I went down to the parking strip this morning, spade in hand, all set to dig up one of my winter casualties, a small hebe I’d planted in the fall. Just as I was about to stomp on the shovel, I noticed what’s at the bottom of the photo here:
One tiny little shoot of the plant is still alive. It reminded me of the “Bring Out Your Dead” skit from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” (nerd alert: yes, this was my #1 favorite film up through high school), where the cart is going around and collecting plague victims and they mistakenly toss a still-alive guy on the pile. I think the hebe would have shrieked “I’m not dead yet!” at the top of its lungs too, had it had any.
As I recently read in Seattle garden expert Ciscoe Morris’ book, “Ask Ciscoe,” if you really want to find out if your winter-damaged plants are going to make it, you have to be patient and wait until June. Since we’re finally out of the woods on the evening frosts (at least I hope we are – we did have snow last week, though, so who knows), I could probably safely cut back the dead stuff and just wait to see if the rest of the plant will grow back from the roots. By June, if there’s still nothing, it’s probably time to put something more reliably hardy in that spot.
Do you have the patience to wait and see whether a sad plant will survive? Or are you more likely to rip it out and put something healthier in instead?