Caught Again… With My Gardening Pants Down

It’s 24 degrees….and I’ve been caught. I’m about to pay the price for being lackadaisical. A late-ish freeze was projected, and I ignored the warning. I didn’t  prepare nearly enough, and I accidentally left some bulbs outside, unplanted….in 24 degrees. I’ve been caught, once again, with my gardening pants down.

A freeze is not a big deal during winter months. Most winter gardeners expect stormy weather. The wildflower seedlings will overwinter, and put forth energy into the tap root. The bulbs will lay dormant, deep between the earth. Paperwhites will be up, and all is well.

A late winter/early spring is different. It’s more like playing a game of poker with the weatherman. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.

I tend to bet my hand on natural gardening. If it freezes, c’est la vie. I’m your typical chance-taking, bulb-digging gardener…..betting on the hope that it really won’t freeze.

But it did.

It froze, dangit.

A bulb will actually repair itself from a freeze. Bulbs are quite intelligent little plants. The energy will be stored and rejuvenated deep inside the bulb, at the core. Never give up on a flower bulb, unless the bulb has totally rotted from within. After a freeze, take the unplanted bulb inside and let it rest for a few weeks,  Plant outside as soon as the freeze is over. If the root system is still valid (white roots), then give the bulb some water. If not, just leave the bulb alone and let nature take it’s course.

I’ve had many mistakes over the years…..late freezes are always the worst errors in judgement  I make in the garden. Forgive oneself, and move on. When I get to the studio today, I will be trouble-shooting the bulbs I left out in the elements…..Paperwhite, Oxbloods, Rain Lilies, Crinum and Iris. Most  Heirloom Bulbs will be fine….some will not.

Caught again…..with my gardening pants down. I’d like to say I will learn from my mistakes, but somehow, I think not.

Happy Winter Gardening, my friends! May your hearts be warm as the temperatures remain cold.