Jack’s back

Mother Nature must have kicked Jack Frost out of bed this morning because he came by bright and early to nip our roses (and a few noses and other posies).  Gail and I tried to remember when frost first hit here last year and although she had a frost at her house right before Halloween, we weren’t truly hit here (at least according to my shoddy record keeping) until snow fell on December 2nd.

Regardless of our actual frost date though we stick to the same schedule every year for putting the gardens to bed.   We always worry that our volunteer work force might revolt and desert when the weather gets too bitter – our tea break just isn’t long enough to give everyone’s chilly fingers a chance to thaw.  I have to say though that if I had a choice, I’d prefer having the catharsis of a timely frost to taking the beds apart long before Jack’s had a chance to nip them.  So I gave a little internal cheer when I saw the frost warning in the forecast yesterday.  This frost was a fairly light and patchy one as they go but it makes me feel a bit less heartbroken about sticking to our schedule.  The Florabundas took annuals and dahlias out of the North Garden yesterday (we left the foliage on the dahlias and kept them outside overnight in hopes that they’d get “hit” before storage), and today Cathy, Gail and I finished taking annuals out of the Rose Garden (we cut them off at the ground to allow their roots to decompose a little in the soil over the winter) and moved the last of the container plants into the greenhouse.  We had saved things like the New Zealand Flax (Phormium) and Camellias for last because they can take the cold.  A few annuals melted in the Display Garden beds that we’ve been saving for last but I think we can eke out one final weekend of technicolor.

Have you had a frost yet?  Informal poll:  When do you do your end of season garden chores?  Do you wait for a frost to hit and bundle up to work outside?  Do you wait until spring to do the major cleanup of melted annuals?  Or do you put the garden to bed when the sun is out and the time is right for you?