Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Damage Done...for now...

So, I went back to Landwave this past weekend to check on things and assess the damage done by our early season winter cold snap.

Temperatures plummeted down to the mid teens (possibly lower) and we had about 5-6 inch accumulation of snow the week of Thanksgiving. Luckily, and THANKFULLY, things began to really thaw on Turkey Day and people were able to get out and about. Seattle drivers are THE WORST when it comes to driving in snow and ice. ugh

I did my best to bring in the most important things, while others I just figured:

1) They'll be okay just grouped together or under this sheltered/protected area

2) Oh, it was cheap enough, I'll just buy it again next year

3) This plant has to prove it's worth and hardiness. I'm not babying it.

New Hardy Schefflera taiwaniana survives first test:

Schefflera taiwaniana under eves Shefflera taiwaniana cold foliage

On the LEFT is a specimen I potted up and placed under the eves of the house facing Northwest. I recall the pot freezing just about solid and the new growth it tried to put on was zapped. The foliage also seemed to be a duller green. A similar story with the one on the RIGHT, which was planted in the ground. The new growth was hindered, but these also took on a gray/purple cast to the foliage. Overall, they seem alright for now.

Another comparison: Potted vs. in the ground, Mahonia 'Soft Caress'

Mahonia Soft Caress in container cold damage Mahonia Soft Caress cold damage in ground

Both planted this spring and basically in the same location in the garden. The potted specimen (on the LEFT) endured some frost damage, but the one planted directly in the ground (on the RIGHT) had very obvious damage. Both are in part shade, but the one in the ground is a little younger than the one used in a container. I wonder if that just one of many factors.

Not quite mush, but pretty close: Kniphofia northiae

Cold hit Kniphofias

I mean, I knew this was coming. I'm just praying that it isn't too bad. These were 2 gallon specimens that almost tripled in size over the summer. Now, they've proven to be hardy, but just how much of a setback winter will be on these, we'll have to wait and find out. I may need to find another specimen for the front entry of Landwave.

On the edge with Edgeworthia:

So, I could never get 'Gold Rush' to bloom and then it eventually was reduced to one viable stem so I just took it out and now 'Nanjing Gold' and the usually fairly reliable selection from Sichuan (see a post early this spring about this one) are not looking so hot. They have buds, yet, my fear is because the foliage was unable to properly yellow and undergo senescence, the forming buds might have been affected as well.

Edgeworthia cold damage before senescence 2

Hardy Bananas...please oh please live up to your name!

Musa sikkimensis protected Musa basjoo cold snapped

Even with the cage stuffed with dry fern fronds and pieces of Miscanthus I chopped up, the trunk of Musa sikkimensis has mushed pretty much down to the base. Perhaps if I wrapped it in burlap like I had planned to do in addition, it would have been okay. Now I'm just praying that it comes back from the crown underground. Musa basjoo I left thinking that it was surrounded by enough plants that it would be protected, but nope! It's also mushed down to the ground and fingers crossed that it comes back vigorously. The key to these bananas has always been making sure to plant them deep and get them really well established as older stands tend to be hardier and able to withstand the winter extremes we occasionally get here in the Pacific Northwest.

Annuals: Until next year.

Mixed Annual Container Seasonal Container after cold snap

So, this will have to be replanted next year, but those in the ground have a ways to go as winter hasn't officially started yet, but it's all a waiting game now.

To see more photos, click here.



  1. My abyssinian banana was pretty small so I just potted it up and brought it inside. I read on greensparrow gardens that you can just pull out the plant, trim off the roots and bring it in to a garage or basement for the winter. I've got my fingers crossed. So sorry to hear about your edgeworthia. I've never seen one in bloom and I've been watching the two they have at the Chinese Garden here Portland all year, waiting to see them in bloom. Theirs look just like yours right now.

  2. The Edgeworthias should recover, somewhat. They've done this in year's past and I think it just takes proper establishment and acclimatization to the site before it's settled and blooming reliably each year.