Someone was concerned because many plants appear to be dead or dying out in our garden terraces. So, I put on my “woolies” and ventured out to check all three levels.
What I found there were three levels of gardens suffering from winter! I found nothing unusual. I found that most gardeners had done with their gardens, what they needed to do. They had cut back perennials that needed cutting back. The hardy perennials that had been left, were in differing states of life. Some of them looked fabulous! Some looked a bit haggard (like me on a cold, windy day). And some looked a little surprised that their moderate Seattle had dealt them a surprising hand with freezing temperatures over a few weeks.
Seattle doesn’t often suffer from such cold for so long. BUT, right now that is what’s happening. If our tender plants were not bundled up (like we have done with ourselves when we’ve ventured out) before this hard frost hit, they are suffering a bit. But, worry not. Nature has planned for this. Notice, even the plants caught in their own little pond, are doing quite well!
The plants that are perennials are doing just fine. It could be that their tops have died back…but that’s OK. That’s what they do! They will come back robustly in the spring.
The shrubs and trees (be they large or little) that are deciduous (losing their leaves in the winter) have lost their leaves, making them look a bit naked. The other trees and shrubs look wonderful. Their leaves and budding tips are just waiting to burst forth on the first warm day.
The annuals, or non-hardy plants, large and small, have succumbed to Father Winters cold blasts…as they are expected to do. They do NOT look good. They are the ones that should find their way into the compost!
The final word on all of this is not to worry. It’s too late to do anything anyway. Some of the gardeners have either put, or left, fallen leaves on their garden beds. That is a wonderful technique of mulching (snugging up the plants). Nature takes care of it’s own. When a cover is needed…there are the fallen leaves!
Many gardeners also cover their plants with burlap when a hard frost is expected, but nature hasn’t planned anything like that, so it’s nice, but not necessary. That is a more prevalent technique in areas with snow and wind, to protect a plant against losing too much moisture, and even protecting branches from heavy snow loads.
All in all, I think the gardens look great. Don’t worry! All will be well in the spring. And if you’ve lost something, consider it an opportunity to plant something new and different!