Whether you subscribe to global warming or not, our weather is anything but normal--some would say this is the new normal, but I hope not. If you look back just last year, we had a record-breaking rainy February in 2018 and then as I helped host the national azalea society the first weekend in April we had snow and sleet and freezing temperatures. I think we can all hope that this past week of frigid temperatures is the last, and that spring-like weather can take over, but it is anyone's guess as to what is in store.
As gardeners, we have to be concerned about the weather, albeit on a slightly lower level that farmers, whose livelihood depends on it. The jury is still out as to what impact this week of low temperatures means for our flowers and fruit production this season. Temperatures across the state went from a low of 4 in NW Arkansas to 19 in my yard to 26 as a low in S. Arkansas. Any open blooms on camellias did get some burn, but I still have more buds to come.
This is how it looked Monday morning:
and this is today:
Many gardeners are worried about their big leaf hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla). Most were beginning to break dormancy before the cold hit. Again, in my yard I had some damage on some of the top-most buds but the ones further down appear fine.
Keep in mind that the top buds contain the largest flowers but I did not dissect it to see how deep the damage went--time will tell. The lower buds appear fine.
Today I did see color appearing on my tulip magnolia (Magnolia soulangeana) This is another plant that is commonly damaged by a late freeze. Keeping my fingers crossed that they make it through this year.
My ornamental kale has a little bit of freeze damage on the tips, but the edible kale is perfect.
I will have to wait for spring to know if there is any damage to my blueberries and figs. The buds were pretty swollen on my blueberries. Blueberry plants are considered very winter hardy but as flower bud swell progresses, cold tolerance decreases. At each progression, cold hardiness decreases, and sometimes the damage is not visibly obvious. So again, time will tell.
One saving grace was we had ample moisture in the ground and some wind activity. More rain looks like it is headed our way, so we have more to complain about. Too bad we can't hold some back for July and August! As gardeners we are at the mercy of the weather and there isn't much we can do once it comes. The sunlight today was gorgeous but it was still pretty nippy outside. I am ready for spring.