May 15, 2016

A Freezing Cold Bloom Day

backyard

As I wrote this post, the meteorologists were saying we might break a record for the overnight low temperature--potentially down to 30F/-1C before daybreak. It has me wondering what the garden will look like in the morning. A frost might be expected this time of year, but not a freeze. I'm preparing myself for brown ferns and wilted flowers.

So, I covered a few plants with pots and bags and tarps, but it's impossible to cover a 1/4-acre plot.

Before the freeze, a few of the plants blooming in my USDA zone 5 garden included:

red trillium
Red Trillium (T. erectum)

trilliums
Great White Trillium (T. grandiflorum)

jack
Jack-in-the-Pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum)

lilacs
Lilacs (Syringa vulgaris)

euphorbia
Cushion Spurge (Euphorbia polychroma)

epimedium
Barrenwort (Epimedium x warleyense)

clematis
Clematis 'Nelly Moser'

sweetspire
'Little Henry' Virginia Sweetspire (Itea virginica)

bleeding heart
Bleeding Heart (Lamprocapnos spectabilis)

lily of valley
Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis)

I'm hoping the weather people will be wrong ... or the fact that we're on a hill and just a few blocks from the lake will mean it won't freeze here. Interestingly, we're in for a major warm-up next weekend.

annuals

In any case, it will be a few days before these tender annuals will be released to the cruel, brutal outside world.

What's blooming in your garden? Check out other Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day posts at May Dreams Gardens.

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An update: The Euphorbias looked a little wonky this morning, and the Lilac blooms are droopy. Otherwise, the plants look fine. I did spray the central garden bed and the Clematis vines before dark, which may have helped a bit. Also, I think our location--near the top of a glacial drumlin and near a lake--might protect us somewhat from late spring and early autumn frosts and freezes. Happily, the plants I watered and then covered look better this morning than they did before I covered them.

Now I'm breathing a sigh of relief and looking forward to a great growing season ahead. Best wishes for everyone else's gardens, too!

70 comments:

  1. Your garden is lovely. Hope the freeze didn't materialize. Would be a shame to lose your lovely blooms. That Red Trillium is gorgeous.

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    1. Thanks! I guess Mother Nature knew something I didn't know. I noticed only a little droopiness on some of the blooms. I figured the Trilliums would be fine--they never get any TLC, aside from removing invasive species around them. :)

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  2. Oh, I hope most of your plants came out all right? A lot of the plants in your woodland will be fine, they are tough plants – it is often the more delicate hybrids and plants from far away countries that buckle under. We are back to cold weather here too, although not any night frost in London – now that would have been something for the records!

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    1. Yes, I never do anything special for the native wildflowers--unless they're newly planted. But the existing wild ones are on their own! Most of the plants look fine--I don't even think we got below freezing here, or if so very briefly. The city of Madison, however, which is lower elevation than us, did tie its record for this date at 30F/-1C. I'm guessing we were more like 33F/0.55C. Not warm, but not a hard freeze. Yes, frost in London in May would be crazy!

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  3. I was madly covering things last night but fortunately we went down to only +2 C. Many plant might not like it this cold but at least they did not freeze. You are at least a week ahead of us, a frost would make even more damage. Here the forecast is the same for the coming night. Good luck!

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    1. Sounds like you were warmer than us last night. We were close to freezing here in the suburb where I live, but the birdbath was totally open when I woke up. Most of the plants look just fine. I'm sure an extended period of such weather would be detrimental, but we're in for a warm-up (like most of North America) in the days ahead. Yay! I hope tonight will not be too cold in your part of Ontario!

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  4. Frosty night here too . . .
    I covered as much as I could . . . looks like a tent city!
    Brought things inside . . .
    I must say . . . it seems like the usual May . . .
    After Memorial Day it will be safe . . . (usually!)
    Love your red trillium . . . gorgeous.
    I enjoy and have many of what you have.
    Not the Jack in the Pulpit though . . . I wish I did.
    I remember how thrilled I was when I found it at my previous home.
    Happy days Beth . . . I am sure you are in love with this season!

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    1. Yes, I usually wait until around Memorial Day to plant my tender annuals and veggies--because of these late-season cold spells. I would be glad to share a Jack-in-the-Pulpit sometime because it sounds like it would thrive in your garden. I'm not sure how well they would mail, however. Maybe we can meet, sometime. Yes, I love this season--not nights like last night, but otherwise, yes!

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  5. You have such a lovely garden! I hope the freeze didn't hit you.

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    1. Thanks, Cassi. For the most part, the plants look fine. That's a relief. I hope so for you, too?

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  6. Oh, it was cold here last night, down to 29. I covered just about everything I could but haven't ventured out to see the damage on the things I ran out of coverings for. I'm really glad most of the hostas hadn't unfurled yet.

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    1. Yikes. I hope you didn't have too much damage! I covered a few tender, recently planted perennials and shrubs, but everything else was on its own. I'm glad that night is over! The birds seemed so happy with the sun this morning!

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  7. I hope the morning brought your garden back with a deep sigh of relief.

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    1. Yes, indeed. For the most part, the plants seem fine. Only a little droopiness on blooms that were waning anyway. I'm mostly glad that the ferns and hostas are OK, because they form the structure of the garden and they can be sensitive to frost and freezing.

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  8. I am about a week behind you with blooms but I hope this cold weather will end without any more casualties in our gardens...looking lush and beautiful Beth!

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    1. Thank you, Donna. Yes, I hope we're done with this cold stuff. On to better weather for the rest of spring and summer! Cheers!

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  9. Your garden is so lush. I hope it didn't get frozen last night. My Jacks are very tall this year. Happy GBBD.

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    1. We escaped the worst of it. Apparently, many gardeners in Central and Northern Wisconsin had a harder freeze and lost some developing and fully unfurled plants. I'm so thankful and relieved that all the plants and most of the blooms here remained unscathed.

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  10. I'm so glad that your lovely garden didn't suffer too much. Thanks for sharing your fab photos :)

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    1. Thanks, Tim. It was a relief! Now, I'm praying that we're done with the truly cold stuff for the season!

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  11. Whew! Glad you dodged a bullet with the freeze. Hope your beautiful spring flower show continues :)

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    1. Yes, "whew" is right! Thanks, Aaron. Dragging out tarps and buckets and covers is not a fun way to garden. I hope this will be a great growing season for you, too!

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  12. Oh my - that red Trillium is shockingly beautiful! The weather has been, and continues to be so crazy... about as slow and steady as a rollercoaster. I imagine it's the new norm, but good grief - it sure is testing the resilience of both us and plants.

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    1. The trilliums are special. And I didn't plant a one! They grow wild here. Yes, good grief! It's playing with my mind at this point. Seriously, my moods are all over the map. ;-)

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  13. I am so glad you came through the freeze OK! Your spring garden is delightful, filled with charming ephemerals and other plants. I enjoyed seeing the overview of your back yard, as well as the trilliums, the ferns and the cushion spurge.

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    1. Hi Deb: Yes, it's a relief! Thanks! The backyard shot was taken through my daughter's upstairs window. It's always hard to get a good angle on the lot because it's kind of complicated. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

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  14. Thank goodness that your garden escaped unscathed. I can only imagine the heartbreak of others who may have been less fortunate. Your blooms are beautiful!

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    1. Thanks! Yes, I'm hearing from folks north of here who lost plants and had badly damaged foliage, etc. It doesn't take much cold to turn ferns and hostas into mush. :(

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  15. Glad you escaped unfrozen! Wishing you warmer temps for the rest of spring!

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    1. Thank you, Tina. I hope so, too. The temps will dip into the 30s again tomorrow night, but not as bad as on the weekend. Fingers crossed that will be the last of the really cold stuff!

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  16. That Red Trillium is gorgeous. I'm glad the freeze didn't hit you too badly. I can't imagine what would happen if it got that cold here right now...

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    1. I love the trilliums! And they were here when I moved in. Some years they're more plentiful than others, but we always have some trilliums. We barely scraped by on the temps -- just a little colder and quite a few of the plants would have been mush.

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  17. Glad to know your garden escaped the frost, Beth! Everything is fine here, too--despite the forecast, I don't think the temps got below 40. Love your trilliums! My 'Nelly Moser' is blooming, too; I thought this was early this year, but maybe not. Happy Bloom Day!

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    1. Good: I'm glad to hear your plants are OK, too. You know, I think it is early for the clematises--they got an early start with the warmth in March, and they've been in a slow holding pattern and gradual growth for many weeks! Happy GBBD!

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  18. I'm glad your garden escaped Beth. Lovely to see that long shot of your woodland. What a lovely place that must be to sit out, listening to all the birdsong.

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    1. Thanks. Yes, the angle looking into the back garden is tricky, but it works a little better from an upstairs window. ;-) The garden, mostly planted by the previous owners, is a little piece of heaven on earth.

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  19. We escaped, too. But it was a little worrying to have that kind of potential cold when the garden is in full bloom.

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    1. Yes, I don't remember the garden ever being this far along and then getting a freeze warning! I'm so thankful we didn't get it. That would have been a mess.

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  20. I hope your plants are doing well despite the crazy weather you are having! from your post your garden looks wonderful!

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    1. Knock on wood: It's doing well so far. That is, except for all the garden projects on my list that I haven't completed because of the cool weather. ;-O

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  21. I'm glad the cold seemed to not do too much damage to your lovely flowers, Beth. My sister lives near NYC so must be getting all that nasty cold weather this spring too. In graduate school I learned that cold air flows down slope, so as long as there are not obstructions to make it pool over some plants, they are not as affected. I lose plants on a bank with a wall of juniper bushes behind them to trap the cold.

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    1. Thanks, Hannah. Yes, our weather tends to track toward NY, with a few exceptions in patterns from the south and those unusual "Nor'easter" events. Regarding the cold air--that's my understanding, too. And it explains why the Lilacs and the Euphorbias looked a little stressed. They are both toward the lower places in the garden and at the bases of large shrubs and trees.

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  22. I'm so glad that your plants "weathered" the weather :)

    We have had a few frost warnings in the past couple of weeks as well in addition to high winds and even snow pellets (!) yesterday. Just downright miserable weather. Of course, both the cherry and plum are in full bloom, so who knows how they will be impacted - I have my fingers crossed that this doesn't cost us our fruit this year.

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    1. I hope you are done with the cold stuff, too! We had some sleet the day before the "almost freeze" event. Blech. It's especially hard to take when we've had summer-like weather and all the plants are so fully developed and many are flowering! I especially hope your fruit trees will be OK!

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  23. You were afraid of strong cooling and possible damage to the garden. Fortunately that did not happen, and sure you're happy. I really do like Red Trillium. Regards.

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    1. Yes, we are so fortunate. It was a scare, though. In the end, there wasn't much I could do except cover a few things and hope for the best (which thankfully happened). The Red Trilliums are lovely plants that grow wild here. :)

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  24. Beautiful blooms -- here's hoping our recent cold snap hasn't done much harm!

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    1. So far, so good. Now I hear Tuesday night will be cold again, but probably not as cold as the weekend. Yuck.

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  25. Hi,
    We had 23! My flowering bleeding hearts did not make it. The plant is looking alright.
    I have a few Hosta that took it hard as well. They are looking better today.
    Amazing photos today, thank you.
    Carla

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    1. Oh my, that is not nice. So sorry. Yes, the plants should be fine for next year, but it's not fun to have them clipped back like that when they're so far along. I hope we're all done with this cold, cold stuff. Thanks, Carla.

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  26. Your garden and flowers look lovely, we have been having cold and warm weather too, in one week we had snow, quite a lot to the following Friday being the hottest day of the year !! I did lose a few plants in the cold snap. Did put my bedding plants in yesterday but covered them for the night, I have a tiny garden compared to you...
    Amanda xx

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    1. Thanks, Amanda. I'm slowly starting to acclimate the plants to the outside and potting them up. A few of the bedding plants went in today, too. The part of the garden I showed in the first photo is all perennials--so I don't do much with that (except pray that the freeze wouldn't knock back the hostas!). The area where I plant annuals and potted plants is closer to the house and much smaller. We appear to be finished with the frosts for this season. I hope your weather will be more consistent going forward, too!

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  27. I hope it's a very last cold surprise for you, Beth! Plants looked healthy and cheerful. I love trilliums especially.

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    1. Yes, that appears to be the case. Thanks, Tatyana! The Trilliums are still blooming away, but I suppose they won't last much longer--especially when the summer heat starts to build.

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  28. Hasn't this cold weather been terrible? You've had it worse than us, though, here it hasn't gone below 40. Still, that makes for some very sulky plants. I'm worried about my Tithonia and haven't even planted my tomatoes yet.

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    1. Yes, a hot/warm March and then coolish April and a cold/freezing early May: not a fun combination. Several local fruit growers lost large portions of their crops for the year. :( Looks like we'll have a warm-up in the days ahead, so hopefully the plants will perk up and the tomatoes and peppers should be OK for planting. Yay!

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  29. This is such a precarious time of year! There's always the fear of losing plants to a bad frost. I'm glad your garden did alright. Our weather has been cold but not frosty. It's so tempting to plant early......not!

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    1. So true! Thanks, Sally. The forecast is looking much better now. Time to pot up the annuals and plant the potager!

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  30. Sorry it's so cold for you on Bloom Day. Your trilliums are just beautiful. Our rough climate - heat over 100 - often - and drought -- just makes them impossible to keep alive here in Central Texas.

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    1. Thanks, Diana. The weather is looking much better now. Yes, I imagine repeated summers with high heat and droughts would put a big dent in tender spring ephemerals. I noticed that our Trilliums were sparser the year after our horrible 2012 drought, and they're really just starting to multiply back to where they were before.

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  31. Lovely flowers! Some of your annual are grown as perennial here.

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    1. Thanks, Endah. Yes, sigh...lucky you to be able to grow so many plants as perennials. :)

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  32. In WNY some areas did not have lilacs in bloom this year. I was lucky mine made it through the snow and cold this past week. You have many beautiful blooms considering the weather you had too. Did you see the summer forecast? It looks like a very hot one to come for us around and near the Great Lakes.

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    1. I noticed people mentioning the Lilacs on Facebook. What a shame. It has been such a roller-coaster spring: hot then cold, then warm, then hot, and back to cold, and then a freeze. I'm surprised the plants are thriving--I did lose a few this year (a Lupine and Delphiniums). I had heard the summer will be hot, but then the most recent forecast I saw mentioned it might not be so bad. I don't mind the heat, as long as we have enough precipitation.

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  33. I'm so glad everything survived! We've had some crazy weather here,too. We also had some low temps last week and I had plants hiding under blankets. I actually had to dig up some of my basil and bring it back inside. Geez!

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    1. Me, too! And now it's summer with highs in the 80s. Love it! We had a few days that were in the 70s in March, April, and May, but mostly we skipped from early spring to summer almost overnight. I hope your basil is OK. :)

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  34. Lots of pretty views. I really like the cushion spurge. I see it in photos all the time and each time I tell myself I'm going to pick one up and find a place for it. I just can't pull the trigger. How sunny is your spot? I see you have ferns, so you must get some shade eh?

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    1. Thanks! I like Cushion Spurge, too. It was here when we moved in, and frankly I have done nothing to encourage it to continue. Easy plant, and the rabbits leave it alone. That particular spot gets dappled sun off and on all day long. I'd call it partial shade. I think the plant does well in sun, too.

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  35. Amazing temperatures for May. Your poor plants. You have some lovely May blooms, I particularly love the trilliums. Gorgeous photos too.

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    1. Hi Chloris: Yes, it's common for us to have a touch of frost at the beginning or middle of May, but very unusual to have a freeze. I'm glad that's over with until October! Thanks!

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