Long, Cold Winter Leading To Gardening Woes08:31

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This winter's cold temperatures, heavy snowfalls and driving winds may end up being the gift that keeps on giving, as gardeners around the country start to take stock of their plants.

For the most part, it's not pretty.

From winter-burned evergreens in the Northeast to creeping fig plants in South Carolina, the winter has taken its toll.

So what should gardeners look for? And what should gardners be doing to save their plants?

For help, Here & Now's Robin Young — a plant enthusiast in her own right — turns to gardening guru Mike McGrath, host of WHYY's nationally syndicated "You Bet Your Garden." McGrath reassured Robin that this winter was not a death sentence for gardens, and that the plants will bloom again.

"The worst thing that can happen to a garden is a freezing cold winter without snow cover," he said. "We've always told people, if it starts snowing in November and you can always see white on the ground until April, you are going to have one of your best gardens and landscapes ever, because the snow is a perfect insulator."

Furthermore, he said that when the warm weather returns, the plants will know what to do.

"Plants have this wonderful flexibility," he said. "Once they're warm again, once the sap is flowing, what is now kind of a steel rail is going to turn into more like a rubber band. And when that happens, when that sap starts flowing, then the tree, the shrub, can do what comes naturally, which is to reach toward the sun. If we try to change their angle when the sap is frozen solid inside — you know, it's like breaking an ice pop in half."


This segment aired on March 27, 2014.