Dead or Dormant?

In my garden, this is the time of year when we may realize if something is dead or just dormant.

Dry to the xylem (center of stem) means it can no longer conduct water.

The yellow arrow points to the interior of a stem that is too dry to conduct water needed to maintain a healthy plant.   We had three snowfalls this winter.  The first one took my by surprise before I could cover tender vegetation.  Verdict:  It’s an ex-Pelargonium.

Leaves grown from stem or root mean it’s alive.

Leaves may return from stem or root of a plant.  Above, leaves show from stem of French Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus).  This knottly little stump is about one-inch in diameter.  I knew that this plant could stand the chill, so I didn’t give up on it.

Melissa officinalis coming back from roots.

Likewise, I can count on the Melissa officinalis, a/k/a Bee Balm (above), to come back from the roots each year.  Here it is in among last year’s plant twigs.

Aloysia citrodora comes back from bottom of stem.

Lemon Verbena (Aloysia triphyllacomes back from the stem.  Steeping some in a chilled Riesling for Summer Solstice.  You’re welcome.

Symphytum officinale comes back from roots.

The Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) was no surprise. It comes dies and comes back more than once during the chilly months, but by the time the Pecan trees are showing buds, and Spring is imminent, I know it will leaf in earnest.  At that point, I cut the brown material away for compost or to turn into beds that will be prepared for fall plantings.

Blackberry survived brutish treatement over summer.Something that did surprise me was the Blackeberry (Rubus fruticosus) vine.  A drunk driver plowed through our fence in August.  In order to repair the fence, this four year established vine had to come up.  I put it in a clay pot and kept the soil from going dry. Sure enough, here it comes out from under the old stalks.  I don’t know if it will bear fruit, but I’ll cut the pot away and let it have a go at the prima canes (first year) and floricanes (second year), and maybe we’ll have fruit again before I’m too old to pick it.  I forget if the variety is Navajo or Arapaho, but the berries were fabulous.

Dreaming of lizards or tuna, whichever comes first.

Samsara, who at age 12  just learned to climb a tree, along with her instigator, Sir Wally, may appear dormant but are easily revived by tuna.

All (c) Donna Ellis. Contact for permission to repost or reuse. Thank you.