Friday, January 27, 2017

At first glance...(a sort of month end favorites)

I must apologize for publishing two extremely photo-heavy posts back to back. Whereas yesterday's post was full of eye-candy, today's is a report of what I saw when I returned to my garden last weekend, after 5 days away. Since I couldn't muster the passion to do a month-end "favorites" post, this look at the state of the garden is going to have to do. Of course anything showing signs of life after the hard-knocks they've gotten the last two months is definitely worthy of favorites status!

So the good news was most of the snow had melted when we landed in Portland. The bad news was things were definitely "altered"...this bamboo for instance. I'm standing in our garage looking out. It used to stand pretty much straight up from the side of the tank. Restrictive action will need to be taken.

My "mystery" Agave — which may indeed be A. weberi — was moved into the garage (along with some friends) way back I don't even remember when, sometime in December. It's stayed there ever since. Those arms were frozen solid for a few days, they're flexible now. I hope it will live on.

Bad photo (but as I said this is more of a report-type post — read on at your own peril) Agave 'Sharkskin' also has spent the worst of it in the unheated garage. It's not mushy so hopefully it will be okay.

My Hover Dish planter has also been "garaged" since the deep snow, and freeze, began. I didn't figure temperatures in the mid-teens would be kind to plants hanging off the front of the house, with a minimum of soil around their roots.

My only Phormium. It was wrapped, and the base protected with old pillows, the same treatment kept it alive though 2013/14's cold. Hopeful...

Poor tired Grevillea victoriae 'Murray Queen', will you ever be upright again?

This Lupinus albifrons is not looking so good.

And I wish the big leaves of the Schefflera delavayi would pick themselves up.

They look okay.

Unlike the Schefflera brevipedunculata leaves whcih appear to have bent beyond repair. Poor things.

As I said in my premature (yet late) Bloomday post, this Helleborus argutifolius is one tough plant. Covered in snow and ice it didn't miss a beat.

Sad leaning Yucca aloifolia. At least I've determined it's not a break. Instead it appears to be an issue at the root level, as the trunk is still straight and strong.

Oh the poor Agaves. They all still feel mostly solid...

That is except this one. It's not happy.

Nolina ‘La Siberica’ is unfazed.

This Lupinus albifrons is down, but maybe not out? Same for the Correa backhouseana. Gosh it's so hard to tell what might make a rebound.

This Grevillea 'Ivanhoe' has a rather unhealthy color.

Whereas this one has possibilities.

Wow! Happy Astelia (A. 'Red Devil'). There are a few A. chathamica around the garden that are not looking nearly this good.

All of the Callistemon look good (here is C. ‘Woodlander's Hardy Red’).

Grevillea juniperina ‘Molonglo’ looks okay. However I lost several of these in the front garden under less trying circumstances.

Agave bracteosa, looks good!

As does the Eriobotrya japonica (aka Loquat). The Nolina ‘La Siberica’ on it's left though, it's not happy about being smashed.

Same as with the Schefflera brevipedunculata, there's cosmetic damage on the variegated Fatsia. The plant is still alive but a number of it's leaves are forever limp.

Speaking of limp. The poor Sasa palmata f. nebulosa is now forever sideways, as is that Tetrapanax next to it. You can just barely make out my experimental Leucadendron 'Silvan Red' in the planting area by the corner of the patio. It's the dead brown thing. Leaning over it is a Ceanothus 'Dark Star' with a few broken branches.

Daphniphyllum macropodum v. humile suffered a couple of broken branches but all in all is looking good.

Ditto for the D. himalayense ssp macropodum 'Variegated' (with no broken branches!).

Sad Acacia dealbata, collapsed on an equally sad Grevillea australis. I think the Grevillea was sort of pulled out of the ground by the weight of the snow and ice. Part of me wants to just give up on it, part of me wants to try and save it (the Grevillea), after all that foliage is a key player in a lot of my Monday "vase" creations.

Another Agave bracteosa. This one had frost cloth over it, the rebar was to keep the snow and ice from smashing it's tender leaves.

It's deceiving, looking at things from a distance.

There are still some green leaves on the Grevillea x gaudichaudii, but others are crispy brown.

Agave gentryi ‘Jaws’has gone soft.

While these all look fairly promising.

Out front the small guys near the house seem to be okay.

Not that you can tell anything by this horrid photo, but the Grevillea rivularis has an equal mix of brown and green leaves, so hopefully it will pull through. All those leaves on the ground belong to an Acca sellowiana (Pineapple Guava) that's not very happy.

Blurry Banksia! B. marginata, some leaves are green.

Others are not. We shall see...

This is the biggest of my Agave pup's from the NM in-laws. It survived the 14F of 20013/14, so I have hope. Its color seems a bit off though, and there's a huge crack in one of it's leaves (visible on the upper right). Other oddly colored spots are are appearing on its leaves almost daily...

Agave 'Silver Surfer'

Aloe aristata, a gift from Sean who said I should plant it in the ground — and look! It's not a pile of mush! It was covered with frost cloth and an overturned pot.

This sad little guy is my Echinocereus triglochidiatus v. gonacanthus hybrid that bloomed last spring. Dunno how it's feeling these days.

Leaves and branch bits have fallen from the Arctostaphylos x ‘Austin Griffiths'...

The Dianella prunina looked pretty good at first, but as the days have passed both of them have started to brown.

These Agaves are a mixed bag.

And the tall Opuntia is a mess! Several pads and segments of pads have broken off. The rebar had been an attempt to support the weight.

Oh and this Agave also is experiencing a break mid leaf. I think it was a combination of frozen leaves and the added weight of the snow and ice. Breaks aren't a good thing...

The A. parryi 'JC Raulston' (all 6 of them) look fabulous!

This poor creature had been splayed out in half, flat on the ground. It's rebounded nicely! (Arctostaphylos densiflora 'Harmony')

In the past, when it's gotten this cold (mid teens), I've lost growth on my Tetrapanax. They've either sprouted new growth lower on the stem, or resprouted from the ground.

Oh the Cordylines. They've begun their death flop. These were first panted in 2006 and have died back to the ground at least twice, maybe three times since. Bye-bye for now...see ya next year.

Agave ovatifolia...

There are several stress-spots like this. Not good.

And the other Agave ovatifolia, the one that got spots last summer (Agave edema), it looks good.

Although I need to perform a little surgery here.

The Euphorbia rigida are all floppy. It's not a good look.

Ugh. My second Acca sellowiana is taking on an awful color. It's in a huge container, that might have been its downfall, too cold too long.

The new growth got zapped back in December, in the first cold snap.

More Agaves. The big guy is toast, gooey arms (Agave americana, I knew it would get hit someday). I am holding out hope for the smaller, hardier, ones.

Especially my little Ruth Bancroft Garden pup!

The Yucca recurvifolia ‘Margaritaville' has perked up!

Agave parrasana 'Meat Claw' is still solid! Oh and this is where I should throw out a huge public THANK YOU to Heather, who came by while I was in California (once the snow had mostly melted) and pulled the frost cloth off things I had covered, like this little guy. Heather you're the best!!!

Green leaves (and a few brown ones) on another Grevillea x gaudichaudii.

Now this is just crazy! There are still green leaves on my Echium wildpretii babies! I did not expect to see that.

And a few on the larger one too! These were not protected at all, except by the snow. Who knows if they'll make it long term but I'm just surprised they're not completely grey. Oh and if you made it to THE END of this post, wow...thank you, that's dedication!

Weather Diary, January 26: Hi 48, Low 36/ Precip .04

All material © 2009-2017 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.


  1. It's always hard commenting on a post like this. I know how awful I would feel if it were my garden...

    It's a mixed bag. Yes, some plants won't survive. But most of them will. And even the ones that are damaged will grow out of it. Considering how horrible your winter has been, that's actually pretty decent news, I think. It looks like you'll have at least a few days of sunshine. That will help!

    1. Thanks Gerhard. And yes...sunshine, somewhat moderate temperatures and not a lot of rain. A nice break!

  2. I'm sorry - I know that a walk through the garden must be difficult now. Do you think the freezes are over? How long do you think it'll be before you know for certain what's survived and what hasn't? Seeing your Grevillea 'Murray Queen' bothered me the most as that's a plant I've long admired - I hope it surprises you by springing back. As to the pineapple guavas, they drop a lot of leaves here too in the winter months so maybe the impact there isn't as bad as you fear.

    Here's my favorites post:

    1. Freezes aren't over (It was just 26F on Tuesday night) but hopefully the really harsh ones are. Fingers crossed. Sometimes you can't tell a plant is dead until the weather warms, the worst of the two Pineapple Guavas for example. As for the Grevillea I think it will be fine once I can talk Andrew into helping me stake it. My (short person) attempts have failed, obviously.

  3. Since I can't grow most of what you have it's always hard to tell how bad things are just by looking. As you say, looks can be deceptive but hopefully more things will make it than not. Since you have blogged about the storm and how and what you protected at least you will have a baseline of what to do and what to expect if this happens again. Hard to know if this weather is a fluke or climate change.

    1. Indeed, being able to look back on my posts and learn from them is why I put you all through something like this! It's a great resource for me to have.

  4. "...apologize for publishing two extremely photo-heavy posts back to back..." are ya kidding me? the longer the better. It must be heart wrenching to walk around and see the damage, but so many plants did well, and in some cases a little staking could put things right. Lets hope temperatures will stay mild from here on out.

    1. Thanks chavliness, I don't want to be driving people away with too many photos! And yes, there's a lot of staking that needs to be done. I've gotta talk the husband into helping.

  5. Oh, I'm sorry for all the damaged plants. Like Gerhard, I have trouble commenting on these posts. There are a lot of sad-looking plants, but so many things look good or at least look like they'll recover just fine. Of course, that thought only helps so much when we're out looking at our winter-ravaged gardens.

    Most of my Euphorbia rigida are now mush. The best-looking ones are those on the slope at the front of the house, but I'm not actually sure if the ones in the driveway island will even come back from the base. Both the old stems that would have flowered, and the new buds at the centers, are mush. I planted a lot of Astelia 'Red Devil' last fall, mostly small divisions, and I'm impressed with them. Most show various levels of damage, but they also look like they'll survive, which is more than I expected after this winter with small, new plants. Helleborus argutifolius is showing cold damage, but x sternii is untouched. Unfortunately, that first Lupinus albifrons looks like mine did this summer before it died. I think mine was too hot on the south end of the house and didn't like the clay soil in that bed. I noticed some red cordylines in Longview a couple days ago that look undamaged. I don't know how cold it got there, certainly not as cold as my house got, but that and learning how yours have died down and come back so well has me considering planting some for myself.

    1. How big were your E. rigida? Mush sounds so extreme! It's amazing to me how different Astelia handle the cold. I owe Sean a big thanks for pointing me to the good ones. That Lupinus albifrons... I finally got smart yesterday and looked at it closely - the tems are broken, that's why it looks so bad. Hopefully (?) it will sprout new growth below the break? As for the's amazing how fast they regrow, and where there was one...there then is three or more...

  6. Oh, right. I should add a link to my favorites post, even though you've already seen it:

  7. Condolences on the potential and real losses and congrats on the survivors. I hate those sorts of walk throughs......

  8. A few sunny days are lifting my about you? Only time will tell, but the one-two punch of this winter seems to have KO'd fewer of your zone-pushers than I would have expected. Keep clam and carry on!

    1. Clam? Ya...the sun has been nice. I would have loved to get out there and start cleaning up but sadly had other obligations.

  9. Can't imagine what this must be like--but you will prevail!

  10. Sorry Loree... that's a lot of damage, but like Rickii I'm also surprised and excited at some of the contenders that actually turned out to be hardier than I had ever expected. I wonder if you can prop/stake up some of the shrubs that succumbed to the weight, as long as they aren't broken. I'm thinking if longterm pressure can alter their shape, you could use that same logic to help them stand back up again...? My biggest losses (that I know of) were from my giant Magnolia. I lost 2 branches in the ice storm, and another 2 (at least) from the weight of the snow. The biggest one was like 5" across... Another disappointment was a really nice Agave attenuata that I - along with as much other things as would fit - crammed into my garden shed. I tried keeping the shed warm with strands of incandescent Christmas lights, but apparently that wasn't enough for it. It is mostly mush... The center is still fine. Wonder if it will send out pups if I put it in the ground...?

    1. I will definitely be staking the bent ones...and hopefully they'll come around. Oh and Anna...that Agave attenuata should have come inside the house. They are the wimps of the Agave world and need to be kept above freezing. You could try planting it out, but if anything grows be sure to dig it up before next winter.

  11. Being the wuss I am, I have many fewer agaves in the ground than you, and I was pretty pumped to see that they all did okay in the snow and cold. Especially the A. Bracteosa: isn't it amazing how well they did with Snowpocolipse?

    1. Indeed...although I've learned they don't always show damage right away.

  12. I'm glad to see most of your plants are OK or showing new growth. The Agaves surprise me--they seem quite hardy! I'm not at all surprised by the Hellebores. Mine start budding in December and survive (thrive?) through our bitter Wisconsin winters. Your plant collection always amazes me!

  13. Sorry for the bad weather. It's tough losing plants. But if there's a silver lining, you can have fun getting more this spring!

  14. We were updated with what had happened there weatherwise, heavy snow and all. I know it's not that nice now but at least the snow is gone. Given a few more days a lot of things will be clearer when it come to their real state but hopefully not as bad as you have initially assumed.

  15. Agave parryi 'JC Raulson'--gotta get me some!

  16. Such a brutal winter you've had. Sad to say it may take a month or more to know the real extent of damages, some plants just fake one out at times. Here's hoping many of your favorites pull through. Might be worth making a spread sheet to document which plants survived/died and at what lows for future reference. After the really severed December 1990 freeze here in the Bay Area, some plants in my own garden took until September to regrow from the roots, I was amazed to see they were still alive.

  17. Tough year for Agaves. Proof that some of them need protection. I chose this of all years to take the Agave plunge and have paid a steep price. The learning curve takes some time and I have definitely increased my level of understanding. 'JC Raulston' has been a shining beacon of light. Thanks for tipping me off, I acquired it based on your experience. Anybody in the Pacific rain forest wanting an Agave, this is the one to get. My Ovatifolia 'Frosty Blue' and Parryi Truncata have both bit the dust, but 'JC Raulston' powers on. Neomexicana looks promising, but one step at a time.


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