Survival surprise

I don't remember paying much attention to winter before I started gardening. Sure I'd notice the extra-cold days, or if we got an impressive amount of snow, or if an ice storm took down part of a tree in the neighborhood. The day-to-day details though, well, I just didn't notice.

Now of course I monitor temperatures daily, watch the forecasts (often with dread), and hope for some winter precipitation -- but not too much. All because of the plants. Will they survive the winter? What conditions might be the most problematic? Are the deer getting extra hungry? It all makes the coldest months a bit worrisome.


It's always a joy though, on those unseasonably warm days that we seem to get every winter in St. Louis, to notice some plants that have made it through the cold, apparently unaffected.

For instance, this parsley:

I dug these plants when I prepared for planting kale, putting them into pots for a month or two. Once winter approached I planted them in this one bed. For edibles during the growing season, its nice, loose soil makes it a great place to stick cold-hardy plants. I had no idea that parsley was so cold hardy, as it experienced -8ºF (-22ºC) earlier, and -1ºF (-18ºC) just last night.

I put six or more parsleys in, and not every plant made it:

But enough did to make any early-season swallowtail butterflies happy (it's food for their caterpillars).

There are a couple other plants that I stuck back here that are probably still alive, but being sound asleep still I can't remember what they are:

I rely on visual ID mostly, so I hope I'll remember what this was once it breaks dormancy.

I don't expect to have too many more surprise survivals this year -- the two past winters were so mild that I had several zone 8 plants overwinter. This year, I suspect those will be gone.

Hopefully I won't be saying the same thing about some of the bamboos!

Do you have any plants that are surprisingly cold-hardy in your garden?


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