The photo below was taken on Wedneday, May 28, as we started to pull out the trees and shrubs that did not make it through our monstrous winter. At this point I am much less distraught than I thought I would be. Once you have a 60-year-old tree come crashing down in a winter storm, it changes your persepctive on smaller losses.
Nothing that we took out or that suffered major die-back was a distintive design feature of the garden like the pine that came down in December, 2012. Though it's a long list of trees and shrubs that went to the city for composting, I am already looking forward to new possibilies and Zone 3 is my new mantra.
Goodbye, old friends.
All of our boxwoods came through with flying colors except for two unidentified varieties that we bought some years ago at Home Depot. All the others came from Olbrich or local nurseries and are from the Chicagoland growers program for Midwest hardiness.
Whoops! That's not completely true. We did lose one other boxwood, whose twin — planted in another area of the garden — didn't have problems. That boxwood was from the old Heronswood Nursery and had bright yellow-variegated foliage. It was grown from a cutting from Chartwell, Winston Churchill's home, making it a plant of great sentimental value.
We also lost a dogwood that Mark's brother gave us. He bought a couple of them at a close-out sale at a big box store at the end of the season. It had no specific id and I was leery about its hardiness zone. I think it succumbed due to wrong zone and late planting. That's really what happened to a number of things. Planting things from Zone 5 has not been a problem for us until this year when we had a Zone 3 winter. We lost our smallest Chamaecyparis 'Green Arrow,' another recent translplant (above).
Some things that never had problems had serious die back like our Acer palmatum atropurpureum, both of our striped-bark maples (Acer tegmentosum 'White Tigress' above) and our huge weeping Alaskan cedar (Chamaecyais nootkatensis 'Glauca Pendula'). The big Gentsch White Hemlocks had some burn damage but seem to be putting out new growth all over, unlike this little hemlock, Tsuga canadensis 'Westonigra' (below).
The three maples we got late last May on a trip to Klehm's Song Sparrow had mixed results. The one I was most confident about — Acer truncatum 'Velazquez' (below) — succumbed. Acer palmatum 'Ariadne' and 'Spring Delight' both had lots of top dieback but sent out a flush of low growth that appears to be the proper leaves.
On the other hand, the tiny Carolina Silverbell we got at Klehm's is doing wonderfully well and had bells all over the branches this spring even though it's barely two feet high! Our big bamboo died back to the ground for the first time. It was so large that we dug part of it out this spring. That combination is making for slow growth but it doesn't seem to have suffered permanent damage.
One of our area's premier gardeners, Joan Severa, visited our garden last month. She said that when she was just starting out, her garden "mentor" told her there was one thing you must understand if you are going to be a gardener: "Things die!" It's a lesson that many of us had forgotten until this winter. But one that I expect will stay with most of us this time around.