dahlias · Flowers · Gardening

A Strong Winter Came Suddenly in November to Toronto Area this Year. See the Before and After Pictures.

I am sorry I didn’t write here for a long time. I was again busy with gardening, traveling and time has passed so quickly. Finally now we have winter again and I though I will show you how our garden looked just about 5 weeks ago when a very strong and quite abrupt winter has arrived to our area. For those of you who are perhaps visiting this blog for the first time, I am in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area), Canada. The cold spell lasted for about a week and then the snow has melted during the next week or so.  Since then we had a couple more winter storms, more freezing temperatures alternating with warmer periods.

This year, initially we were lucky and our tomatos and other tender plants were not frozen in the middle of October, as it often happens.  Even despite the frost in our area sometimes going down to -3-4C in October or in the beginning of November, our garden still somehow miraculously survived. Perhaps the weather forecast people have measured the temperature further north and we are closer to the Lake Ontario, which could warm up the air.  Besides, our garden is sheltered between other houses and gardens and maybe it helped as well.

"Crazy Love" dalhia blooming in our garden.
Our “Crazy Love ” dahlias as they looked in the first week of October and this year we were lucky and they were blooming till their upper portions was killed by frost during a very cold nights around November 7th.

Many shrubs and flowers were still blooming in October, including dahlias, hydrangeas, one of our butterfly bushes (the smaller one since the bigger one stopped blooming in September when the days started to be colder), huge decorative sage (“Rockin’ Playin the Blues” from Proven Winners), mallows, lavenders, toad lily, petunias, marigolds, some roses and even the leaves of colorful collias (coleus plants) looked still great till almost the end of October, which is quite unusual. In the past 4 years we usually have plants killing frost in the middle of October, or sometimes sooner and the most of the these plants, in case of perennials stop blooming and become dormant, or just die in case on annuals.

First, I would like to show you how some late blooming plants looked in our garden at the end of September and then later in October. Later I will show you what happened at the beginning of November when the the first snow and then much bigger snow and frost have arrived.

 

"Carzy Love" dahlia and "Little Quick Fire" hydrangea.
Our “Crazy Love” dahlias – how they looked in the first week of October, 2019. Below them you can see hydrangea “Little Quick Fire”. It is its second year in our garden. The flowers were initially white and then they changed to pink during the Summer.

Since tomatoes stopped maturing about the beginning of October because of the cooler weather and shorter days, even if they were not killed by frost yet, I have collected all the remaining fruits around the end of October and have taken the tomato plants down because there was no point to keep them growing. I have decided it would be better to collect and clean as much as possible our vegetable lot before it will be too cold and unpleasant to work there.

Our vegetable garden in the end of September, 2019 with amaranth blooming in the background.
Our vegetable garden how it looked on the last day of September 2019 with amaranth blooming in purple in the background on the right. It was its first year in our garden. You can also see tomato plants and asparagus, some basil and radishes in the foreground.

 

Our garden in the edn of September 2019.
Here is how our garden looked in the end of September, 2019 with “Russian Sage”, mallows, balloon flowers, geraniums blooming in the foreground and some roses, butterfly bush (budleia) and amaranth in the background.

 

Marigolds still blooming in our garden in the third week of October, 2019.
Marigolds still blooming in our garden in the third week of October, 2019.

 

Our Memorial Day rose still blooming in the second week of November, 2019.
Our “Memorial Day” rose still blooming in the second week of October, 2019. This rose often blooms till late November, but this year it was stopped by cooler nights in late October and then the sudden arrival of strong winter weather in the second week of November.

I let most of the remaining vegetables and amaranths grow till I knew the really big frost was coming and they will not survive. By the way, it was my first year when I have planted amaranth and I had 7-8 plants. All of them have grown about 5-7 feet and they were looking still beautiful even in the third week of October, before strong winds and colder nights came and have bitten them up a bit. They have so huge and beautiful flowering stalks that I think they were worth growing just for the flowers and to decorate our garden till the late Fall. Anyway, I was not really expecting to collect a lot of seeds from them for culinary purposes, but I have preserved the flowers with seeds and they are presently drying in my shed.  I have tried to collect some seeds and it looks like quite elaborate task, so I am not sure if I will be able to do it or it is not worth the time and effort.

Our Bloomstrack Hydrangea still blooming in front of our house in the end of October 2019.
Our “Bloomstruck” hydrangea still blooming in front of our house in the end of October 2019. Usually the flowers and leaves would have been frozen and damaged by the middle of October.

Suddenly the first snow has arrived to our area around November 7th. Our garden looked then quite unusual with many flowers, including hydrangeas still in full bloom and most of the roses with leaves all intact. It was as the garden was taken by surprise after pretty mild weather we had in October this year.  I think it looked quite nice, even if rather sad since the most of the remaining flowers and delicate plants were dying or going to sleep by now.  Here are several pictures of how our garden looked then.

The killing frost came the next day at night and killed all the upper portions of our hydrangeas, sage, butterfly bushes, dahlias, marigolds and some other more tender plants.

Our Bloomstruck Hydrangea now covered in snow, November 7, 2019.
Our “Bloomstruck” Hydrangea now covered in snow, November 7, 2019. There is also “Abbotsford” bush rose still blooming beside it.

 

A closer look at our Bloomstruck Hydrangea covered in snow, November 7, 2019.
A closer look at our “Bloomstruck” hydrangea covered in snow, November 7, 2019.

 

Here is more pictures of our garden covered in the first snow on November 7, 2019.

Our garden after the first snow storm, how it looked on November 7, 2019.
Our garden after the first snow storm, how it looked on November 7, 2019.

 

Another view on our garden after the first snow storm. It is how it looked on November 7, 2019. As you can see most of the roses and other flowers shrubs still had leaves on and I didn't cover any of them with protective burlap yet.
Another view on our garden after the first snow storm. It is how it looked the day after in the morning on November 7, 2019. As you can see most of the roses and other flowers shrubs still had leaves on and I didn’t cover any of them with protective burlap yet.
One more view on our garden how it looked on November 7th, 2019. The fresh snow covered the garden and stayed. The weather was very cool, at night about -6-8 C and there was ever much colder, up to -14 C a few days later. Then even more snow has fallen a couple of days later, as you can see in the pictures below. Much more snow have follen
One more view on our garden how it looked in the morning on November 7th, 2019. The fresh snow covered the garden but later in the day started to melt. The weather was very cool, at night about -6-8 C and there was ever much colder, up to -14 C a few days later. Then even more snow has fallen a couple of days, as you can see in the pictures below.

On November 7 later in the day, some snow has already melted. However the next night came the killing frost and then much more snow and really very cold weather in a couple of days, as you will be able to see in a few pictures below.

Our beautiful decorative sage plant "Rockin' Playin' the Blues" was still blooming on November 7 after the first snow, but not looking pretty bitten up.
Our beautiful decorative sage plant “Rockin’ Playin’ the Blues” was still blooming on November 7 after the first snow, but now looking pretty bitten up. Its upper portions was killed by frost the next day at night. I have cut it back then and covered in burlap hoping that maybe it wills survive till the next year. It is a perennial up to zone 7 and we are in zone 5 b, so too cold for it to survive without any protection.

Here is our garden after a pretty big winter storm we had over a two days period. Now the snow was much deeper and stayed for a few days. It looked as it often would be in our area in  January or February and we were not in the middle of November yet.

Our garden how it looked on November 12th, after a winter storm we had.
Our garden on November 12th, after a pretty big winter storm we had. Since we live here for almost 5 years I don’t remember ever having so much snow at this time of the year. Also the snow was staying on the ground, as it was January or February. The ground got frozen as well because of very strong frost we had over the previous week – up to -14C.
Another view at our garden covered in snow, November 12, 2019, after a winter storm. I think the garden looked quite beautiful, even if unusual for this time of the year.
Another view at our garden covered in snow, November 12, 2019, after a winter storm. I think the garden looked quite beautiful, even if unusual for this time of the year.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this article and looking at our garden again.  I will try to write more as the time permits.

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The Copyright, Usage Licence and Fine Art Prints.

All photographs and this article are copyrighted by me, Renata Ratajczyk unless otherwise mentioned. I you would like to use any of them in your publications, on your website, or purchase these photographs as fine art prints, please contact me.

My Other Blog – Light Vision.

If you like this blog, you might also like to visit my other blog – Light Vision, where I write about photography, art and travel. Thank you for visiting, liking and sharing my blogs.

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