Last summer was the first for the new beds along the driveway. This is where I had lots of spring-flowering bulbs, and once their blooms faded I planted several different annuals. It was a big success both in terms of spring blooms and summer interest, and I'm excited to see what happens this year.

One type of "annual" I planted was snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus). This was one of the few flowers growing at the house I grew up in, so I wanted to give them a try. I love the idea of carrying plants over through generations of gardens.


Although I know snapdragons readily reseed (my mother still has them growing after 30 years despite never having bought a new plant or any seed) I was not expecting them to be quite so cold-hardy.

Despite at least four separate instances when our low temperature was 15ºF (-9ºC), and one night when it got down to 8ºF (-13ºC), these plants are still mostly green!

There's a bit of freeze damage evident, and I'm not saying they look fresh any beautiful, but they're still green!

It turns out that some varieties are more cold-hardy than others, some down to USDA hardiness zone 4.

An apology to my neighbor up the street: a few years ago I saw you had a few flats of snapdragons ready to plant in early April, and I internally scoffed at you for planting way too early. I was wrong -- these plants can take a few late frosts!

This other planting looks to be in reasonably good condition too:

The third "clump" (I've forgotten how many individual plants are in each of the three plantings, probably 3-6, as I think I bought two six-packs of these last year -- or was it only one?) got "pruned" by the mulch load that I received three weeks ago, but I expect it to bounce back too. I didn't take a photo of that one.

So it looks like the spring bulbs will have some competition this year:

I'm pretty excited about that, as it hopefully means a more impressive snapdragon display this year and less filler annuals for me to buy!

Now I just have to get more of the deep red 'Black Prince' variety in here as they're my favorites. My seed is pretty old -- does anybody know how long it stays viable?


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