Thursday, May 01, 2008

Spring got frostbitten

'Royal Star' magnolia before frost

The middle of April brought us two weeks of summer warmth - and it was actually hot and dry, which was a bit ominous, given that last year's drought summer started early too. Over the past three weeks, we've only had half an inch of rain.

Then, temperatures plummeted and we have just come through three nights of frost: two of them quite severe, down to minus 5 degrees C (23 degrees F).

Too bad we didn't have this in reverse: cold followed by warm. The crocuses and snowdrops were over far too quickly, and the flowering trees came on too soon.

Magnolia 'Betty' frost damage

My star magnolia ('Royal Star') started blooming during the warm weeks and was almost finished by the time frost turned its blossoms brown.

But my two 'Betty' magnolias had just begun to bloom when the frost hit. These trees are still small, so I covered them with a sheet, which helped the first night when the frost was mild, but couldn't prevent damage from the more severe frosts.

On a brighter weather note, it looks like there is real rain in the forecast for the next three days. Bring it on, I say.

The frosty weather didn't deter plant-hungry gardeners at Royal Botanical Gardens this morning. They were in full force for the RBG Auxiliary's annual plant sale. The sale is on again on Saturday morning.

At the RBG plant sale

© Yvonne Cunnington, Country Gardener


  1. Great post I love plant sales!! My Magnolia just started blooming last week!!

  2. Hi Yvonne!
    I too was out covering my pear tree with a sheet. We did not get the frost that you did though. I was thinking about you with this rain. I'm glad to hear you are getting it too! I'm in the process of digging my new garden for my winning order. I think I counted 69 plants in that order! I need a gardening assistant too!!!!
    (I should note that my hubby took the tractor out yesterday evening to scoop up most of the sod for me so I guess I'm good!!)


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-Yvonne, aka Country Gardener