Good news: I took another census of the plants this morning, and although many of them have clearly struggled with the crazy weather, they are looking better than last week. I think several I had labeled as “almost dead” might pull through.
We first started planting four weeks ago. Everything we have planted is perennial. We won’t plant annuals until after the last frost date in our area which is between May 21 and May 27.
In some cases–the coneflowers for example–we planted some four weeks ago and then planted some more a week ago. Since I had already seen our first coneflowers go to a black leaved crispy premature death, I have been out there covering the new plants conscientiously every cold night. That is why some of the coneflowers are still alive. I did notice one green leaf on one of the coneflowers I had thought was completely dead. I don’t know if it put out that new leaf during the couple days of warm weather that we had this past week, or if that leaf had never blackened. The other dead coneflowers are giving no such signals worthy of hope.
Like the coneflower, the lavender in the driveway bed has one or two leaves at the bottom that are green. I don’t know if it sent those out in the past day or two, or if it had never fully blackened, but that could mean that the lavender intends to recover (though it sure looks terrible). However, the lavender in Renata’s sidewalk bed seems dead as dead as dead can be.
I ordered some of these plants from High Country Gardens in New Mexico. They offer a 100% guarantee on their plants. However, there is a severe weather exception. The literature that came with the plants suggests that they should be safe down to 25 degrees. Unfortunately, we have had a couple of 20 degree nights. I am afraid that this may make me ineligible for their guarantee. I will have to call and see what they say.
I bought the rest of the plants at our local nursery which offers only a 50% guarantee. I imagine they probably also have a severe weather exception.
I don’t want to be too hasty and pull the plug on something that may be planning on regenerating from its roots, but _if_ (a big if) I am eligible for the guarantees, I have to request my replacement plants before the end of the season.
Unbelievably, it will soon be too hot to plant these perennials, so I will probably end up giving most of the apparently dead plants until autumn before I yank and replace.
We’ve been doing a lot of work outside. Three of the past four Saturday evenings have found us still planting after darkfall.
In the backyard, on top of the rocks against the fence:
Russian Sage (Perovskia) — 9 (mostly dead)
‘Ava’ Agastache — 6 (very dead)
Zauschneria Arizonica (Hummingbird Trumpet)–5 (mostly dead)
Poppy Mallow — 6 (wilty)
‘Arizona Sun’ Blanket Flower — 3 (pretty good)
‘Autumn Joy’ Sedum — 1 (Doing well)
Underneath the arborvitae, on the top of the rocks:
Vinca Major (periwinkle) –3 (very happy!)
Small bed underneath the gas meter:
pink rock rose (helianthemum)-6 (doing well)
Planted in the rock wall in the crevices between rocks:
Hens n Chicks (Sempervivum Tectorum)–Too many to count (outstanding)
‘Dragon’s Blood’ Sedum–Too many to count (great–growing like gangbusters)
Purple Ice Plant (Delosperma Cooperi)–Too many to count (alive & probably well)
Between the tulips at the bottom of the rocks:
‘Blue Heaven’ Veronica Prostrata (speedwell) 7 so far, 5 to go (so far so good)
Sea Thrift (Armeria Maritima)– 3 (blooming!)
Long narrow foundation bed in sideyard:
‘Pardon Me’ Daylilies–15 so far, 3 to go (so far so good)
‘Little Princess’ Spirea–1 (Great–It just leafed out!)
‘Raspberry Delight’ Salvia–2 (Almost dead)
Bed underneath Amelia & Duncan’s windows:
Penstemon ‘pinfolius compactum’ (beardtongue)–12 (crunchy, but still alive?)
Firecracker Penstemon (beardtongue)–2 (Pretty good)
Caryopteris (Blue Mist Spirea)–3 (Looks good for plant coming out of dormancy)
Mock Orange–1 (Dead as a doornail)
woolly thyme–2 (pathetic. Not dead, weak and miniscule)
Courtyard beds facing house:
‘Rose Glow’ Japanese Barberry–7 (Just leafed out; looking good)
‘Ruby Star’ Coneflower (Echinacea)–4 (2 dead as doornails, 2 looking great)
Renata’s sidewalk bed:
‘Siskiyou Pink” Apple blossom grass (gaura)–9 (wilty)
‘Walker’s Low” Nepeta (catmint)–3–(damaged & small, but they’re hanging in there)
‘May Night’ Salvia–6 (superstar!–already blooming & happy to be there)
‘Hidcote Superior’ English Lavender–3 (D-E-A-D)
‘Powis Castle’ Artemisia–1 (so far so good)
‘Green Mountain’ Boxwood–3 (doing well)
Stop Sign Bed:
‘Twilight’ Big Sky Coneflower (Echinacea)–3 (2 dead, 1 hanging on by its toenails)
‘May Night’ Salvia–6 (Superstar; blooming & flourishing)
Russian Sage (Perovskia)–2 (Dying)
‘Hidcote Superior’ English lavender–3 (almost dead)
‘Prairifire’ Crabapple–2 (blooming)
Common Hackberry–1 (No signs of life yet)
Square Foot Garden:
3 squares mesclun mix (germinating!)
3 squares bush peas (germinating!)
3 squares vining peas (germinating!)
Yea! I finished my taxes. Just in time, but better just in time than late!