Deep Freeze

Frozen Quince

Frozen Quince

This morning it was 6 degrees when I woke up.  That’s about 10 degrees below what I consider acceptable for our location and I mean to write a letter of complaint to the weather gods.  It was the biggest challenge that the greenhouse has had to face.  Last night as I was watching the greenhouse temperature dip to 36 degrees when the outside temperature had fallen to 11 degrees by 1am I put on my down jacket and carried another heater out to the greenhouse to stabilize the temperature.  That seemed to do the trick because the max-min thermometer showed that was as low as the greenhouse temperature got last night.  It never got above 16 degrees outside today and we’re headed for another single digit overnight so I just left the supplementary heater in place.

Greenhouse during snowstorm

Greenhouse during snowstorm

The greenhouse remains a place of refuge for weather like this.  Another oxalis species has come into bloom.

Oxalis simplex

Oxalis simplex

and I even found a ladybug exploring the greenery last week.

Lady bug in the greenhouse in mid-winter

Lady bug in the greenhouse in mid-winter

I have no idea what these temperatures will mean for the outdoor plants.  Some plants that I have put in have never seen temperatures this low.  The evergreens are tightly wrapped up against the cold.

Rhododendron carolinianum

Rhododendron carolinianum

The Rhododendron carolinianum is one of the first to bloom but I think the plant certainly looks stressed at the moment.  I’m particularly concerned about the camellias as this is certainly pushing the edge for some of them.  Helleborus niger ‘HGC Jacob’ was looking great before the snowstorm last Thursday, but it’s pretty smashed and browned off at this point.

Helleborus niger 'HGC Jacob'  before the storm

Helleborus niger ‘HGC Jacob’ before the storm

Helleborus niger 'HGC Jacob'  after the storm and at 6 degrees

Helleborus niger ‘HGC Jacob’ after the storm and at 6 degrees

At the same time the Lathyrus aureus has popped above the ground and seems completely untroubled by the temperatures.

Lathyrus aureus at 6 degrees

Lathyrus aureus at 6 degrees

Perhaps I’ll have more promising whispers of spring this weekend when the temperatures are supposed to climb back to the 50′s.

4 comments on “Deep Freeze

  1. Susan Gordon

    Beautiful. Much prettier than it feels as I get ready to take my dogs out for a last walk. Stunning photo though. Do you practice looking for just one shot a day?

  2. Les

    Please let me know if your letter writing campaign makes a difference.

    1. jw

      Well, at least we haven’t seen 6 degrees again… :)

  3. Frank

    As the winds howled and the temperatures dropped we had enough trouble keeping the house warm let alone a greenhouse! The harsh drop in temperatures didn’t seem to do much damage here either, but time will tell. I still much prefer a cold blast like this now rather than early spring when all that tender growth is coming up.