If you live in Maine, you already know that we have been plunged into the deep freeze this week. In my area, the temperatures hovered near 20 below zero last night. While most people are worried about frozen pipes and dead batteries, my thoughts are with my perennial bed. The combination of a light cover of snow and sub-zero weather can spell disaster for tender perennials.
This is exactly why it is so important to check the hardiness zones for your perennials before planting them. I'm always tempted to try perennials that "may survive" in my plant hardiness zone, but when January rolls around and we are plunged into the deep freeze, I'm glad I didn't.
I planted new phlox this year, but I think they have enough of a root system to withstand the cold weather. I dug them up from the phlox my mother grew 40 years ago. According to Garden Crossings, most phlox are hardy to zone 4 with some hardy in zone 3. That means they should safely handle temps between -25 and -30 degrees with no problems. Seeming they have withstood Maine winters for the past 40 years, I think they will be fine, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little concerned.
A few years ago I lost most of my herbs due to a cold, icy winter with little snow. Now, I'm not saying I want to get pummeled with snow, but a foot or so would be good to cover the beds and insulate them from the cold.
For now, I'll be sending warm thoughts to my perennials and promising to cover them better next year.
Until next time . . . HAPPY GARDENING!