Did an awful job overwintering. Plus advice on Nikko Blue.
Last summer I bought a Limelight and a Lady in Red, the latter despite the misgivings of my MIL, who is a master gardener. In November I tied up the branches with a pair of old nylons, made a chicken wire cage and surrounded it with oak leaves. When I unwrapped it 2 weeks ago it looked like heck. The tips look freeze-dried and the stems like sticks. Now there are leaves growing, although a handful of the taller stems are barren. Could they have died in the winter? There are any number of reasons why my overwintering failed. No burlap around the chicken wire. Didn't put the oak leaves in garbage bags first. Also, there was a light snow the day I wrapped it up, but I had to do it that day as it was going to hard-freeze that night. I did wonder what to do, as everything was damp as I wrapped it. Maybe I created the perfect conditions for the buds to freeze that very night? Anyway, could all you overwintering experts give me advice on how to do it better? And is my LIR going to survive? Limelight looks gorgeous right next to it, and I feel like a fool for going against my MIL's expert advice.
Now that you know what a bad gardener/overwinterer I am, I have a big Nikko Blue (that my MIL gave me, as she declares herself through with them) and can't figure out where to plant it. What's more important? A protected spot, or hours of sun? I have a little protected corner where I could put it, although it's by the sunroom, which isn't heated in the winter, if that makes any difference. It faces S/W, but is hidden under a crabtree and behind a spirea so would receive partial shade. Otherwise I have a spot along the picket fence next to a big Annabelle (morning light) but I doubt it's protected enough, right?