Winter Deaths, 2008-2009
Wed, 25 Mar 2009 11:03:57 PDT
Although I try to put pot-grown tender and -ish plants in frost-free storage 
for the winter, sometimes I guess wrong and have deaths only discovered in 
spring when the plant doesn't emerge.

Here in Victoria, this past winter was cold and snowy the last two weeks of 
December, at one point getting down to -12C (10F) briefly one night. Since 
December, though it has been less rainy than usual, it's been relentlessly 
chilly, with some light snow, and many nights below freezing.

Two casualties from this past winter are worth noting:

1. Scoliopus bigelovii, grown from seed many years ago, that had finally 
reached flowering size last year. This was potted in a rather heavy soil and 
fully exposed to the weather. All the tubers (corms? rhizomes? bulbs?) were 
rotten when unpotted this morning to investigate.

2. Anemone caucasica, originally from tubers from Czechia in the early 1990s, 
propagated by seed since then. The casualties were limited to young tubers in 
small pots which were exposed to cold, but largely (not entirely) sheltered 
from rain and snow. Two large pans of seedlings fully exposed to the weather 
seem also to have succumbed. Plants in the ground have survived without turning 
a hair and are flowering more profusely than ever before. The moral is an old 
and well-known one: plants are much safer in the ground than in pots.

On the other hand, Iris cycloglossa exposed to the elements is sending up many 
shoots and I look forward to its flowering in a month or so.

Rodger Whitlock
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Maritime Zone 8, a cool Mediterranean climate
on beautiful Vancouver Island…

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