I run a rather large gardening group. And a lot of the questions we’ve been getting recently involve Pennsylvania weather in the spring. This can mean cold, frost, freezing, rain and hail storms, even snow. I am in zone 6A. Essentially, we live in Pennsylvania, give it a minute the weather will change. This morning it was lovely and almost balmy feeling outside and now it’s chilly, damp feeling, waiting for the storms.
Like every other gardener out there I have gotten burned over the years and it’s all about living here in Pennsylvania. You get lulled into this false sense of security that everything is fine and you go and buy tender plants. And then you spend a fair amount of time until it truly warms up running around covering things up at night or bringing things into the garage.
But through gardening I have learned I can’t control Mother Nature. And as I like to be in control of my garden this isn’t something I’m always 100% easy with, it’s just things are literally out of my control.
So when I see people posting about upcoming frost warnings and freeze warnings, sometimes I have to pause a minute. I am a more experienced gardener than some of them, and when I was learning about gardening I know I didn’t like it when people were abrupt with me about things that were new to me. But sometimes people depend too much on crowdsourcing everything and never doing any research on their own. I think to learn anything, that research on your own is essential.
As I am writing this post right now the storms we were promised are kicking in. We’ve had a couple of hours of thunder and it’s blowing through the woods with quasi freight train winds. These are the winds I don’t like. Truthfully sometimes they scare me, because they’re so fierce and a lot of my trees are so big.
Tonight I will cover a few pots as I am able and bring in the flat of rosemary and lavender I am waiting to plant. But that’s it. There comes a point in the garden every spring where it’s sink or swim. I think it’s right now here in Pennsylvania.
I have a big garden I can’t cover every peony and hydrangea. And I’m saying that knowing I planted probably six new hydrangeas so far this spring. Some of my hydrangeas are field grown in a colder climate than here and they’ll be fine. Some of the other hydrangeas were hardened off to into the 20s as far as degrees of cold. A couple will just be up to fate. I think they’ve been in the ground long enough at this point that they should do all right even though they’re new.
Fruit trees are used to cold in zone six and I have a sour cherry that even with late frost and freezes, fruits just fine. I have an American plum tree and to Beach Plums that were very small that made it through the winter so I think they will make it through this. I am relatively new to blueberries, only having had them the past few years and I’ve never covered them from cold.
I don’t know if what I’m writing is right or wrong but it’s what I do in my own garden. And I can only share my own experience. Have I lost things to freak cold snaps? Yes but I’ve gotten to the point where to me it just means that I am supposed to be growing something else. So it’s trial and error.
Hopefully we get rain that nourishes the plants, but doesn’t beat the crap out of everything. But until it starts we don’t know how it’s going to be.