Foliage followup for January 2011: the forecast is cold and dry

Although our winter has been mild for the most part, we’ve had two extreme blasts roll out from the Arctic. They didn’t contain snow, and although that’s good for the roads, it isn’t good for the garden. Extreme cold with no moisture or snow insulation blanket is a very bad thing. Oklahoma is in a drought, and the gardens feel it most of all.

Believe it or not, this is a nandina given to me by Wanda Faller. If you ever see one in the nursery, buy it. It is beautiful all times of the year.

So, on a warmer day like today, go around and check your plants for heaving. Weather fluctuations causes the ground to shift and some plants to heave from the ground. Heucheras or coral bells as they are commonly called, are some of the most susceptible.

Heuchera 'Midnight Rose'

Then, go ahead and water your garden. I’m turning on my irrigation system today because the weather is supposed to be good for at least two days in a row. The garden is thirsting for a drink, and so am I. Dry cold weather is hard on all of us. When you water, fix yourself a big glass of agua too.

Pam from Digging sponsors Foliage Followup after Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. Foliage in winter saves the Oklahoma landscape from being mostly brown and gray with a few Juniperus virginiana, Eastern redcedars thrown in. If you see small redcedars on your property, pull them up. They are taking over the Oklahoma prairie mile by mile. I have several, but no new ones if I can help it.

Limbed up Eastern redcedar behind the blue chairs. The top of the lake is frozen.

The lake is frozen this morning, but don’t be fooled into walking on it. Only the very top is an ice patchwork. Our friends have lost dogs who ventured out too far, but I remember one very cold winter when coyotes were starving, and they chased ducks across the frozen surface. Not this year though.

My neighbor's canopy of deciduous trees with a few junipers thrown in for green measure.

Not a lot more foliage to speak of this time of year, but this grass is certainly still beautiful. I hope it is also beautiful where you are whether you have snow cover or not.

Maiden grass in winter

Happy Monday.

28 Replies to “Foliage followup for January 2011: the forecast is cold and dry”

    1. Fer, thank you. I think the foliage will be even prettier in a few months, but thanks for reminding me how lucky I am to live here. I forget sometimes.

    1. Harry,

      In my Zone 7 garden, heucheras remain evergreen for the most part. If I get a really big blast, it might curl a few leaves. However, some varieties are less cold resistant and do die partially back. That photo was actually taken in late November, but ‘Midnight Rose’ looks exactly the same. She sits on the west side of the house and is somewhat protected.

  1. I’m sorry you haven’t had much snow, Dee. We’ve had quite a lot this winter, with more on the way tonight. It has lost its appeal for me, but I keep telling myself it’s good for the garden. With temperatures dropping, my plants could use the insulation. And after such a dry summer, we really need the moisture. Love your heuchera–I’ve been wanting a ‘Midnight Rose’ for some time now.

  2. The grasses add so much beauty at this time of year. And so do the cedars, unwelcome though they may be. Junipers are not loved here either, but I sure do enjoy their greenery in winter.

  3. Where I live, I would peg those pictures to be about March on the calender. Concur that dry, snow bereft gardens are at risk when there are either winds or cold yet to come. Your heuchera is pretty, their worst problem is heaving in those conditions.

  4. Honey, ever since we moved down to Alabama, it seems to have been unusually dry and cold. Sigh. Hoped for rain today, but blue sky all day. Guess I’ll be watering tomorrow, too. Loved the pic of your arbor. I got one! Jim & I put it together on Sat. Soon the Zepherine will grow over it!

  5. I hate to hear that you are still in a drought. I think we have busted out of our drought. At least we have had a lot more moisture than during the summer. The utility tree trimmmers are in our neighborhood today. It is kinda scary. They are thorough.

  6. Dee I have a question for you, is this a good time to trim back trees with long branches and shrubs into shape. The Hubster keeps telling me to do it now before the sap starts to rise again?

    Those Red Cedars are taken out up here due to the fire hazard.

    1. Sarah, I would wait until late February and up to mid-March because we have a lot of winter left. It’s hard on the trees if you prune them and then we get one of those bad Arctic freezes. I hope this helps.

  7. Good Morning Dee, How lovely to have a lake as a garden backdrop! You are so right about needing an insulated cover of snow to protect plants from extreme cold. We have plenty here and the temps have dipped into the minus of late. Beautiful photos! I love the swirling movement in the water.

  8. I was just going to ask about the nandina also…are they deciduous for you? I’ve never seen that here either.
    It may be cold there but it still looks lovely with the lake for the background!

    1. Leslie, at first I couldn’t figure out what you and Rebecca were talking about. Those are its leaves. They are narrow and small, and the shrub is only 18 inches tall. It’s a special variety, and I’m not sure the cultivar.

  9. Brrrrr….good thing I’m drinking a cup of coffee while reading this! I’m so sorry to hear you’re having such brutal weather. It’s such a helpless feeling when those killing temps roll in, isn’t it? So far we’ve been lucky this year (believe me, I’m knocking on wood!). Will your nandina come back after losing its leaves? I’ve never seen them do that out here and am curious….

    1. Rebecca, it’s just our normal weather. I just want people to water their plants while its a bit warm (45F or so). I had to smile. I guess in the picture, the nandina looks like it doesn’t have leaves, but they are just very narrow. No, nandinas are bullet proof here. This one doesn’t spread or cause any invasive problems either. I don’t know the exact cultivar, but it’s a special one she gave me.

    1. Ah, Donna you are an optimist. I love people who see the glass half full. In a couple of months, things will start to do their thing just like always. 🙂

  10. Dear Dee, it does look cold but still beautiful and serene. The lake and water are a wonderful feature of your garden. We pull those little cedars too, they pop up in the most unexpected places. It is nice to see some green though.

    1. Thanks Frances, I do love the lake, but I’ve lived with it for so long I barely notice it in summer. in winter, with all the leaves on the trees gone, it shows up more.

  11. Dee, Love the little nandina and I am not generally a fan of them. They are invasive here. I do like junipers, but, I totally understand that they are running amok in OK~They can be a nuisance here, too. Thanks for the reminder to check the heuchera~ gail

    1. Gail, I don’t think this little nandina is fertile. It’s some special cultivar. It’s always so interesting what is invasive some places and not others.

  12. The color on that heuchera is really lovely – I can’t warm up to some of those other hybrids in shades of brown, orange and yellow. Wish I could grow nandina here in CT – the berries are just stunning!

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