13 April 2010

Assessing Winter Casualties

Since the weather has warmed up so much, I've been meaning to assess all the damage that our unusually cold winter did to our plants. I will say that most things came back as expected. Daylilies are thriving, bog lilies and hostas too. Most of our winter casualties are not too surprising. I had a majesty palm I bought 15 months ago and overwintered it original in the garage. Temporarily I dug a hole by the pond and put the whole thing, pot and all, in the ground, intending to plant it later that year- I put it in the hole, because it kept blowing over. I was concerned that it was a little too tropical to be outside all year and I was right - at least this past year. It shows no signs of life.

Most of my original shade garden died back, including the ferns I got off the side of the road, the ferns I got from the woods and the hostas that I divided last year. After dividing it last April, I had four plants until the other day - I only saw one coming back, but as of now all four are back, and I'm glad. Another plant that's back are the ferns we got out of the woods last summer. They're sprouting again with more foliage than before.

Almost a year ago I rescued some sort of pine that Lowe's sells during Xmas - It's evergreen and they put red and gold bows and decorations on it like an Xmas tree. This pine had certainly been neglected, but it didn't look half bad. I repotted it and it thrived during the summer in the partial shade near the back of the house. When fall came, I tossed the African daisies that were in a planter near the front door and put this pine in it - I figured it would be something good for the fall and winter. After the cold winter we had this year, it just got burned and the needles turned brown. I just assumed it died from the cold, it looked so bad. At that point it wasn't worth saving.

Another plant you could say I gave up on was my Black Magic Taro. It sat all summer and fall in a tub of water in the driveway, waiting to be planted in the bog. Needless to say it didn't survive, if I'm writing about it here. While the elephant ears in the bog were coming back to life, I waited on the ones in the container to do the same, but no such luck. If I really want more, I can always get some from the people I gave some to.

Lastly, a few thing I got at the fall plant swap didn't make it. This always happens - usually by neglect, because I always have so many plants that I can't take care of. However, these were more winter casualties. Fairly early in the fall we had to bring in the "Black Pearl" ornamental pepper - apparently it doesn't like anything below 60 degrees. Our house is a death trap for most plants - ironic, isn't it? We just don't get much sunlight. After several years I've adapted to this. We have a peace lily, cast iron plant, a pteris fern and an African violet, and they're all doing fine.

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