Before the first frost


A frost is predicted for tonight. Today was very cool but pretty and sunny. I mowed the front strip and took some photos. I also moved all of the houseplants to the library. The first frost is always sad because you see all these beautiful blooms that might not be here tomorrow. And perhaps they will. It usually doesn't get as cold here as it does in outer-lying areas of town. Our garden is well insulated with lots of leaf cover. I have noticed that some plants looked stress, especially the hydrangeas, so I watered them today. A good watering helps plants before a freeze.

Chrysanthemum "Ryan Gainey"

Camellia "Snow Flurry"

Angel's Trumpet

Miscanthus "Adagio" and Oakleaf Hydrangea "Sike's Dwarf"

Miscanthus "Morning Light"

Switch Grass "Northwind"


Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


  1. Everything looks great! I particularly like the Chrysanthemum and Camellia. I like that churn a lot too. It is much better looking than the old ugly one I have. I assume you bring it inside before a hard freeze?

  2. Your garden looks so beautiful even at this stage of the growing season. Ready to be put to bed for winter. It was a good year in the garden around here. Love the seasonal changes though. Looking forward to a little down time. Our house is crammed with house plants. Every year I say no more but the few I keep keep getting larger and larger so it still looks crammed up in all our windows. ha...

  3. Gorgeous. I hope the frost doesn't do much harm. I love the camellia! And that cinches it - my mums look so pitiful compared to how beautiful yours are. They don't really like our heat, and I've been trying to baby them. But I've been fooling myself. I'm definitely replacing them now!

  4. Great post and AWESOME photos!

  5. Because I'm a bit more north than you are, I find the first frost to be a sad affair. I was out petting my "babies" the day before our first frost, and I really did get a bit choked up. Silly woman!

  6. Thanks for sharing your beautiful garden! What do you do with your angel's trumpets? Take them inside or just let them go? I'm crazy about them but don't want to just abandon them.

  7. Beautiful! Love the Dwarf hydrangea with the grass~ Perfect. I always go into denial and cover blooming plants for that first frost...You can fool Mother Nature once! gail

  8. Shenandoah, I have one in a container that I bring into the basement for the winter. The one in the photo is actually in the ground (or rather, a raised planting bed) and it survives with a heavy mulch of pine straw. However, a very cold winter can do them in. This happened a few years ago with an Angel's Trumpet planted in this exact spot. I used to dig it up every year, put it in a pot, and take it to the basement. Now I just leave it and hope for the best.

  9. Such a precious time just before the first frost. Did you get a frost? Is the brugmansia toast?

  10. Dear Philip,

    I also love Rosa 'Buff Beauty', and thank you for your photos. I'm currently re-designing the bed near the rose and wonder which Miscanthus is in your photo. Many thanks,


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