Protecting Unplanted Bulbs from a Freeze

There are a lot of ways to kill a flower bulb…..but my least favorite is a hard freeze. It always seems to catch me by surprise. I move plants like other people move furniture, so there are always unplanted bulbs everywhere. Last night was no different….

Rumor had it that it was going to be back in the 20’s. Not cool!! After lessons, I had to go around the yard (at night) collecting all the piles of unplanted bulbs. I keep them in the studio now, protected from the bitter cold. I have learned hard lessons from past experiences….bulbs do not appreciate a freeze. Here are a few bits of advice I have learned the hard way.

First, ground temperatures are warmer than air temperatures. If a bulb is unplanted, it has nothing to protect itself. The bulb will freeze, and the freeze will kill the inner core. The bulb will die a slow, rotting, painful death…..all because it wasn’t in the ground. Talk about guilt!!!!

Second, never keep bulbs in terracotta pots. Terracotta is clay. Clay absorbs temperatures, and holds it tight for a prolonged period of time. Being in Terracotta is worse than being in open air.

In a freeze, take the time to gather your unplanted plant babies, and put them inside. If your bulbs or flowers have been newly planted, give them a nice drink of water before the freeze…..honestly, I am not really sure why. I’ve been told that folklore for years. I never question old garden wisdom.

This morning, I will survey the damage after the freeze. I did not bring in the potted plants….I actually forgot. I’m hoping all the Violets and English Daisies survived. Flowers are tough though…..especially heirlooms. They are survivors, like my flooded house gardens.

For any of you reading this blog……thank you. It has become a lifesaver for me after the flood. The only thing that survived the immediate flood destruction were my gardens. It was awe inspiring to see the blooms after being submerged in 10-15 feet of raging water. I don’t understand how water can be so destructive at one moment, and lifesaving for another. The gardens enjoyed the water, and have never looked so good. I write daily now….more for my own peace of mind. I find the good in the daily dig. I hope that maybe just one of you can glean a bit of joy from my escapades of saving my own gardens from an upcoming house demolish. I also pray that my imperfect daily digs will somehow remind all of us that life is about our journey….not our perfection. I will never be a garden featured on Pintrist, nor will I be in a garden magazine. My gardens are simply too wild. Gardening is an expression of our soul, and that is never to be judged in a moment. We are all works in progress…..just like my daily trips to the flooded house gardens.

Happy Gardening, my cherished friends.