Flirting with Frost

Cosmos bipinnatus 'Sensation'

We’ve been just missing predicted frost the last few nights but I think this may well have been the last of the frost-free nights.  It’s hard to complain because the average date for first frost in our area is October 25th but I thought that nature was trying to make amends for the disastrous summer growing season with high temps and no rainfall.  We’ve had a lovely October and the vegetables that I, with only the faintest of hope of success, planted in the dregs of early August has been yielding in abundance.

Late Fall harvest

Everything is growing as though the parched summer was only a distant memory and it does help rekindle my enthusiasm.

Fall lettuce

It’s quite unusual for us to have squash this time of year because it’s usually long gone to the squash borers by now.

Summer Squash

In addition to the green beans which are doing nicely, the original planting of Swiss Chard went right through the drought as though it were no problem at all and the small patch has been flourishing this fall.

Swiss Chard

This wonderful fall weather has brought out the color for some of the trees and shrubs.  It’s always amazing to see the variety of colors and forms that jump to the camera at this time of year.  Let’s start with the Amur Maple that provides the backdrop for the MacGardens header.

Amur Maple (Acer ginnala)

This is a reliable treasure with consistent strong reds and golds on small leaves that flutter in the wind.

Another really strong red is the Sour Gum that grows wild in the second pasture.

Sour Gum (Nyssa sylvatica)

It always colors up pretty early compared to a lot of the trees.

Sour Gum leaves

We also have a lot of wild sassafras that has pretty nice oranges and yellows in trees that line the pasture.


In the same area we have a lot of Bigtooth Aspen that not only color up nicely but flutter their leaves in the wind in a gentle whispering characteristic of the Aspens.

Bigtooth Aspen (Populus grandidentata)

Of course you can’t go anywhere on our property without noticing the dogwoods, both wild and planted, that have to be one of the all time best four-season plants.

Dogwood (Cornus florida)

A couple of standout favorites for fall leaves are the Sweet Gum and the Sugar Maple.

Backlit Sweet Gum (Liquidambar styraciflua)

The Sweet Gum is one of the first trees that we planted when we moved here 35 years ago.  Followed only shortly afterwards by the Sugar Maple.

Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum)

Finally a treasure at the bottom of the pasture is a pair of Pecans that color up very nicely in a good year.  They always look very nice against the backdrop of White Pines that form that part of our boundary.

Pecan (Carya illinoinensis)

Of course they look pretty nice with just the sky as a backdrop as well…

Top of Pecan

3 comments on “Flirting with Frost

  1. jo

    Looks like Nature is apologizing for the poor summer conditions and giving you a refund 🙂
    Just as well.
    It all looks very lush and perfect.

    1. jw

      Or maybe it’s just a downpayment for next year 🙂

  2. Les

    I see your horrible summer did not appear to affect the beauty of your fall. While are not to the point we have cheated frost yet, it is definately cooler. We got to the upper 40’s last night and I suppose it is time to consider bringing the houseplants in.