Cold on the way

Scattered late blooms of spirea, azalea, and Rankin jasmine vine are a curiosity (particularly as they stray into December), but hardly unusual following mild autumn temperatures. With an extended period of cold overdue, but expected within days, remaining flowers will be ruined with no more expected.

Ogon spirea flowers in late winter, but it is not unusual to see scattered blooms in late autumn.

Camellias have flowered heavily since early October (the best I’ve seen in decades in this garden), and with many unopened buds these are likely to resume flowering once less chilly temperatures return. Winter flowers of camellias are quickly ruined by freezing temperatures, with blooms often brown along the edges, so there are not likely to be perfect pink or white flowers from here on out. Flowers of mahonias are now at their peak, and these will tolerate temperatures to ten degrees and below with no damage.

Surprisingly, Rankin jasmine has flowered through early freezes, with more buds that would continue flowering if mild temperatures remained. But, buds are unlikely to survive an extended period of cold.

While I prowl about the garden regardless of temperature, by week’s end my wife won’t venture outdoors into the cold, even for a minute without bundling up. But, there should be no issues in the garden unless the gardener has neglected to bring tropicals indoors. Otherwise, temperatures will not be severe enough to damage cold hardy plants. With nighttime lows regularly dropping into the twenties, plants are well acclimated by early December, so there’s no reason to worry.

Blooms of the late autumn flowering mahonias will not be damaged by temperatures in the teens and twenties.
Colorful foliage of gordlinia is evergreen, but it is often damaged by temperatures below ten degrees.


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