Assessing the Damages

Dactylorhiza fuchsii 'Bressingham Bonus'

Dactylorhiza fuchsii ‘Bressingham Bonus’

This past winter was probably not the coldest winter on record here in Maryland but it was definitely one of the coldest in recent memory.  In addition it featured drastic swings in temperature that have to have been difficult on plants.  Since I tend to push the climate zone with planting (nothing ventured, nothing gained), it would be natural to expect some casualties from the winter.  And there were.  On the other hand there were plants that exceeded my expectations.  So with every survivor that returns to the garden by putting up a shoot or flowering as normal, I take note and give them a little badge of honor as a veteran in my record book.  That includes the little European Spotted Orchid (Dactylorhiza fuchsia) that came into flower this week.  The gladiolus, which I normally dig in the fall, spent the winter underground and have come back without much difficulty.  Cypella coelestis has emerged from hiding and the Roscoea have emerged again with their delightful tubes.

Roscoea purpurea 'Spice Island'

Roscoea purpurea ‘Spice Island’

I was delighted today to find that the Arisaemas, which (with the exception of one plant) had been total no-shows in the garden, all decided to pop-up on the same day.  I  guess the interoffice growth memo was received on the Arisaema network today.

However, as I said, there were losses.  Here is a list of the fallen.

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

All the Rosemarys bit the dust.



The Loropetalum, with its delightful hot pink flowers, was always living on the edge here in Maryland.  I’ve already put in a replacement.

Euphorbia 'Blackbird'

Euphorbia ‘Blackbird’

One of the two Euphorbia martinii hybrids died completely and the other was cut down to the ground.  The completely herbaceous Euphorbias all did fine.

Mahonia eurybracteata 'Soft Caress'

Mahonia eurybracteata ‘Soft Caress’

The lovely new Mahonia that we had planted last fall died completely.  It is on the edge of its zonal range, but it also didn’t have much time to get established before winter.

Crocosmia 'Walcroy'

Crocosmia ‘Walcroy’

This lovely Crocosmia completely disappeared from the front garden, although the ‘Lucifer’ cultivar is still going strong by the back gate.

So I think that was it.  Really not so bad all things considered.  I had fears that things like the 20 foot high Crepe Myrtle would get knocked back to the ground (which happened once before when it was very young).  But such was not the case.  A few branches lost but that’s all quite tolerable.

Now we will get back to enjoying what is showing up day by day.  The Peonies are almost done.  Two of the herbaceous types were spectacular.

Paeonia lactiflora 'Krinkled White'

Paeonia lactiflora ‘Krinkled White’

Paeonia lactiflora 'Scarlet Ohara'

Paeonia lactiflora ‘Scarlet Ohara’

Both came from visits to Plant Delights in North Carolina.  I can’t wait to see what Tony Avent, who is the heart and soul of the company, has for me next year…

2 comments on “Assessing the Damages

  1. Casa Mariposa

    I lost my rosemary and loropetalum’s, too. I’d been tempted by Soft Caress at the nursery but I’m glad I passed. But our tough winter gave me more faith in all the plants that came back with vigor. 🙂

  2. Les

    My Loropetalums did fine, just a little tip burn. Several plantings of Confederate jasmine were all over the map from nearly dead to unphased. Lots of thing that are normally evergreen or stem hardy, died to the ground, but are in full recovery. My only complete loss was a cuphea, a slavia, a variegated oleander, and an agave, which probably died more from the wet than the cold.