on the shrub than in a vase, but I found if I thought of it as a flowering shrub and not a rose bush, I was mighty happy. I have given this a prominent place in my new garden because I trust it to look good for a long time with little attention from me. Highly recommended.
Cold Hardy Annuals
It probably won’t surprise you to learn that the pansies, violas and alyssum were unfazed by the freeze.Really, every cold climate gardener should have one or both of these in a container by the most-traveled entrance to his or her home, just to remind oneself that being tough enough to take the cold doesn’t mean you have to be ugly.
I have to concede that, Candy Oh! rose, alyssum and pansies aside, most flowers were flattened. That is why we grow some plants for their foliage. The heucheras were uniformly unscathed:Some heucheras don’t like mud season–they rot in it–but the ones that can survive that look good for a good long time, longer than you will want to be in the garden. Brrr! So keep experimenting with heucheras until you find some that do well in your garden. Ornamental grasses still look stupendous. I’d almost have to say, in the slanting light of autumn they are finally coming into their own. The grass pictured at left was here when we moved in. It took most of the summer to look like much of anything, but now it is taller than I am. I love how it catches the afternoon sun.
Kale is King
And don’t forget vegetables. Kale is tough enough to take the cold, and tastes better after a frost, as do many vegetables in the cabbage family.
Look for the Latecomers
It often happens that fully opened flowers are ruined by a freeze, but those in bud are not. If you have some mild days after that one cruel night, you will see some new blooms on plants like asters, roses, hardy geraniums, dianthus, and colchicums.
The flowers after a big freeze are like the leftovers from a big feast: they will satisfy the hungry. If you’re hungry for the last bits of beauty, you will seek them out.
Inspired by the words of Elizabeth Lawrence, “We can have flowers nearly every month of the year,” Carol of May Dreams Gardens started Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. On the 15th of every month, garden bloggers from all over the world publish what is currently blooming in their gardens, and leave a link in Mr. Linky and the comments of May Dreams Gardens.