This period of rest is nearly at its end, for better and worse.
While I fret over the multitude of chores that must be accomplished by the start of spring, I greatly appreciate the more relaxed pace of winter. Not that there is nothing to be done, but there is less urgency that tasks must be completed before many more are added to the list.
Strangely (and fortunately), the quantity of winter weeds seems diminished from previous years, and it is enjoyable to stroll the garden without an overwhelming sense that chores will never be caught up on. But, the time for relaxation, reflection, and planning is passing.
Close inspection of plants vulnerable to winter injury reveals little of concern, so the earliest tasks need not be pruning and disposing of dead wood. The variegated Winter daphne (above) has taken the worst of it, but it appears the damage is no more than browned foliage, and I am hopeful that flowers have not been lost. Color shows through on buds of a more protected shrub, with the other losing more leaves, but nothing more severe, I think. At worst, minor pruning will be necessary.
There was immediate concern for paperbushes (above) following nights that dropped to zero, but there is no apparent injury. Buds show only the slightest swelling in late February, so flowering will be later than average, though warm days in the forecast could hurry this along. Hollies and other evergreens in the garden show only minor evidence of damage from the cold, though I notice more recently planted broadleaf evergreens in the area have not fared so well, and many will not survive.
Hellebores (above) are also behind schedule, but milder temperatures have accelerated swelling of buds. Instead of flowers scattered through late January and February, which were few in the extended period of cold, the next several weeks will be quite splendid.
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The pussy willows look cute! Glad everything survived the cold okay! 😀
Following two more seventy degree days I see continuing progress, with many hellebores approaching peak bloom. With a few warm days forecast this weekend, it appears that Winter daphnes will be flowering despite damaged foliage. Leaves are easily replaced.
My Edgeworthias were also fine, though we only dropped to 3 F here in central NC. I lose more flowers to birds, mainly house finches, I think, which love to rip apart the flower buds just before they open. Maybe looking for nectar?
No bird problems here. After a third seventy degree day, flowers of edgeworthias have come to life, showing first color. It is likely to be another week before they reach their peak. I would have been disappointed to lose flowers after several days that dropped to zero or slightly below, but that’s far better than the extensive dieback they experienced five or six years earlier when temperatures dropped to five or six below.
Several of us have been discussing the weird change in weather; all over and in regions where the weather is not related, including in the Southern Hemisphere.
Overall, this will be a very average winter for us, despite recent seventy degree days. No doubt, there are long term changes and more odd weather events.
Seventy degrees in not unusual for us in winter, but the duration of nearly eighty degrees and warm nights was rather weird.