Tuesday, March 27, 2012
We knew that summer temperatures in March would end abruptly and perhaps with damage to plants that had been teased out early. A week of daytime temperatures in the seventies exploded old record highs. The new highs were twenty degrees above previous records. 17 F was the low forecast for last night and our weatherman advised protecting tender plants. These orange spotted Asiatic lilies were left in the open garden as the sod lily house was full. Protection was required here, but how does one protect plants when the temperatures are expected to fall fifteen degrees below freezing?
These plastic tubs were filled with dried leaves then placed over the lily shoots. Stone weights seemed necessary since violent winds preceded the temperature drop. We left the tubs in place today. More cold is forecast tonight and the mess of cleaning up the dried leaves beneath the tubs did not seem worth it when cover will be necessary again tonight. If the insulating value of the leaves was enough will not be known until the tubs can be removed.
This is the best that our tree peony has ever looked. Dried leaves filled the space between the tree peony and its wire cage all winter. Putting the leaves back last night did not seem wise. The new growth that may have needed protection was high above the warm ground so there would be no warmth for the leaves to retain. Damage from placing the leaves was likely. We chose to leave the tree peony unprotected and the new growth does not look damaged. It will have to endure a second frigid night.
This bed of Ice Follies daffodils looks really sad and droopy. The new flower stems were full of liquid when they froze. Cell damage is apparent as the limp stems can no longer support the weight of the flowers. Plant leaves look undamaged so the bulbs will be fed this season and we can look forward to another beautiful display of flowers next year. For this year the show is over but it was grand while it lasted.