Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Tough little guys

I've been back home in Toronto for a few weeks, visiting my parents. It's been a great reminder of what real winters are like in Canada. Since I've been here, the weather has gone from a balmy 14°C to -20°C, to back up to 12°C and down again. There was no snow cover at all during the most bitter cold spell, just howling winds that pushed the cold into every little corner. I can't imagine being a tiny, defenceless plant during these times, with no barrier at all against the elements.

During the first warm spell, I inspected the garden and discovered that all sorts of plants had put out fresh growth, or broken out in tender bud. Mostly the usual suspects, such as snowdrops and hellebores, but still I cringed at the thought of what was to come for these little guys.  After the awful weather cycles and severe cold spells, I went back to have a look. To my amazement, most plants looked like nothing at all had happened – they were as fresh and green as the day they first emerged. Many just kept right on growing. Only a few showed the true strain of the weather, but I’m sure they will also recover come spring.

Here are a few before and after pictures, comparing plants before and after the severe unprotected cold cycles. The wonder of plants will never cease to amaze me.   

Snowdrops, looking completely unfazed before and after the severe weather.
The dark flowering hellebore came through the weather conditions not only completely unscathed, but with significant growth.
The light flowering hellebore, only a few feet away from the one above, did not fare so well. The new flower buds turned to mush.


  1. I do not know much about plants but your before and after pictures of the snowdrops and the flowering hellabore are beautiful and I am glad that they made it through the changing weather patterns
    Thanks for sharing

  2. Dear Garden Wanderer,

    I really enyojed fnding out about your blog. I see that grasses are still your thing:). Also appreciated reading that although Belgian gardens seems a bit too organised you still found some good things about them and saw how you could learn from them. My opinion is that they reflect our Belgian character, we like the order in a organised French tidy hedge garden in combination with a Englisch cottage garden border but mixed in our unique style as we are neither English nor French but I would say closely related to both. I can send you a picture of a garden that requires a garden wanderer to design it in a Belgian-Canadian style which is completely covered with snow on the 24th of March which is not very Belgian. As winter is refusing to leave us, this might mean that Belgium is missing its Canadian inhabitants and looking forward to a reply to this post....

    1. I think I have a hunch who Anonymous is! Thanks for stopping by and the comment :). And of course I'm looking forward to helping you with your garden (or at least trying to). Just need to wait for the snow to melt, just like over here in Canada! Now you too have a taste of nice Canadian winters ;).