Hopeful Assessments

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Helleborus multifidus ready to unfurl

If you’’re like me, once the snow has retreated, you walk about your garden searching for hints of growth. For me the first signs of spring come with the snowdrops, then the crocus begin showing color, as well as the narcissus which are sending forth their green pencil shoots. We’’ve cut back the old Epimedium and Helleborus hybridus foliage, and yes they are there, the tightly curled flower buds just waiting for a bout of milder temperatures.

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Trochodendron aralioides (Wheel Tree)

Our conifers are all looking okay, and right now the tropical looking Trochodendron we planted last summer is looking pretty darn good (fingers are crossed). On the other hand the Bamboos, both the Fargesia rufa and Phyllostyachys aureasulcata, took a real beating. The browned foliage will be replenished with new growth, but the thing is that won’’t happen until mid May…. can we really stand looking at it for that long? We have no choice but to live with our brown Phyllostachys forest, but we may just have to cut the Fargesia to the ground and spare ourselves the view of winter’s scourge. It means we’’ll sacrifice some height this year, but I’’m sure we’’ll get at least 3’’ of it back this summer, and next year the Fargesia should reach 6’’ or more.

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Fargesia rufa ‘Green Panda’, the one that suffered the least this winter.

It’’s still too soon to tell with most perennials. Unless the evidence is an obviously mushy crown, it’ is really just a wait and see. We’’ve had many a plant resurrect itself from deep roots in late spring, once the earth has sufficiently warmed.  Good news is the Beesia deltophylla, covered with a blanket of fallen leaves for the winter is promising growth.

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Beesia deltophylla shoots looking promising.

Here’’s a recommendation. Take pictures of the what your garden looks like now, and then document again in 6-8 weeks. Keep these images as a record  of reference for the future, so when things look skeptical in early spring, you keep the faith.

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