It was a hard winter. Record freezing temperatures after a snow storm that buried everything in a long lasting, deep blanket of snow. I thought my plants would be safe from the cold underneath that white blanket. Most of them were.
I spent a good deal of January snowed in and lonely without even the company of my garden. It was fast asleep. After the snow had melted, another cold snap occurred. My hands cracked and split from spreading burlap over my most prized plants and shrubs. No snow blanket this time. Just a hard freeze that kept hummingbirds buzzing around the feeders I hung. I kept them liquid with hand warmers. I tried my best.
I couldn’t cover all the foliage though. Decisions had to be made like medical triage in war times. Winter was mounting a full assault. And there were casualties despite my best efforts.
I am still waiting to see if a Daphne I blanketed will bear leaves and blooms again. I suppose I’ll do the ‘scrape the branch’ test soon. Will there be any green underneath the bark? Anything to salvage? Enough to salvage? It’s been one of my favorites so I am procrastinating. Hoping there is life left. But I really doubt it.
A few plants that I neglected made it. They were made for the hardy weather. One little dwarf pine seemed to really enjoy the snow and frost. All of my English lavender seemed completely unaffected. The Spanish Lavender wished it was planted in the Mediterranean instead of northern Washington State. Sometimes I wish I was too. I left them for a couple months. Maybe they would fight to live. They did not.
There are times though when one must admit defeat. One cannot will something to survive. Nature doesn’t work that way. Either something is planted in the right environment or it is not. So I dug up the dead Spanish Lavender plants and replaced them with two new ones from the nursery. They will either survive this next winter or I’ll treat them as annuals going forward.
At least all my little Japanese Maples are still alive and kicking. I did make an effort to blanket my little friends during the cold. And my lilacs too although they may have been fine without my intervention. Lilacs have always loved me.
As I look around on this mild spring day, I can appreciate all of the native plants growing in my garden and how dependable they are. How they were meant to be in my garden and how I don’t have to make sacrifices for them to stay. My hands will never have to crack and bleed for them to return in the spring. They are happy to be in my garden. And I don’t have to will them to stay.