During our recent cold snap, I haven’t been able to get the Rod Stewart/Dolly Parton rendition of “Baby it’s Cold Oustide” out of my head. At least Elwood had the good sense to find the warmest spot in the house…in the dryer on top of a load of warm clothes, while others of us had to venture outside to take care of things in the nursery and garden.
So, how cold was it? Here’s what happened to Mystic Falls, when the temperatures don’t rise above freezing for 200 straight hours (8+ days). Raleigh shattered the old record of 157 hours (1982) in a row without topping the freezing mark. We also caught the beginning of the recent bomb cyclone, although we only managed .5″ of snow at the nursery and gardens. Our thoughts go out to those further north, who suffered much worse in the storm…including some that had….yes, two feet of snow.
It’s been an eventful 8 days with a steady diet of greenhouse alarms going on in the middle of the night than we can count. Water in one propane line froze, knocking out five greenhouse heaters, while another propane tank mysteriously ran out of fuel after only a couple of being filled. Fortunately, our back up system of portable heaters that can be wheeled around as needed have kept damage at a minimum.
Normally, our ground rarely freezes in the winter, but that’s not the case this year. Interestingly, while the ground froze, the expanded slate media in our crevice garden remained plantable, which is a good sign that it’s keeping the plant roots dry. Our cold weather streak ends today, and later this week, we’re promised our temperatures will skyrocket into the 60s. We should have some good winter hardiness data once things thaw.