I have to say that I had some pleasant surprises this winter. In fact, I had two plants totally shock me.
My camellias 'Spring Promise' and 'Winter Snowman' survived intact. The 3-5' feet of snow insulation surely helped. This allowed all of the stems that survived the polar vortex to remain alive. Hopefully this year there will be some growth and flowering.
Protected by only a leaves in its cage to a depth no more than a foot above it in height (plus 3-5' of snow - lol) is 'Chicago Hardy' fig
! This was killed to the ground last year with the same level of protection (maybe a foot and a half of snow).
Super star number 2... crape 'Red Siren'
. Totally unprotected and a few feet away from the coldest part of the yard. Granted there was between 3' - 5' of snow in this part of the yard, but 'Sarah's Favorite' was killed tot he ground with the same conditions. I had live wood up to almost 2' in places. I have since trimmed it back to a few main trunks about 1' in height. The picture is of a snow load damaged branch that I cut.
And this unknown hellebore flowered for both Christmas and Easter. I was expecting the unopened buds to be fried but no no no. They stuck it out.