Losses have been significant for our garden this winter, even though I don’t push the zonal envelope that much – I am too lazy in my garden and refuse to commit my clients to additional work (& heartache) unless they request something. The weight of the snow in December did far more damage than the repeated hard freezes. My Phormium are completely flat (3 mature ‘Sundowner’; 3 mature ‘Platt’s Black’ – squashed). I already have 3 new ‘Platt’s Black’ lined up in protected storage, waiting for the frost threat to be over – from a grower’s sale, greenhoused over the winter. The old ones will be cut back, pulled and potted with hopes for recovery – though they will look pretty bad in the meantime. I have a pathetic Juniperus virginiana ‘Blue Arrow’ that looks like an spindly stick figure with arms waving all around…I brushed him off after every heavy snow but it did not take much to disfigure. He is currently wrapped to encourage return to usual form. The Pieris japonica ‘Flaming Silver’ suffered frost burns in December and are now shedding the leaves. Countless Euphorbia (wulfenii, martinii) are flat. Losses due to the hard freezes include several mature Anemanthele lessoniana. I love this grass so I will continue to use it, though I am growing closer to considering it an annual. Even if it does not die, it can look pretty bad after repeated drops into the 20s. Cutting it back to the ground can fast forward death, and if not, it takes too long to recover. I also lost over 80% of my relatively large (4′) Protanthera rotundifolia…no big surprise here. Before the freeze/snow events in December, I swaddled it in 3 layers of reemay, secured to the ground. It was not enough. Last summer, when some nursery folks toured the garden, it was in full bloom and they could not believe it had survived long enough to grow that large. I was smart enough to attribute its longevity to chance and not any prowess on my part. I won’t be replacing that one in that position. It will be pulled, pruned and potted with cuttings taken for insurance. They do not like hard pruning, so not counting on survival of the parent. Several Carex tenuiculmis ‘Cappuccino’ look pretty ratty – these are on the edge too for those really low temps we saw, and while not dead, some will be replaced. Generally I brush these out with a small wire rake and trim the dead ends. Once new growth comes in, I assess.
A few other issues here and there – Pinus heldreichii and Juniperus scopulorum ‘Moonglow’ are a little wide and weird, but the weathered form adds some character. Seems like most other things are coming back, albeit slowly, and I was happy to see that covering the Corylopsis (spicata and pauciflora) during last week’s freeze seems to have spared the opening flowers.
It’s raining now, and today’s white stuff should be gone by the evening. Maybe we will see warmer spring weather soon.
Hopefully this winter has not done too much damage in your garden. Take heart that you are not alone – we have all suffered. I grieved in December, then decided it was an opportunity to try some new things. Just doing my part to keep the local nurseries and growers in business. Onward…