friend or foe

Ugh, this winter is driving me crazy. Two days ago it was 8 C, then later that evening we had 80 km/h winds that put us in a deep freeze that night and into the next day. With reports of warming up again by late weekend.  As a gardener, I don’t like what this could possibly do to my perennials. Especially my barely hardy crocosmias. This is my first winter with them so I layered lots of mulch in the fall hoping to keep their roots nice any cozy. I’m interested in seeing if they survive. I think they are more hardy to zone 6.

  I know that sun can be bad news and we have had lots of sunny days this winter-
“A newly planted garden in direct winter sun can be at real risk. The worst thing for plants, particularly perennials, is alternate freezing and thawing. Plants will sustain root damage from heaving and also from the standing water left behind after the snow melts.”

This morning as I was coming back up to the house after getting my daughter on the school bus, I walked around my garden to see how the bed was doing. With just a few patches of snow/ice on top it was easy to see if anything looked out of place. The mulch I applied may help keep my plants in the ground during these periods of soil freezing and thawing. I checked over my rhododendrons since it was just planted in the fall to make sure it didn’t have sun or wind damage. The wind is a real villain. I have read a lot about how these plants are very sensitive to this kind of weather, but it appears to be holding up nicely. I’m wondering if I should wrap this one up in burlap like I have done with my hydrangeas. Cold winds dry out the branches of shrubs and will even damage roots of top-heavy plants and newly planted trees and shrubs. A lot of my new shrubs were planted in the fall.

As I’m looking around I noticed in a few spots where I had planted double tulip bulbs that the soil has been messed up. Probably a pesky critter looking for food, but at this point I can’t straighten things out because everything is frozen. Right to the left of the house there is a hill that goes down into a swamp so I have seen all kinds of wildlife throughout the seasons. But, I think the bulbs are still down there and hopefully far enough down that they can’t be reached.

Last night I had to stop my husband from throwing salt down on the sidewalk beside the gardens. Of course, he doesn’t think about the plants as he tries to save people from falling on their bums when walking up to our house. So, I did the walkways carefully as he did the driveway. Yes, salt, another foe of plants and soil.
Hmm, maybe burlap screens around the garden are a good idea for the winter …
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6 thoughts on “friend or foe

  1. We don’t have it nearly as bad as you, but we have had back and forth with ridiculously warm and then below freezing. No snow at all. I wish we had some to protect the plants! It’s good that you’ve mulched as much as you have. Some remay fabric or burlap might not be a bad idea for that rhododendron, or for anything else you’re worried about. Couldn’t hurt! I hope those crocosmias and tulips make it!

  2. Here in central Wyoming we are having an unusually mild winter. In mid December we had 4 or 5 days above 50 F, and I took a little walk through my wildflower garden which has many flowers that freely reseed.

    To my dismay there were dozens and dozens of little seedlings sprouting as if it were May instead of December. I wonder if I will notice a decrease in seedling this spring. I also wonder how many other times this has happened in the past and I just didn’t notice it.

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