Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Leaves as temperature indicators

Another way to gauge the extreme of cold temperatures is to look at the leaves on evergreen plants. On Sunday when it was 34 degrees the Rhododendron leaves were horizontal, looking happy.
Monday morning, when it was only 23 they are starting to pull back, like my dog Lila’s ears when I turn the vacuum on.
The Fatsia japonica leaves are another indicator. Sunday they were looking up.
Monday morning not the case.
For a truly pathetic looking plant check out the Euphorbia wulfenii leaves. Saturday they were a little frosty but still in their naturally “fluffy” state.
Not the case on Monday morning.
Sad looking things aren’t they? They were even worse this morning (Tuesday), but hopefully they’ll bounce back and look fabulous in a few days, or weeks, or months. Depending on what lays ahead…

Obviously pools of water are another good indicator of how cold it really is. Monday evening I found that the rainwater in our would-be stock tank pond, that we hadn't gotten around to finishing, was frozen solid. That’s about 6” of solid ice, although in this picture it looks more like amber doesn’t it?
And for the real hard facts…one goes to the thermometer. It was showing an ugly number this morning:
13.8 outside, although after I took this picture it dropped a little more to 13.4, that my friends is simply unacceptable.


  1. Yes, it is cold here, too. I can't see many leaves right now, though, due to all the snow.

    Fun post!

  2. If you're still interested in Eryngium pandanifolium overwintering-my 4ft' plant is looking like a 2ft octopus,its leaves have curled over so far. Still alive though!

  3. It sucks. Those are my final words on the subject. Well, maybe not final but the most emphatic. I did something really stupid. Before the cold snap I filled three of my galvanized watering cans. Efficiency right? I have to water plants on my covered deck on a regular basis even in winter. However the water in the containers is completely frozen. Not good... Evidently my Fatsia are in weeping protest mode as well. Warm by the weekend is what they're saying. I hope they're right.

  4. Hmm, 13 degrees IS unacceptable. What is the weather thinking? It doesn't get that cold in Portland. Does it?

  5. How it Grows, you can say that again and again tomorrow (unfortunately).

    CG Sue, hello! I'm sure if we had snow I'd be complaining about it. Although...it would be a nice natural blanket for the roots.

    Linda, thank you for the update, I hope to hear that it made it! I know my Eryngium agavafolium are as flat as a pancake and the leaves are discolored. Since they are so flat I'm hoping the are protecting the roots.

    Grace, I just barely remembered to dump my galvanized can. It was my great grandmothers and is starting to show it's age. I would hate to have damaged it. PLEASE feel free to keep complaining, that way I am not alone in my negative attitude about it all.

    Pam, Ya, exactly. Evidently I don't live in Portland anymore...the earth magically twisted and I'm back in Spokane. There were winters there when we didn't even get this cold!


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