Frosted Viburnum flowers

Caught by the Frost: Frosted Flowers

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The cold has returned and it feels more like winter after the very mild New Year. There has been more frost and the new pond has had a covering of ice. What a change from the previous days that were more like mid-autumn!

The frost has caught a few flowers in the garden. Viburnum bodnantense ‘Dawn’ (top photo) is a reliable flowerer for winter and often gets a little bit of icy decoration. The phildadelphus below is a summer-flowering shrub but somehow managed to produce the few flowers here. They make an unusual frosty image, but I wonder if the warming climate will make occasional winter flowers on this shrub more likely.

The unusually warm temperatures over the last few weeks must have been confusing for plants and for wildlife too. I’ve noticed the occasional bumblebee buzz past me while I’ve been working in the garden. It’s not unusual to see one or two out of hibernation on a sunny day. They seem to prefer the mahonia flowers to the viburnum, but maybe it depends on what the choice of flowers is, and what stage they’re at.

In any case, I think I should add some new plants to expand the choices for any bees active at this time of year. (Winter-flowering heathers, aconites, crocuses, hellebores and winter-flowering honeysuckle are all frequently recommended. As are willows, but I wouldn’t have room for one of those!) For now, I’m hoping that the bumblebees are safely tucked up and asleep – it’s cold out there!

Frosted Philadelphus flowers

26 thoughts on “Caught by the Frost: Frosted Flowers

  1. Frosted flowers always look to me like sugar decorations for cakes. I really do like the ‘something extra’ that the frost adds. We’ve been bouncing around, temperature-wise, too, and it always seems to me that after a warm spell cold just feels colder. We just need to be as flexible as your bumblebees, and take advantage of the sun when it appears.

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    1. They do look as if they’ve been coated in sugar crystals! The warmer weather around New Year felt strange but was useful in allowing me more time to work in the garden. I was splashing around in the new pond in my welly boots, putting pebbles over the base. It was fun, but I’m glad I got it done before it got cold!

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    1. Thanks Indira! I’m always hoping that there will still be a few flowers around when the frosts arrive so that I will have something to photograph. I was lucky with the philadelphus – it normally flowers in June.

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    1. The philadelphus flowers didn’t survive the frost but were an unexpected bonus anyway, given that they normally appear in June. The pink flowers of the viburnum are carrying on…I think the frost didn’t cause too much damage to them, but it’s difficult to tell when there are new buds opening.


  2. I didn’t know that there were this many flowering plants in winter in England, Ann. I like the idea of planting more of them for the errant insects that are mislead by those warm days. I would love to do likewise, as I also see or hear the occasional buzzing insect on warm days, but I don’t know of any flower that could survive our winters.
    I’m sure your insects will thank you by frequenting your flower buffet. 🙂

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    1. The buff-tailed bumblebees, which are common here, are often active in winter. Apparently both the viburnum and mahonia (which we also have) are both good for them. There are other things that I could plant, just need to do a bit of research and make some space!

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      1. We occasionally have a freeze here – had to redo my front yard twice in 15 years because of the cold. Some people grow poinsettias and I have seen the flowers get frost before. Not as pretty as your flowers though.

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      2. We only see poinsettias as a short-lived Christmas plant, though I have seen the occasional photo from someone that has managed to keep one alive. Do they survive with you if they get frosted?

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      3. I have seen some really large plants (like 6 feet tall) totally die out from a hard freeze. A lot of people try to cover them, but when it gets well below freezing for several hours, there is not much you can do. Probably would withstand just a short time frost.

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