Before the storm


With word that more cold is on the way, and probably significant snow, I lingered in the garden to enjoy for a few minutes longer than typical on a chilly afternoon. The past few nights have not been quite as cold as forecast, but still damage to magnolias is evident. A week ago, I felt fortunate that ‘Dr. Merrill’ and ‘Royal Star’ are shaded, and delayed in flowering until after nights when temperatures dropped into the teens, but the tardy blooms gained only a few days until the next freeze.


No other damage is apparent, even to emerging leaves of lilacs (below) that appear too tender to tolerate such cold. With colder nights still to come, the gardener can only hope.

Hellebores (below) are not effected by the cold, and in fact, longevity of flowers is increased with cooler temperatures. While several early flowering types quickly moved past their peak in seventy degree February temperatures, more recent blooms show little change over several weeks. 

While other camellias flowered for weeks beginning in November, one ‘Winter’s Star’ camellia (below) did not flower at all, though it was loaded with buds that weathered the mild winter. This week, the camellia has burst into bloom, and surprisingly flowers have not been damaged by cold. If temperatures drop into the teens this cannot last. 

Flowers of paperbushes (Edgeworthia chrysantha, below) are a bit rough around the edges after recent freezes, but hardly to notice, and a joy since the memory remains of severe damage in recent winters. The relative rarity of paperbush is a mystery, as it is one of the favorites of this garden, though it is near the edge of its northern hardiness and prone to damage when temperatures drop below zero.While several andromedas (Pieris japonica) have passed from their peak, ‘Dorothy Wycoff’ persists. If temperatures were as warm as several weeks ago, hungry bees gathering nectar would prohibit passage on the path where this shrub is planted.The earliest flowering of the spireas, the yellow thread leafed ‘Ogon’ (Spirea thunbergii ‘Ogon’, below) is at its typical full bloom in mid March, and on the occasion of warm temperatures through March it would not be unusual for it to be nearing full leaf. There is no danger that it will be damaged in this weeks’s cold. Hopefully, this is true for the rest of the garden.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s