First Frost, From Rob

Rob has several compelling reasons to be out early-Larry is one of them.  His year old standard schnauzer is turbo charged.  The look on his baby face is always some version of “what are we doing next?”  A great and beloved dog can make for a little life changing-just ask Rob.   Big open fields at dawn are as good a medicine as he can provide for all of that Larry energy.  Reason 2-any version of the out of doors intrigues him.  Right now Rob is on a mission-the fruits of the fall fields.  

Though I have planted asclepias incarnata in swampy, meadowy, and wild perennial gardens for years, but I think this frosted version finally got his undivided attention.  This milkweed welcomes wet soil; the rose pink buds open to paler rose pink flowers. 

Once established, you can count on this plant for a lifetime.  They do not need any extra water, fertilizer, or attention.  They thrive in neglected places-Rob’s favorite fields.  Our first frost brought those seed pods into sharp focus. Late fall favors the swamp milkweed. 

It is not always so easy to appreciate the form and habit of a plant during the growing season.  A garden is a sea of green in season.  Some plants go right down at the first hint of frost. Other plants persist, into our fall season.  These milkweeds are incredibly beautiful given a heavy dusting of frost. They have little in the way of visual competition right now.    

Our ground is still warm-we have not yet had any really cold temperatures to speak of.  Our 29 degree night late last week was a shocking departure.  Thus these ice crystals forming on the edges of leaves who have had no signal to begin signing off, much less drop.  These leaves were chilled-much colder than the water saturated air around them.  This look-alien. 

Frost has everything to do with the dew point.  But this photograph has everything to do with Rob’s eye.  Breathtaking, this.   

The entire field was sparkling.  The fall in our zone is that transitional season that warns that winter is on the way.  Transitions have their pleasures-this is one of them.     

That warning is likely to be beautiful.  A weedy field rivals the beauty of any cultivated garden-this is my opinion.  Not that I keep lists.  Many garden versions are beautiful.  Everything nature dishes out attracts attention.  Rob’s study of the first frost details this.  I would guess the summer reality of this patch of field is not nearly as interesting as it is right now.   

The oaks are not particularly prized for their fall color.  But on this morning, they shone-thanks to the ice spicules.   Rob’s pictures-gorgeous.

Can you believe these are oak leaves? OK  Rob, where do you go first thing in the morning?  How much hiking in is involved? 

My previously posted pictures of the first frost on the pink cabbages-I liked them.  But these pictures are game changers.  What trees, shrubs, and perennials would I choose to include in a landscape, given their beauty at the change of the seasons?  My garden is spot on in the middle of an urban neighborhood-I am thinking I need to make an effort get out more.  Oak trees-I need to go back over my ideas about them.           

Nature has a lot to say.  Every gardener should be listening-this includes me.  Rob the gardener listens to what nature has to offer better than most-this is my take.  Thanks for these photographs, Rob.  Your photographs of the first fall frost-so beautiful.