plants your garden
I’m always in awe of the energy that propels fall bloomers to spring forth flowers, often weeks or days before the first frost. There are so few of them, and understandably so.
I’m not talking about the frost tender plants from warmer zones that act as annuals in cold climates, those whose winters were supposed to be mild but had to surrender their natural growing cycles to the whim of the heartless northern gardener.
I’m talking about the plants that have adapted to bone chilling winters, thick blankets of snow and long months of hibernal light. The plants that have, deeply ingrained in their genes, the expectation of hard freezes and whipping blizzards, and still bloom in spite of them or, more likely, because of them, as an ultimate affirmation of life.
Some are burly and tenacious, equipped to withstand a frost or two, and even keep their foliage through milder winters, but others are so cold tender that a single night’s chill would kill them, and yet they abandon themselves to bloom, with the expectation of this harsh reality, in a battle with nature itself to ensure their offspring.
And then others just appear delicate, like the toad lilies in the photo, which look like orchids but are as resilient as hellebores. When the other flowers have already retired for the season, that’s when they get their time to shine. The later they bloom, the more they stand out, towering over the fall garden’s barren leaves and dried up stems like daring and defiant fighters. I can never get enough of them!