It takes more than an inch of snow and temps in the teens to trash these plants.
fter a mild start to November, we have recently had snow and bitter cold*–down to 15F(-9C) one night and in the low 20s for several others. You would think there would not be any plant worth looking at after that, and you would be mostly
right. However, if one looks carefully, there are still some good looking plants to be seen. We are primarily talking foliage here, but not exclusively. Come take a walk with me . . .
This glowing Siberian iris foliage remains erect after snow and bitter cold. The green foliage behind them belongs to some glads that I didn’t dig up.
The leaves of many perennials turn lovely colors in the fall, but not many persist after several freezing nights. Siberian iris foliage(1)
is a champ in this regard. And the gladioli behind them are still green!
The foliage of ‘Touch of Class’ persists for an incredibly long time.
Jacob’s Ladder (Polemonium reptans
is mostly valued for its blue flowers. I have never heard anyone mention its long-lasting foliage as an asset, but it is one of the very last plants to turn to mush. A foxglove seedling(3)
–attractive in its own right–provides a textured backdrop for the vareigated foliage.
Icy blue dianthus foliage faces down the cold with aplomb.
Frances of Fairegarden gave me these dianthus seedlings(4)
, self-sown progeny of her original dianthus plants. They don’t look any different than they did this summer.
Is there any plant more determined to bloom in the face of winter than the petite Johnny-jump-up?
What cold climate gardener doesn’t love Johnny-jump-ups (Viola tricolor
? They thrive in the cold and hunker down for the summer, blooming with renewed vigor in the fall.
Hellebores are famous for good looking leaves through winter. The autumn crocus continue to throw out a few new blooms.
This scene takes place in the Cabin Fever Bed
. The hellebore foliage(6)
still looks handsome, and will continue to do so for several more weeks. Those autumn crocus blooms(7)
are freshly opened today. Their brethren were slain by the cold and snow, but these are taking advantage of today’s sunshine.
Sweet flag has yet to experience an upstate NY winter.
The golden variegated sweet flag(8)
was also a gift from Frances. The sources I have consulted disagree on its hardiness. It hasn’t spent a winter in my garden yet, and may turn out to be an annual for me. (I hope not!) You never know until you try, but I felt I must warn you gardeners in the coldest climes that it is probably not hardy for you–USDA Zone 5 seems to be its limit.
So there you have it: Eight plants that still look really good in mid-November, after temperatures in the teens and low twenties, and an inch or so of snow. We walked all over the garden to view them, but just imagine if they were all in the same garden bed!
Inspired by the words of Elizabeth Lawrence, “We can have flowers nearly every month of the year,” Carol of May Dreams Gardens started Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. On the 15th of every month, garden bloggers from all over the world publish what is currently blooming in their gardens, and leave a link in Mr. Linky and the comments of May Dreams Gardens.
*Most cold climate gardeners would argue that temperatures have to drop below 0F before you can truly call the cold “bitter,” but I am looking at it from the plants’ perspective. And honestly, the first time it hits the teens each winter, it feels bitter, even if it doesn’t seem quite so bad after it’s been colder.