Monday, November 29, 2010

And so ends Chapter 1, Storm 1…

Thanksgiving morning the frigidly cold air moved out and our temperatures returned to normal. Before I began cooking I went out and uncovered things and took a little tour around the garden. I’ve finally learned that cold damage takes awhile to show up. You can uncover a plant that looks fine and then over the next few days watch it fall apart. But even now, three days later, things are looking good. It’s nice to know a couple of nights at 18 and a day where it stays below freezing doesn’t have to mean widespread damage.
The photos above are of the same clump of Sedum palmeri. It looks a little gelatinous, only time will tell. I did nothing to protect it.

This hardy Dyckia (below) looks good and has taken on a flush of pink (it’s twin in the back garden has a few new blemishes that look like cold damage, I’ll be watching it)...
It’s Agave and Opuntia neighbors are doing fine.
The big(ish) Agave Americana left in the ground in the front garden looks great!
But the Opuntia has developed an interesting pattern on its paddles.
And they’ve flopped over like they are taking a nap. The Puya look no different than before the freeze… the piles of brown leaves are the final remainder of the Canna’s. I don’t know if it helps but I’ve gotten in the habit of using the dead leaves to cover and hopefully protect them…I never dig them up but just leave them in the ground (because I am lazy).
I did wrap a bit of burlap and put a very large terra cotta pot over my Manzanita. It certainly doesn’t look like much in this picture but I do love it and wanted to do everything I could to protect it. Last year I saw several that suffered severe defoliation in the cold and I wanted to avoid that if I could. Luckily it looks completely unfazed.
Not so for this Echium wildpretii “rocket” which got the same treatment, it’s a bit freezer burnt around the edges, but at least it’s alive (it’s the only Echium in the ground still showing signs of life).
The Tetrapanax is voicing its displeasure. I’ll cut the leaves and use them to protect the roots before the next cold snap.
I did a little experiment with my Callistemon. I’ve got two ‘Woodlander’s Hardy Red’ the one in the front garden has only been in the ground for about 5 months, it was completely unprotected. The one in the back garden is 2 years old and I protected it. Here is the front garden specimen…
And the back garden…
No difference! My other two Callistemons (‘Clemson’and ‘viridiflorus’) were also protected and look fine. This is Calistemon 'Clemson.'
So on to the Echium collection! Completely gone is this little Echium Pininana. I wrapped it up good but this is what it looked like when I unwrapped it.
This is the same plant (a smaller seedling) in another part of the garden. I completely forgot about it.
Here is the formerly beautiful Echium wildpretii.
And Echium fastuosum “Pride of Madeira.”
These are my Phlebodium pseudoaureum (Blue fern) bought at the Fall Hardy Plant Society Sale. Protected but not looking too hot. Maybe they’ll pull through.
Agave parryi, A.bracteosa, and A. toumeyana are all looking just fine.
I planted two small Aloe saponaria pups in the ground last summer as an experiment. They should be hardy to about 15 degrees; they were frozen and have thawed with no obvious damage, yet. I’ll be keeping an eye on them.
My Grevillea juniperina 'Low Red' had started to form these little buds in October and I am happy to see that they look fine. I can’t wait to have orange red blooms in the dead of winter (fingers crossed).
And speaking of flowers, the blooms on the Mahonia weathered the cold just fine too, they provide a much needed bit of sunshine on a grey day.
And so ends Chapter 1, Storm 1, of “Winter 2010/11”…I’d love to put the book back on the shelf and end it there. We’ll see what Mother Nature thinks about that.


  1. Good to see the agaves are all doing well, love bracteosa never has problems for me. Good luck with the aloe saponaria, I have lost all the ones I have ever planted out. Hope you have more luck.

  2. I'm impressed with your survivors...they look great! We had a cold scare here as well, but here cold means 45F. 18F is too scarey to contemplate.

  3. Sorry to see the Echium wildpretii looking so sad - was such a beautiful specimen. Is it root hardy? Is the Mahonia outside (or hiding in your shelter) - would think it was tough enough to survive the cold?

  4. Spiky O, I knew it was a toss up with the A. saponaria but watching Pam's in Austin (the blog Digging) make it through her freeze got me to wondering. Plus I just had so many of them I figured I might as well try. Hell it could have been a mild winter! (ha)

    hoover boo, I used to think 18 was too scary to first few years living here we didn't get anywhere near 18...but after last years 13 I've learned anything is possible (but not pleasant).

    RBell, I am not sure if the Echium wildpretii has a chance of coming back from the roots. I considered digging it (pre storm) but when I took a look at how big the trunk was I gave up (over 3" thick). The Mahonia is outside and yes it certainly should survive no problem. I just had another Portlander comment that her blooms keep getting fried right before the open so I was concerned that maybe they would freeze even though the plant is ok.

  5. We've had maybe 5 or 6 nights in the mid to high 20's so far this November here in Norcal.I was atypically on top of plant protection- installing covers, and moving lots of stuff inside-not to mention taking cuttings. I still have limes ! I must say your DOAS look way better than mine-it must be the gravel;dead leaves don't look as attractive on mud !

  6. Oh my gosh! I'm freaking out because it's been in the low 40's at night. It's so sad to see the Echiums take a dive. We thought of you when we saw a bunch blooming on the way up north this weekend.

  7. ouch! poor guys! and it's still cold, at least down in southern california. i always assume my succulents can tough it out. hope they all come though ok. such beauties!

  8. Oh, I'm sad about your Echium wildpretii. It was so beautiful. But that's the way it goes, and you have a good attitude about it. I love the mahonia flowers. My Aloe saponarias came through similar temps last year with minimal damage, so I bet yours will be fine too.

    Crazy news about the would-be terrorist in Portland. What is the world coming to, I wonder.

  9. Nice to see your garden is hanging in there...I can only imagine how stressful it is with so many tender plants! I'm sure bummed about the Echium, they were so glorious, then again, now you get to go plant shopping next spring...although you may have to fight me if there is a shortage of the Echium wildpretii ;-)

  10. I grew Echium 'Rocket' in my garden and even though the plant died, it had set seeds which popped up from the ground the following spring! I'll keep my fingers crossed that this will also be true in your garden!

  11. Overall, I'd say quite a lot is holding on. I saw that mahonia at a local nursery but I just can't believe it would do as well down here. Love seeing photos of yours.

  12. OK, so I guess I will give Grevillea and Calistemons another try. We did get down to 12 though.

  13. This is the time of year I really value my Mahonia. Gray days need a shot of bright yellow.

  14. I like seeing the brown canna leaves in contrast to succulents that people usually think are so frost-tender and inappropriate for way up by the Arctic Circle--Oregon's up there isn't it? I hope you end up with a lot of survivors come spring.

  15. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog.

  16. ks, I never thought of the gravel as helping to "class up" death but I suppose you're right.

    Megan, with any luck my attempts to propagate Echium through cuttings will work and a couple of these will live on. Oh and hopefully I'll find a nice big (cheap) E. wildpretii early in the spring.

    Hi Janine, the issue up here is the moisture combined with the cold (think cold wet feet vs cold dry feet). If it were dry it would be easier on the poor guys.

    Pam, I am finding it surprisingly easy to keep a good attitude this winter. I think it's the shade pavilion greenhouse (a bit less to worry about) and the fact that I can walk this year (last year broken ankle), I hate feeling helpless. And yes...that whole bombing thing is just crazy. I don't understand!!!!

    scott, oh god what have I done!!! More cool plant competition!

    Lauren, oh I wish this was possible but mine didn't bloom this year. I did collect seeds from the bloomers at Kennedy School. Maybe I'll have success with them.

    Denise, I hope to add to the Mahonia collection in 2011.

    ricki, 12? OMG. So your Grevillea and Calistemons died this year? Or last?

    Les, indeed!

    James, ha. You're funny.

    Anon, blogger sent your comment to the spam box. It was so nice to go there and read this rather than an ad for enhancement pills or an escort service. Thanks for commenting!

  17. А! Dies ist mein erstes Mal, wenn ich Besuch hier. Ich fand so viele interessante Sachen in Deinem Blog vor allem seine Diskussion. Von den Tonnen von Kommentaren auf Ihrem Artikel, ich denke, ich bin nicht die einzige, die alle die Freude hier! halten, die gute Arbeit.

  18. О! Esto fue muy interesante. Me encantó la lectura


Thank you for taking the time to comment. Comment moderation is on (because you know: spam), I will approve and post your comment as soon as possible!