Wednesday, May 11, 2022

From Frost To 84

The past several days have featured overnight frosts.  NOAA provides our weather forecasts and most of the time we cover frost sensitive plants.  Last evening their overnight low temperature was 37 degrees.  With our self imposed cushion of 4 degrees, I felt that frost was unlikely.  Wrong again.  When I wake up I can see some of our lawn from the bed.  The grass between the apple trees was bright green and frost free.  However, frost drains downhill from the bedrock ridge following low ground to the final drop to the river flat.  Once out of bed, it was apparent that frost had once again poured across our gardens.  A trip to get water was made.  My footprints across frozen grass will turn black once the sunlight hits them.

This Golden stargazer clump is about all that remains of our period of major efforts to grow Oriental lilies in climate zone 4.  These plants are close to the south facing wall of the house but did have frost on them when I gave them a cold shower.  Our belief is that the change of state from frost to liquid gives off heat that burns the surface of plant leaves.  This cold shower simply washed the frost away.  Yes these lilies need to be both weeded and divided.  Here I will play the getting old card and hope for a little understanding.

Today's heat sent us on an afternoon drive across the valley to a dirt road that cuts across a forested slope.  This natural group of a moss covered tree trunk with two Trilliums and Miterwort growing between its roots is close to the road.  No trespassing was needed to snap this picture.  This is the look we are trying to create in our shade garden but rather young Sumac trees growing on river bottom flat land will never look this great. 

It seems that Toothwort is a mild mannered companion plant.  Its clusters of three toothed leaves are both attractive to the eye and open for neighboring plants.  If one can still approach ground level, the scent of these white flowers is delicious.  We have managed to keep some of this plant alive in our gardens but huge sweeps are the look we are trying for.  We have neither the slope nor the stones to create a copy of this scene.

Here three Trillium plants, two in flower, are surrounded by many Toothwort plants.  All seem to be thriving together.  Our weather this year has been harsh and dry.  These two flowers will likely set seed but the plants are only about half of their normal height.  The missing third flower could be a weather causality. 

These speckled Violets are a rather recent purchase at the Fernery.  Their beauty is subtle and they need to be growing under a wire cage.  Our deer herd frequently visit here and they find Violet leaves tasty.  Both the leaves and the flowers are safe for humans to place in natural salads.  Harvesting would be easier if the growth was not this close to the ground.  Plans are forming to place several of our special Violets under a cage.

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