The Milkweed Diaries

Monday, May 25, 2009

After Blackberry Winter

Ever-dependable and beautiful chives

Although in these parts Mother's Day is considered the cutoff date for not having to worry about frost anymore, the North Carolina mountains are a whimsical place, and freak late frosts happen.  

On May 10th at our plant sale, a friend told me that a dozen years ago, there was a killing frost here on May 23.  Shocking!  "I did not know that was scientifically possible," said Tim.  

Then a week ago, after all sorts of heat-loving plants were in the ground and the garden was growing like gangbusters, in came the cold.  Our thermometer registered a low of 33 last Monday night.  We covered and took in what we could, but some of our plants showed signs of having been hit by a light frost.  Potatoes seemed to take the hardest hit, surprisingly.

Frostbitten Yukon Gold Potatoes

This sort of final, seemingly unseasonable cold snap, which I've heard called "blackberry winter" is common in the mountains of North Carolina. And blackberry winter was right on time this year: the blackberries were (and still are) in full bloom, and didn't seem a bit bothered by the low temperatures.   

Most things in the garden were similarly unscathed--the perennial herbs and flowers, greens, and ultra-hardy alliums and fava beans didn't blink an eye at the cold weather. 

Photos follow of the post-frost garden.

Buttery red lettuce

Bountiful favas  

Spinach from the garden

One of my favorite additions to the perennial garden this year: blood sorrel. . . accomp- anied by calendula volunteers 

Tall and dramatic leeks


Love-in-a-mist volunteers about to bloom


Anonymous said...

In spite of the frost, it still looks great to me! Close escape... My friend Clifford told me once that he had to harvest a whole field of tomatoes once in the middle of July because some old timer said it was going to ice that night. Sure enough, it hailed ice bigger than golf balls that night and all the unharvested tomatoes were ruined. Just goes to show. Dana

Being at home said...

The pics of those wee chard babes reminded me of the pesto you made last fall. You were experimenting with adding chard to the basil/nut mash. We drove away with a jar of it and feasted on glorious fresh chard pesto pasta in our impromptu camp in a Kentucky cornfield. Yumayuma!