|Fallen baldcypress leaf frozen in concrete birdbath|
This November's unusually sudden turn to freezing weather has left many deciduous trees, shrubs and vines looking rather disgusting. My lilac is a nasty mess. Some of the now limp, blackened leaves of my big-leaf and panicle hydrangeas are still clinging pathetically to their stems. Not so, however, for the leaves of my climbing hydrangeas, which turned a very pleasing butter-yellow, then dropped of their own accord before the big freeze. The foliage of the autumn-blooming clematises appears a bit battered, but the fluffy, white seed heads are sweet and friendly-looking. Succulent sedums look tired. Iris fans look spotty. Heucheras and heucherellas look anemic. Wire vines are dying back unexpectedly. In one nursery pot I have a baby baldcypress (Taxodium distichum), which is still holding onto most of its rust-colored leaves. We know that at least one leaf has fallen. There it is, now frozen in the birdbath. The birds fight over the berries of nearby trees and the cats have to come indoors for a drink. A muddy field of bootprints and puddles has become a frozen network of ice lattice and intricate bubble patterns. Ready or not, winter is coming to the garden.