Awakening early on the first frosty morning of autumn is a photographic opportunity not to be missed. October 13, 2012 brought not just the first frost to my Connecticut gardens, but the first freeze. Temperatures dropping to 28 degrees F. ceases the growing season for tender annuals. The secret is enabling the camera lens to catch frosted leaves before they begin to thaw.
Coleus hates cold, but frost crystals add new depth to the maroon leaves of this variety. The moment the sun began to warm these leaves, they turned mushy brown.
Other garden plants are a bit more hardy. They usually bounce back from the first frost as if nothing hit them. Still, a coating of frost gives many leaves a whole new look.
Fern fronds appear to have been sprinkled with sugar.
Tiny leaves of ordinary thyme take on a variegated look.
Though temporarily weighted down by a coating of frost, these mums bounced back with new vigor.
Frost highlights the intricate patterns of foxglove foliage.
The grass blades crunched under each footstep. (I don’t recommend walking on frozen grass unless you don’t mind damaging it.)
Look at your landscape from a new perspective. You are likely to walk away with renewed appreciation for common scenery.
This bunch of grass grows next to an old tree stump piled with fieldstone while awaiting removal. It’s an eyesore from any other vantage point, but not from ground-level with the sunrise glowing in the background sheds new light on the ripened seed heads.
Early morning observations, such as these, allow you to identify the areas of your landscape most susceptible to frost and give you insight into how frost settles. This can be valuable knowledge when trying to find the right place for new plant purchases. Placing a more tender specimen in an open spot may doom it to failure yet the same plant, in a more protected location, is likely to thrive.
One of the many pleasures of gardening comes from watching and learning about your landscape. An early frosty morning is another opportunity to learn … even without camera in hand.