January 22, 2011

Aloe Arctic Cold Blast

My mystery tree Aloe blooms as more snow arrives and the coldest temperatures in 16 years. Tonight -5 F, Tomorrow, -10 possible. 

Here in New England, the next three days are expected to have low temperature readings well below zero degrees F. Some places may reach -18 near us, and here in Worcester, -8 is a reality. Thank goodness that we have a good blanket of snow on the ground, because without that insulation, the Hellebores, small shrubs and other marginal plants would surely perish. The deep snow should help those zone 6 and zone 7 plants in the gardens survive so I am not worried about the Eremurus or the Red Hot Pokers. What I am worried about are the zone 7 trees, like my never blooming 15 year old Davidia involucrata, and the single pane glasshouse full of plants. So many things can go wrong.
Our latest snow blitz dumped another 8 inches on top of the 22 inches earlier in the week. 

I really hate to keep talking about the snow, but it is impressive. We now have about 50 inches, and more snow is expected. At least the snow insulated the sides of the greenhouse, right? My big concerns? Running out of propane, a pane of glass breaking from falling ice, or freezing pipes. Inside, plants bloom away unaware of the blizzard.
The snow is crazy-deep now, so deep that the dogs can't find the stairs on the deck. I threw Lydia over the side, and she dissapeared under the snow, reappearing moments later all white ( she loves that!).
A Corydalis macrocentra, a rare bulblous Corydalis from Tadjikistan emerges in a double potted pot, which I feel this needs because it tends to run a little and the extra thick wall of gravel helps keep the roots temperatures and moisture more stable. 

Why the snow in the pots? Don't laugh you experts, but I add snow, few handfuls at a time on sunny days, to many of my emerging snow-line ephemerals for no other reason than it seems to make sense - natures rain water, I guess. These are plants the emerge through snow, and maybe there is extra nitrogen or micro nutrients in it ( maybe not, too), or perhaps the temperatures helps.  Not that I have any scientific reason other than mimicking nature, but in my crazy head, it seems like the right thing to do ( I mean, it's not like I don't have enough snow!)

A Fritillaria sewerzowii 'Goliath' sends it thick bud stalk out of a pot. This is the brown form of the typically green Frit. I can't wait to see it bloom

Some Cyclamen coum self seeded in a pot of Narcissus romieuxii ( or the other way around, I'm not really sure). I know, salty pot needs a washing.
Hyacinthoides aristides, another new bulb for me is already showing signs of flower buds. My fingers are triple crossed that it does not freeze this week with out cold weather. 

Camellia 'Betty's Beauty'
The Camellia's look so nice against the new snow outside.


  1. You are sure being dumped on. I cannot believe how it is mounting up at your home. We would have no electricity with all of that. LOL! I was glad we got some snow here also to help insulate the plants. It was - 10 here. Brutal.
    Your camellias look so beautiful in the conservatory. I would be spending all my time out there on snowy days like yours.

  2. Good luck with your greenhouse with these frigid temps. It is amazing to see so much in bloom despite the weather outside.

  3. Jacob Knecht3:14 PM

    All this snow is fascinating! I am really enjoying these posts on the snow. It's incredible to think of how much snow you are dealing with!


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