Iced In Again: Winter at the Farm

As we wait for another sheet of ice to thaw here are some pictures of what winter brings for the plants around the farm and nursery….and my yard.  The yard gets lumped in because I have many native plants in it, and currently it would be foolish to try to leave it because of the ice falling from the sky.  Plants have to endure it while we (hopefully) sip warm beverages indoors.

Two weeks ago we got a good amount of snow in Atlanta and out at the farm.  Any time the temperature drops below 29 F or so we cover the potted plants with frost cloth. It helps to insulate and protect their above-ground roots.IMG_4281

 This is the hoop bed where we root vegetative cuttings.  It got covered several times this winter when the temperature dropped into the single digits.  The tender cuttings are making roots very close to the surface of the bed and extreme cold might zap them.

Even with the frost cloth the plants will freeze to some extent.  I discovered something beautiful and interesting on several plants last week.IMG_4341

 The dead stems started exuding water right at the base and it formed intricate ice sculptures as the water was expelled from the plant.IMG_4340

 

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 It was a really great discovery on a freezing morning.   IMG_4363

 Established plants in the ground can take most anything winter throws their way.  These river oats (Chasmanthium latifolium) have new growth starting to sprout at the base and are providing some good winter seed for the birds. Above was the snow of two weeks ago. Below is the ice of today.IMG_4418

Quite a few seeds have been taken by birds and squirrels (and probably the wind).IMG_4415

The ice storm of today (2/12/14) has left it’s own ice structures on the plants in my yard. Above, Rattlesnake Master (Eryngium yuccafolium) seed heads dripping ice; Below Georgia Aster (Symphyotricum georgianum) stalks coated with ice.

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And finally a poor Rosemary flower (Rosmarinus officinalis) (not native, but delicious) entombed in ice.IMG_4414

 Stay warm and safe!