Six on Saturday – All that sparkles …

Now -6°C is a bit of a shock to the system, after months of double digits! In the bits of the garden that haven’t seen the sun (or admittedly fantastic blue skies) the frost is building up into rather beautiful patterns (see below). Elsewhere, there is a daytime state of collapse developing, which has seen me hastily clearing away rather slimey agapanthus, castor oil plant and dahlia leaves.

The ice crystals are pretty though, so I am joining the #SixonSaturday crowd for what is probably my first post with Jim Stephens (@Garden_Ruminations) at the helm. Click on this link to see his amazingly colourful treasures and to follow the comment trail through to other gardening goodies.

Five of my six subjects today are covered in ice, but look lovely nevertheless, I think!

1 Erigeron karvinskianus

sos1 erigeron

Erigeron karvinskianus with lovely fan-shaped ice crystals

It’s hard to say exactly how many months this little daisy has been flowering, but it is a ‘do-er’, almost without parallel! I love the way that the ice crystals have formed on the petals, looking all dendritic. They’ve also made the flower twice it’s normal size.

2 Campanula carpatica

sos2 campanula

Campanula carpatica is flowering once more in a number of places around the garden. This is quite a pale, nearly lilac, version. I’d call it a harebell blue. It quietly mounds up around the base of a number of border shrubs, forming little pools of calming blue. I think that the original plant arrived as a hitchhiker in a pot from my MIL’s garden, but I enjoy it’s flowers, so I’ve encourage it a bit. It’s proficient at seeding in the cracks of the patio. Before they get too entrenched, I just move them into the borders or pot them up for plant sales.

3 Pot Marigolds


Frosted Pot Marigolds (Calendula officinalis)

The last of the pot marigolds will be a mess once the ice lets go of them, but in the meantime they are still adding colour to the garden.

4 A late Oca crop


Frosted Oca. The leaves seem to have particularly encouraged growth of these ‘Desert Rose’ precious stone-like forms.

You are not supposed to lift an Oca crop until the leaves have been frosted and all the goodness has been pulled back into the tubers (roughly two weeks later). Well, our crop has finally been iced and is sporting an amazing line in crystals that look a lot like Desert Roses (Gypsum). The delay before harvesting means that I could be eating Oca for Christmas dinner! OK, that’s not going to happen, but still … it is an option now. 😉

5 Adorned Lamb’s Ears

sos5 Stachys

Another plant that is displaying a rather impressive horde of ice crystals is a clump of Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ears). I suspect that its moisture-retentive hairy leaf surfaces have aided their growth. Also, the clump is located in front of the potting shed, which, at this time of year, sits permanently in the shadow of the house and doesn’t get any direct warmth from the sun. I hesitate to say this, but the clump looks remarkably like a heap of shag cushions!

6 Berkheya purpurea

sos6 berkheya

Berkheya purpurea seed has started to germinate on the plant

I am finishing on a photo of a non-frosted Berkheya purpurea taken at the beginning of the week. I noticed that the warm, damp November weather has encouraged the seed to germinate on the plant. I’ve never seen this happen before. I am not sure how they will fare in this lengthening cold snap though. I should have potted them up, but didn’t have the time. 😦

So, that’s my cold Six. I checked our greenhouse and potting shed temperatures today and last night both went below zero, in spite in bubble wrap etc. That’s disappointing and may lead to some changes.

Have a good weekend! Hope that you manage to keep yourselves and your plants warm.


About Frogend_dweller

Living in the damp middle of nowhere
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22 Responses to Six on Saturday – All that sparkles …

  1. Oh goodness, that is a heavy frost. The frost on the Oca (a plant that is new to me) and indeed, the other plants too, is very attractive, but I’m sure you’d prefer no to have it. Berkheyer is another plant I’ve not heard of before: being from South Africa, it might grow here.

    • It’s almost a relief to get some really cold temperatures to be honest. It feels like a clean sweep, hopefully killing various pests etc. Oca is a really tasty, easy crop. Well worth experimenting with!

  2. shoreacres says:

    That’s the best looking marigold I’ve ever seen, and the Erigeron is beautiful. Frost like this always reminds me of sugared cake decorations and such. It’s just so hard to imagine frost. I know it’s December, but we’re sitting at 22C right now. There’s a front coming, though, so maybe we’ll at least get a Christmas cool down.

    • Thank you, Linda! It’s become unusually cold and snowy for December … at least for recent years. They are predicting a warm up next week though, so a white Christmas isn’t looking too likely.

      • shoreacres says:

        On the other hand, we’ve been exceptionally warm, and now they’re predicting significant cold for the time around Christmas and New Year’s. Even a 10% chance of snow has been mentioned, albeit casually and with not much conviction!

      • 🤣 I was just reading about a powerful winter storm spreading blizzards and tornadoes across the US. Good luck with your white Christmas though!

  3. fredgardener says:

    You arrived at the right time to take the photo of erigeron! Very pretty !
    I didn’t know that the oca needed frost to be better. (I haven’t tried growing it here yet but my brother-in-law will try next year. I will give him your advice.)

    • Thank you, Fred. I was certainly lucky with the ice crystals that day, because a freezing fog overnight changed them all … and then we had snow! Best wishes for your brother-in-law’s oca experiment! They are really tasty and worth it.

  4. Noelle says:

    If one is going to have a frost, then such beautiful formations ought to be admired and you have captured them beautifully. I had some germination in an eryngium seed head last year, similar to yours, and just burried the whole seed head shallowly and that way started up a new colony with much effort at all.

    • Thanks Noelle. Nature is ever delightful! Thanks for passing on your experience with the Berkheya seedlings. I fear the plunging temperatures have done for them this year, but I do have some divisions potted up to start new clumps.

  5. I had to look up Oca, sounds intriguing. I love the double frosty Lambs Ears. Stay warm.

  6. Eliza Waters says:

    Wow, very pretty… winter comes at last!

  7. Pauline says:

    You certainly did have a heavy frost, your marigold is quite amazing. We had snow yesterday but today has been freezing fog all day, what a change!

  8. Lovely shots of the ice crystals on the flowers!

  9. Cathy says:

    The stachys leaves are amazing, Allison!

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