Patience is a Virtue

The past winter was bitter, with permafrost for several weeks, little snow or rain, and extremely low temperatures of 18° C below zero or even lower for a couple of weeks on top of that. The damage to the garden was , for me, not too bad. Some casualties were an early clematis (montana), the laurel and mahonia, my last penstemon, and the lavender…

This spring I thought I’d lost all my lavenders… the basis of my rockery! A couple of neighbours brutally chopped down everything that had frozen. However, I waited until the bad frosts were well and truly over and then took the bull by the horns. I was daring and drastic! I pruned as far back as I could, and actually lost only 2 of my about 20 lavender plants. There are still some unsightly patches…

… but the plants are well-established and have come back – slowly, but surely!

Today I am hopeful that the worst damage can also be cut out without the plants suffering too much, and the poppy leaves and sweet williams are coming on to camouflage the ugly gaps.

Hardly any signs left of frost damage… Gardening is an extremely good lesson in patience!

Do you often lose plants in the winter?

Did you have any casualties this past winter?

8 thoughts on “Patience is a Virtue

  1. What a happy sight those fresh green lavendar sprigs must have been to you! We don’t lose much during our mild Georgia winters. The problem for us is when our spring plants bud and then we get a late freeze. I remember one year when we had a freeze warning during early spring, and my mother went outside that evening to cover all of our azalea bushes with blankets. She said that she had done ” a holy thing.” 😉

    • Oh, I can understand that! A late frost here is dangerous for fruit trees and the Magnolia/Tulip tree, and I’ve seen them covered up in blankets before now! I think we’ve had our last cold night now though, and the Ice Saints are over… we hope!

  2. Well said, gardening definitely requires patience! My lavenders usually die back extensively like yours but then come back beautifully. I learned that same thing the first year I moved here. I only have ‘Grosso’ in my garden right now though. You have 20 plants… Do you have a favorite variety?

    • Hi there! I love Hidcote Blue and Hidcote Pink (which is practically white) but have lost all but one blue over the years. All my others were a gift from a neighbour (as tiny plants!), and I think are plain old Lavandula officinalis. Very hardy, very fragrant and worth their weight in gold! 😀

  3. Thank goodness you didn’t lose your lavender! As Robin said, our problem is late frosts that kill young plants. Every year it takes a great deal of patience to not plant as soon as the temperatures warm up, because you know a late frost wil come!

    • We had very low temperatures again the last few nights, but I hope there won’t be any more frosts now… the Ice Saints have been and gone!

  4. Yes, Cathy, I had some casualties too this past winter: the hibiscus-tree, which I loved so much, a rose-tree, a rose-bush from my parent´s garden. The other roses except one did suffer much from the late permafrost. I pruned them far back and – my patience was rewarded!!! Meanwhile they
    have a height of half a metre, are healthy and I see the first buds. You surely can imagine how happy I am!

    The “Kirschlorbeer”, “Glanzmispel” and lavender did suffer too during this winter. Two of my lavenders I pruned down to the earth and they now are fresh green plants with buds. The others I tried to cut out as well as I could and they recovered…
    This spring truly has taught me to be patient and hopeful.

    • How brave to prune your lavenders so hard! My hibiscus are both fine, but the roses all suffered… they are all recovering now, except for one that was in a container. Hope you have lots of roses bloom! 😀

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