Friday, September 16, 2011

Cover Up, It's Chilly Out

 We did have frost on Wednesday night, enough to turn the roof on the gazebo white and to cover the lawn in patches.  The weatherpeople threw that precaution out there on the news, 'Chance of frost' for Wednesday, but then they really cautioned against it Thursday night with frost warnings instead of chances.  It's just like the game, Deal or No Deal.  Cover up your annuals or leave them nekkid and exposed?  Turns out the worst frost for us was Wednesday (the Chance Night) instead of Thursday (the Sure Thing Night)

Welcome to my latest game for garden tourists, Name That Plant.  Here's the way the game is played:  Guests are given ballots and a pencil and asked to write down what they think is hiding under the Various Colorful Blankets.  Sort of a Let's Make a Deal and hope you don't get zonked.  Well, I guess there's nothing to win for them, but for me there is, because as the plant is revealed (they have to uncover it to find out) they are then saving me the chore. 
Check out that happenin' fabric.  Actually, it makes a pretty flower bed all by itself, doesn't it?  Time for another revelation about what I do with my spare time in the Winter besides stained glass.  I sew.   And yes, the fabric is something I picked out about twenty years ago.  Cut me a break, the fabric was cheap and my tastes have changed.  (A little.)  But the fabric still makes a good frost protection cover.
And so does an old couch coverup/throw thingie.  I sometimes think the things I use to keep the plants alive might actually embarrass them to death instead.  I told you the yard would look like a Rummage Sale Explosion happened. 
We're not through with the tour of my lovely fabrics yet;  over in the front yard we have a huge blue tarp and a hunk of denim in many colors.  The three celosias on the end had to fend for themselves Wednesday night and got nipped some, but pulled through. 
This castor bean sporting one of my old curtains scared the bajeebas out of me this morning when I turned around and found it right behind me.  It looks more like Halloween around here than anything, doesn't it?

Ernie, alias Casper the Ghost, hiding under his shroud.
 Now that I look at these pictures I guess it reminds me of a big, old house in those creepy movies where the occupants left their furniture behind when they moved (or was it because they were rich folk who owned more than ten houses and didn't need all those pesky chairs and couches?) 
 Last night when I left the dogs out for their potty break, they were both startled by the sight of these 'things' lurking in the driveway.  Well, ok, maybe they were just shocked by my fabric choices from back in the day, but with the moonlight shining on all these blobs, it really looked weird.  Now that I see this one in broad daylight, wow.....I'm blushing for the plants underneath.

In our garage I have the Bargain Corner where you can select slightly used annuals at a discount price. 

OH, and check out the tomatoes, below.  There's a picture you've never seen of my Illustrious Vegetable Patch.  Yep, that's it.  I have over ten acres of land that's not being farmed on which I could plant a vegetable garden to feed an army, and here it is, a 10' x 10' patch filled with exactly 15 tomato plants, 56 onions, and two, yes, two, green peppers.  Ta Da!   Despite how sad this looks, the tomatoes have produced quite well so far, and have loads of green fruit on the vine yet.  I have over a bushel of nearly ripe tomatoes sitting on the front porch ripening in the hopes I can make some more sauce.

Ok, enough Show 'N Tell of my deplorable taste in fabrics.  Let's see what I didn't cover.

Rocks are really good at holding heat.  I'm always amazed too, by how blue the sky usually is after a frost. 
Though it isn't as blue as 'Victoria' salvia or
this little 'Blue Butterfly' delphinium that decided to grace the garden so late in the season.

This picture was taken on Wednesday morning around 10AM.  It is amazing what the changing light conditions do to the looks of the same garden in the late evening.
The shadows are long and the sunlight seems more precious after a frost. 
The flowers I took for granted a few days ago suddenly seem more special.  These moss roses are hovering near the limestone where they find a little bit of warmth.
Moss roses love dry and sandy conditions, so they have claimed the hills around the Quarry as their home, reseeding to their heart's content along with my stands of rudbeckias.  
These are the last of the rudbeckia seedlings to bloom, after this, we're done.
There's a 'Blue Butterfly' again with a pale pink petunia. Here I go again, running off at the camera all over the place with a whole bunch of pictures.  Just go through 'em fast, it will go quicker that way.

Under the tarp, stuff survived even though plastic tarps aren't really supposed to be great for frost protection.
Oh, Pachyberm how we'll miss the color.
I had the camera out last night just before sunset, trying to capture more of the sun's fading glory.  Isn't it amazing the difference in the photo of the same flower pot taken in the morning and in the evening?

Grasses abound around here, Karl Foerster, Japanese Silver Grass and one of the pinker miscanthus here and there with clouds drifting off to the north.

More grasses, more rocks, more dwarf conifers.  Scroll faster.

 The castor beans grew so tall that they've made the trail between the house and Pachyberm really narrow.
Castor bean close up.

 Dwarf white pine on the hill is becoming a bit more than dwarf, but that's ok, I love white pines.
 More assorted conifers and grasses and sunset light.
 Hostas hiding in the rocks by the Quarry, trying to stay warm.

The trumpet vine is still going strong, but I'm not sure if the hummingbirds are still here to enjoy it.
 Even though we messed up the Formal Garden, the annuals are still doing their thing.

Loved the striping on the rock from the grass planted next to it.


Sunset put an end to my photographic madness. I know I went overboard taking pictures, but I thought Mother Nature was going to freeze everything to death.  So, that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

Head on over to Fertilizer Friday and see what Tootsie has going on there with beautiful gardens from all over.

(I highly doubt there will be too many ugly plant covers flaunted on other blogs, sorry Tootsie!)


Tufa Girl said...

I love it! That is exactly what our other house used to look like on a frost/freeze night. I make no apologizes for my choices of colors as it is all about the cover. Gypsy gardener girls unite!

Tombstone Livestock said...

Beautiful Gardens, fabric and all, thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Wow....Stunned and amazed at the colour texture and vast quantity of your garden covers!!!!! You know you could just claim it's a retro look! Pleased you did not loose any plants in the frost. I like it when you go camera crazy. I just could not bring myself to scroll through quickly despite your cajoling...I have to treat your blog like a fine wine savor it and linger over it drinking in the lovely photos....the get a hangover when I look out the window at my little garden. Have a fun weekend.

Sandy said...

You must take a photo of the store room full of folded, blankets, sheets, tarps or what ever you have in there to cover all your wonderful plants...while your at it, please blow south some of that chilly weather... It's 4pm and 96' here still!
Happy weekend!

Anonymous said...

Now that is funny. All those bedsheets and all. Glad they worked, the gardens are still really beautiful. Frost here tonight and I don't give a hoot what succumbs. The less to care for is my motto this time of year.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Karen,

I applaud your energy going around covering all of your annuals. My sweet potato vine has already bitten the dust along with my basil. We have had not had frost but temps in the low forties will affect many plants. I guess I had better bring in my tropicals.


Zoey said...

Oh, my, Karen. You did a lot of work covering all those flowers! Everything still looks great!

I was much too lazy and did not cover a thing. We had frost the past two nights, but I don't think it killed anything.

I just got home from work, so have not gone out yet to check.

Anyway, I don't care. I have no wedding in my yard, so if it dies, it dies. I am ready to end this season.

Sue said...

Karen, you must need a warehouse to store all your blankets and such to cover plants. I finally gave up and let everything freeze. And you know what? It's wonderful!
But of course, you have a wedding, but after that--take it easy.
Beautiful photos as always. It would be very hard to let go of that garden.

Randy Emmitt said...


Fabric queen, haa!! Some assortment of frost coverings. It's even cold here a high of 62 tomorrow, barely made 62 today also. We have the heat on for the first time this fall. I saw 3 bees at the outside of the hive, they were staying put. Tomorrow the school where Meg teaches in working(all school workday) on landscape, big rocks were brought in and installed I was thinking about you guys seeing them set the rocks.

Dandelion and Daisy said...

I'm impressed with your determination to keep your garden going. About this time of year I'm pretty tired of gardening and ready for it to end. I'm slowly dumping the potted flowers....the saddest looking ones,anyway. It is obvious you garden for the love of it!

Mac_fromAustralia said...

Oh dear, frost already? Gorgeous photos, I love the lighting effects, especially with the grasses. (And, um, I actually quite like that blue patchwork type fabric.)

Karen said...

Hi Cindy, it worked and it was colorful to boot, a win-win!

Tombstone Livestock, welcome! Glad you enjoyed my fabric display.

Aw, Sueb, I'm glad you enjoyed the fabric frenzy, too. And I thank you so much for your very kind comments. I love your garden, too.

Sandy, I'll gladly send you some cooler weather, but I sure won't take a photo of where I keep my fabric stash. Someone will come over to the house to haul me to the loony bin.

Donna, I'm nearly in the same mindset, if I didn't have the wedding coming, the stuff could go, too.

Yes, Eileen, it does seem to be the end of the road for the summer plants, frost or no frost. The nights are coming on much earlier.

Zoey, I feel much the same way, especially since we're giving it all we have on the stone house job. And my luck, the wedding will cancel. But anyway, I'll keep the blooms for as long as possible.

Sue, I was thinking what a nut I am for trying to keep this going when Ma Nature is not on my side. I don't know what I'd do if the gardening season went on all year...I kind of look forward to the winter at times because at least we get a break. And I store all that fabric in my basement sewing room. Time to do take inventory again, good grief.

Hi Randy, yes, I do need my head examined when it comes to the fabric and the rocks and the annuals. I love to watch people with the appropriate equipment move big rocks, they make it look so easy. We're going to the local quarry tomorrow morning (for mason sand for the stone house) but if a rock or two would hop on the trailer, we won't kick them off.

Dandelion and Daisy, yes, I am just about ready to give up the garden too, and am thinking about cleaning up areas here and there.

Mac, I'm glad someone doesn't think my taste in fabric is completely deplorable, lol. Yes, frost already, summer is just starting for you, right?

Darla said...

Let me just say, you aren't alone with the colorful fabrics for protecting plants! Love the backlit grass photos.

Karen said...

Darla, not you TOO? Fabric is so addictive and then I air my addiction on the blog for all to see.

HolleyGarden said...

Every time I see your garden in pictures, I am so impressed. So beautiful. I had to laugh, though, when I saw the blankets, and I could actually imagine you playing that "game"! The pictures of the light shining through the grasses are beautiful. And the one of the ray through the arbor is gorgeous, too. I hope you are safe from frost for a while longer so you can continue to enjoy your garden, at least for a few more weeks.

mudderbear said...

You must have a huge garden and it's all very beautiful. I have to see summer go this year, but the leaves in my world are just barely starting to turn.
Enjoy your day.

Rosemary said...

Karen Mother Nature is always challenging...from hot as hades to chilly frost in just a couple of weeks...... surprisingly none here yet... my garden too looks like something out of a horror movie when frost threatens too early.
My favourite photo and there are several but the one with the grass back lit by the sun, millet ,the pink ,blue and red flowers at the base is stunning..the other that you should submit to a photo contest is the sun shining thru the gazebo...
then you topped off with the sunset and the flowers and grasses in black as usual I am in awe at your creative eye.....

Wsprsweetly Of Cottages said...

I literally gasped when I pulled up your blog! Now that's LOVE! Covering all those plants. We seldom get real bad freezes or frosts here in Southern California..but the way the weather has been of late..I am not sure I trust it. Your gardens are lovely!!

Bernie said...

It's been a whole new learning experience for me since joining the gardening blog community. I had no idea gardeners would wrap up or cover up plants with pretty sheets and cutains! That's not something that happens here in the tropics ... of course. I enjoyed the stroll through your lovely garden today. It's always a treat.

Karen said...

HolleyGarden, do you think the garden game will work? It would be a change from the usual tours, that's for sure.

mudderbear, the funny thing is, the trees haven't started turning here yet, either. They will be soon, though.

Thank you, Rosemary, I ran a little nuts with the camera that night since I was afraid we were going into the deep freeze. I'm happy to say we did get a reprieve.

Wsprsweetly, welcome! I'm glad you enjoyed your visit to my Fabric Wonderland, lol.

Hi Bernie, no, I imagine there isn't much call for bundling up your garden in afghans and mittens, is there? Us northern nuts have to do what we can to eke out a growing season around here. So glad you stopped in for a visit!

Landbohaven said...

Jeg kom lige forbi din blog.
Hvor har du en smuk forside på din blog.
Smuk have. Mange skønne blomster.
Tak for rundvisningen.

Jennifer@threedogsinagarden said...

Hi Karen, Gosh, you have a large garden! I am experienced enough to know how much work it must be. I enjoyed seeing your shrouded plants and reading your funny comments. I think I have a similar collection of old fabrics. (My Mom was always a great seamstress.) I especially liked your shot with the grass making a striped effect on the rocks (at first glance, I thought it was just an unusual rock).

Millie said...

Your photos of covers cracked me'a amazing how we try to extend the season..
I loved the celosia..