Wednesday, February 2, 2011

There Will Be Damage

Many central Texas gardeners looked at last winter's 18 degree low as extreme.  So I guess this winter's freezing temperatures will have to be considered extremely extreme.  Not only have we reached 17 degree lows, but will achieve it two nights in a row.  While it is not uncommon for this area to drop pretty low, we typically bounce back to above freezing quite fast - often on the same day.  This winter is unusual for us as we are expected to remain under freezing for an extended period: over 60 continuous hours at or below freezing.

So there will be damage.  Prior to last night's freeze, I had already covered the plants (even purchasing a 10x20 foot cold cover to add to my collection of sheets, blankets & towels).  Obviously, I don't have enough to cover everything, so choices had to be made.

Covered plants include:
Then there is the inevitable plant that one forgets to cover.  This time around it was the Gasteraloe 'Midnight' - will have to wait and see what happened to it.

But several plants are already showing signs of damage.

Gold Dust Plant (Aucuba japonica 'Variegata')

 Bear's Breech (Acanthus 'Summer Beauty')

Formosa Red Azalea (Azalea indica 'Formosa Red')

Joe Pye Shrub

There are many others (but I was too wimpy to stay out in the cold taking snapshots!).  Even the Cast Iron Plants (Aspidistra elatior) have an unusual darkness to their green color.  Only time will tell which plants survive.

Planted in Pots:


  1. It's dreadful isn't it? Everything just looks so sad...keeping my fingers crossed that the covered plants will recover but only time will tell...

  2. I am so sorry...I completely understand what you're going through. That not getting above freezing thing is a real killer. I'm sending you warm thoughts!!!!

  3. I feel your pain. I have 5 aucuba and they all look like yours. They weren't damaged with last year's temps so I didn't even bother with covering them.
    On another note, how is your Wood Betony doing, aside from the freeze. My formally full sun bed has become a part shade bed in the last year and I'm going to need plants to replace my coneflowers. Wood Betony look about the right size and color.

  4. I can't even bear to look outside right now. I took a peek earlier, and the Mex. weeping bamboo is already losing leaves. I didn't cover much, and what I did cover surely won't benefit from a thin sheet in this kind of weather. Ah well. Spring will come again.

  5. Oh sorry for the possible's so hard knowing all you can do is wait it out and see what the damages are :-(

  6. My shrimp plant, which had managed to make it until this week finally looks all black and crispy (though I'm 99% sure it got this way during the wind storm and isn't because of the snow). And yes, the Cast Iron plants look much worse for the wear. I have no idea which plants will make it through - it's all a grand experiment!

  7. Whimsical: I'm hopeful - just unsure re: that length of below freezing.

    Danger: That's my thinking; it ain't so much the cold, but the duration of it.

    Abbey: As noted on your blog, my Aucuba appears to have bounced back also. I have only had the Wood Betony since early October 2010 - so haven't had time to determine how it will do. But the online information sounds positive.

    Pam: Yeah, for that length of freezing temps, I'm thinking the covers only keep off frost (and snow!).

    Scott: True, my look-about today was rather depressing (though, as always, had some positive surprises).

    Katina: At least the Cast Iron Plants appear to have snapped back from the cold; they certainly earn their name.