31 March 2014

The Undead Zombie Plants

A quick walk through the gardens last week showed the extent of winter's damage. Zombie plants are everywhere. They appear dead, but may be undead -- ready to spring up from the earth to grow among the living again.

At a gardening lecture attended Saturday, everyone was wailing in anguish at the slow arrival of spring and the exceptionally harsh winter. One gardener complained that the temperatures dropped below the minimum temperatures of the USDA Hardiness Zone Map, not realizing its numbers are average low temperatures, not lowest. And then it snowed yesterday.

Zombies inhabit the side garden, located on the south side of my brick house and protected from northwest winds.

Come back to life?
The rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) provides fresh herbs for our grilled potatoes in the summer. It survived previous winters nestled in the side garden and was mulched in autumn.

The plant looks dead dead dead. Two semi-green leaves were noticed down inside the base after I took the shears to the plant last week. They did not appear as new sprouts, but as almost dead. The sprigs were plucked off and brought indoors for rooting. Hope is that the roots will rebound with a new plant later.

Rose Campion
It's alive.
This (Lychnis coronaria) was a donation to the dry garden last spring. Winter left it looking deflated. Like a good little zombie, it kept rising out of the ground during the winter, and I kept pushing it back down. Prognosis is good for survival after its first year, and after the frost heave.

Dead or undead?
(Cynara cardunculus) survived for the past three winters. Right now, there is nothing to photograph after the second cold wave turned what was left to mush, blackened and disfigured. Like the rosemary, hope is that a new plant will develop from surviving roots, but I don't know. That looked mighty black with rot down to the core.

Cutting Celery
Will it rise again?
Sprigs of this lived through two winters and came back healthy and spreading each spring, with some plants coming from reseeding. Today I can photograph only dirt, but hope new celery will again grow from last year's seeds.

California Poppy
Come back to life?
Expectations are high for the Schscholzia californica. Those not surviving past winters have prolifically reseeded across the platform steps to the other side of the garden. Today everything looks wiped out.
Belacamda Lily poking up

Belacamda Lily
Among the living.
Two years ago, (Belacamda chinensis) were planted from seed, and one bloomed. And then it died. Last year, more were planted from seed, two survived, and were well-mulched last fall. Expecting the worse after this winter, I was rejoicing at the pair that are among the living. The leaves are rising up, resembling bearded iris.

So today, it's Zombies 4, Living 2.


amine khaoui said...
That's not all, because more plants can be infected, and this can happen cause of the transmission of this parasitic bacteria from a "Zombie Plant" to a normal plant by other insects. So imagine the plants after 10 years if this didn't stop.

“The beauty of the paper is that the bacteria control both plant and insect at the same time with the same protein,” said Hughes. “That’s stunning.”

Source: thenetisia.blogspot.com