Frosty Morn

I think the days of this praying mantis are numbered. Eventually, it is going to get cold and we will have a frosty morning, but for now, summer weather continues.

When will we have frost around here in central Indiana? I don't know about the official records, but based on the last six years that I've been keeping my own garden records, if you guessed any time from October 2 through November 1, you could be right.

I recorded that we had frost on October 2nd in 2003, but didn't see real frost until November 1st in 2002. Last year, it appears we were going merrily along until October 12th when I wrote "suddenly cold". In 2001, we had frost on October 7th and in 2004 it was October 17th. In 2005, cold didn't arrive until October 29th.

See, when you keep a garden journal, you don't have to remember, you can just look it up!

I don't have to look up this particular weed, a late summer annual weed that makes an appearance between the bricks of my patio every year. We are old friends, this weed and I. This is prostrate spurge, one of the Euphorbias. It grows up in the cracks between the bricks and also makes an appearance in nearby flower beds and wherever there is a bare, sunny spot in the lawn.

Luckily, it is easy to pull up and pull it up I did. Like most Euphorbias, it has a milky-white sap and as you weed it out, that sap gets on your fingers and makes them all sticky. I didn't get it all out, but I pulled a lot of it.

And because I spent time weeding out the spurge, I never made it to the vegetable garden to weed out the purslane. It's not flowering at the moment, so I'm not worried that I haven't weeded it out yet.

What is flowering is this Sedum, 'Frosty Morn'. Generally, this sedum has variegated foliage, but most of mine have lost their varigation. That happens sometimes. I should have been more diligent in cutting out the non-variegated shoots, but I wasn't. The flowers are the same, though, very pink with lots of honey bees buzzing about.

I also wasn't up to date on the renaming of this Sedum to Hylotelephium telephium 'Frosty Morn'. Hylotelephium? If I were giving a tour of my garden and said, "how do you like my Hylotelephium", you all would think I was all snooty or something because everyone knows this is Sedum.

What would you think if I called it by one of its common names, Witch's Moneybags? I've been looking at the plant trying to figure out where that common name came from and I can't figure it out. I think I'm just going to keep calling it Sedum 'Frosty Morn'.

And now I'm making my prediction of when we will have our first frosty morning around here.

My prediction is October 25th.

What do you predict for your garden?


  1. hey carol! it's funny you mentioned the first frost - I was just trying to look up that informaton for my area this evening. I have no previous records so unless i get a tip from somebody, I'm sure it'll be a surprise to me. I love the white sedum!

  2. Too bad about the praying mantis' short stay ... i spotted a baby praying mantis on my sister's garden the other day ... and I was surprised at how fast it went from one leaf to another! :)

  3. I never realized a praying mantis looks like that, seen from the front...
    Regarding frost, I'd say I expect some between mid-november to early January. We did not have any last winter, but a lot the two previous ones (I'm in the South of France). So it is difficult to say.

  4. Austin's average first freeze is December 2, so sometime between Thanksgiving and early December would be a good bet.

  5. I predict October 15th. I know that having two children born 2 years apart on Sept 29th, both times it was summer when I went into the hospital, and fall when I brought the babies home. Seems that there is always a different feel in the air come October 1st.

  6. Your comment last October of "suddenly cold" didn't go far enough. Last October we here in Chicagoland had about 6" of snow which stuck. We hadn't even had our 1st frost yet. Snow on Japanese Anemones is not pretty.
    As for name changes, I don't worry about sounding pretentious, as plant names change all the time, so I think of it as being "avant garde." In Gertrude Jekyll's time, a group of plants were known as Megasea. We now have no problem calling them Bergenia. Botanists have reasons for changing the names, I just hope this most recent round is long lasting. And I predict frost this year by Halloween, and then temps will soar into the 80s.

  7. Yes, yes, yes - I know I need to get out and weed. I know it. :) Quit nagging already!! :)

    Poor mantis...

  8. Hi Carole,
    their is a name for what you do and it begins with P , keeping records each year, i think people have started to realise how important they are as things seem to be changing each year.

    I dont think our first frost will be far off as i can tell by my bones.

    Cheers Mark

  9. Thank you so much for ID'ing that spurge! I've been finding the stuff all over and had no idea what it was. Other than a sticky mess to pull out! Now I have it's name =)

  10. Frost in my part of Ontario? I predict Saturday, October 5 the day before the next Green Thumbs Sunday.

    As for using, botanical names: for some reason the Latin names often come to me before the common ones. Strange but true, and I have no idea why. Is it because "garden geek" is my middle name? LOL

  11. Praying Mantis Story: Several weeks ago an adolescent boy in line behind me at the store asked if I just got off work. "Yes, did you ask because I'm so dirty and this logo on my shirt?"

    "No," he said, "because there is a praying mantis in your hair."

  12. Frost - that dreaded day when I have to scrap the windscreen on the van before going to work. I'm hoping that it won't happen for a long, long time ... but being realistic, I'll precdict towards the end of October.

  13. I don't care when, I just hope that it is soon! My hosta's look terrible, and I know that they are embarrassed looking so bad, and want to be cut off for their long winters rest, only to return next spring with fresh new leaves, and hopefully enough rain to keep them that way.

  14. Gina... I think your first frost will be about 10 - 14 days before mine. The sedum is really more pink than the picture shows. I took it in full sun, not the best light.

    Maiylah... I took the picture of this praying mantis in my sister's garden, too! I like how they follow your hand movements. They are quite amazing, and in spite of their odd appearance, fairly tame.

    Pam/digging... I'll be watching for a post about it. In some ways I'm surprised you get a freeze at all so far south.

    Sister with the Homestead... you might be right, we shall see. October does have a different feel to it!

    Mr. McGregor's Daughter... the botantist meet all the time to change plant names. Lately some of the name changes have been quite odd, they seem to go from a simple two syllable word to something that doesn't at first just roll off your tonque. I wish I had time to keep up with all their changes because of course I want to be avant-garde!

    Me... Moi, nagging about weeding? It is on my mind lately that I need to get out and weed and instead I am responding to all your wonderful comments.

    Mark... Begins with a "P"? Persnickety? Precise? Hmmm... I'll have to think about that.

    Marvie... Happy to help you put a name to a plant for future reference!

    Dirty Knees... Botanical names are like our secret code from the non-gardening world, right? Takes a garden geek to know a garden geek.

    Earth Girl... that is a laugh out loud funny story. Thanks for sharing it.

    Crafty Gardener... Dreaded day or a new season really begins? Once frost arrives, we can finally, hopefully, take a little rest from the outdoor garden and work on plants inside, catch up on garden reading, plan next year's garden. Whew, doesn't sound like much of a rest, does it?

    Thanks all for the wonderful comments and additional thoughts on these topics!

    Carol at May Dreams Gardens

  15. Vonlafin... You are right, the plants don't want to look all bad and ratty. They want their rest, too!

    Carol at May Dreams Gardens

  16. Well if all these Yankee and Canadian gardeners are predicting first frost in mid October to early November, then I will make a wild guess of November 10th for the southern Appalachias first frost. That means I will have more time to suffer, I mean adapt, before frost, that's 32 degrees right?

    32 degrees is less than half of my former 68 degree sock wearing, window shutting, sweatshirt adding temperature and we are well below 68 degrees now.

  17. Carol, sometimes we even get snow in Austin. And we almost always get a good ice storm sometime in late January or early February.

    We also usually have our first bad storm ahead of the Christmas holidays when our stepson is trying to fly in from Connecticut. So I'm guessing Dec 5th for the first light frost and Dec 19th for the first winter storm.

  18. Christopher C. NC... Yes, 32 degrees is the magic number. I predict you are going to be very cold until you get used to this!

    MSS @ Zanthan Gardens... I'll have to check out your snow post.

    Carol at May Dreams Gardens

  19. Carol, I hope you are right. I'll go for later rather than sooner for the frost date. Although my plants are looking a bit rough and I was thinking today that I am getting ready to clean out those beds, of course I can't do that if things are still blooming, no matter how bad they look.

  20. We were just talking about when the first frost will be yesterday. I'm trying to get all the tropicals dug and potted, plus getting the greenhouse in the basement up and running so that I'm not scrambling to bring stuff in like I did last year. For some reason, it just took me by surprise!

    I think it will be sometime next week, probably toward the end of that week.

    I have an old, old sedum that I think was here when we moved in, back in 1977 that looks much like yours. It's a very pale pink and the foliage is a pale green. Mom always called it "Live Forever" and I've never bothered to investigate any further!


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