Monday, May 24, 2010

Survivor: Winter in the Northern Garden

I did more spring clean-up and weeding in the raised beds today, ripping out lots of more dead plant material. It seems that many plants succumbed or were severely damaged by the -30C weather we had last fall before we got any snow cover. Any plants remaining deserve an award for their survivorship despite such conditions. Primula auricula is one such hardy plant. The polyanthus and drumstick (denticulata) primulas never survived, though. The creeping phlox (Phlox subulata) was hit very hard, with very few live stems and flowers this spring. Usually, their pink flowers contrast nicely with the grape hyacinths, which have yet to start blooming.
Primula auricula in bloom:

It was a strange winter for the trees too. The mountain ash still hasn't dropped its dead leaves from last year, so the dead brown foliage is still hanging up there like dirty laundry amid this spring's new green leaves.
Dead junipers and the winter-savaged perennial flower bed:

Dryas octopetala among poppies in the alpine garden:

Most of the lilies are looking okay, as are the delphiniums and bergenia. Time will tell if the daylilies and hostas are going to come around this year. It's good that I got some gardening done today, because tomorrow's forecast includes mixed rain and snow! I'm wondering if a warm day will ever come or if the pumpkin seedlings will stay hiding indoors forever?


Liz said...

Wow, -30c, can't even begin to imagine such cold!!!

I'm glad some things have survived at least, it's amazing how nature can cope with such severe conditions.

I hope the snow doesn't arrive for you... It's certainly been strange weather this year, even for us across the pond. We've just had a weekend of 30oC... Crazy. Thankfully today is back to more reasonable temperatures.

Cicero Sings said...

Sorry to hear of your losses! We had an early cold snap last year -- down to -31 c -- but fortunately even a thin layer of snow saved the day. Following that we had quite a
mild winter.

Barbarapc said...

Primula auricula is a plant that just isn't hardy for me on the north shore of Lake Ontario. Go figure. While it's discouraging to see just how many plants you've lost (in bad years I lose about 10%) I'm amazed sometimes at what survives and thrives. Would love to send some warm weather your way - it's going to be foolishly warm today.

Gardenista said...

Barbara -- I am surprised that Primula auricula doesn't work for you. I wonder what weather elements it does not like? I just wish I could start them from seed. I've only had bad luck with that, so this spring I ordered a few more plants.

The Garden Ms. S said...

It must be heartening to see such sweet blooms on your primula. We had wet snow on the weekend and I just had to pretend it wasn't May yet.

I have my fingers crossed for a few plants that are late in stirring this year. It's always hard to wait and watch and hope they all came through.

Hopefully you get some warms days very soon! :)

Chookie said...

Wow, you were hard-hit -- hope this means that you get to do some shopping :-)