Garden Frost

 Brave rose to be flowering in winter.
a frosted dublin bay

The house woke up to find a frosty blanket covering the garden. The first frost of the year had the garden in its grasp until the morning sun warmed things up.

Eldest Son was bossed out of bed at 6:45am, a camera thrust into his hand with instructions to go forth and photograph the garden. As a result there were many Frosty photographs featuring on the site for the next weeks. So he says - Moosey's account of the frosty morning is somewhat different...

Frosty Beginnings

The gardening year is a grand cycle of growth and decay, full of defining moments. I've read about 'the first snowdrop', and known gardeners who can chronicle to the hour the unfurling of the first rose bud.

 Hebes are pretty frost resistant though.
frosty hebe

Perhaps there is a sensitive gardener out there who just knows that it's the first day of Spring, or can pounce on the first aphid of the rose season and squash it.

Defining Gardening Moments

So why don't I ever experience one of these defining gardening moments? What do I do wrong? I don't notice the first daffodils until days after arrival. I suddenly realise that my earliest rose Fruhlingsmorgen has been blooming for at least a week - petals are starting to fall off! I've never yet managed to spot the very first aphid, and I know there must be one!

I spend hours 'out there' peeping, gazing, sitting, or just wandering around. And I've tried to get a more scientific feel for the sequence of gardening events here. I've made lists of blooming arrivals for all the beds, I've sat and stared at wall calendars, I've drawn up spreadsheets, even plotted time series graphs...

 The trouble with Black Knight is that the flowers are so small, compared to the mass of greenery on the plant.
salvia - black knight

Frosty Photographer

One day last week, in a hurry getting ready to go to work, I saw my semi-naked lunatic son, leaping around outside in the chilly early morning gloom. Just out of the shower and wrapped in a small towel, he appeared to be taking photographs of grass blades - or, knowing him, insects sitting on grass blades...

Brr... It's Cold Outside

People who can take fifty photos of one insect doing absolutely nothing on a blade of grass can be puzzling to live with (particularly if they are adult, intelligent and semi-naked, and it's winter. I flash-backed to School Geography and strange cold-country customs I'd read about - like racing outside into winter, naked, then leaping into hot steam baths, that sort of thing.

But I was running late, so I grabbed my teacher things and left. A case of mid-winter madness, maybe - when you live with nice but crazy people you just learn to ignore them.

 Brr...looks cold out there!
Sunrise over back paddock

Later that day I worked it out. I'd just missed the first frost - that inevitable, fateful, defining gardening moment which comes to Canterbury gardens. I've been preparing for this seasonal milestone for three or four weeks now.

Shifting the Daisies

I've been doing things like shifting pots of zonal geraniums and daisies into the glass-house, and taking cuttings of all the half-hardy perennials I use so much - like Ageratum and Peppermint Geranium. I've been farewelling the big white floppy dahlias each weekend. I've even taken to watching the weather forecast on TV each night.

Well, at least I've got the photos!