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Green Acre #417: Freezing Their Buds Off?

Ooh, let’s hope not! / iStock photo.

By Stephanie Cavanaugh

THERE HAVE been some strange weather years, but this one is unsurpassed.

The absurdly mild winter continues, with the temperature set to hit 80 degrees in Washington DC today, and in the hothouse that is DC’s Capitol Hill, where I live, that probably means it will be even hotter.

It’s February 23 and it feels like June.

In the days before I had a garden, and plants were confined to windowsills and a fire escape, I would have found this burst of warmth in midwinter delightful. A day to don flip-flops and get my toenails done. A day to read in the park. A day to sit in an outdoor café and turn my pasty face to the sun. 

A tan hides a multitude of sins, even as it encourages more. 

Instead, I fear and fret. The daffodils are beginning to bloom, the tulips have pushed their heads above the mulch, the red leaf maple is sprouting, and the forsythia is about to bloom. Worst of all, the hydrangeas, of which I have many, sport tender buds, susceptible to freezing. Once frozen it’s pfft! for the season. A disaster in the making. 

We are, the weatherpersons say, two weeks ahead of schedule, danger time. Frosts are not just possible, they’re probable. A blizzard could heap a mountain of misery on those tender shoots and buds. An ice storm could freeze the cherry blossoms, cracking new branches. 

So, I’m planning ahead.

If it freezes, I shall pile blankets and sheets into the arms of My Prince and send him forth into the cold to wrap the nascent garden, my tender budlings, in warmth.

Don’t crush them, I’ll yell.

I WON’T, he’ll yell back.

Then I’ll welcome him home with a roaring blaze in the fireplace, a jug of wine, and a hearty, garlicky stew, tiny potatoes, a crusty loaf, and peas. 

He likes peas.  

Maybe there’ll be pie. 

But, maybe it won’t freeze. We’ll have one of those rare springs when everything is in bloom all at once, like a flower show where blossoms are coddled and forced in spectacularly unnatural fashion. Where tulips and roses, peonies and allium, all pop at once. Where all you can do is goggle at the sight. 

Maybe we’ll be lucky.

5 thoughts on “Green Acre #417: Freezing Their Buds Off?

  1. Stephanie S Cavanaugh says:

    Um. Lauren…Today? You can have him. I’ll even give you sheets.

  2. Lauren says:

    Is your Prince available for sharing?? Given the forcast we may need his services multiple times before April 🙁

  3. Stephanie S Cavanaugh says:


  4. Carol says:

    Hope we’re lucky. I always wish for a big snowstorm but it’s too late now so come on, SPRING.

  5. Kelly Janet says:

    I hope I’m wrong but I’m thinking all this warm weather in winter means snow in April. Thanks for the blankets and sheets suggestion.

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