Saturday, June 27, 2015
Lingering Frost Impact
Some have not forgotten our late May freeze with frost. The lasting impact on various plants raises many questions. Contradictions are all that is clear when looking at what happened to various green growing things. For the first time in our collective memories, peas were hammered by the freeze. We have two plantings of snow peas spaced about two weeks apart in time. The earlier taller plants were hit harder than the younger shorter peas. As shown by the harvest, these plants made a comeback. The older plants are shorter than usual and both plantings are ready to pick now despite the difference in when they were planted.
Our wild ginger is planted inside the stone square at the base of one of the walls. Despite the protection from the rolling frost river, the ginger took a real hit. Blackened leaves were the only ones open when the frost hit. Lower bright green leaves opened after the storm. We probably should trim away the damaged leaves but this is a native wild plant that has survived many generations without human interference.
Our locust tree would prefer to grow 100 miles south of here in central Pennsylvania. It is late to open its leaves here and has proved to be frost sensitive in the past. We expected it to drop the newly opened leaves that endured the freeze. We had absolutely no hope of seeing blossoms because of the cold. Not only did the tree keep the leaves, it opened flowers. A nearby state road runs along the Butternut Creek valley. Locust trees line both sides of the highway for several miles. We were fortunate to travel there when the trees were in flower. Rich farm fields, a meandering creek and white locust flowers painted a beautiful picture.
We have two varieties of Lily Regale. Both were covered with a giant plastic garbage can when the frost hit. Bud-less brown plants mark the location of the plants that show off pure white flowers occasionally. The variety that has white flowers with red on the outside of the blossoms is apparently more hardy. We sometimes see many more buds here but at least we will have some open flowers soon.
One of Becky's new purchases was planted out before the cold. This single remaining flower, smaller than a dime, and a few stubs are all that remain of what was a large beautiful plant. These pieces may survive but it will take a couple of years before we see a mature Spider Web Hens and Chicks plant.
This astilbe lies directly in the path of the frost river that pours down on us from the nearby ridge. Despite the protection given be an inverted five gallon pail, impact of the freeze can be seen. In a normal year this plant would be taller than the stone wall. Now both the leaves and the flowers look great but short. Perhaps this plant was forced to put out a second flush of leaves and they did not grow to their normal height. "Bloom where you are planted!" It's not always easy!