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Almost Christmas and still no winter

Posted by rouge21 5b (My Page) on
Mon, Dec 17, 12 at 15:41

For our zone 5 location again, just like last year (so far) there has been no cold and no snow. Even as of today I have many perennials which should not be evergreen for me. Here is a dwarf Butterfly Bush which has way too many leaves for this time of year. As well an unnamed heuchera which looks just fine as of December 17th!

For the past few years I am convinced my zone 5 is really a zone 6.

I want cold and snow from a gardening perspective if only to make it harder on those bad bugs for next season.

Photobucket

This post was edited by rouge21 on Mon, Dec 17, 12 at 21:17


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Almost Christmas and still no winter

  • Posted by mxk3 z5b/6 MI (My Page) on
    Mon, Dec 17, 12 at 20:51

I want cold and snow because it's Christmas-time and that's the way it should be! The scent of pine and eucalyptus just isn't as enjoyable when it's in the 50s outside...


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RE: Almost Christmas and still no winter

we really do need the snow for the protection of the plants. Last year really did the garden in because of the mild temps and lack of snow. I lost several plants, some plants did very poorly and my wintersowing was a disaster.
I hate driving in it, but I want it anyway. :-)


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RE: Almost Christmas and still no winter

The pictures look just like gardens here in most winters. Maybe you are being a bit pessimistic as to how much cold your plants need. I am sure most will pull through. Ours do.


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RE: Almost Christmas and still no winter

flora, if the weather stayed consistently moderate with no snow all would be fine but if there are some days with true zone 5 cold with still no snow there will be plant casualties. The last few years I have done lots of extra mulching which includes lots of high quality compost and this seems to have provided protection in place of the insulating snow.


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RE: Almost Christmas and still no winter

I was extremely thankful to get nearly 11 inches of snow a little over a week ago. That was followed by about 1/4 inch of rain last Sat which of course washed away some of my snow cover. We've since had another 1 1/2 inches of snow. As for temperatures, I can't complain. We've had one night of -18 followed by one day of a high of -1. Our high last weekend during the rain was 38. The last several days have seen highs in the low to mid 20's. If it stayed like this for the winter I'd be happy. Unless the storm track changes it looks like we may get just a flurry or two. Those of you in the storm track....enjoy.


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RE: Almost Christmas and still no winter

Hi rouge 21 - I was thinking of the idea that plants need cold, not so much that they need snow.


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RE: Almost Christmas and still no winter

Hi 'flora', a blanket of snow is very helpful in moderating extra cold ambient temperatures. In fact 'snow cover' is one of the factors used to arrive at plant hardiness zones (at least in Canada).


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RE: Almost Christmas and still no winter

Though we had some snow, it still pretty warm here. I am able to work the soil. I ordered some lily bulbs but the Co. won't send them until the spring ...bummer. I would like the snow just for the water alone.


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RE: Almost Christmas and still no winter

When we had 8 ft. of snow the winter of 2010, every plant in my garden survived, thrived and bloomed profusely in 2011. Warm January to March weather in 2012 followed by freezes in April killed a lot of my butterly perennials and stunted others--what my mother referred to as an "open winter." For many perennials, the normal/usual freeze/thaw cycle is essential to plant health & survival in colder zones of the U.S.

I normally don't cut my butterfly bushes/buddleias back until spring but there's one growing outside the window beside me that still has foliage on it the end of December which I don't recall from previous years--I keep garden notes. Makes me think I'll keep closer watch going forward.

Baptisia a./false indigo gave a poor showing this year after several years of growing tall, robust and lovely. Why is that? I have multiple plants in beds around the garden so location seems to be less of a factor than weather. I'm leaning toward chalking this up to a less-than-stellar garden year with hope next season will see things rebound.

I'm a gardener, which makes me an optimist.


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RE: Almost Christmas and still no winter

  • Posted by mxk3 z5b/6 MI (My Page) on
    Wed, Dec 26, 12 at 15:49

We're certainly getting it now...


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RE: Almost Christmas and still no winter

This morning before the snow really kicked in I took a picture of some of my cyclamen. They thought the hard frosts in November were winter and this mild spell in December must be spring. A couple sent up blooms, the rest thought better of it.


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RE: Almost Christmas and still no winter

Last winter's lack of snow and warm temps didn't seem to bother my plants at all (I don't do much fall cleanup though), but the dry spring and then late freezes stunted a few, killed off a few others and gave us an excellent crop of grasshoppers. In my experience sloppy snow that freezes to ice does the most damage particularly if it comes late in the winter after many bulbs and perennials have started to wake up.


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RE: Almost Christmas and still no winter

Nice pictures 'kato'.


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RE: Almost Christmas and still no winter

Saw some forsythia in bloom on a walk yesterday....


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RE: Almost Christmas and still no winter

UPDATE a month later:

There may well be lots of winter kill in gardens in my neck of the woods come this spring. I say this as over the past 9 days the temperature has gone from a balmy high of 55F (such unseasonably warm temps were around for almost a week) to now 10F starting tonight. This deep freeze will continue all this coming week, made worse by cold, drying winds. This very cold weather would be less of an issue if there was insulating snow on the ground but there is none as it all melted during that stretch of too warm weather.


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RE: Almost Christmas and still no winter

It will be an interesting spring. 37 F yesterday (the snow is pretty much gone) and down to negative 15 by tomorrow morning. At least the negative 20 - 30 they were predicting a few weeks ago doesn't look like it's going to happen, so I can still hold onto my zone 5 for now.

Kevin


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RE: Almost Christmas and still no winter

It'll still be zone 5 for you even if it gets down below -20F, as zones are determined by average low winter temperatures (which you probably know, but some people aren't aware of how zones are determined).


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RE: Almost Christmas and still no winter

Not true eric_oh...at least not in Canada. There are many more factors that are taken into consideration in determining plant hardiness zones (Canada). And I quote from the AGRICULTURE CANADA website:

Agriculture Canada scientists created a plant hardiness map using Canadian plant survival data and a wider range of climatic variables, including minimum winter temperatures, length of the frost-free period, summer rainfall, maximum temperatures, snow cover, January rainfall and maximum wind speed.

And right now with these cold winter temperatures there is an unusual lack of snow cover.


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