Rose and Cooper—mother and son.

“Time is not a movement, a flowing, a wind then, but is, rather, a kind of climate in which things are, and when a thing happens it begins to live and keeps on living and stands solid in Time like the tree that you can walk around.”

–Robert Penn Warren, Blackberry Winter


We knew, for days beforehand, there was going to be a record freeze last Saturday morning.

We covered tomatoes, basil, a few perennials and a blooming blackberry bush with old sheets the night before. Besides this minimal precaution, I cut dozens of flowers and stuffed them into a holding bucket. If the garden got leveled by the freeze outdoors, we would at least have flowers to enjoy inside.

Pink columbines.

Covering tender plants with sheets for a light frost is one thing but when the temperature stays below freezing for six or seven hours, your tender mercy may be tossed on top of the compost pile the next day.

The morning low in Salvisa was 26 F/-3 C.

The huge Super Moon was glowing that cold night, and the sun shone bright in the morning. Skies were blue. It was frosty. The meadow crunched with each footstep.

I feared the worst. Surprisingly, there was little freeze damage. Basil and tomatoes were toast. No big deal. They can be replanted.  Potatoes will leaf out again.  A few flowers and leaves got burned, yet all but the annual plants will recover.

Peony ‘Coral Charm’

Gardeners have peculiar wiring. How can they repeatedly ignore the worrisome constant warnings of; “If the thunder don’t get you, the lightning will?” There must be something encoded in a gardener’s DNA that shouts: “Be on the sunny side. Always on the sunny side.”

We got a lucky roll of the dice this blackberry winter. Don’t ask me how. The freeze could have been worse, much worse.

A bucket full of goodness. Amsonia tabernaemontana, Iris tectorum, Baptisia ‘Lemon Meringue’, Phlox x ‘Minnie Pearl’, Polygonatum odoratum var. odoratom and Peony ‘Coral Charm’.

Rose had a happy Mother’s Day.

So next time there’s a forecasted early or late frost, bring out the sheets.

Take a bucket with you.

Trust me.

You’ll get credit for the blooms.