Eucomis - TOW-Hardiness

Jane McGary
Mon, 18 Aug 2003 09:25:15 PDT
David Fenwick wrote,
One other tip is to go out into the garden early in the morning after a
>heavy frost. Watch the sun come up, and note where the frost melts first.
>Thus by planting in these areas, which will get less frost, you'll find a
>little microclimate for them.

I have to disagree with this, at least from the viewpoint of a region (the 
foothills of the Pacific Northwest Cascades) that gets much more frost than 
David's does. Here, winter frost is frequent, and it doesn't melt at all in 
certain shaded areas, and not until afternoon in others. I have a good 
colony of the marginally hardy Muscari macrocarpum in a very well drained 
raised bed where the winter sun does not reach until midday. Thus, its 
winter-growing foliage (which is also likely to be very moist here) is 
frozen for quite a while during cold weather, but it thaws very slowly 
because the day warms before the sun hits it. Antoine Hoog and I 
corresponded a little about this plant, which he finds is not winter-hardy 
for him near Amsterdam, and he agreed that its partly shaded site at my 
place may protect it to some extent. My plants flower well in early spring 
despite the beating they take from the cold of midwinter.

Another hint is to plant marginal bulbs under open-growing shrubs, which 
afford some frost protection.

The warmest spot in my hilly garden is a west-facing rather steep slope, 
which receives no morning sun; here I can grow camellias, evergreen 
kniphofias, and some Californian and South American shrubs that have not 
survived in other exposures.

Jane McGary
Northwestern Oregon, USA

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