Unfortunate timing has landed a variety of native orchids, ferns and other minor treasures on the doorstep concurrent with the arrival of ten inches of snow. A week earlier, soil was chilled, yet soft and moist, but recent cold temperatures have frozen a thick crust which is now frosted by this cover of white.
Dozens of putty root and rattlesnake plantain orchids, Christmas ferns, and assorted other bulbs and rhizomes have been delivered in small bags, the lot totaling one hundred and seven plants if these can possibly be planted successfully through the freeze in January. Three slender, rooted twigs of Strawberry bush (Euonymus americanus) were stuck temporarily into dry soil in a pot once occupied by annual flowers of some sort, which was then topped with a garnish of two handfuls of snow to slowly melt in the chilly garage. Bulbs, root sections, and rhizomes remain bagged in the garage, awaiting more hospitable conditions for planting.
Despite the advantages of dormant planting, I am very aware of the possible folly of planting in midwinter, though perhaps this could not be avoided, I excuse. Planting orchids before spring flowering must be advantageous, and in fact I supposed the supplier would deliver no sooner than a month from now. When an immediate date was given, I reasoned that the ground and mild temperatures were receptive, so why not? And then, the weather turned.
Now, I must protect, but not insulate too warmly to break dormancy. Keep slightly moist, but not wet, and with luck this snow will soon be gone, the inch or two of freeze will thaw, and planting can proceed. I am convinced it will work.