Q. What's even worse than having temperatures suddenly drop into the low to mid 20's when you haven't even had a proper freeze?
A. When those temperatures are predicted for when you'll be out of town.
So it went for our Thanksgiving holiday away. As you know I've already moved most plants unable to tolerate an average Portland winter. Still there are a few experimental plants I chose to let be, knowing that if something drastic were to occur I'd jump into action and dig/protect them, or not - but of course that kind of last minute decision (based on the actual temperatures rather than the forecast) is not possible when you're not home.
In some cases - such as with this Echium candicans 'Star of Madeira' - I planned no digging, but to let them live, or die, in place, on the off chance that things would be mild and I'd be rewarded with a bigger plant next spring. I took this photo before we left town last week.
This photo on Tuesday, December 1st. It's not as lush, but is hanging on.
Did you notice the Grevillea 'Ivanhoe' snuggled up against the Echium in the photos above? I seriously considered digging at least one of my three, but since they're theoretically hardy to 25F, and the lowest anyone was predicting was 23F I decided to just leave them and see what happened. Here's another one before...
Looking good! So just how cold did it get? According to the official temps we bottomed out at 24F on both Thursday Nov 26th and Monday Nov 30th - however my thermometer recorded a low of 28F. We are so close to the airport that it's rare for our temperatures to not match up, and I'd noticed some issues with the accuracy of our device last summer. I suspect it was probably closer to 24F here, if only briefly, and thankfully there were a couple of prior nights at 32F, or slightly lower, to help put things to sleep.
One of my major concerns were the many Echium wildpretii in the front garden. The temps were right on the border of potential life or death - I couldn't wait to see how they did. Before....
After (a few singed tips)
After, well, one of them. This one shows the most damage, interesting that it's a first year plant as opposed to the others which overwintered last year in protected containers.
Grevillea 'Superb', before...
I came close to digging this one but just honestly ran out of time.
Acanthus sennii, before...
And after...so much for seeing those blooms open.
Leucadendron 'Silvan Red'...I meant to write about this guy over the summer but never did. Something I picked up at Cistus and put in the ground just because I wanted to. Hardy to Zone 9.
It was unfazed by the cold.
As was the Melianthus major 'Antonow's Blue'. although it did look a little deflated early Tuesday morning.
I did completely forget about this Begonia luxurians ...
And the Passiflora jamesonii 'Coral Seas' foliage is toast, although perhaps the roots are still alive?
What remained of the Passiflora 'Sunburst' vines were already looking bad even before the cold, I'd cut them at the base and dug the plant to overwinter inside (it's only hardy to Zone 10).
I did however leave behind the volunteer that came up from last year's roots. It still looks good! And yes, that's a Echinocactus grusonii (Golden Barrel Cactus) in the basement, visible through the window.
Another Echium (E. fastuosum), I completely forgot about this one, not that I would have dug it anyway.
Parts aren't looking good, but overall I'm impressed!
That lush little Saxifraga, dead center of the photo below (S. taygetea 'Rotundifolia') was labeled as USDA Zone 10, I planted it out anyway and look! It's okay.
Bottom center, Echeveria secunda - bought at Cistus Nursery, they say: "This high elevation collection has been frost hardy so far to as low as 12F!"...
And so far so good! (this is just one of multiples in my garden, they all look this good)
I neglected to do anything about the plants in the stock tank pond, the Peltandra virginica should be hardy to USDA Zone 5, and only the top inch or so of water froze. We shall see...
The Asparagus densiflorus 'Myers' I thought might be a gonner looks fine...
Finally there is this...one of my Tetrapanax made it through the cold still threatening to bloom. The next week brings much milder temperatures, maybe???
All material © 2009-2015 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.