Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Nip of Frost

We had our first frosty morning last week; not a killer, but enough to whiten rooftops and leave its unmistakable mark on the landscape. The Boston Ivy on the back fence seemed to transform to scarlet overnight.

The variegated English Ivy took on some pinkish tones...

The Pomegranate leaves began to turn gold...

Some of the Nandina leaves started to curl and condense their colors...

The Dodonea is about as purple as it's going to get...

And the tropical Manihots have left the building.

I am not a winter person, and this time of year tends to fill me with cold foreboding. Even a charming string of hearts isn't a consolation when I think of the bony stem that will soon be all that remains. As winters go, ours are nothing to complain about, but that does not make my primeval reaction to the shorter days any less real.

So I'm thankful for things like the sweet faces of late roses that remind me of high summer.

And for the Chinese Pistache in front of my house. As I write, the mid-afternoon sun is making it glow with every vibrant shade of red, russet, orange and gold that I can imagine. And I feel warm again.


  1. What a lovely and poetic post. We are all grey here...the last of the pears are browning and soon all will be neutral.

  2. Is it my imagination, or has the fall color in Northern California been particularly nice this autumn? Much as I love the colors of fall, like you I dread winter. It's not the cold, it's the grey. You'll have to keep posting these great photos to keep me cheerful and productive!

  3. I agree with Susan. Our fall colors have been magnificent this year.

  4. I think some early rain and a little shock of cold are making a difference this year. Katie, I bet your Tupelo tree was gorgeous!

  5. Of goodie, is this Manihot the mother of my seeds? I have dreamed of a Boston ivy on my house. I've had not success. Love yours.

    It all looks so nice with just a kiss. We have not had a frost yet. When is your last frost date. Ours is a 3 weeks ago. Very weird weather. Helen

  6. Great post on natures magic wand.

  7. @Helen, let's see...the plant from the picture is a sibling to the plant your seeds came from, so this would be your Manihot auntie! Late November is about right for a light frost; temps may dip into the 20s for a few nights in Dec or Jan, or not! Happy Thanksgiving dear!

    @Pat I like that...nature's magic wand...thanks!

  8. I love, love, love Boston ivy. It covers a brick wall in our back garden. I like the colors on your English ivy too. Mine stays green; I'd like one that turns.

  9. Laura, thanks for this lovely reminder that winter happens even in the warmer climates. We're all affected by the shorter days, even in beautiful northern California. Enjoy your winter, my friend... Teresa

  10. Thanks Elizabeth, I love Boston Ivy too, what a classy looking vine. The English Ivy is the variegated kind usually sold as a houseplant; it's hardy outdoors here and I often use it in containers.

    I don't know how well I'd do living any farther north than I do Teresa; the winter I lived in England just about did me in! (The spring more than made up for it though!)

  11. If only you could preserve this ephemeral time of the year! I love the changes taking place in your garden!

    As much as I dislike the dark, the cold and th ephysical discomforts that winter can bring, I'm ready for it, and so are many of my plants. Maybe it's just what I've planted in the garden--many of them take the summer off, waiting for the first rains and the cooling weather.

  12. Laura, your photos are visual poetry. Lovely!