October 09, 2012

A salute to the survivors

I was away from home this past weekend, and thought I'd find plant devastation and carnage upon my return. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised to see that most of my annuals and vegetable plants were still alive. They're not thriving, of course, after several overnight lows near freezing and daytime highs in the 40°F to 50°F range. But isn't it incredible when plants flirt with death, and somehow manage to survive?


The Cosmos seed heads are particularly lovely. The plants haven't frozen yet, so the heads seem pregnant with hope for the future. Wouldn't they be excellent in a floral arrangement or potpourri?


The potted Impatiens seem happy with the cooler temperatures as long as I keep them watered. I know we'll have a hard freeze soon...and they'll be gone. So tending and enjoying them is a bittersweet endeavor.


Fuchsias in hanging baskets are distracting me from the falling Oak leaves littering the lawn.


This poor little Tomato isn't big enough to harvest and doesn't stand a chance. Still, there's something beautiful and hopeful in its clinging to life over the wire cage.


And then there are the Zinnias and the Cosmos. I will surely miss them during the next seven months...








Fortunately, the harvested and dried Hydrangeas I nursed along during the brutal summer will remind me: Mild weather will return again someday.

Ah, that's why I watered them every day for weeks on end...

40 comments:

  1. I noticed that also, they are survivors...and even with the drop in temperature they do look better now then in the summer.

    I watered my hydrangea everyday...it was so worth it.

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

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    1. Brrr...I'm not sure they'll all make it through today. Freezing last night and a high of 46F today. But the dried Hydrangeas are looking great. :)

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  2. It is so hard to say goodbye, isn't it? But I think it makes us appreciate these tough survivors even more, knowing their time is short. I'm surprised you haven't had a hard freeze yet--it dropped down to 27 degrees here early Monday morning, and my zinnias and most other annuals are now ready for the compost pile. You've reminded me I want to try my hand at drying some hydrangeas before it's too late--you have a lovely arrangement of them!

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    1. Thanks! Wow, that's surprising since you're quite a bit further south than me. Just a fluke in the weather patterns, I guess. Last night the temps went below freezing again, and many of the leaves have blown off the trees. Weird to have annuals still blooming at this point!

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  3. I was relieved that there were some plants alive still after we got down to 22 the other night. Most of the annuals are finished, though. I am afraid I am neglecting to water some of the pots because I know winter will soon be here.

    I enjoyed your photos. I have wondered how long certain plants would keep going if the temps didn't get below freezing. I am sad because we didn't get many ripe tomatoes this year, and there are so many green tomatoes. I did pick some, and a few are ripening.

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    1. I think I need to run out right now and clip the remaining annuals--I can't believe some of them are still around! My Tomatoes didn't thrive this year either--but I think it was the mulch I used, and I should have added some Epsom salts earlier in the season. Good thing I have a CSA share, so I received a lot of Tomatoes that way!

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  4. I do enjoy seeing the shades of autumn in your garden. Even the fuchsias, zinnias and cosmos have an autumnal touch to their flower colours.

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    1. Thanks, Autumn Belle. I noticed that, too, about the flowers--in particular, the Zinnias. Their shadings seem to really change a lot with the cooler weather/shorter days.

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  5. My cosmos have mostly quit for the year. Mostly what I have blooming are a few last gasps from the roses, Japanese anemones, and of course asters and goldenrods.

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    1. I wish I had more Roses in my garden--I'm going to have to work on that! They are so photogenic and encouraging--no matter what the season!

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  6. Gorgeous bouquets. I love your line about flirting with death.~~Dee

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    1. Thanks, Dee. For some reason, the bittersweet mood hit me hard this fall. I think it's because we changed from summer to fall (and now winter?!) way too fast.

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  7. I didn't grow cosmos this year and missed them! Last year they branched so close to the ground they kept collapsing but now I wonder if it was a poor batch of seeds. Guess I'll never know.

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    1. Mine took a while to get going, but they really came on strong at the end. I missed them during summers when I didn't have them in the garden.

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  8. I, too, love the hardiness of plants and how so many of them survive much better than I'd think in unlikely situations. I think I like plants better that have suffered a little and still live, rather than the perfect specimens :)

    Your header photo is gorgeous!

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    1. Thanks, Sheila! Yeah, it's pretty incredible, isn't it? I'm hoping most of my perennials will come back in the spring--so many of them went dormant early during the hot, dry summer. :(

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  9. Beautiful photos, especially of the zinnias and cosmos. Not to see them for another seven months? I am reminded that you experience real winter, and not just flirt with it as we do!

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    1. Thank you, Deb! Yes, unfortunately we usually have pretty harsh winters. I think I'd prefer flirting with it instead. :)

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  10. Lovely, lovely, lovely! I too bring my hydrangeas in to enjoy year-round. Though I love autumn, I do so love and will miss spring/summer garden gifts.

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    1. Thanks, Joey! I agree totally about the seasons. Even winter would be OK if it lasted about one month. By February, I've had it with the cold stuff.

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  11. I feel for you. I am enjoying the fall weather but definitely not ready for winter. It is nice to see some of your blooms hanging in their for you. Your photo of the zinnia and cosmos with the pumpkins looks very festive! Great combination! I also like the shot of fuchsia against the fallen leaves.

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    1. Thanks, Karin. They all still looked pretty healthy today, but everything is going to freeze tonight. :( It seems like we went from summer to fall to winter in about two weeks. I spent the afternoon gathering the last flowers and seed heads for bouquets and dried arrangements.

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  12. Beth how wonderful to still see blooms...your weather has been colder than ours...we are slated for our first freeze Fri but no frosts...then a warm up next week...the hardiness of our flowers in fall is amazing to watch...

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    1. Yes, I think we've been the coldest in the country, from Montana through Wisconsin. A sudden cold air snap from Canada. So it amazes me that my annuals were still alive. I don't think I've ever seen them flirting so effectively on the edge before--or maybe I just didn't take time to notice.

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  13. I miss growing hydrangeas. Here the deer devour them at light speed. I'm glad you were able to salvage a few to enjoy during the cold winter months. The green tomatoes I can empathize with. We'll have quite a few this year. I'm still on a quest for that perfect green tomato recipe. This year I think I'll try a green tomato jam!

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    1. Oh my, I didn't realize that deer eat Hydrangeas. I guess I'm glad that I don't see many deer here. Oooo, green Tomato jam! I've never tried that! Fried green Tomatoes just don't impress me.

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  14. The hydrangea color is so lovely! And texture, of course, is remarkable!

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    1. Yes, it reminds me of old-fashioned, Victorian decor. I think I like the green/rose hues even better than the blues/pinks of the summer blooms.

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  15. I just brought in some hydranges'Pink Diamond' blooms yesterday. I find if I place them in a jug with a bit of water, then let the water just evaporate they dry beautifully.

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    1. Yes, that's what I usually do, too. Sometimes, I pull them out of the water after a few days before they start to curl up. I'm so happy I have a full bouquet of the autumn blooms this year.

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  16. Love the pictures of the seed heads and the fuchsias! All my cosmos are blooming now (finally) and I would be so sad if a freeze hit them. After such a hot summer, I feel like some of my plants are only now coming into their own. I'm glad your garden survived for another little while!

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    1. Thanks, Indie! We still haven't had an extended hard freeze, believe it or not. My potted Impatiens and Fuchsias are still alive. I can't bear to compost them yet, even though they look kind of ratty. One of these days, I'll need to get going with the leaf-raking. Argh.

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  17. I really miss my hydrangeas! Its wonderful how so many plants revive a bit during fall. It's like one last finale before the curtains close. I love your fuschia! They don't grow well here. :(

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    1. I know--it's sad to think of the curtains closing, but it's just around the corner. Fuchsias seem to grow really well here (as annuals, of course)--especially in the shade.

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  18. Lovely photos of the cosmos seed heads. It inspired me to go outside and look at the seed heads forming. I also saw some seeds, which I've looked for before, but have never seen on cosmos. :)

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    1. Thanks! Sometimes really simple things just blow me away with their quiet beauty. I harvested some of the seeds, and I think I'll try to plant some next spring, and add others to potpourri.

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  19. There is something particularly special about the way the annuals hang on to life and colour as the season turns against them. A reminder of the fragility of life, I suppose, and a wonderful dose of defiance.

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    1. Yes, it's inspiring, isn't it? They're good role models. ;-)

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  20. "Flirting with death" ~ I like that phrase, morbid as it is. I wish my zinnias would hold on thru the first frosts but even after a light frost, they're toast. :(
    Gorgeous photos!!!

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    1. Thanks, Kathleen! My Zinnias are now toast, as well. I picked the last ones this weekend. The Fuchsias, however, surprisingly are still fighting on...

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