Saturday, January 21, 2017

Green again



After a long week of snow and ice, we are finally emerging from hibernation. It was a long haul and I was beginning to think I would never see green again. The foot of snow lingered and lingered and there are still mounds and patches of it left even today. Temperatures struggled to get above freezing for almost a week. That kind of weather is actually not common here and winters are normally about as mild as they are in Alabama except our temperatures remain consistent (in the 30s and 40s) and we do not get spikes up into the 60s and 70s this time of year. 

There was significant tree damage around town and I know many gardeners suffered losses. Most of our plants are still small and many of them were totally buried by the snow. Four limbs on the big dogwood tree were broken. There would probably have been more than that had I not gotten out and shaken snow off during the first night of the snowfall.



The line of photinias along the back fence seem fine. There is one that was totally bent over and it is also sporting vibrant red foliage. I am not sure what is going on with it.



Aside from broken branches, the major cause for concern was whether or not tender plants survived the extended period of freezing temperatures. Gardeners tend to push the zonal limits here and it is common to see zone 8 plants flourishing. I have several plants that are questionable. I have kept the Echium wildpretti (a gift from Matthew at The Lents Farmer) covered with a plastic pot on cold nights and it was buried by the snow this past week. I don't know, what do you think -

Echium wildpretti

I wonder about some of the various fuchsias I have planted along with the Himalayan Whorlflower
(Morina longifolia), Pineapple Guava (Feijoa sellowiana), Dichroa versicolor,  Sweet Pea Shrub (Polygala x daimaisiana), and Nodding Chocolate Flower (Glumicalyz goseloides). Time will tell.

At least many of the plants had snow protection. Some did not, like the Strawberry Tree (Arbutus unedo) but it looks fine today.

 
Strawberry Tree (Arbutus unedo)

Osmanthus 'Goshiki' looks good, just a little bent over
Other plants look remarkably well. I did not know what to expect from the Escallonia 'Pink Princess'. I did not attempt to cover it or protect it due to its size and location. It does not seem fazed.
Escallonia

 
I just planted the Incense Cedar (Calocedrus decurrens) a few months ago. I kept the snow shook off it. This shade of green is so pretty!

This bamboo (already planted here when we moved in) is simply amazing. The entire plant was completely buried in snow - all you could see was a 2 ft. high mound) and it had completely bounced back after the thaw.
 
I was also concerned about this camellia ('Mathotiana'), a gift from our realtor. It was also completely buried in snow but not a branch was broken.

The pieris looks great. The dead foliage in front is heliotrope.
 
I kept the strawberries covered with plastic. They were a bit flattened.

Yesterday was the one-year anniversary of the day Michael got the keys to our house. A terrible day to celebrate it but there it is.

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

10-12 inches!


They say that it is the 4th largest snow in history in the Portland area. It started after dark last night and quickly started accumulating. I went out around 10pm and started shaking my plants that were being weighted down. We had around 4 inches by 11pm. I was reading and watching TV and about to get ready for bed when the power flickered three times and then went out for good. It was out for about 3 hours (we estimate).

This morning we woke up to at least 10 inches (probably more) and light snow continued to fall until noon. I was terribly worried about my plants but fortunately, most are still very small. My biggest concern was the big dogwood out back that was heavily loaded down with snow (see the photo below). When I ventured out this morning, I saw that two large limbs had broken. I got most of the heavy snow off and hope that it will be okay.

We have dry weather predicted for the next several days. It is going to get cold again at night, in the 20s, but at least the tender plants are under a thick blanket of protection.


 
The dogwood tree





 
The  big apple tree. I did a lot of pruning on it last year.





 
Looking down our street from the entrance to our driveway


The Colorada Blue Spruce (Picea pungens 'Globosa') was completely buried. It is about 2 feet tall.







Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy