Annuals are plants that grow, flower and produce fruit or seed in one season and die off at frost. Basil, being extremely cold-sensitive is always the first thing to go. Other warm weather lovers, like zinnias, mexican sunflower and brazilian buttonflower (with big, fuzzy purple flowers) got zapped. Some annuals did not - which leads us to half-hardy annuals. These are annual plants which will tolerate some frost, but are not truly winter hardy like perennials. The nice thing is that they are hardy enough to extend the garden season, perhaps by several weeks, depending on the weather.
So, still blooming are pincushion flower with dark purple blooms studded with white dots (resembling pins), cheerful yellow and orange calendula and snapdragons. One day, when it warmed up, I saw a couple bees happily roaming over the calendula flowers. Calendula and particularly snaps, will tolerate quite a bit of cold. Sometimes they look frozen, but the sun comes out and they pop right back. I love snaps for many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that they survive so long. In mild years, I've had snaps blooming at Thanksgiving.
Our greenhouse toad is back and settling in for his long winter nap. He's not hibernating yet. He's buried in the dark in the back corner of the greenhouse, but his head is still sticking out. On sunny days, it still gets quite warm in the greenhouse, so he can emerge when he gets warm and crawl back in at night. Soon, he'll bury himself completely and I usually don't see him until we turn the heat back on. Compared to even a protected spot outside, I guess the greenhouse is like a luxury toad hotel. Although I refer to it as he, I have no idea if the toad is male or female.
I've been working hard in the shop and I'm now beginning to stock it with holiday items. Generally, I think the retail Christmas push starts much too early - before Halloween in some places! I like to enjoy fall first and then bring out the holiday items. For DIY'ers, it is a good time to stock up on supplies and containers. That way, you'll have everything you need once you're ready to create your herbal gifts.