Weather Woes: Attempting to Save my Garden

The warm days this spring tricked me, and it seems that all the trees and plants in my area were fooled too.  After lovely days even in the high seventies, leaves and flowers had opened on maples, forsythia, cherries, and azaleas to name a few.  Now I have awoken to snow two days in a row, and the low tonight is projected to be only 22!    Yesterday we had cold and strong winds besides the snow.  One of my newest plants didn’t fare well, but the rest seemed perfectly okay… So far.  For days I’d kept an eye on the forecast hoping it would improve, but instead the night temperatures sunk even lower.  So, I did some research to save my garden.  I knew I’d need to cover everything, but I was hoping for an easy, cheap, and effective way to do it.  It turns out you cannot have all those qualities at once, no surprise.  😀

The cheap option was to pile leaves over everything, and I do still have plenty of them piled in the corners of the yard.  However, the idea of relocating them and tediously removing them from tender plants again wasn’t appealing.  Also, the wind might disrupt that plan.

Of course I could pile the leaves and then secure plastic sheeting over it all, and that was what I expected to do, except with hoops or some other support to avoid using leaves.  I read that allowing the plastic to touch any plants would cause them harm, so I tried to find some hoops, but they turned out to be expensive.  An alternative is to make them of PVC and rebar, but I had very little time for this and never made it to the store.  I’d hoped to buy something to use like that and yard stakes or staples at least, but I had to make do instead.  Luckily I had opted to buy protective sheeting on Amazon.  It is supposed to be better than plastic especially in that I can leave everything covered during the day.  That is beyond helpful, because we have a few days of freezing lows in a row, and then next weekend as well.

During the past few weeks I’ve worked overtime and spent most of my free time on social obligations and napping instead of getting basic chores done.  I’m exhausted, and I didn’t have time or energy to tackle the garden protection very well.  When I awoke from napping after work yesterday it was already 17:00, and I rushed outside to do what I could before nightfall.  It was cold and windy already, but luckily the plants still looked fine (aside from the one.)

The Pinellia tripartita had perked up so happily.  😦

I sure hope all my plants do not end up like that or worse!

I’d hoped to make my own yard staples out of wire hangers.  We always have an annoying pile of them from the cleaners, but alas I’d recently cleared them away and only had a handful to work with.  It is a shame, because they worked very well and quickly to secure the cloth.  Instead I had to dismantle my carefully made rock borders for weights.  I tried to give the tulips some room by making arches out of reeds meant for stiffening 18th century stays, but I gave up on bothering after the one row.

Here is what I ended up with:

This morning:

I have my fingers crossed!  There were small sprouts along the path that I did not cover, and I left the beds around the trees, and the shrubs to fend for themselves.  I’m not sure how many of the multitude of sprouts around the path stones were from seeds that I sowed and how many are wild things, but I expect any weeds will fare better where there is no cloth.  I spotted one nasturtium sprout near a chocolate vine trellis, and it is covered.  I suppose it will be a week before I lift the sheets and see the results, but I wonder about the tulips which were so near blossoming.  The daytime highs are in the fifties after all.  Such crazy weather!

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