It’s October 30 and still no freeze. This has been a very warm October. In all the decades I’ve gardened in southern New England I do not recall a time when there was not a freeze before Halloween.
Just nine days ago this Black-eyed Susan was blooming as if it still had the entire growing season ahead of it.
Zinnias have provided continuous material for indoor bouquets. As I write, two vases of zinnias brighten a table and the kitchen counter.
Coleus and basil – two annuals most sensitive to even the slightest frost – remain in full leaf and full bloom.
Pollinators hover around remaining flowers to gather the last bits of pollen and/or nectar of the season.
Roses keep pushing out blossoms, and the variegated hydrangea leaves look as fresh and green as they normally look in July.
Yet, the dogwood has donned its autumn hues and adorned its branch tips with berries.
Winterberry shrubs entice passing birds with their usual display of plump, red fruit.
Holly shrubs are covered with green berries that promise to turn red before the end of the year.
Squirrels bury nuts in every bit of soft soil they can find. And the sun sets in the western sky earlier and earlier each afternoon.
The calendar indicates autumn, but the temperatures don’t reflect the season. Mid-October is typically when our first frost arrives. Frost has, indeed, come to some open fields in the area, but it has not yet visited my gardens.
This Halloween will be the first in memory to arrive before the first killing frost.