Sure enough

Sure enough, the twenty-six degree (Fahrenheit) night came and flowers of the ‘Merrill’ magnolia were damaged (below). Flowers are just opening on the ‘Royal Star’ magnolia so these should be okay, but there are many buds still to open on both that would not be injured by the freeze.

Half the flower buds of ‘Merrill’ have opened and been damaged, but the other half will flower over the next week (below). Buds of other magnolias have not swelled enough to be damaged.

This is routine for the early flowering magnolias, and those who cannot accept such damage should choose trees that flower later in April when such cold is more rare. I am always disappointed when flowers of a magnolia or camellia (below) turn to brown mush, but barely so since this happens to some extent, with one magnolia or the other, every early spring.

Two boxes of mail ordered plants not available in the garden center arrived as temperatures were rapidly falling, and no matter that I’m anxious to get everything planted, there’s no way I am sending these tiny plants out into the cold. One box from California stayed indoors, the other from Washington spent the night in the garage. All will be moved to the floor of the unheated greenhouse to grow on for a few weeks until the temperatures are more dependably moderate.

Flowers of Royal Star magnolia have come into full flower today, just as two twenty degree nights loom.

I planted the new ‘Whitewater’ redbud before the sun set, and while tiny plants in pots from a faraway (warmer) state are most likely to have a problem, I have no concern that the redbud will suffer in the cold. Now that it’s in the ground, I can better envision that the redbud will work splendidly in this position at the entrance to the rear garden.

Flowering of Okame cherry has extended into a third week in cool temperatures.

After our mild winter, recent chilly temperatures have slowed the garden’s early start. Low twenties are forecast for the next few nights, so more flowers will be ruined before more pleasant temperatures return. A benefit of the cold is that more tolerant flowers are slower to fade as the process is accelerated in milder weather.

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