I am guilty of occasionally looking ahead, no matter that this inevitably gets hopes up that are likely to be disappointed. With a mild start to winter, I cannot help but glance at the thirty day winter forecast that remarkably predicts only a few nights falling into the teens (Fahrenheit), and none colder. Consecutive years without temperatures nearing zero hardly seems possible, though I would not be surprised if a few frigid nights creep in to upset this mild forecast.
Certainly, I’m happy with every mild winter afternoon when I can putter about the garden, doing a little digging or weeding, or usually nothing but enjoying the winter blooms. But, with handfuls of marginally cold hardy evergreens in the garden I must be aware a day or two before extreme cold arrives so these can be protected.
A year ago, fatsias and anise shrubs (Illicium) were unprotected with only a single night falling to twelve degrees. I watched and waited, expecting cold that never arrived. Wire cages were left in the shed, and leaves that would fill cages were left in place to decay by late spring. The process to cover everything takes no more than an hour, but of course I’d rather not do it at all, and no doubt the evergreens are happier in the winter sunlight as long as it’s not frigid winter sunlight.