The First Frost of Winter

I get a bit giddy when the first frost hits. I always hope it will land on a weekend, so I can take pictures during the pretty light of early morning. This year..I lucked out! The first frost in my neck of the woods occurred on a Saturday morning. Yippe! After a cup of coffee to clear the cobwebs..I dashed out in my pj's and bathroom to zip around the yard and see what story nature had to tell. (I have no doubt that I have the reputation of that 'crazy plant lady' in my neighborhood.)

Join me for a walk around the winter garden...

A frosted frond on the Alaskan shield fern 'Polystichum setiferum divisilobum'
Frost heightens the beauty of foliage. It accentuates the subtle lines and patterns at play. It brings the details we don't normally see into sharp relief. Colors get muted into 'heathered' tones, which are my favorite hues.

abelia 'Sunshine Daydream'
My favorite frosty pic is below. Icy, white, frost, draws the eye to the intricate pattern on Thuja occidentalis 'Golden Tuffet'. I imagine a diamond crusted piece of fine jewelry.

Thuja occidentalis 'Golden Tuffet'
Geranium leaves covered in frost.  This is 'Maxi Frei'

Below, Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Curly Top' looks more silvery than usual. Evergreens provide four season enjoyment.

A smattering of foliage coated in a feathery layer of ice.

Helenium 'Mardi Gras'

Physocarpus 'Little Devil'

A few leaves from acer palmatum 'Twombly Red Sentinel' are still on the ground. This little leaf found its way to rest on Cryptomeria japonica 'Little Diamond'.

Not a complete tour of the gardens without a stop by feather reed grasses...Karl Foerster grass.

Always the first of my helleborus collection to bloom, Spring Promise 'Elly' is looking as elegant as a diamond crusted ballroom skirt. This variety begins to bloom in November or late October in my garden.

Sedum 'Autumn Joy' bathing in the colors of a pink sunrise.

Hello beautiful! This pretty dwarf Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Devon Cream' looks amazing at sunrise covered in frost. This is a slow growing variety that is a lovely shade of blue. Mine started at 6" and after 2 years is closing in on 12".

Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Devon Cream'

Geranium sanguineum 'Maxi Frei'
The simple act of reveling in the beauty of a frosty morning is a gift that nature brings, especially during the madness of the holiday season.

Sending happy winter wishes to all!
Cheers, Jenni


  1. Jenni--Super exciting photographs! Gorgeous conifer foliage and Helenium, wow. I have a Twombly's Red Sentinal (new to me), still in pot, but I noticed how really attractive the fallen leaves were! So little and cute, and neon red. Do you like your plant as well (form, health, etc)?

    1. Hi Alyse! I have two Twombly's. That's how much I love them! My front yard is postage stamp size, so I have one in the grass there and then another in the front where I used to have a grass berm between a walkway and a parking spot. I love their color in both spring and fall. the are nice and compact, perfect for a small space. They have also survived harsh winter winds and snow. The first one was purchased 6.5 years ago and the second one I put in the ground 3.5 years ago.

  2. Great shots of nature's frosty artistry. It's always so exciting to see frost sparkling in the morning light. Happy first frost!

  3. Beautiful images, the Thuja almost seems made for frosty mornings. I do love frost in other people's gardens...especially when I'm warm and toasty inside admiring their photos.

  4. Do frost and outdoor PJs make for happy bedfellows.

    Frost does make everything look magical , especially if it is a hoar frost,

  5. Hi Jenni! I'm a West Linn gardener, too, and I also work for a new Portland maker of beehives and beekeeping supplies. Bespoke Bee Supply hand-crafts each hive in their PDX workshop using FSC-certified or salvaged wood, and their designs and by-hand techniques waste 30-60% less lumber than conventionally made hives. I wanted to connect with you, being like-minded and environmentally conscious neighbors, and see if there's an opportunity to collaborate. I can be reached at media [at] I look forward to connecting!


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