Saturday, 23 October 2010

Survivors of the frost

Despite the beauty of the first frost, there have been some garden and allotment casualties. Until Thursday morning, my garden was filled with more glowing nasturtiums than I could pick, but now they look sad, withered and frost burnt. Some flowers and plants remain in more sheltered areas but more than 90% have died. The lovely thing about nasturtiums is that once you have them, they self seed and come back year after year, with more vibrant and unusual hot colour combinations. It was more upsetting to learn that dahlias don't like frost. This is my first year growing dahlias and it was so sad to see my beautiful orange dahlia, still in bud which will now never flower.

As soon as I got my second allotment earlier this year, I was able to start growing the flowers that I have always dreamed of and as the dahlias fade, the chrysanthemums seem unaffected by the wintry weather. The buds are about to flower which is very exciting.

I have also planted a flower den for Josie made from her two favourite flowers: foxgloves and lupins, so I was really happy to see just one solitary lupin spike today.

There were also other survivors, one of which was another new plant for this year. Each year I try new vegetables and always have a surprise success. This year it was celery and it was the celery that has proved to be resilient to a little bit of frost. The outer leaves perished but inside the crown is still growing. I'm not entirely sure when to harvest the celery but as I had so much, I have just been picking it as we need it. However the gold medal winners of the frost survivors are my winter vegetables. I believe they even like frost, it apparently improves their flavour.

My prize January King Cabbage (it wouldn't actually win any prizes because the caterpillars having been munching it, but it's a winner in my eyes)

There is nothing like collecting a basketful of home grown vegetables for lunches for the next few days. Even if there weren't any flowers to pick today, I know the chrysanthemums are on their way, the nasturtiums and dahlias will be back next year and that Josie's foxglove and lupin flower den is going to look spectacular next spring.

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