I was about to write an article at this post today that tomorrow, October 10th according to records, is the average date for the arrival of frost in these Twin City, America environs. However, when I stepped out onto my gardened grounds, I spied frost covering the here and there. This frost had not been predicted by the pundits.
In the upper regions of my bit over a half acre gardened grounds, frost arrived for awhile this morning, AM October 9th, a day early. Frost for much of vegetative life, especially the leafy parts of so much of it, is a killer in our climatic zones, as noted by the name of the season in which we live, “FALL”.
Most of today’s Americans, which of course includes our locality called Minnesota, knowledge of vegetative life out doors is non-existent. That landscape gardening to the soulful human animal is supposed to be an art form is even more deeply hidden in the recesses of contemporary human thought. It is certainly not taught at university.
When the ambient temperature drops a degree or two below 33 degrees Fahrenheit, not all nooks of ones landscape garden are equally affected. Not all perennials and annual woody and non-woody plants are equally bothered by a few degrees of the Fall’s first frost. I remember snow falling on my birthday, September 21st on two occasions during our ICE AGE ERA, 60 plus years ago; wet and heavy snows which caused bending and broken branches and flopped herbs. Yet, I even then noticed there was no ground frost for snow provided the protective touch of insulation.
Throughout the lower reaches of my gardened grounds, there was no evidence of frost anywhere. Tree and shrub foliage, I am guessing, entrapped enough yesterday’s warmth to escape leafy death by a degree or two.
Over the past fifty years the genus “Hosta” has become one of the most widely grown perennials in our area. Early on in this invasion only a handful of varieties were available.
It’s hard to kill these older varieties and cultivars of Hosta. Gardening gals loved them all. After a few years of Hosta-growing in anyone’s garden hereabouts, gals would divide the original plant into countless numbers of offspring plants….at no cost beyond their own invested time and ‘local’ energy. Guys, nearly all of whom years ago used to mow their home lawns began to notice the economy of growing Hosta as a garden member as well. Furthermore it eventually became noticed that some Hosta sitting in soil but out of ground awaiting transplant in the Fall, actually had to await until Spring to be planted due to human forgetfulness and/or heartlessness, and still survived. Not all Hostas are ‘born’ equal, however.
Some begin to yellow in foliage before the first of October in our area with or without the help of frost. Nearly all will ‘fall’ their foliage from a heavy frost…. usually anything under 30 degrees F.
Check out the hosta population in your own or your neighbors’ gardened grounds to discover what was ‘hit’ by last night’s frost in your Twin City area. If your Hosta world still appears happy, and your marigolds or other tender annuals show no signs of certain death by weather, your garden is likely to be frost free for another three weeks…..that is, until the next evening of a clear sky and its full moon with temperatures in the lower 30s or colder arrives…. It’s Nature’s habit.