Plants are confused

Frost finally visited the garden on November 9, ending the growing season for all tender annuals and most perennials. Still, by 10 am this morning the temperature reached 57 degrees. My plants are confused by these wide temperature swings.

One must get out early to capture the fleeting beauty of frost on tender annuals. Once the frost melts away tender foliage turns to a squishy mess.

frosted coleus leaves

The frosted foliage of coleus and gomphrena quickly brown when temperatures rise.





frosted gomphrena







frosted Lady’s Mantle

The foliage of Lady’s Mantle and spirea take a bit longer to brown.





frosted spirea







frosted santolina

But the santolina and amsonia hold their color later into the season, providing interest until the snow falls.




frosted amsonia







confused narcissi poking through the soil on 11/19/17 in south-central Connecticut

But will snow fall? Will frost return and stay long enough to stop the upward progress of these confused narcissi poking from the ground?




In previous warm winters, I’ve had crocus and early blooming narcissi poke through the soil during a January thaw. I’ve never had spring blooming bulbs poke out of the ground in November.

Weather extremes seem to be part of a new normal for Connecticut gardeners. Looking back on my weather notes for this year, I mentioned wide temperature swings in January, May, August, September, and November. April and June were somewhat normal, weather-wise, but October was way warmer than we normally see.

No wonder my plants are confused.




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