Focused on Mississippi: Cold snap and your plants

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Have the days passed when seasons lazily dissolve from one to the other? Summer chilling into winter through a respectful autumn? Winter warming to summer through a lazy spring? Of course, it probably never actually has ever been that way. Things more likely have a way of abruptly shifting around, around here, like what happened this past week when all the greenery and bursting color of an early warm-up fading back into the bleak and tasteless gray and cold of winter.

The azaleas popped weeks ahead of time. The daredevil wild fruit trees were boldly blooming when no fruit tree had bloomed before. Then, Bam! Two nights of freezing and my anticipated blueberries are just browning buds on the bush. And the wild population that feeds off acorns this fall will be on a diet come September, the oak blossoms that produce the acorns? Freeze-dried on the tree. So, have we lost spring this year? Can something be salvaged after the deep freeze?

Master Gardener Cecile Wardlaw of Jackson has some observations.

“Well, it depends on what plant it is. Because some of them are just fine. Right behind me are hellebores that are just blooming their heads off. But of course, they bloom in England this time of year so they have to take the cold. I don’t think our azaleas will be as pretty this year as they’ve been in the past. Some of them have really gotten nipped. But some of them have barely budded and it’s just hard to tell. If there was new growth it’s probably shriveled up. But there will be more new growth after that, most things of they are well-established plants. And it was good that the ground was wet. That protects the roots when it gets cold. I think it’s not going to be disastrous. We’ll pick and choose about it. But it’s Mississippi.”

The best sure-bet on color in the yard so far this year has been the bottle tree. It’s fairly consistent. But I tend to agree with Cecile that the only thing all the cold and heat and blooms wilting are a SURE sign of is, it’s Mississippi.

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