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Late Winter 2018 and the Effects of Record Breaking Cold

March 1, 2018

Oh, the ups and downs of gardening: arctic cold and drought.  Durham County has been upgraded from "moderate drought" to "abnormally dry" just in time for Spring. The arctic weather in January negatively affected two plants in the garden that are classified as being zone 7 thru zone 10.  The edgeworthia (paper bush) and mahonia Soft Caress really suffered.   I think the Mahonia might be dead.  On the flip side, the late winter bloomers Royal Star Magnolia, Tulip Magnolias, Forsythia, Camellia Japonica and Hellebores are thriving.   Their cold tolerance is greater than zone 7 plus the last two weeks in February have been gentle so their blossoms haven't been hurt. 

When purchasing plants I haven't worried about zone 7 being the extreme end of their cold tolerance.  I will consider the extreme end of their cold zone in the future with polar vortexes and such becoming the new normal. 

Let's start with the pretty side of late Winter 2018.  Spring Glory Forsythia. 

Tulip Magnolias in my neighbor's yard.  These are at least fifty years old.  Thanks for the great view!

Camellia Japonica- Slow growing, but beautiful.  It's about fifteen years old.  This is probably a good time to tell you to buy larger bushes, if you don't have patience.  That will be another blog post.

Ralph Shugert vinca minor  This evergreen produces blossoms in February.  I transplanted a few vines this week to the barren bank next door.

 The transplants. 

 Hellebores  

 You can see why I'm a fan of the Merlin Hellebore.

Winter Bliss Hellebore.  This is it's first year here.  As the blossoms mature they turn a lovely Spring green.

My neighbor, Kevin gave me these beautiful Peach tree branches.  One was really large and feeling a little giddy with Spring, I stuck it in the ground next door.  If it roots, I will post it to the blog.   

 Royal Star Magnolia, next door.  This is it's third winter with us.  The photo doesn't do it justice.  It bloomed all over itself this year.  The branch on the left side of the photo suffered a lawn mower accident in 2016.  We taped the branch and so far so good.  

The suffering paper bush.  Many of the outer branches were cold hurt, so the blossoms didn't develop.  We might need to cut the outer branches to the ground.  The center growth is healthy.  

 The Paper bush in 2017.

 

 Hang in there, wherever you are.  Spring is on it's way! 

 

     

 

     

      

 

 

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