cold weather miscellany

Jane McGary
Tue, 08 Dec 2009 11:29:47 PST
Like Robin I appreciate all the supportive comments, many of them 
from people who live in parts of North America where it is routinely 
colder than the Pacific coast states. This morning a friend and I 
agreed that looking at the thermometer these days is about like 
looking at the scale when one has not been dieting enough: Don't tell 
me, I don't want to know. We're expecting one more day of severe 
cold, especially in areas away from the river gorges where the wind 
is dying down; I live in a river gorge (the Clackamas) so get quite a 
lot of continental wind when there is a big Pacific low, as now. Last 
night the TV weatherman showed how the California storm is going to 
move right across the center of North America, bringing awful 
conditions as far as the Midwest, because the jet stream has dipped 
so sharply to the south.

I should not have allowed my keyboard to engage directly from my 
emotions, without filtering the output through the brain: I'm not 
depressive! But anyone can be momentarily cast down by a combination 
of too much work, too much volunteering, east wind, frozen plants, 
icy roads, and a foreboding family eruption over elder care.

Frozen plants are not something to agonize over forever. One of our 
many gardening physicians once told me that if his rare plants die, 
he can always get another one, unlike the case when patients die. I 
usually am philosophical about losing plants to the weather, feeling 
that they weren't "meant to be here," like all the roses I dug up and 
burned because they got black spot in our climate. I do feel awful, 
however, if I know I could have done more to prevent losses, and 
didn't for what may not have been a good reason (like spending a 
whole day driving around delivering the NARGS seeds for packaging). 
And when one does make an effort to share, it's very disappointing to 
have promised some plant (almost impossible to obtain in the USA) to 
someone and then have to tell them it has died out; for example, I 
promised Galanthus peshmenii to two US galanthophiles, and I'm not 
sure it will survive this cold snap, and John Grimshaw was very kind 
to send me a start of it some years ago. There is a whole set of 
bulbs and Ranunculaceae that are relatively inaccessible to American 
gardeners, primarily those that have ephemeral seed, and those of us 
who do somehow (!) acquire them must make every effort to propagate 
and distribute them. Then when we lose them, we may be able to get 
them back; and when we ourselves are gone, the plants will continue 
to please others.

Jane McGary
NORTHwestern Oregon, USA

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