There’s Nothing Friendly About Jack Frost

Much more savage than a dew. A footprint makes little impact

Much more savage than a dew. A footprint makes little impact

Earlier I posted about the neighbours’ threats of frosts. They weren’t joking. Last weekend was cold and heavy frosts kicked in. At 9 am the yard was still frozen over with thin ice coating everything. It is amazing to see plants and grass that look as though they have been snap frozen. It’s not snow or dew – it’s just frozen.

Fortunately these guys seem to love the frost.

Fortunately these guys seem to love the frost.

On the one hand it looks quite magical. For plants that don’t like frosts, it’s deadly. Think of veg that have accidentally frozen from a too-cold fridge. Once they defrost, they can go limp – and not recover. When they dry out, they just look burnt. Some plants are semi-dormant and will be fine. Plants, like the bulbs, just love the cold. Others just hate it and die. My different varieties of beans that looked so healthy have just all burnt off – even those that seemed to be happily climbing with the peas. Peas are all fine – beans have just totally gone brown and limp – both the high and low growing ones.

This isn't dew - the leaf is frozen.

This isn’t dew – the leaf is frozen.

The Basil just hated the frost. I doubt it will survive. It was fine a few days ago.

The Basil just hated the frost. I doubt it will survive. It was fine a few days ago.

It’s hard to see a healthy plant one day, see it wilting the next and a few days later, just looking burnt and dead. It happens so quickly. I’m learning fast and will be better prepared next year. One big learning is not to prune until much later. Not so much for the pruned plant, but those around. The more growth through frosts, the more protection for all the  surrounding plants.

The front yard frost was quite structural. When the sun came out, the areas in the shadows cast by the fence and pillars were still totally frozen and frosted, yet everything in sun was melted. I’m shuddering at what the new Salvias in the front bed (who were quite frozen) were making of their new home. Particularly the ones that I was warned were “frost sensitive”. Uh oh!

The frost followed the shadow outline.

The frost followed the shadow outline.

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