six on Saturday, 21 January 2023

After December freezes, the weather in Alabama has warmed up to more seasonable temperatures, but rains–actually severe storms–continue to plague the State. And so do rollercoaster temperatures. This past week, though, allowed some time to begin putting sections of the garden back in order. Although, I’m being very cautious . No pruning or removing of seemingly dead plants yet, even through many evergreen shrubs look like deciduous shrubs after the leaf dropping and wilting brought on by last month’s extreme weather. I’m giving most things the time to recover in the spring. The featured photo of a white hellebore proves the wisdom in patience. Just a week ago, that plant looked dead.

1. So, I start with the Lenten Roses, or hellebores. We are, of course, accustomed to large leaves turning brown and brittle by the end of the summer. The first photo below shows far more than brown leaves after December’s sudden and prolonged freezing temperatures. Fortunately, we are also accustomed to seeing new growth emerging from the plant’s middle in late winter or early spring.

The first photo below shows the patch of plants pictured at the top of the photo on the left above after old and damaged leaves were removed. These tender green leaves and opening flowers were growing under all of that wilted and desiccated foliage. The other image is a clump of hellebores that I “cleaned up” a few days before. Temperatures above freezing and sunshine worked quickly.

2. There were patches of mature liriope, or lilyturf, that suffered like the hellebores. Some leaves were dead from the cold; others were limp and mushy from the rain. When I cut back the damage, I discovered several daylilies that used to grow in that area years ago. I think I’ll keep the liriope cut low, or remove much of it, and let the daylilies have their bed again.

3. The leaves on the camellias have not suffered a similar fate, but the emergence of buds seems to have been delayed significantly. In late January, 2021, the Camellia japonica Grace Albritton was covered with rich blooms like the one below. This week Grace Albritton has far fewer buds, and they are tight little globes far from ready to open.

4. Forsythia is beginning to bloom. Not all at the same rate, though. The ones near the house sport a simple yellow flower or two, but the one in full sun is showing out more vigorously. It is, unfortunately, all but leafless.

5. Daffodils are also beginning to add bright spots of yellow throughout the garden, both in beds and in the open wooded area. They have made it quite well through the winter so far. Several patches have risen high through the leaves that I intentionally left on the understory ground as breeding beds for lightening bugs and other overwintering insects.

6. I end with a fungus I gave serious attention to for this first time this week: the turkey tail mushroom, or Trametes versicolor.  The variegated color of the mushrooms attracted me, but their “biography” really fascinated me. Growing worldwide, they reportedly have a long history being used as “nonspecific immune modulators.” especially in cancer treatments. They are not psychedelics.

Readers can find reports from lots of other growing climates and links to great garden photos and information from around the globe at our six-on-Saturday moderator Jim Stephen’s garden ruminations.

10 Replies to “six on Saturday, 21 January 2023”

  1. The daffodils and Lenten rose are beautiful. It is sad to see how the cold affected my azaleas, tea olives and camellias. They show signs of recovery but I fear the spring bloom may be muted.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hope your camellia buds haven’t been damaged, that’s a very pretty variety. I always saw the flowering of Forsythia before it leafed out as an advantage, you see them better. And dare I say it, in leaf it’s a bit ordinary, not that I’m especially averse to ordinary.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Well I’m glad to know that everything is likely NOT dead. Of course the nandina looks dead and I prefer that it were dead. My ‘snow storm’ hydrangea branches and the few leaves look dead. It could stand a slight cutback; but what I have is last spring’s new growth after having pruned it well before it took bloom. Any advice or suggestions would be much appreciated. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

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