Masterpiece Landscaping Blog

October 10, 2009

Today Is October 10. So What?

Filed under: battling the Minnesota climate — glenn @ 8:35 am

Today is October 10.  So what?

In the Twin City area October 10 is the date on the average of the first seasonal frost.  As I am looking out my office window, I notice there is a broad coating of snow on the ground.  It is likely that the temperature has reached 32 degrees Fahrenheit or lower.

This usually means my coleus outside will be dead.  A few of my perennials will show drooping foliage.  This light frost is a reminder that within two weeks I should dig up and bring in the Canna roots I planted in the garden this year.  The fruit on my Aralia will begin to drop.  Aralia spinosissima is one of my favorite  plants in the garden although locally it can become a weedy pest.  It is a medium sized tree which bloom in late August through mid September, a creamy white turning to a rich pink and maroon as the fruit develop.

This aralia feeds a wide variety  of birds  before their long migration southward.  Warning, the bark of the aralia has weapon-like thorns.  Thorns also occur on the tree’s huge double compound leaves.  In winter the stiff silhouette of the plant against the snow appears prehistoric.  The tree is especially beautiful looking down on its floral display from a second story window.

Do you know what day, on the average, is the latest Spring frost in the Twin City area?

May 10.

In a few days weather experts are  predicting the Twin Cities area will enjoy a record breaking 24 degrees F, a real  killing frost.  They  know the Earth in our climate zone is cooling and will be continuing to cool for 60 or 70 years.  Sun spots and Earth’s regular temperature cycles  tell us so.  So beware of  tidings of hot air.

Zone 5 is my idea of landscape gardening paradise potential at least regarding climate.  Tulips by late February, Flowering dogwoods, fancy magnolias, ten times the plant material available for us in the art of landscape gardening.  Best of all Minnesotans would be able to grow well the vast majority of the spectacular Japanese maples, even the lace leaf varieties.

Accompanying the warming up of temperatures of zone 4 to zone 5, however, would arrive a number of “undesireables”.  Zone 5 insects would march right in.  Because of the recent 60 year warming up, some Twin City gardens have finally invited the dread Japanese beetles  to ravage them.  Rattlesnakes and copperheads didn’t quite make it, but red  cardinals did.  When I was a boy, seeing the red Cardinal anywhere at anytime was a real treat.

Well, maybe Minnesota climatically is pretty good just as it is.  But winter can sure be long to one who loves to landscape garden.  If we keep feeding the cardinals, maybe we can still keep them in our winter gardens even thought Minnesota winter weather will become more like it was in the 1940s.