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"Possibility and promise greet me each day as I walk out into my garden. My vigor is renewed when I breathe in the earthiness and feel the dirt between my fingers. My garden is a peaceful spot to refresh my soul." Meems

Welcome to my Central Florida Garden Blog where we garden combining Florida natives, Florida-Friendly plants, and tropicals.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Baby It's Cold Outside - The Results Show

Peering out the windows the thought going through my mind was should I look or maybe if I don't look it won't be as bad as I think it's going to be? The temps were holding right around 32 degrees when I woke early yesterday morning so I waited a bit until they climbed above the freezing mark to venture outside to survey the damage.

My daughter and her family who live about 10 miles north of us had bunked up with us for the night because the electricity in their entire neighborhood went out. With a baby in tow it was a good idea for them to keep warm at our house. After breakfast and after the guys headed to work we bundled up and headed outside together.

My neighbor to the north (whom I never mention in this blog because I'm pretty certain he possesses no desire to garden since he barely keeps his lawn mowed in the summer-- but that's a whole other story) must have left his irrigation running during the night.

These branches fell from one of his oak trees that borders our property line several weeks ago and since he hasn't removed them yet they provided a perfect place for the irrigation to form icicles ---that had not melted even by 10 a.m.

The sun had begun to shine brightly and the wind was blowing so they didn't last much longer. Ice outside in Florida is not a sight we see very often.

Sooooo..... back to my yard. It doesn't appear that any plants were lost forever. Yeah! Other than some droopy heads on annuals I'll snip off this weekend when it warms up and some burnt edges on numerous plants the harm done was not as severe as I imagined it would be.

The New Guinea Impatiens (I have white ones and red ones in different pockets of plantings throughout) did well in some spots while others didn't hold up as well . The red ones pictured above were covered well and still they wilted from the snap of cold.

The Blue Ginger was not happy even cuddled up in blankets it couldn't withstand the cold. It will perk right back up in the spring. Only I won't cut off its droopy top until then. I wouldn't want to promote new growth until the threat of winter is over.

The night I was prepping-- it had turned dark outside when I remembered the two fire bush shrubs way back in the back of my yard. I was out of drapes. I rummaged around and found two old Christmas table cloths and wrapped them up at the last. They did okay. A few burnt and wilty edges but nothing to cry about.

In the midst of the oak trees in the front, I didn't cover the Begonias. I thought for sure they would die. Not even a tinge on these but several of the same variety and the Angel Wings in the backyard did get bitten.

Ixora is quite sensitive to cold so it lives on the south side. Remarkably it still has some struggling blooms and only some of the tips were burned by the cold.

The Pentas didn't get a blanket and I knew they would perish. There are just too many of them to cover and I had to make choices. The Pentas under the oak trees survived. These out in the open show the worst damage but didn't freeze to the ground. I always prune these severely in the spring anyway. I'll just have to look at them with the "uglies" until then.

The Glory Bower-- not covered --but underneathe the oak canopy bent over about half way down. These nearly year-long bloomers are extremely hardy in warm weather. I'm not too concerned about them-- they will spring back to life once they get a good trimming in the spring.

All the little birdies seemed to love the 55 degree temp and brisk winds yesterday. I was very distracted during clean-up yesterday by all the activity on the feeders. It is so peaceful hearing the sweet sing-songs of the small birds around these days. The challenge of getting close enough to capture them can sidetrack me quite easily.

I want to say these cuties are Ruby-crowned Kinglet but they could be a Warbler? I would love some help on ID if anyone knows. They didn't seem to behave like the Kinglet's I saw in the summer. These little guys were very calm and almost roosting on the feeders.

Carolina Wrens have been very brave lately quickly dashing to and from all the feeders.
The cozy blankets appear to have detered the damage fairly well for the most part. The dozens of oak trees are to be thanked for created their own natural blanket and keeping temps warmer underneathe. They do their duty in the summer and the winter.
All in all I can't complain too much. What survived without any harm? The variegated Ginger, Xanadu, Ivies, Liriope, Plumbago, Draceanas, Philodendron, Ferns, Spaths, Mexican Petunia, Day Lilies, Agapanthas, Amaryllis, Society, Garlic, African Iris, Petunias, Purple Queen, Snow Bush, Schefflera, Mexican Heather, Palms, every color and variety of Lantana, Azaleas, Bromeliads and even the Crotons under the trees which are very cold sensitive.


  1. We didn’t have it that bad here, wind chill was the problem it was very windy for the two days the temperatures were low. I hope your garden recovers soon, and not more cold fronts for this year. One is enough for me.

  2. Rusty- I wondered how you were affected down there. It is rare when the cold blast reaches all the way to you but this one was powerful and a rarity... at least I hope it won't happen again. We'll recover I just don't like having to wait until spring to trim back the "uglies".

  3. Glad it wasn't as bad as you thought it might be. Sounds like both you and the majority of the farmers survived this cold snap with fairly minor damage.

    I must admit that I enjoyed the cooler temperatures. It allows me to pull out the jackets, the sweatshirts, and the thick fuzzy socks that I rarely get to use.

  4. It looks like most of your babies have survived and that is very,very good.

  5. Glaad to hear damage was minimal. It's finally hit the high 60's up here. We might just get 70 yet. I've had more than enough winter now. 8-}

    I'm prety sure your little birds are American Goldfinches. They love thistle. Which reminds me, we need more finch food for the voracious flock that has been hanging around our back yard feeders.

  6. This is beginning to look like it was in Brittany, France before Christmas... you still have more colour in your garden than here right now... the only flowers out are the Helebores! Looking forward to warmer days or maybe some snow in the meantime would be nice!


  7. Thanks for the "Baby, It's Cold Outside" Show and Results Show. So fun to read about...and thanks for allowing us to stay warm at your house when our power went out. When we drove home the next day around noon, the power trucks were still out and about trying to fix stuff and our indoor temp was down to 60. The power had been off for only 10 hours, but still. Way too cold for baby!

  8. jane: I'm with you on the opportunity to layer and pull out the cozy sweaters once in a blue moon. Only it surely does create a whole lot more laundry to manage. Good grief-- I have washed and washed this week with all the added clothing this cold snapped created. LOL

    FC: I did come out okay. Today I began snipping away at the tips of all my annuals that got burnt. No big deal though for all the shameful complaining I did.

    Sophie: Thanks so much for the ID. If they are American Goldfinch which now that you say it sure seems to fit-- that's even more exciting since I don't recall seeing them in my yard before.

    Miranda: I know it must be dreary for you with no color AND no snow. Just keep "thinking" spring... :-)

    MLM: It never fails that our energy system can't handle the load of the increased demand during a cold snap. btw- your baby is sleeping tight tonight- all snug and warm-- oh and ever-so adorable. Enjoy your night!

  9. It must be a shock when the temperatures dip into the freezing zone. I heard about it on our news - because of the citrus crops. It is good that it doesn't last for more than a night or two. I hope that your plants have bounced back!!

  10. Hey, now I have an excuse for not immediately cleaning up my frost damaged plants - I don't want encourage growth again until the frosts are over. Thanks!!

  11. Your poor garden. I hope all survived. Brrrr just seeing that ice made me cold.

  12. kate: i typically don't buy into the reports of freezing temps until they start predicting 28 or below then I start covering my plants. no, it never it was 80... that's Florida for you.

    WG: i actually did get out and snip back all the annuals but you wouldn't want to cut back your shrubs so yes, you have an excuse. LOL

    lisa: Hi. It was so strange to see ice and at first I thought the affects were going to be greater since the ice was the first thing I saw. Turns out my stuff managed pretty well under all its cozy blankets and likely will bounce back quickly in a couple of months.

  13. Looks like you made out okay. We're lucky in that our plants will perk up after a neat little haircut. Kind of like us!

  14. Susan: indeed! It won't be long with our current warm days and our foliage will be looking good as new... then I'll be whining about not being able to keep up. LOL

  15. We swapped weather! However yesterday, a record breaking 65-degrees with balmy breezes completely melted the foot of snow we woke to on New Years Day. I almost headed for the beach!

  16. Hi joey: since that freezing morning we have had near record breaking temps in the high 70's and 80 a couple of days.

    If I had some time off right now I WOULD be at the beach! LOL


Have a blessed day,

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