After a couple weeks with cold dry weather (the coldest in my garden was -12C/10F) the milder weather is back. A little snow last night but it will soon transform to rain. What I am afraid of is the soil freezing deep and damaging the tender roots and bulbs when there is no snow cover and prolonged cold weather.
Bundraba, my Convolvolus cneorum died two winters ago. It doesn't like our wet winters either :-\
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!
No such thing as unfrozen soil here, the plants have to be able to take it!
west central alberta, canada; just under 1000m; record temps:min -45C/-49F;max 34C/93F; http://picasaweb.google.ca/cactuscactus http://urbanehillbillycanada.blogspot.com/
Chilly one today- high of -23C with windchill of -38C, but it's a one day thing-- -11 tomorrow and above freezing the rest of the week..
The other night it was a difference of almost 50C between the coldest parts of Norway and the warmest. while we had +7C the coldest parts in north was down to -42.Tonight we'll get a rainstorm and flooding are expected and very high tide.
That's a lot of difference for a relatively small area- I guess that's what mountains and ocean currents will do for you!Today we have a 'snowfall warning'- not as extreme as that sounds- we've probably had at least 10-15 and maybe as much again on the way over the next day or two..Canada's range for today (for cities) from +13C(Toronto) to -36C (Yellowknife)
Cooling off today; back to winter. Yesterday went from freezing; 32F to over 55F in a matter of hours: Air was hot, ground was cold. We don't get such a stripping of snow cover often. 4 inches of fresh snow plus pretty much all of the old snow is gone. Last night it rained. No significant snow expected in near term. Looking like cruel winter here for broadleafed evergreens. One group I don't worry about in this weather are steppe dwellers from the western USA. They get it at least as far as the weather here is concerned. I took some more pix this morning of Eritrichiums etc.
Michael PedenLake Champlain Valley, zone 4bFour and a half months frost freeSnow cover not guaranteed
Hope your plants make it through the swings, Michael. Not surprisingly, we don't have a lot of broad leafed evergreens, and mostly low growing. Pyrolas here are often in sites that can be exposed for extensive periods in cold to very cold weather, and even in early spring are often exposed to dry winds while the ground is still frozen. By real thaw they can look a little rough, but seem to make it! Similarly, Ledum here, which grow in low spots with much deeper snow than some of the Pyrolas have are generally shorter and more beat up looking here than in the foothills where they have ( I think) more snow...
Cohan, Very interesting about your Pyrolas. I thought those liked to hide in woods, at least shaded deeply if not under some snow. I know of the Ledum and have three iterations growing here. Don Avery of Cady's Falls Nursery (Vermont) once said to me something to the effect of "I can't figure it out" with the Ledums; they seem tender in some nasty winters and quite solid in others! So far I've suffered with the same frustration regarding Ledums. Linnaea borealis will remain evergreen under snow, but, despite its broad northerly distribution burns badly if exposed. Mitchella repens and Gaultheria procumbens seem very resistant to freeze-drying though and Arctostaphylos uva-ursi seems tough, so there are a few that can handle it. Of these Mitchella is seemingly the only one that remains bright green. Nice things like Rhododendron; Phyllodoce; Erica; and I suspect Calluna (if it ever will grow here, maybe I can see for real!) are not happy about dry cold and sun as you suggest from findings in your own climate.
Some Pyrolas are alpine plants here growing in the belt of shrubs above the subalpine forests. They tolerate a lot of freezing although they usually are snowcovered from December. This goes for Linnea too. Ledum is growing in the coldest inland parts of Norway. I have never seen it in winter but assume they usually are snowcovered at least most winters. Phyllodoce is an alpine plant and stays green throughout the winter but grows under stable snow. Calluna and Arctostaphylos do best on windswept hills and ridges with little or no snow in winter although the tips of the branches of the heather get burnt.Mitchelia and Gaulteria are foreign ;)
The Pyrolas (mostly asarifolia, just a few elliptica) are super common here- they don't grow in full sun, but do grow from deep shade under spruce to quite open woods etc. I think in summer they are all fairly shaded, though some certainly get dappled sun. Some of the open areas though have small shrubs, grasses and forbs which would shade the plants in summer, but not in winter. Out snowfall depths vary hugely from one spot to another (even just a few metres away)-- the spruce and mixed woods can have very light snowcover even when there may be a foot or a foot and a half or more in open and low lying areas, So, some of those spots- especially at the base of a deciduous tree, facing south or west, may have very little snow which easily melts during warm spells leaving the plants fully exposed. Orthilia is common but not as abundant as Pyrola, and I think a similar set of exposures. Moneses is much shier and less common, I haven't seen any exposed, but there are far fewer.Linnaea here is also super common in a wide range of sites from very shady to nearly full sun- the difference I think is that it probably doesn't tolerate some of the driest sites (under some spruce) where Pyrola asarifolia will grow. I have seen Linnaea exposed in winter as well, though I can't say I've tracked those bits to see if they were damaged by the time spring arrived..Unfortunately, I don't yet have any of those other nice Ericaceae etc! Not that many Rhodos hardy here, though I have seen some deciduous cultivars hybrids for sale that are supposed to be hardy.