Friday, March 30, 2018

Cardinal Flower Exposed

For the second time this month snow is disappearing from the garden.  On the first day of March the ground had sufficiently cleared and softened allowing weeds to be pulled.  Then winter firmly took hold once again and damage resulted.  It did not freeze here last night and overnight rain melted much of the snow.  We will soon have an opportunity to rescue some Cardinal plants.

These Cardinal Flower plants are just inside of the stone square.  Some of these were replanted last spring while others survived the change of seasons.  The largest clump will be removed and divided.  A dozen new plants may result.  Another sizable clump will also be lifted.  As May approaches, this area will be replanted with the plants soon to be placed in pots.  Cardinal Flower will continue to hold this stone corner just behind a Pinxter bush.

What remains of a large cluster of from seed survivors were slated for early removal this year.  They were poorly placed but would have provided us with perhaps two dozen young potted plants.  Then the hungry deer visited.  A cage now covers these plants but the question of favorable weather limits the likelihood of recovery.  We will pot up as many as are likely to survive.

Location is always a huge factor in success be it business or gardening.  These Cardinal Flower plants were close to the house.  Sheltered from north wind and basking in reflected sunlight, these plants got off to an early start.  Then harsh frigid winter weather returned.  These plants will be covered in place when necessary and we will watch to see if they recover.  Much of the plants have been transformed to mush but some green can still be seen.  We will watch and learn since they are directly in front of the house.

These Cardinal Flower plants grew next to Siberian Iris down by the road.  Earlier this year pictures showing standing water covering this area were posted.  We have read that the iris leaves should be removed each fall.  That author lives in the south and we have found it wise to remove the spent leaves early each spring.  This approach provides insulation for the iris crown.  Two Cardinal Flowers also benefited from some covering protection.  I peeked under the brown and found the Cardinal Flowers to be in excellent condition.  The mess will soon be cleared and these plants will be covered in place using five gallon buckets when hard frost is forecast.

These five from seed plant clusters hold a great deal of promise for the coming year.  Planted next to the driveway, they spent the winter under a tremendous snow cover.  Now that we know that deer eat Cardinal Flowers, these are under a protective cage.  We need to buy new buckets since these will also be covered in place.


Indie said...

I did not know that deer would eat Cardinal flower! I just uncovered mine out of all the fall leaves the other day.

Lucy Corrander Now in Halifax! said...

Here too (in Halifax, England) plants which thought it was spring have been set back by snow and extra frosts. It's sad to see them limp and browning - though hope most of them will recover themselves (providing we don't have too much snow tomorrow and Monday).

Beth at PlantPostings said...

Cardinal Flowers are wonderful, aren't they? And the red ones are hummingbird favorites! I planted Blue Lobelias last summer and promptly put cages around them. I think baby rabbits got to one of them, so I don't think it will come back. Fingers crossed. Good luck; I'll look forward to your photos of these beauties in bloom later in the growing season.