Sunday, January 3, 2016

Deep Cold Without Snow

So far so good. The lows have been 22 and 24. There is no obvious carnage at this point. Granted this kind of carnage may not show up until spring. I would think nothing of these low temperatures if it had not been close to 70 last week and most of December. The newly planted garden at the Inn is what has me most worried. It has had a great deal of trouble going dormant.

Another colder pulse of cold is scheduled to arrive tomorrow. The high will be around freezing and the lows in the teens for two nights. Can plants lower their cold hardiness in three days of cold? I sure hope so.

The grasses in the front bed along the scenic byway slowly shatter in the winter winds. The tops are dead. As long as the root crowns are not thinking of growing, it doesn't matter how cold it gets.

That is almost the case with the cold hardy, evergreen, clumping bamboo that was supposed to be hiding the culvert by now. It may be hardy to minus temperatures, but it isn't evergreen that low. The rhizomes for next springs growth also get stunted by the minuses. The bamboo that should be eight feet tall is acting like a dwarf after two winters of polar vortexes.

That is why snow is important. Snow might not save the tops from defoliating, but it would help spare the underground parts from the extreme cold.

Described as an "exceptional cold hardy evergreen shrub" rated to zone 4, the Taxus cuspidata 'Emerald Spreader' Japanese Yew is proving otherwise. I'm not sure why it is having a failure to thrive in the wild cultivated gardens. Is the pH too acidic? Does my well drained soil stay too wet? Are the brown anemic needles from winter burn from getting too much afternoon sun?

The new growth got zapped by a late spring freeze its first year in the ground. I don't find that exceptionally cold hardy. I'm not even sure they grew at all this year. What will a hot Decembers do to them? They better shape up or a Cephalotaxus may have to take its place.

It was a might nippy today with a brisk wind chilly. It was past noon before it reached my minimum operating temperature. Finally, I went outside and replaced the dead GFI plug. When that was done, the rusty heavy metal pipe section was spray painted a metallic silver. Next it will be filled with potting soil. Come spring I will plant it with something that strikes my fancy. A ponytail palm might be an interesting choice.

The beasts are worse than me about their minimum operating temperature. If it is cold, they have zero inclination to set a paw outside. When I stay outside for a while they start to feel left out and will eventually follow to see what I am up to.

Miss Collar has a most interesting habit with the newly finished basement patio.

She walks the labyrinth. I have watched numerous times as she very deliberately stays on the colored brick road to cross the patio. I'm sure the bricks feel much better than the gravel on her delicate little feet, but it is so amusing to watch.


Lisa Greenbow said...

Miss Collar may be meditating.

Lola said...

It finally got cool here. Love the way Miss Collar walks. Hopefully it will get some snow so all will be protected.