February 14, 2014

Dear Gardening Friends,

Several of you have called with questions and concerns about winter damage on plants in general and hellebores in particular so we are posting a few words of encouragement as we approach the end of this long winter. While we have significant damage to the hellebore foliage, most of the plants themselves are fine. We will trim off the damaged leaves, enjoy the blooms, and wait for the new foliage to appear in April. The flower buds are firm and some are now beginning to stretch upward. A week of 50+ daytime temperatures and we will be seeing a lot of color in the garden.

Many broadleaf shrubs are also showing damage and though most will recover, some will take until mid-summer to really look good again. Mahonia ‘Soft Caress’, Daphne o’dora, Loropetalum, some Camellias and some Gardenias are showing “winter burn” and will require some judicious pruning but not until new spring growth begins and we can tell what is really dead wood.

Some things we have enjoyed are not going to recover. The Lantana and the Petunias that are really annuals but to our surprise have come through the last two winters are not going to come back this spring and will have to be replanted. The Eucalyptus that has grown to 20 feet tall will probably have to be cut back to the ground for the third time in 15 years but such is the art and craft of gardening. Plants that succumb to harsh winters (and summers) give us room to try something new and interesting.

Have faith, SPRING WILL COME!

Read our Feature Article “Feathered Friends of Gethsemane Gardens

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