With the Polar Vortex last year and a colder-than-normal January so far (4.5'F colder than normal in Wilmington, DE), I was wondering if we had the potential for a one-two punch
this year? - i.e. seeing some more plants sputter out this spring, after being hit with the "polar vortex" last winter and even just a slightly
cooler winter this year?
I say this after losing a few plants or seeing unexpected damage. I had a really nice "Grif's Select" Gardenia before last winter's vortex. It put on size for years, until it was over 4 feet high and wide. Here it is, in the summer of 2013:
Last winter, it got killed to the ground. I thought it would bounce right back last spring but it didn't. It just sprouted a little foliage from the roots last summer and even this got killed after the first cold weather in this past December.
I also noticed another plant sputter out a bit lately. This Sabal minor shown below in pre-vortex January 2014, was of an unknown strain.
Post-vortex, it looked like this:
It re-sprouted in spring 2014 and recovered quite a bit last summer:
But I just looked it yesterday and was surprised to see it look like this!
As I said, I don't know the strain or origin of the above Sabal (minor?). It could have been a less hardy strain or a "louisiana" (and I don't protect anything). But my nearby known
Sabal minor "McCurtain", shown below, looks fine as of today:
Yet another bad discovery... the "Fire n' Ice" Camellia is in decline. This particular plant is a "hardy" hybrid but it has some stem damage from rodents a few years ago and so has been "hobbling along" since. But today, it looks worse than ever:
My nearby "Kumasaka" Camellia japonica looks fine:
So now I am wondering if, at least in the Mid-Atlantic, are some of our weaker
or more borderline
plants - that survived
the polar vortex with some damage
- now in danger of further
decline (or death) from this relatively normal winter? Again, January was slightly cooler than usual here but not really out of the realm of normal.
Are any other east coast folks seeing similar declines with marginal plants this winter (that got hit but survived last winter)?