Woe is me

Woe is me. And, probably every gardener at some, or multiple points through the year. We don’t have to try very hard to find some disappointment, or catastrophe, for certainly there is some weed that has tangled between the irises that will be next to impossible to extricate. Or whatever, and it could hardly be worse.

A week ago the new leaves of Viridis Japanese maple were hanging limply. Today, a few brown leaves must be removed, but the tree shows little sign of the cold injury.

A week ago the new leaves of Viridis Japanese maple were hanging limply. Today, a few brown leaves must be removed, but the tree shows little sign of the cold injury.

In recent weeks, two nights with temperatures falling into the low twenties damaged new leaves of many of the garden’s Japanese maples (Acer palmatum). With dozens of maples in the garden (twenty some varieties, and thirty some plants) this was a big concern. For several days I feared the worst, that some might not survive, or that they might not recover for months. After a few days, I was slightly encouraged that this was not the end of the world, but still I was disheartened by wilting and browning leaves.

Several Japanese maples were at a stage of growth where leaves were not effected by the freeze at all.

Several Japanese maples were at a stage of growth where leaves were not effected by the freeze at all.

Of course, a week later problems are not nearly as bad as they once seemed, which should surprise no one. In fact, some damage was done by the freeze, so my worries had some justification, but several weeks from now I suspect the freeze and any injury from it will be long forgotten. Except, I think, for two small maples that were potted with plans to hold them on the patio for a few years. Both are alive, but barely so. When such a small tree loses every leaf there’s good reason not to be optimistic, and I’m not.

Leaves of the Golden Full Moon maple had just begun to emerge, so they were npt damaged at all.

Leaves of the Golden Full Moon maple had just begun to emerge, so they were npt damaged at all.

So, there is some small reason to remain disappointed, and perhaps there is some joy when the garden falls just short of paradise.

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3 thoughts on “Woe is me

  1. Yes, us gardeners who love our Japanese maples take affront to any harm that befalls them. Just this morning I noticed that while there was minimal damage from the late frost, aphids have invaded 4 of my 23 (now 22, lost a Coral Bark last week probably as a result of the previous freeze) maples. This gardener does not like to use pesticides but the little critters multiplied rapidly over the past few days and I was forced to spray with Pyretrin or lose most of the leaves. What would you have done Dave?
    Thanks for your continuing entertaining posts.
    The English gardener

    • Fortunately, I have little trouble with pests other than deer and snakes. Several years ago a crapemyrtle had a bad infestation of aphids, so I sprayed an insecticidal soap. Otherwise, I’m not forced to make those decisions very often. The worst I get are a few bagworms and tent caterpillars, and I either pull them by hand if they’re too bad, or let them have their bit of foliage. Japanese beetle damage is minimal, so I don’t bother with them. I’m no opposed to spraying in the worst case, but that rarely comes up.

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