They're reporting this is most snow we've seen in Portland in December since 1968. Yup, seems 'bout right.
Needless to say, we're not really using the front door right now. There's easily over a foot at the front door.
Spots of color, like this snow-covered ornament, really stand out.
The lovely bark on my crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia x 'Zuni' on the right in this picture) really stands out in the snow.
Don't see this everyday; a cross country skier cruising along NE 47th.
It's really piling up in the back garden. Cozy though. Sit for a spell?
Prominent in the photo to the left is a yew (Taxus x 'Sentinalis) that is normally very strongly upright that was splaying under the weight of this snow. I went out this morning and shook the snow off this and some of my other evergreens this morning (well, as best as I could at least). If we get ice after this snow I worry that it will break under the strain.
I have a tendency to experiment quite a bit in my garden,
pushing the boundaries of hardiness and/or growing a plant just so I can
get a better sense of how it will behave in my garden. Because I often push the
hardiness boundary, I often make some special efforts in terms of protecting
some of my favorites.
I garden a lot in containers so that allows me to move those
plants to cover relatively easily. For instance earlier this week I took quite a few plants to my greenhouse at the nursery.
Even though it is
unheated, I hope that it will offer some protection and limit the
foliar damage that some of my evergreen plants would sustain if left to their
own defenses outside. I’ve got a small utility room (no garage) attached to my
studio and I’ve got that jammed full of plants as well. As I was prepping for the cold, I
kept finding plants that I thought would benefit from some extra protection and
at the last minute I even stuffed plants into the back of my pickup truck under
the canopy. Yet in spite of these efforts, I will likely suffer some losses
For instance, one plant that I’m particularly curious (OK, I guess I mean anxious) about at this moment
is my Euphorbia stygiana. This striking evergreen euphorbia has lent an exotic,
almost tropical flair to my garden for about 3 years. In this short time it has
grown to mammoth proportions; an anchor in my garden and easily one of my most
asked about plants.It‘s way too large
and awkward to cover with a frost cloth or sheet. To be honest, this
fall I even had my eye on it as a candidate for some pretty major pruning this
spring because it was getting a bit big for the space. I hope I’ll still have reason
to do that this spring. Or perhaps Mother Nature will have done my pruning for
me. I can imagine it being killed to the ground or at least taking a fair amount of damage, but I'm betting it would come back
from the root. Only one thing for sure … it’ll take some time before the fate
of my Euphorbia stygiana is clear. As Kym Pokorny advised earlier today …we’ll need to
be patient for now.
What a day for my inaugural participation in Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day (the brain child of Carol at May Dreams Gardens; read up on it here). We're having what may be one of the coldest days of the year, in the beginning of what's expected to be the most prolonged and pronounced cold snap that we've seen in the Portland area for quite some time. See my recent weather-related posts for the skinny on that.
But what the heck, here we go!
Bud of an unnamed abutilon variety dusted in snow; up until yesterday all of my abutilons were covered in bloom. I am confident that most will make it through this cold snap, though they'll surely be killed to the ground.
Euphorbia 'Tasmanian Tiger' and his close cousins such as E x martinii and E. wulfenii look great with a dusting of snow and should hold up to this just fine.
This fuchsia will also take the weather in stride but like the abutilons, it'll die back to the ground this year for sure.
I'm sure there's more to show, but it's way too cold for me to be interested in going outside to take more pictures.
In addition to my previous post, the Oregonian’s Kym
Pokorny has written a helpful post on preparing your garden for this cold snap as well. She makes an
excellent point; focus on your favorites and do what you can, but keep it
manageable. I’d add, be strategic in choosing what to defend … expensive and/or
difficult to replace? Protect that first.
And remember some of the plants that I mentioned in my previous post (phormium,
in particular) will likely come through the cold snap just fine; they’ll just
suffer less cosmetic damage if they’re given a little extra protection.
Good luck. Oh, and if it happens to snow in addition to all this coldness, don't forget to enjoy it!
is calling for low temps in the Portland
area over the next several days. The latest forecast that I saw indicates temps as low as 15 for Sunday
night, which might be followed by a very cold Monday. On Monday the high is
currently forecasted at 24 with an overnight low of 20! Even though this
is pretty cold for us, the good news is that it looks like it will be brief. After
a day or two of this, we should get back to normal winter temps by early to mid
broadleaf plants are typically the most susceptible to cold weather damage. Oftentimes
it’s just that, damage. Not death per se. Although I’ve had some plants suffer
enough winter damage that I, hmm ... how shall I say … I hastened their death
come spring because they were so unsightly. Consequently, there are some plants I
choose to take extra steps to protect; astelia, coprosma, phormium and anything that I’ve been experimenting with that I think might be border-line
what’s a gardener to do? Here’s a few tips on how to prepare your garden for a
cold weather snap.
you can, pull vulnerable plants that are in containers into a garage or into the greenhouse if you
happen to have one. I've taken a couple of loads of my more fragile plants to the nursery greenhouse. If you have neither garage nor greenhouse, at least pull them under the eaves or under a
table or bench and cover with frost cloth (or a sheet if you can't get your hands on frost cloth in time).
in-ground plantings or potted plants that are too difficult to move, I recommend covering them with frost cloth. Investing in
some frost cloth for cold snaps like these are dollars well spent. (See
previous post for more on this, including photos).
sure that your evergreen plants are well watered before it gets cold,
particularly those in your containers. Do this before it get too cold; dry
plants are more susceptible to damage and you won’t be able to water them once
the soil is frozen.
and hope for the best; the weather’s gonna come and there’s nothing we can do
about it. Besides, a garden dusted with snow is a beautiful site, yes?
You might want to also check out these past weather-related posts:
Ghost Town (Photos and more on covering your plants with frost cloth).
If you're in Northeast Portland this Friday evening, I hope you'll think about dropping by the Feast on Art celebration at Garden Fever (3433 NE 24th Avenue, Portland, OR). The event runs from 6 pm to 9 pm on Friday, and festivities will continue on Saturday from 11 am to 3 pm.
At about 7 pm on Friday, December 5th, The Chorus of the Goddess Florawill be singing some seasonal favorites, sung with a horticulturally humorous bent. If you've seen us perform you know what I mean by that, if you haven't seen us ...well, just come, OK? To get the idea you might want revisit my earlier post which includes a video clip of an earlier performance at a KXL Nerd Night.
The event is a fund raiser for Growing Gardens, a local nonprofit organization focusing on providing start-up assistance and support to limited income people who are just getting started with vegetable gardening. Garden Fever will be donating 10% of all purchases on December 5th to this really great organization.
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