Ready For a Frost

Birds are passing through Ann Arbor on their way to summer elsewhere, and the yard is sporadically full of songs I don’t usually hear. A frost was predicted for last night, so I gathered what was left to gather in the garden and brought it inside. The frost didn’t come, but even so, it’s interesting to see how different plants react to the slacking of the light: the zinnias and cosmos carry on, while the tomatoes have decided that’s enough for one season. Trees are starting to turn; the sugar maple brings on its famous red-gold slowly, from the top down.

Burning Bush Topiary

Burning Bush Deer Topiary

One of the most beautiful color-turners around here is the burning bush, with a glow that bursts through even stormy days. I have several burning bushes in my yard, clearly planted deliberately, long ago, as landscaping elements. In some parts of the country they’re considered invasive, and I’m sure they would like to be invasive here, but the deer won’t let them. The large, older bushes date from a time before the deer population was out of control, but have now been deer topiaried to look like enormous, leggy bonsai. Any little sprouting ones that pop up get nipped down to nothing. I’ve been told they’re poisonous, but no one told the deer. It’s nice to see the deer being useful.

The frost didn’t come, but it’s only a matter of days till it does.

seedheads

bird snacks

Harvest is over, and cleanup has begun. And then more planting: one hundred more narcissus bulbs will go out in the yard, and a few dozen tulips will flourish beyond reach of browsing deer, inside the garden fence. And then we all get a well-deserved rest. Except for the migrating birds, who have a long trip ahead of them. Feed well on the seedheads I’ve left standing for you, birds. Buen viajes on your way south and I’ll see you in April.

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