No doubt, there will be few treks through the garden over the the next week. While unpleasant, overnight temperatures forecast to fall into single digits should not be much of a problem, though cold over an extended period following a dry autumn is reason for concern. With long established plants in this garden, desiccation and cold damage are lesser issues, but worries increase as temperatures approach zero. While it is necessary to check on ponds and scattered winter blooms, even on the coldest afternoons, strolls will be brief.
In recent decades, severe cold has been rare, but repeated nights below zero several years ago damaged marginally cold hardy daphnes, loropetalum, and edgeworthias. With lows to six or seven below, all survived, but with damage to stems that required extensive pruning. Gardenias purported to be cold hardy, were not, and all succumbed.
As temperatures drop into the twenties and below, leaves of rhododendrons and Daphnipyllum curl for protection. A few gardeners wrap burlap around evergreens, or fill wire baskets with leaves for protection, but this should not be necessary for temperatures above zero.