Caught Out by Mother Nature!

(or following the recovery of a badly damaged Agapanthus…)

For the past decade at least, we gardeners have been lulled by ever-rising winter temperatures into thinking that we could plant less hardy and more exotic plants…

Well, last autumn we got our comeuppance.  Instead of ever more gentle weather,  Climate Change has made our seasons more extreme and less predictable than ever before—colder spells in winter and hotter spells in summer and rain in deluges or not at all.  Or, like this “summer”, no summer at all…

Certainly as we checked over the flower beds in May we discovered disasters; the worst damage was to a mature clump of glorious white agapanthus that had turned literally to mush! 

May 11: disastrous frosted Agapanthus clump with “mush” cleared away

Since the root system was still alive I decided to see what would happen if we watched and waited…(after all, developing a good clump of Agapanthus is a slow business, so, if it recovered we were saved the time to start all over again). 

May 27th: By late May there were very promising signs of new growth.

dried-out dead rhizomes and new growth
Agapanthus clump with new growth
Desiccated rhizome “husks" amid new growth

June 14th: By early June the desiccated rhizomes were putting forth new growth.  The old dried rhizomes were like husks which we cleared out, leaving only the outer shell.

From the bases of those rhizomes new growth emerged…

close up of new growth from old rhizome

In early July there were two flowering stems (scapes or peduncles in Agapanthus language) growing up with fat flower heads (umbels of buds surrounded by a calyx).

July 9: recovering clump with two scapes arising

And, finally by late July the buds had emerged were about  to flower.

recovering clump with buds ready to open

This was a good lesson for me: don’t be too quick to write off a frost damaged plant; check it carefully and, if the root system survives, it may recover entirely.

And, considering our very uncertain weather outlook, Be prepared for anything!

I’m certainly glad that we didn’t dig up our wonderful clump of agapanthus.  By next year we hope to see it returned to full glory.

“…be prepared for anything !”

August 2021: Agapanthus “Winter Dreams” pre-frost

This Post Has One Comment

  1. John Glovee

    We lost Pittosporums as I know other gardens have but on a positive note, tree blossom and now fruits and berries have done very well indeed.

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