80 degrees still not enough to wake some plants

By: James Hopkins Email
By: James Hopkins Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - Now that Spring is in full swing, many Grand Valley gardeners are finding out some of their plants didn't survive the winter.

Even with temperatures reaching the mid 80's Monday, there's still evidence of winter.

"It's the worst I've seen in 36 years in Grand Junction," says Ann Gibson of Meadowlark Gardens.

A beautiful warm day like Monday should be all Mother Nature needs to wake up the remaining plants that are still in wintertime deep winter sleep.

But experts say after a late start to Spring, there are some plants that aren't going to wake up. "People all over town lost rose bushes, butterfly bushes, even the Elm trees are looking bad, which one would think you can't even kill," says Gibson.

Rose bushes were the hardest hit. Some as old as 10 years couldn't survive when the temperatures dipped into negative digits this past winter.

But it wasn't just the deep freeze that delivered the knockout blow to these plants, it was more about the timing. "It was so sudden that the plants didn't have time to adjust to the cold," says Gibson. This cold, coupled with snowcover that caused a three month inversion was too much for some to handle.

Luckily, some areas of the Valley, like the Botanical Gardens sit, may have actually dodged a major bullet. "There is every possibility that our roses made it through just fine," says Elizabeth Neubauer, operations manager at the Western Colorado Botanical Gardens.

As temperatures climb up into 80s staff are finding that some rose bushes, thought to be lost for good, are actually starting to show some promise and they're working hard to make sure the transition into Summer is an easy one.

"We hit the ground running, we get a warm day we're out here working, we get a cold day and we're inside working in the greenhouse, so we're at it every day that we can be," says Neubauer.

Most the other plants, after surviving the bitter long winter, are still few weeks behind. "We have a very beautiful display of irises which last year bloomed on Mother's Day but this year they're a week late," says Neubauer.

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