A cold and frosty morning 1st December 2016

Last weekend we walked by Lake Vico, a volcanic lake just south of us.  As we were driving I saw a huge tree covered in red berries – surely not a Holly, but yes that’s what it was.  I have never seen so many berries on a full size Holly in my life.  They say that large numbers of berries mean that the winter will be hard; our forecast has also been predicting that this winter would be colder than average and would begin early.

Lake Vico, can you spot the Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)?

Lake Vico, can you spot the Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)?

Holly (Ilex)

Holly (Ilex)

Just look at those berries

Just look at those berries!

Well, the forecast was correct, winter has arrived early, it is the 1st of December and I awoke to a very frosty white garden.

Phlomis fruticosa

Marrubium incanum

Marrubium incanum

Marrubium incanum with its seed-heads

Marrubium incanum seeds around the garden and is a great groundcover as it is drought tolerant, evergreen (silver),  has  white flowers and attractive seed-heads.

Cistus foliage

Cistus foliage

Sisyrinchium striatum

Sisyrinchium striatum

Tanecetum densum var. amanum

Tanecetum densum var. amanum

Tanecetum densum var. amanum

Tanecetum densum var. amanum

Tanecetum always looks like a beautiful piece of embroidery to me; covered with ice crystals emphasises that impression.

Luckily the sub-zero temperatures had been forecast so I picked the flowers for the vase below earlier in the week.  Please excuse the colours, it was quite dark when I took the photograph and my playing has just made matters worse!

These were picked on Monday and the roses began dropping their petals the same day

These were picked on Monday and the roses began dropping their petals the same day

Rosa 'Queen of Sweden' and Crimson Antirrhinum are joined by Teucrium foliage

Rosa ‘Queen of Sweden’ and Crimson Antirrhinum, and the last of the Zinnias are joined by Teucrium foliage

When do you usually receive your first frost of the winter?

34 thoughts on “A cold and frosty morning 1st December 2016

  1. I am not sure there is any usual here. We have had a hard frost already but I would say that was early. We are often OK until after Christmas. That said I think I will go back and check my photos for the last couple of winters. By the way I know the story about a lot of berries predicting a cold winter, but the guide at the Edinburgh Botanic gardens told us that the amount of berries was only dependent on the climate before the berries arrived, not after! Shame, though, it is a good story.

    • Hi Annette; I have always been of the same opinion as your guide at the Botanic Garden because it doesn’t make any sense at all that the plants (trees) ‘know’ what the following winter will be like. I haven’t seen this tree before and it may well be covered in berries every year.

  2. Frost makes everything look so pretty – we have had some very cold frosts recently, but we normally get the first light ones some time in late October.

    • Oh that is early, so about the same as in the UK. We don’t usually have frosts here until January but last year we didn’t have any frost at all. But I always have to consider that temperatures can go quite low (minus 10 – 12°C).

      • That’s a problem here too… in a normal year it can go down to -12°C or so for a few nights, but we have also had -21° with a day-time high of -17°C and then minus temperatures for up to three weeks!

        • That’s very cold. I’ve only ever experienced those low temperatures when I’ve been skiing! Your summers are not so different from here but your winters are Arctic.

    • Yes, I agree Susan, it is the only rose that I know that has really good long stems and usually the petals hold on better than this week, which was probably due to the shock of the warm house.

  3. Lake Vico is wonderful and the Holly is amazing. The Tanacetum with the frost so strong is beautiful. The two vases are very beautiful Christina and the Roses are very pretty, like the Zinnias and the Crimson Antirrhinum: all precious. My first winter frost this year has been delayed in early November. Shelter the cold came! And also shelter your precious plants. Greetings from Margarita.

  4. There’s no frost expected here – if the weather defied expectations and we got frost, it would be as much a shock to the garden as to the gardener. Still, it does create pretty effects (on the plants it doesn’t turn to mush). The photo of the lake and the heron is glorious!

  5. Beautiful photos,I love the outlined leaves,like carvings. A glorious hoar frost here yesterday, the first for a long time, many many photo opportunities and very cold hands. Your flowers are so warm and rich.

    • A hoar frost is so beautiful, I remember driving home from France one year at the beginning of January and all the trees along the road were coated with what looked like white diamonds, so lovely.

  6. We have pruned our variegated holly a few times so the quantity of berries varies from year to year, but our neighbour’s which is an untouched conical shape is covered in berries every year, regardless of the coldness of the winter. It is lovely to see your generous vases of roses and antirrhinum and the conditions in which you took the photos makes for a strangely attractive appearance, almost painting like

    • I saw another couple of full grown holly trees yesterday and they were covered in berries too so I think you’re right that if they aren’t pruned they should flower and produce berries every year.

  7. Lovely photos of frosty plants. I especially like the Marrubium. For once, I’m looking forward to our first frost, forecast next week, if only to slow the winter weeds a bit. My garden in southwest Washington state usually has a light frost at the end of October or first half of November, but temperatures this fall have barely dropped below 40F.

  8. Hi Christina, the scenery around Lake Vico is stunning, and,yes, I saw the heron! Your own garden is beautiful as winter approaches; the Tanecetum is lovely covered with frost! We are expecting subfreezing temperatures later this week. It is raining! Our drought is ending at long last.

  9. We’ve had a good dose of cold continental weather brining hoar frosts, very unusual this side of the new year but most welcome. I like the marrubium, is it tender Christina? Looks rather like a herbaceous form of phlomis with its aerials of seed heads.

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