Feel the Burn

Poor, sad little tree
Poor, sad little tree

Last week’s freeze damage is just now starting to show. I didn’t cover this Japanese maple located in the front bed because I thought it was close enough to the house and had plenty of protection. Another variety, ‘Crimson Queen,’ nearby sustained no damage, but this one was badly hurt.

It is sad, but this is how things sometimes go, and when I started this blog, I promised to share the good and the bad.  The good news is the tree lives, and some leaves weren’t injured.

A few of the hostas in the back garden suffered too, especially these lime green ones.  They look just like the wilted lettuce at the back of my fridge.

Hostas which look like wilted lettuce
Mushy, wilted hostas

The remaining blooms on the Jane magnolia, along with those tulips and daffodils I didn’t bring in, look pretty bad.  Certain ferns, like my black-stemmed maidenhair also suffered.

So, where do we go from here?  Chalk it up to another valuable lesson learned.  The plants listed herein are very susceptible to frost, and by writing their names here and in my journal, I’ll remember to cover them next year.  The roses, which are the backbone of Rosehaven, are fine.  They and the peonies marched on with barely a backward glance.

Remember when Jane Fonda’s workouts were all the rage?  Did you ever stretch and sweat to her chant of “feel the burn?” That was all I could think of today as I went out and surveyed the damage.  I used to exercise a la Jane until I realized I would never look like her no matter how hard I pushed myself.  I, now, take a gentler approach.  The plants will get the same loving care I give to my own body.  I’ll keep an eye on them and make sure they are watered.  As soon as the deadened leaves dry, I’ll pull them off, and the plants can start anew.

Spring is all about birth and change . . . both messy and difficult processes.  The results, however, are often beautiful.  I say we focus on them instead.



  1. Cindy Dyer says:


    Sorry about the weather wreaking havoc with your garden…I know how that feels. The weather is nice and you think “now is when I should remove the leaves and debris.” Then you think, “what if there’s a freak freeze or unexpected snowfall?” Should I leave them or remove them. I laughed out loud to your comment: “Yeah, shoving something will make me feel better.” HA!

    Cindy, I’ve got to say that this year has been some of the craziest weather I’ve ever seen.~~Dee

  2. Pam/Digging says:

    I’m sorry for your Japanese maple, Dee. But you are right–these things happen, nature is unpredictable, and we overworked gardeners simply can’t cover everything (though we try). I’m sure it will have new leaves in no time, and I’m glad your tough old roses are tossing their heads at the cold snap.

    Me too, Pam. It will come back. I have it covered this time.~~Dee

  3. kerri says:

    I’m sure it’s very upsetting to see the little J. Maple damaged like that, and the poor hostas, but you certainly have the right attitude, Dee.
    The last shot of your spring bulbs leaves us with a cheerful view of your garden and assures us that beauty still reigns 🙂

    kerri´s last blog post..Colorful Crocuses!

    Kerri, it was heartbreaking. I’m just waiting for it to leaf out again. I wish it weren’t the centerpiece of the front garden right now though.~~Dee

  4. Jean says:

    I like your perspective. After all, it’s all you really can do. But I must say my heart sank to see that maple like that.

    Jean´s last blog post..Waiting

    Hi Jean, you said it. What else can you do?~~Dee

  5. Sweet Bay says:

    Spring can be a bit of a heartbreaker. New leaves can always re-grow but it’s disappointing when the cold gets those flowers that you wait all year to see bloom..

    Sweet Bay´s last blog post..Wordless Wednesday

    Hi Sweet Bay, yes, the flowers are even sadder as long as you don’t lose the tree.~~Dee

  6. jgh says:

    Hi Dee- I love your terracotta statue. Can you tell me who he is? I think I’ve seen them in the garden centers when I visited New Mexico.

    Sorry about your frostbite – hopefully some will get a second wind.

    jgh´s last blog post..The Firsts of March

    Hi! He is St. Francis, who is very popular especially in New Mexico. He is not the patron saint of the garden. That is St. Fiacre, but he is often still associated with the garden. St. Francis is the patron of animals. I did buy my statue in Santa Fe 20 years ago.~~Dee

  7. Chiot's Run says:

    That’s too bad! I always hate it when that happens.

    Me too.~~Dee

  8. Willi says:

    We had a really rough winter and it sad to see so many plants damaged by the cold. Like you I’m making a note of particularly susceptible plants so I can give them extra attention in the future!

    Hi Willi, you guys really did have a harsh winter. I couldn’t believe all of the snow and the cold you received. Here’s hoping you’ll have a bountiful spring.~~Dee

  9. Sandy says:

    Hey, your yard looks good to me. You must have gotten quite of bit of snow. My niece in Enid did.
    My sister said the redbuds look extra nice down there this year. They are something I really miss from Oklahoma.

    Hi Sandy, it does look good from a distance. It’s up close and personal where you see the damage. Yes, the redbuds are especially pretty this year.~~Dee

  10. gittan says:

    Oh, those poor plants. Cold nights during spring is a problem. I do hope they recover / gittan

    Gittan, they will recover in time.~~Dee

  11. so sorry to see the results of Mother Nature’s need to show who is boss…it will recover with time…we are not out of the woods yet in Charleston!

    Gosh, that’s hard to believe. I thought you would already bringing singing the songs of true springtime.~~Dee

  12. keewee says:

    Oh dear! How sad to see all the destruction.

    Oh, well, Keewee, these things happen, and we live and learn some more.~~Dee

  13. Les says:

    That poor tree, downright hideous. I look so forward when spring arrives, but dread the last few freezes that come with it.

    Les´s last blog post..Good Intentions – Bad Tree

    Les, hideous made me laugh out loud. Yes, hideous for sure. It is the centerpiece of my front garden, and the entire family is coming over for Easter. I am still laughing.~~Dee

  14. OH NO….. I hope things turn around for you in the garden. This weather has been insane.

    Bren, a strange season to be sure.~~Dee

  15. It just makes me want to cry, but you are right; live and learn; do better next year. You tulips and daffodils look fantastic, so there is a bright side!

    There’s always a bright side.~~Dee

  16. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Sorry your tree didn’t survive the freeze. It seems they take a long time to recover from the loss of leaves from freezes.

    I am surprised that your hostas are up and so full already. They will definitely recover.

    That last colorful shot should give you lots of hope for a better tomorrow.
    Lisa, it does seem like they take awhile to recover. I’m just glad it lived.~~Dee

  17. Brenda Kula says:

    So sorry to see this… Luckily my hostas are just getting started. And I think (hope) winter is over here.

    Brenda, how weird that mine emerged before yours. I never expected that. You’re south of me.~~Dee

  18. deb says:

    I lost some tomatoes, but none of the other stuff was burned. Sorry about that poor little maple.

    Oh, well, it will bounce back.~~Dee

  19. I’m not surprised your ‘Crimson Queen’ Japanese Maple didn’t sustain damage; it’s the one used most often here in Zone 5, so you know its tough. I’m sorry about your poor tree and those sad Hostas. I share your pain of ruined Magnolia blooms, as that’s a risk mine runs every year. You are right to focus on the positive, chalk up the losses to experience & move on. (Not that it makes it any easier right now.)

    MMD, you’re always a wealth of info. I did not know that. You should get two or three I’m thinkin’.~~Dee

  20. Diana says:

    Dee – I’m sorry for the sad state of some of your plant babies. You comment about birth and change is profound, and so true. What a kind and wise gardener, and woman, you are.

    Aww, Diana, now I’m blushing.~~Dee

  21. CurtissAnn says:

    My roses were not touched, even the ones I did not cover, Except for the Zepherine Droughin. At the edge of the patio, all the tips were burned. Still, most okay!

    Curtiss Ann, ZD is a tender little thing, isn’t she? Glad your roses are abundant and o.k. I know you were worried about those in pots.~~Dee

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