This is too weird. Is it just me, or....

Okay. According to my calendar, it’s Jan 22. Been in the 70s for the last few days and not below 40 at night (whereas, normally, it’s not above 40 during the day this time of year). Soil temp is well above freezing. Just went out into the garden to see what was happening, if anything.

One of the Albas is about to unfurl leaves. The minis are going to town. One of my only two hybrid teas is breaking. Actually, everything is breaking–even Nightmoss, which is always the last rose to break in my garden!

Since things are breaking (and breaking all over, not just at the base), should I go ahead and prune? Should I cover everything with 16 tons of mulch? I have this morbid fear that sometime in February we’ll get a whopping cold spell (which could happen anytime into mid-May) and I’ll lose everything.

Any ideas?



Fa, you know your climate better than anyone else, but unless you have moved secretly from the Rockies to the Gulf Coast or a tropical/subtropical section of California or Florida, I’d bet on the mulch–and leave the pruners on the shelf.


I’m guessing there are going to be some late hard frosts this year. The same thing is happening in the San Joaquin Valley.

It doesn’t bode well for farmers. A late frost right now could really be bad news for many.

I used to manage a nursery in the Sam Joaquin Valley. I know well the last day of frost there should be March 15.

Something very similar happened here in PA a few years ago. We had an unusually warm January and then it went completely frigid in February. I had already mulched in November, so I just left them alone…no pruning, no nothing. By the end of March I started my regular pruning and everything was fine.

Go to weatherunderground and check some of the historic almanacs for weatherstations near you.

When my life became more plant-centric, I started watching cold swings.

The 1980s three day spell (this week) had temps down to -28F.

The link below is to my closest airport (Knoxville) to their almanac weather history showing average highs and lows, extremes of both as well as last years’ record.

Below that temperature is rainfall, wind direction and other stuff.

But the temperature swings, when temps historically are no longer …below 0, below 26F can be useful for planning.


I’m seeing the same thing in Fort Collins. Don’t like it much late frost become a problem. Also it is not good when it comes to certain pest. these mild winters are not knocking down the pest populations down so you start out with a higher level in spring. Its one of the main reason for all the trees dieing from boar damage in the mountains. The last decade has had mind winters for the last decade and with below average moisture levels except for last year it is a bad mix. At this point the lodge pole pines best hope is a major forest fire.

I gave up on the weather by November, lol :stuck_out_tongue:

Thanks for the input, everyone! Alas, after that glorious week of 70s, we’re now having an inglorious week of rain and snow. Hopefully this will slow everyone down.

Adam, speaking of pests, last year I decided not to spray my garden, just wait for the annual invasion of ladybugs to deal with them. Well, early in the year, the county came by and sprayed for mosquitoes due to the West Nile virus brou-ha-ha. Problem was, they killed everything else as well. By the time the roses began blooming, bugs I had never seen before were destroying all my buds!

So, this year, I guess I’m spraying.

It’s in the 60’s again, so I went back out into the garden for the first time since the freeze to see what’s transpired. You know how you can tell it’s Colorado? After being out for two hours, I came in with a sunburn…

All the Old Garden Roses shrugged off the cold snap. But it looks as if I have lost Bleu Magenta, Veilchenblau and New Dawn, or most of them, anyway; there may still be some live growth deeper down than I looked.

But on the other hand, I found two reasons to cheer first, and wonder what-the-hey? later: the crocuses and hyacinths are up! I’ve lived in Colorado for 30 years now and have never seen either appear above ground before mid-February. The crocuses look like they’ll be in bloom within a week, and the hyacinths in maybe two.

Oy, I hope they know something I don’t!


I’m so jealous, it was -14F this morning when I left for work. If it doesn’t get above 32F tomorrow, eastern Minnesota will have not gotten above freezing for the entire month of January. That will be first time that has happened since 1979.

But I do feel for you, when I planted out my seedlings last spring in late April, just two days later we had a four day cold snap where temps got down to as low as 27F. The seedlings took a beating. It took two months for them to get back to where they were before the frost.