Wednesday, May 04, 2005


Painted fern after. We had a record-breaking warm March, pushing new growth two weeks ahead of normal, then into a dismally cold, dry April, culminating in the freeze of all freezes Monday night. It reached 25 degrees, shattering the all time low temperature for the month of May here. My garden lies in a bowl, so the cold air sat here, and froze multitudes of plants grievously. I've lived in Iowa for a total of over 50 years, and never seen anything like it, and hopefully never will again, but the damage has been done, and it will take a couple of years for the garden to recover; all the new growth on many azaleas and rhododendrons has been totally lost, magnolias have been almost denuded, as have many Japanese maples. A garden of bright hope has turned into a painful sick ward. I was quite astonished to see major freeze damage to common, native plants and even weeds. I have never seen Virginia creeper frozen to the ground! So, I have witnessed a (hopefully) once in a lifetime freeze. It is not a pretty sight. Posted by Hello

Comments:
Wow. I was wondering where you were this morning.

Do keep us posted on how these plants recover. I'm curious if some with a hard wilt won't come back with a bit of warmth.

But damn. That's painful.

We've been getting frosts and near-record lows, too, but nothing quite like that kind of pounding.

Cold again tonight. I've just covered the fritillaria persica and the clematis blue bird (which seems to be a very early bloomer - mine's got loads of buds... I need to get photos up.) Everything else is on its own, or not really up yet.

Now I'm wondering if I should somehow cover the japanese maple.

Argh. Off to weather.com go I...
 
Oh, I'm so sorry for you and your garden. I'd like to say something uplifting, but nothing comes to mind.

But as Jenn said, please let us know how the recovery proceeds.
 
What they said, Don.
 
Heartbreaking! We've had an unusually cool April and May down here in Texas, too. But that just means that it's been in the 40s and 50 (instead of the 80s and 90s). So the extended spring has been very welcome.

I can't imagine dealing with freezing temperatures this late in the year.
 
Thanks everybody for your kind thoughts.Hopefully this was a lifetime freeze; I know I've never seen anything remotely like it (I mean, whose ever seen WEEDS freeze?) But onward and upward (or at least sideways). The sun was warm today, and things don't look too awful. The worst damage was to magnolias, Japanese maples, and rhodys-azaleas.Survival of some of the maples and especially magnolias is very iffy, but it could have been worse.
Don
 
I'm really sorry to see the damage from the cold. The enormous variety of plants you've accumulated is staggering; I hope most of them make it.

Keep an eye on the older shrubs to see if any branches are doing better than others on the same plant. Shrubby perennials tend to accumulate somatic mutations - you might find some cold resistant ones worth propagating.

Hopefully the remainder of the spring will be kinder to you and your plants!
 
Don,

We've crossed paths on some of the different garden forums, but I just stumbled on your blog a couple days ago while doing a search for Primula kisoana. I've really enjoyed your photos and entertaining stories...can't wait to find time to look over the archives!!

Needless to say, my garden looks very similar to these photos. I'm a ways north of you, so things aren't quite as far along, but 95% of my hostas are mush. I'm really worried about my strategically placed Japanese maple...has done wonderful for at least 5 years...now crispy. Same with my 'Lace Lady' Black Locust. Nothing to do but wait and see... Oh, and the Primula is toaste, too...

I look forward to seeing more from your garden!!
 
Josh,
I think the locusts will come back; I'm not so optomistic about the Japanese maples. I've watered them all with Miracle Grow, and hoping for some new foliage. The small magnolias I just planted last year I have even less hope for, but we'll see. Which primrose turned up it's toes? It must have been awful where you are (Independence,as I recall); I don't think any of my primroses were even fazed (the blossoms of some are a little frazzled, but the plants are fine). Primula kisoana is REALLY tough... I just uprooted a couple more little plants from the bark pathway, and stuck them elsewhere; they all root and grow fine.If you ever get down to Iowa City, let me know and I'll dig you up a couple, and throw in a sieboldii, which is almost as unkillable.
Don
 
I know how you feel. I got alot of superficial damage. Some of my plants fell over but they came out of it. I lost my Endless Summer Hydrangea sigh!!
 
Don,

Yes, I'm just outside of Independence. We got down to the mid 20's...maybe even colder. The only Primula I currently grow is kisoana. It had just opened the first blooms before the freeze, but I see there are a few fresh flowers to hide the frozen ones. The plant will be fine, I'm sure.

I do get down to IC on occasion...I would love to see your garden sometime! Likewise, if you get up this way, look me up!
 
Hey, you have a great blog here! I'm definitely going to bookmark you!

I have a ffxi gardening
site/blog. It pretty much covers ffxi gardeningrelated stuff.

Come and check it out if you get time :-)
 
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