Sunday, March 25, 2012

How to protect buds against a freeze?

 Chilly Sunday gardening...

The blueberry has been moved to the roof, to join the currant (in bloom) and black raspberry. This involves a black bag and a Frenchman and some hauling. The blueberry was heavy. An ailing rose has been taken from its pot, to await my David Austin shipment. In a fit of remorse I moved the rose to the roof, too. I fed the two climbing roses, and placed a pot in a new and exciting spot for another clematis: My New Dawn is not very happy - it needs to be in the ground - and the clematis will climb up the bare lower canes and fluff things out a little. Lilies and a fall anemone from the big, cracked terra cotta pot have been repotted, and I have moved the resented pink hardy begonia to the steps of the building. We just never clicked. I'd still like a white one. The remaining plants are now in a new terra cotta pot, slightly larger. Yes, I know. It may also crack. Roll with the punches.

The shoots of the Silk Road lilies are huge and fat, and I was nervous about snapping them off during the transplanting. I set out slug traps last night because I had seen a tell-tale nibble on a smaller emerging lily. It would be devastating to lose these so early in the year: Several seasons of growth have made them tall and increasingly floriferous. Despite hating them that first year - a bonus bulb from The Lily Garden, and I thought them very brash - they are now a flower I love very much. One hungry slug and kaput. My traps were five, the bait was beer, and guess how many slugs I caught in 66 square feet? 46!!!


I'll repeat tonight. Vince is very worried about his beer. But the slugs impress him.

Speaking of nights. Have you seen what temperatures are going to do tomorrow night in this neck of the woods? 27'F predicted. Quite a problem. It's actually normal for this time of year but we've had weeks of warm, late April, even late May, in March. So now I have rose buds! I have embryonic figs, for goodness' sake. I really think I must haul the fig down off the side of the terrace and keep it on the sheltered gravel floor. Perhaps cover it with a kikoi. Then again, the first, breba fig crop usually drops off the tree, anyway, so perhaps I should relax.

I thought how Florida citrus and, I think, strawberry farmers spray their crops with water before an untimely freeze. Perversely the ice protects the plants. They spray water at 34'F and repeat all night, so that the ice builds up in layers. Should I try this with my roses? Or are they too tender? I'm really worried that I will lose all these tiny Iceberg buds. This will be their big flush. What about my currant blossoms? The seed trays will come inside. Sea rocket, tomatoes, ground cherries and cucumbers have begun to germinate.

And what about the rest of New York's spring streets?

Tense times for the green fingered and botanically sensitive.

And now I have a few hundred field garlic bulbs to prepare for pickling.Whoo hoo. The downside of yesterday's foraging. Cleaning. Maybe I can watch a movie while I work. And have a drink.

Things are looking up.


  1. I feel Vince's pain. Send him out for some Bud for the slugs, they deserve no better.

    The only animals I dislike more than slugs are voles and mosquitos.

    Good luck with the cold weather.

  2. Could you find some polymer "Cloud Cover" spray locally before your temperature drop tomorrow night?

    We use it here in San Francisco to protect our subtropicals on the rare occasions when temperatures drop below freezing.

    Agree with you about the breba fig crop - it's really just a dress rehearsal for the autumn show.

  3. Fortunately no freezes down here in North Carolina tonight although the hail yesterday had me concerned about all the things budding in my garden.

    And like you my roses have buds on them. How do I go about pruning them like I usually do in the spring? Or should I just let them go this year since we've had no spring - it's leapt right into summer.

  4. Oh, I hate slugs--46? I'm impressed!

  5. My cousin with the outdoor limes and lemons in British Columbia hangs strings of old-fashioned Christmas lights through the branches. When temps are expected to go below freezing overnight, he turns on the lights and drapes Remay over his fruit. Festive and freeze-protected.

  6. I swear slugs come with built-in parachutes, I mean, really, 46 slugs on the roof. Really? I once found a slug on a a 10 foot high clematis and realized they can get any where. Sigh.....

  7. Hi Marie, how do slugs get up to your roof terrace! In cold weather etc!!
    I live in Honolulu - and battle them regularly - but that is in a balmy 75 degrees and warm tradewinds! The beer works well - or I feed them to the feral chicken who hang around.

  8. Don't underestimate the slugs' capacity to procreate. I remember that incredibly rainy and wet spring we had a few years ago (was it 3?), my garden was getting chewed up and I went out nightly for over a week to hand-pick the suckers. Because I have a ghoulish sense of humor, I counted as I picked, and on several nights, I got up to over 100. Fern


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