No more cold?

Flowers of ‘Jane’ magnolia (below) are disappointing, and the few buds on the recently planted ‘Yellow Bird’ were damaged by a freeze a week ago. I hoped that unopened flower buds would have adequate protection, but many were close enough to opening that they were damaged by a twenty-three degree (Fahrenheit) nighttime freeze.

About half the flowers of ‘Jane’ made it through the freeze, and most are now opened with some damaged but still colorful from a distance. One early flowering magnolia or the other, and sometimes all are damaged by irregular freezes in March and early April. Fortunately, the pale yellow ‘Elizabeth’ (below) made it through without injury, and being most visible at the front of the garden the tall magnolia (at least thirty feet tall) puts on quite a show.

I planted ‘Yellow Bird’ a year ago hoping for a deeper yellow, but there will be no undamaged flowers this spring. Maybe next year, and of course this disappointment would be greater if not for the abundant blooms elsewhere in the garden.

It is fortunate that emerging leaves of Japanese maples (Acer palmatum ‘Oshio beni’, above) were not damaged in the freeze, and today there is no cold forecast in the next week that could be trouble. But, but, but, frost and freezes can pop into the forecast on short notice.

I’ve been a bit concerned that while most ferns have been up for weeks, a few have shown no signs of growth, until yesterday. I can hardly imagine a fern not surviving, that is the hardy ones, with several slightly tender ferns added in the past few years that will make it through as long as we continue to have zone 8 winters. Despite their nearly invasive manner, Ostrich ferns (above) are a favorite. They must regularly be plucked out of the gaps in the stone walks, so my wife despises them, but their fiddleheads and texture are wonderful. I cannot imagine any of the hardy ferns being damaged by freezes or frost, but I’ll be happiest if both are over and done with.

7 Comments Add yours

  1. Bonnie C. says:

    Do you cook up all those little Ostrich fern fiddleheads you pluck from the sidewalk? Because they’re absolutely delicious when they’re still tightly curled, boiled up until tender, & dressed with just a little butter, salt, & pepper!!

    1. Dave says:

      Invading Ostrich ferns are usually pulled out when they are small, or when they’re older and one flops over a walk. I have not cooked any fiddleheads. Maybe someday, but this sounds a bit too much like a salad.

      1. Bonnie C. says:

        Goodness no! You do have to pick them before they start unfurling – around 1″-2″ tall. Boiled up, drained, & seasoned they make a wonderful side to steaks, poultry, & fish. I so miss the days when several local supermarkets carried them in the Spring, right alongside Ramps (both at exorbitant prices, but still worth it). I may have to start my own patches of both. Have 22 acres to work with; should have a suitable habitat amongst that.

  2. Valerie says:

    Uh oh. My ostrich ferns haven’t emerged yet. Maybe today they will pop up. Thanks for the photo, so I know what I should be seeing.

    1. Dave says:

      It should be impossible to kill Ostrich ferns so I wouldn’t worry much. They can take sun, shade, dry and wet ground, so what is there that could kill them?

  3. Joan says:

    Would Ostrich Ferns spread? I need to fill in a large shaded area under2 trees that are close to each other .Right now, its a mess of Ivey and weeds.

    1. Dave says:

      Ostrich ferns will spread in almost every situation, most in part sun but also in shade. I dug Ostrich ferns from a damp area of forest at the edge of my property to plant in other areas, and now all have multiplied considerably.

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