Sudden cold

The suddenness of this week’s cold has turned much of the garden to brown. Leaves of Japanese maples that often reach peak autumn colors late in November changed to brown overnight. A year ago, a carpet of red leaves from the Bloodgood maple covered the front walk. Today, brown leaves cling to branches, the typical processes interrupted by hard freezes. Hopes for late season foliage color are dashed.

Leaves of the Fernleaf Japanese maple have turned from mottled shades of red and yellow to brown.

Partially opened buds of camellias (below) continue to show color, but fully opened flowers have turned to brown. With milder temperatures forecast, many buds will open without damage, and flowers often continue into the new year.

While flowers of Encore azaleas wilted in the first twenty degree night, a few blooms of daphnes survived the cold. Possibly, a new flower or two will open before cold shuts them down until March.

A first glimpse of color is seen on the yellow flowered ‘Arnold Promise’ witch hazel (below). Scattered early blooms of ‘Jelena’ were seen a year ago, with typical flowering in February, so there is no reason for worry despite this early arrival of winter temperatures.