Much of the country is currently experiencing intense winter weather, for us here in Western Oregon and Washington, these are the first actual winter conditions we've had this season—a hard pill to swallow coming in mid February. What I was most amazed about in the Facebook thread I mentioned above, was just how many people in the PNW are growing echiums. Echium wildpretii and Echium pininana—they seem to be the current "it" plant for those of us pushing our zone...
Naturally I am no exception. I've currently got five Echium wildpretii in the garden. Three that are (were) set to bloom this spring/summer, as they've now completed three years in the ground (this plant is a biennial, said to bloom in it's second year... although that doesn't always happen on schedule, obviously) and two that were newly planted last summer—replacing plants that bloomed. Above is one of the oldies, below one of the newbies...
Here's another of the oldies. This plant is so shaggy... but I love it.
Sometime long ago it flopped over to the side and grew a curling trunk, which is a little over a foot in length (below). Since we're looking at over 48 hours below freezing—day and night—along with wind, snow, and possibly freezing rain too (of course), logic tells me there's no way these Zone 9 (8 if grown super dry) plants are going to make it, but I will try to protect and save them anyway. Because that's what we do.
Here's the third oldie... blurry photo because I was using my phone camera and my fingers were gloved and cold. Oh well.
And the tiniest little newbie, also blurry. Things get wicked around here this afternoon, then should be back to normal by Sunday afternoon... of course I take that prediction with a grain of salt. Often forecasters are too quick to end a cold snap that actually stretches on. I always hope they're going to be right.
Weather Diary, Feb 10: Hi 47, Low 31/ Precip 0
After taking the last echium photo, I stopped to admire the many edgeworthia flowers—hate to think how the cold/ice/wind will treat them. And to think I was just "reminiscing" about socks and thinking how crazy that idea was...
Pachystegia insignis, borderline... hoping it makes it.
There are a lot of hellebores blooming around the garden, they'll be flat under the snow, but should recover just fine.
These two—along with a few other succulents like them—were impulse purchases for a couple of dollars at the grocery store nursery. I've been amazed they've lasted this long. But, of course, everything comes to an end eventually.
As I worked in the garden—stashing random containers in the greenhouse where they can stay warm—something bright and colorful caught my eye. An abutilon blooming in February...
We've had so many warm winters in a row now that I fear there are many borderline plants in the garden that I've forgotten are at risk. Case in point, this Pseudopanax 'Sabre', it's going to be left to it's own devices, we'll see how it does.
The variegated Aspidistra elatior went into the ground last summer. Hopefully it will be okay, those are a few pendulous branches of Callistemon 'Woodlanders Hardy Red' hanging down in front.
The Edgeworthia chrysantha 'Akebono' flowers are still closed up tight. The branches of this plant are so thin that an ice storm can mean bending and breaking. Ugh.
This Astelia nivicola ‘Red Devil’ is looking so good that I might turn a pot over it. In my experience this astelia is one of the hardiest, but I also love it so that I decided better safe then sorry. Snow, ice, and staying frozen for days can be so damaging.
New growth on Adiantum venustum, which, like the hellebores will be flattened, but recover.
Finally, I thought I'd share a few images of the shade pavilion greenhouse. This view is still new to me, so much sky behind the structure and fence—since the neighbor's light-sucking conifers were taken out last summer.
It means more light though, which is good.
Here's a peek inside, it's now very full!
Things are cozy and warm...
Let's hope they stay that way (that the power stays on through the storm)...
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