[gardeners] Big Freeze/Big Thaw: Advice needed

Marianne Lepa (gardeners@globalgarden.com)
Mon, 15 Dec 1997 12:46:06 -0500

Hi group,

For the last couple of weeks we've had some pretty cold temperatures here,
lows of -8 to -12C and highs of -5 to -2C and next to no snow cover.
Everything is frozen solid. Suddenly, starting about a half hour ago, we
are having a sudden switch to very warm temperatures. According to
Environment Canada we could have as much as a week of sunny days with temps
where the highs are +12C and lows of +5C. Ack! Only a gardener would find
this upsetting. ;-)

Much to my dismay, I've had to overwinter 10 Florentine Iris rhizomes in
pots this year. Earlier in the fall I paritially buried the pots and
covered them with 2 feet of straw which has since packed down to about a
foot. I *don't* want those pots to start thawing! They are my main concern,
the other perennials are probably tough enough to manage with the mulch
they have. I have several green plastic bags of leaves that I've thrown
over top of the area where the irises are. But I'm wondering if the green
plastic will make things worse by transferring heat to the frozen mulch.

Can anyone offer any experience with sudden weather switches like this one?
Should I be running madly about looking for more straw?

Southeastern Ontario AgCan zone 5b