With just a week left in the month, March has decided to come back. Temperatures in Toronto dipped just below freezing last night, and it’s expected to go even lower tonight. Are those of you in similar regions worried? I’m not. At least not about my own garden. I’m worried about fruit orchards with trees that have already set flowers and the magnolias that are just on the cusp of opening. And I feel terrible for farmers who have no means to protect acres and acres of early crops.
However, in my own garden I’m not worried about the seeds I have recently sown. Most of them are hardy greens that can take a dip below freezing and in the case of those that aren’t, well, a little loss is not the end of the world. I never sow an entire packet of seed in one go, and I never sow more than I can afford to lose. I am slightly worried about the perennials that have come out of dormancy too early. Tender new growth may suffer the one-two punch of freezing nights and driving, cold winds. Even my urban backyard, which is protected by tall buildings and heat-absorbing materials is suffering from a tunnel effect as the wind drives through the narrow passages between walls.
Fortunately, the soil is still warm and the days are sunny. This seems to be helping to keep the plants warmer at night. I didn’t do anything to protect my plants last night — I even left out the echeverias that had spent the winter indoors — everything was fine this morning.
The warm soil has coaxed up some of the asparagus that I planted last spring. I ate the first one over the weekend! Today I went out and mounded up a little of that warm soil around the spears that remain and have covered them with mulch. I’ll protect some of the out-of-season seedlings that have come up with mulch, cloches, and cloth tonight. I am also thinking of doing the same around some of those perennials I mentioned, namely lavender, and one of my salvias. The rest will have to fend for themselves. If I lose some leaf growth, so be it. I feel fairly confident that I won’t lose any plants and if I do, it won’t be the first time a plant or two does not make it out of the winter. I’ve lost many lavender and thymes over the years to strange winter weather. I only have one or two expensive small trees that I would not like to lose, but I don’t see that happening.
This is the first spring I can remember in which my in-ground perennials have come so far along so early. This is all new learning for me and I’m rather excited by it!
Are you worried?
UPDATE: So far I haven’t lost anything and I haven’t noticed any damage other than a clematis that looked a little weepy. Time will tell if any of the more tender perennials have been damaged, but I doubt it.