CO-Horts Blog

Friday, October 7, 2016

Wear Rose Colored Glasses in Aftermath of Freeze

Posted by Mary Small, State Master Gardener program coordinator

We all know that sometimes Nature can be downright cruel in the garden. Like most gardeners, I don’t like early freezes in the fall and late ones in the spring. I immensely dislike psyllid infestations on my tomatoes. But sometimes the perceived “cruelty” or “problem” can also be beautiful. So put on some rose-colored glasses for the next few moments.

Webbing reflected in light
Yesterday there was rain, hail and then finally a freeze last night in Fort Collins. (I never understand how it can be cloudy all day long and then clear at night - something seems wrong with that picture, but I digress.)  It was obvious this morning that some annuals had bitten the dust. So I went out to take pictures of the damage  for use in my classes and while doing that, discovered beauty.
Look at the intricate webbing  within these impatiens! I would have missed it if the plants weren’t damaged by the cold and still covering it up.

While unsuccessfully taking a picture of ladybug pupae on this tomato (see background) I found these water droplets being held aloft by the trichomes.  

Trichomes on tomato
There were also a lot of water droplets on this geranium.

What do you think about these two “new” varieties of zinnia? I’m not sure why the damage(browning) appears in this pattern, although I suspect it has to do with petal maturity and the accompanying ability to withstand different levels of cold. 
Next time there's a freeze in your area, take a few minutes to breathe deeply, assess the damage and look around with a pair of rose-colored glasses. I think you'll be amazed what awaits you!

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