During the evenings of the early part of this week,  our Twin Citiy, Minnesota area was hit with night frost lows of 27F, 26F, and 32F, although at my place Wednesday evening’s frost of 32F didn’t arrive.   Instead my landscape garden escaped the third day of damage with a low of 35F.

The damage had already been done.    The blooms of my 40 year old PJM Rhododendron were on the ground by Tuesday morning.   Those of my Elisabeth Magnolia, the pride of all my trees’ flowerings, had already turned a repulsive  brown, and by Wednesday morning some had already fallen to the ground.

The leaf tips of some hostas had recoiled into an ugly twist on many, but not all of these fogiving plants in Spring.    In a week or two, when the weather does settle down some, these hostas will offer roughly the same look as if their leaves had  been stepped on rather than the frost.

Such disfiguration can easily be corrected in a few weeks when the plant has leafed out enough the damages leaf or two can be cut away, pruned out carefully to the ground…..so no onlooker, namely you,  would  notice anything untoward.

I covered my nonhardy false jasmine potted shrubs on both Monday and Tuesday of the frost nights.   They will be all right.

Some of my Angelic gigas, both among those potted and some thriving in the garden, appeared damaged, as if suffering from a hard frost…..can you beat that?    Others never seemed to have paid much attention tok anything cold.    Such a difference in the regarding  plant susceptibility to frost damage also occurs on many narcissus and tulips.    Even within  the same species and groupings, some flower stems carrying either bud or flower will crease at the half way mark and cause its purpose for human enjoyment, its floral color, to fall to the ground.   Others don’t seem to be bothered in the least.    None of the Dutch bulbs we use in our gardens will be damaged by the week’s frosts.   Soil is a great insulator….as is leaf mulch.

Shade probably is a protector for frost susceptible garden flowers and plants.   Especially if the protector is a nearby rather large conifer or leafed out deciduous shrub.     The warmer air of the day might become entrapped under the branchings of the neighboring  material  to avoid subfreezing issues.  

If you have a time when frost is expected and you have some potted woody material which hasn’t yet been planted, be sure to move the plants into the garage for the evenings of frost  or make certain you cover them with a bed sheet  for the plant’s safety.

My Toka Plum, Weekend Forsythia, bloodroot, corydalis, pushchkinia, squll, chionodoxa,  vinca,  heleborus, Arabis caucasica, Waldesteinia,  Amelanchier, about half of the Merrill Magnolia,  and pachysandera are all still in bloom.    Aglo and Olga Rhododendron buds are about to open.

I ahve about seven or eight redbuds somewhere on my property which have been in bud for three weeks already….by far the earliest ever in my observations, for our area.    As you know the flowers of the Northern  Redbud, Cercis canadensis are a hot pink when open…..a hot pink mist when still closed.   It is very attractive.

I grow only one crabapple on my property.  It will open its pure white blooms  in a couple weeks.   It was a beautiful tree until November 13, 2010  that Saturday when 30 plus inches of very wet snow dropped many many branches of many trees from my deciduous and conifers both.

Both this older crabapple and the couple sixty foot White Pine  which suffered from the winter storm, now have more character than beauty.     There may be a time in the short future when there might be enough caracter to make them as beautiful as they once were.

That is part of  governing a landscape garden.    Nature rules, but often permits you to think that you, the artist run the show  from time to time.

Wisdom, knowledge and patience are great assets for a successful landscape gardener to develop.   For you beginners, you will be amazed how angry you might become toward a favorite tree or shrub, not obeying what you have  told them to do.  

Whoever informed  any of them  that Spring was to arrive in full force by mid March, in our year 2012?

The frosts did nothing to any of my many Juddii Viburnums……one of the most beautiful deciduous shrubs available to our Twin City Northland.    Its common name is “Fragrant Viburnum”.    

A single flower cluster warmed by the adjacent brick  of the house opened its bloom two weeks ago.   Yesterday morning  its shrub joined  by a second, both positioned  in good sun,  have more than half of their countless blossoms in bloom.   What a pleasure to see and smell such winsome flower clusters.     Because others Juddiis have different microclimates where they are planted on my grounds, I shall enjoy their bloom for a month…..or longer, this year if it remains cool long enough.