Annual (weather) events

Rosa 'Champlain' and Rose Garden high-lights As a New Englander I can be pretty certain that the garden will be hit by a frost … sometime … and over the course of the fall, we coastal New Englanders can reasonably expect high tides, rain, big winds, Indian summer and even snow. But I wouldn’t have guessed that we’d have all of that within one December week. The fall has dragged on so interminably mildly that I’ve heard stories of Star Magnolias opening up (ours is still closed, thank goodness) and many annuals left to their own devices have continued to bloom like it’s their job and a few perennials have started working again. Even the roses haven’t been saved by the bell. (Fred and Dan lament that the roses are stealing their Rose Garden light-show – shown above, unlit. The roses enhance the show, says me, but it must also be said that Rosa ‘Champlain’ is working very hard to earn everyone’s undivided attention.)

Last Thursday dawned with a windy deluge, (not so) perfectly timed with high moon tide and once again (see last year’s pictures here) the Rock Garden became an island and yards of shore were swallowed by the bay.  And when the sun came out later that day, the balmy tropics blew in with it. Does anybody recall it ever being 65 shirt-sleeve degrees in December before?

beach chairs 12-3-09pond and bay flood, 12-3-09Rock Garden flood NW view, 12-3-09Rock Garden flood north view, 12-3-09

And then Saturday night it snowed. I’d expect a heavy, wet, bone-chilling snow to qualify as a killing frost but it looks to me like some of our plants need further convincing. Hit or not, snow equals winter in my book – as does the month of December – and I’m chagrined to confess that, at home, even with plenty of time over a long and temperate fall, I was still caught with a few bulbs unplanted. Please tell me you’ve planted bulbs in the snow too! (I believe everyone should have that story to tell. –That must be why I waited.)

Gomphocarpus physocarpus ("hairy balls") in the snowconfused Phlomis The last Nicotiana mutabilisopportunistic Kniphofia 12-7-09