what i’ll miss (now that frost has come)

zinniasLET THE LONGING BEGIN. Frost finally hit Friday, with two more visits since, bringing many things gradually to their knees. I’d just gathered the last barrow of tomatoes and the final ‘Benary’s Giant’ zinnias in matching tomato shades, red and green and orange, the only zinnia colors I grow. I’ll miss these humble flowers I’ve known since childhood. As we’ve discussed before, and will again: Nothing lasts. Which among the recently hobbled beauties will you miss most?

  1. Kara S says:

    We’ve had two nights of heavy frost and will probably have our 3rd tonight. I think I’ll miss my marigolds the most. They did incredibly well this year and I was constantly amazed at them. The four plants easily had 100 2-inch blooms between them, probably more.

    Green zinnias. Must get some for next year. Those are totally neat!!! And I love zinnias!

  2. Kathy from Cold Climate Gardening says:

    I think what I miss most is not any particular flower, but the chance to get more of the chores done, especially more weeding and mulching.

  3. margaret says:

    Welcome, Kara; sounds like we are nearly on the same frost schedule. I normally have marigolds, too, but not this year. I love that they are held as sacred in various countries, including India and Nepal, where I have a village full of dear friends who have even written my name in marigolds as a gesture on occasion, like a big greeting card. :) Thanks for making me think of them.

  4. margaret says:

    Welcome to Kim. I yanked the basil a week or so before, pulled it right up at the roots, to make a last batch of pesto ice cubes. At least I have them to keep me warm (well, sort of).

  5. Kim says:

    We are on the same schedule as you, too. I will miss my fresh basil, gathering it by the big bunches, and making a quick-cook sauce for pasta. Oh, and having a caprese salad (tomato, basil and oil with fresh mozzarella) to go along.

  6. Pam/Digging says:

    We’ve got another month before that first freeze, and I can tell you what I’ll be glad to see frozen—mosquitoes!

  7. Bobster says:

    I’m with Pam! No more mosquitos.
    We’re due for frost any day now in Rhode Island. Most everything’s in (amost) and still taking cuttings of annuals and tender perennials to make sure there’s an adequate supply for next year.
    The delphiniums are still in their second (third?) flush and I know it’ll end as soon as we have a hard frost!

  8. Judy says:

    We don’t usually get a hard frost until November 15th here in the Pacific Northwest. I still have nasturtiums. I’m letting the roses go to hips. I have a clematis called “Freckles” which is just starting to bloom and is supposed to keep blooming until February. I’m still working on year round bloom so I won’t miss the dahlias so much. I am cutting fewer and fewer every week.

  9. leslie land says:

    What I miss when serious frost comes is the reliable mood-boost of ever increasing abundance. From earliest spring right through summer and fall there’s just more and more and more: flowers and shoots, foliage and fruits, always something new and glorious – not only in my own garden but everywhere I look (and shop). Now it’s as though we’re in nature’s rewind, less and less in all departments. There are plenty of great hangers-on: chard and parsley and Brussels sprouts, chrysanthemums, anemones and roses – always a surprise how tough THEY are – but “hang on” ain’t the same as grow and I always wish we could just skip November and go right to winter, one of my favorite seasons.

  10. margaret says:

    Welcome, Jaithan…it’s so great to be able to grow single-color strains, instead of mixes, and just create your own palette. Glad they meet w/your approval.

  11. kate swift says:

    my zinnias were toasted last month by a freak frost so I’m over it. But now I’ve lost the dahlias!!! I always miss those the most because they are so prolific at the end. And, to add insult to injury, now I have to face all the slimy mess so I can dig them up and save them for next year.

  12. Kathy says:

    Hi Margaret, I started gardening with a package of Zinnia seeds my mother bought me at the Five&Ten Cent store many years ago. One look at them always brings me back to my original patch of dirt. I’ll always love them. I’ll miss everything…let’s skip January and February. Great photo!

  13. tasha says:

    Those green zinnias are making me swoon. Love your blog Margaret! I just moved out of state and had to leave lots of favorites behind (hydrangeas, peonies and lilacs that came from my grandmother’s garden). Will start in earnest in my new yard soon, though the bermuda grass is giving me serious pause about creating all the new flower beds I’m envisioning. Sigh.

  14. gardenden says:

    I’ll miss my 7′ tall cosmos, and the finches “riding” them for the seed! Such a happy flower; such entertaining birds.

  15. Betsy says:

    Hi Margaret – My dad swore by zinnias, and I’ve grown to love their dependable abundance, too. We’ve had a frost last night, and now everything is pretty much done but a hardy chrysanthemum in deep burgundy. The squirrels are chewing away at our pumpkin and gourd display, so I am going to try to find little plastic mice like Martha recommends to stick in the holes and make a ghoulish display. I will miss the honeysuckle the most, though, and all the hummingbirds who’ve gone.

  16. margaret says:

    @All: What I love most so far in this thread is that it doesn’t have to be rare or fancy to get to us and be precious. We are all talking about common annuals and basil and the real basics…but what luxuries they feel like right now, that they are disappearing from view. Thanks to all of you, and let the conversation continue.

  17. andrea says:

    It was below freezing last night and my beautiful show of coneflowers just fell. I already miss the thrill of going out each morning to see what is new, what surprises have developed over night and if any new feathered friends have come to visit or perhaps stay. I miss stopping by the nurseries to see what just came in or if the plant I passed on and then thought about all night is still there. I already miss not being able to pick up my shovel and start the shade garden I thought about all year cause I ran out of time. However, I finally realize that do I miss Halloween and Thanksgiving and all that follows. To every season…

  18. Margaret T says:

    When I read this column last evening, I promply left my computer to rescue the last of my beautiful dahlia blooms and a few straggley sprigs of basil. I will definitely miss the basil most. I plant it all over my garden so I can enjoy it’s fragrance when I brush past it and watch the bees rejoice in the blossoms that bloom when I let the last plants go to seed. Hopefully, the pesto I made will keep the fragrance with me throughout the winter.

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