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Gardeners have been scrambling today to pick their last summer vegetables, protect tender vegetation and get ready for our first potential frost. Where you live will make a difference in whether it freezes or not. Ample moisture from our recent rains will help to protect our plants, and windy conditions would also be a bonus. Whether you live on a slope or in the valley can also make or break a frost. I live on a hill so we have great air circulation, but I did pick the last of the tomatoes, peppers and okra, and pulled up the summer annuals on the deck

and planted winter annuals.

I do not move plants indoors for the winter, but I do protect a few outside. I moved my lemon, olive and bay plants between the house and my foundation shrubs.

Hopefully that will be protected enough to get them through. I have done that with my bay leaf plant for the past 5 years and I have had no damage. Last year my Meyer lemon actually made it through the winter exposed on the deck, but it did burn back at the end of winter. The olive tree is a new one for me, so time will tell.

The winter vegetables should be fine without any added help this time,

but I will monitor throughout the winter and protect more if needed. Halloween is a tad early for a first frost, but not unheard of. We have just been lulled with mild falls and winters without a hard freeze until mid-December some years. I had hibiscus still blooming at Christmas one year.

I did take stock of my whole garden today. The toad lilies that have the potential to shred are much better behaved this year, since I kept pruning them all summer.

They are compact and loaded with blooms. My hellebores are all putting on new growth,

so cleaning up the old, damaged foliage will be a task for tomorrow. I actually have some small blooms coming on my Josef Lemper variety. Camellias are loaded with buds,

but none of mine are open yet, but I am seeing the beginning of flowers on the Soft Caress mahonia.

I enjoyed working in the garden this afternoon and the temperatures felt great. I have a fire ready to be lit tonight while we await trick-or-treaters. Happy Halloween!

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