Above: shrubs that died back to the ground in my Calgary garden.
While I'm in a grumpy mood, let's discuss in more detail why this Calgary climate is hard on plants. Yes, it's dry and it's windy here, and we have a short growing season and the nights are cool even in the summer due to our altitude. But at least if things were consistent the plants would know what was going on.
It's the crazy mood swings of our Calgary weather that are the worst - the dry Chinooks, especially. This past winter all my hardy roses (except one - Therese Bugnet and even she lost half her canes), a new lilac "Sensation" and my Crimson Passion cherry bush (supposedly hardy to zone 2) all died down to the ground. I blame it on the long, hot September we had and then the sudden freeze in early October. The plants never even had a chance to start going dormant and storing their energy for the winter when bam! Their green leaves froze solid right on the plants.
Not to worry, I guess. These shrubs will all regrow quite quickly from their base since they still have a large root mass to drive growth. At least, I know the roses and lilac will and I hope the cherry will too. I'm going to wait at least another week since they're only just starting to leaf out now so I can see exactly what branches are alive and which are dead, and then get out the pruning shears. Speaking of which, it's almost time for the June gardening to-do list...