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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.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Narrowly Escaping Winter's Fury

Winter has been kind to us so far this year.
With huge blasts of arctic air from the north that dipped into Florida this past week we were hoping for the best. Just 15 miles East and 10 miles north of Hoe & Shovel temperatures dropped below the freezing point a couple of nights.
We took our chances counting on the micro-climate we've created with the oak tree canopies to keep us just above the 32 degree mark.
Although many of the plants here are bedraggled and worn from night after night of temps dropping below tropical norms, we aren't willing to use our audible voice for complaining. I mean considering what most of the country is having to endure... it just wouldn't be right.

I sense, however, my shivering plants are wishing, like me, that the threats were over. We'll be rejoicing when we can breathe that final sigh of relief knowing we've outlasted another winter. I mean, it isn't long now folks... we are almost there. Only a few more weeks for the risk of freezing and we will be home-free toward spring.

No, we won't complain, instead we will just keep thanking God for the chance to enjoy the sunshine, the greenery... the colorful foliage ... and the flowers we do have.

There are some blooms that really thrive in this cooler environment. The impatiens are just such a flower. This time of year almost a showy sort with their numerous variety of colors growing tall on watery stalks of deeply colored greenery. No, they don't mind the cooler-than-normal days or nights. Of course, there is a threshold they won't endure but we haven't dipped to the breaking point and so they continue to perk up so many garden spots throughout.
Others, like the dainty marble leaf perennials, are fading into the greenery now and we won't see their lavender flowers again until late summer or early fall.

The brightly colored red leaves of blood leaf iresine plants amid the greenery are a welcome sight in the dead of winter. They aren't what they used to be nor are they what they will be soon but still we have to be happy they are willing to hang on and share their pretty colors with us.

The red salvia has no problem becoming a focal point placed in the middle of the back garden for clear view from the back porch.

It's no secret around here the angel wing begonias are being used in container pots and planted in the ground. The more the merrier we've decided as we've succumbed to their easy nature. The majority of them continue to flourish but are noticeably slowing down in their blooming habits. Even so, here are some new blooms on this one (above) planted directly in the ground back in November and showing happy signs of life.

The pink firespike callistachyum is an unquestionable standout in the side yard right next to the vegetable garden. It is located on the north side and still the winter temps haven't fazed its blooming branches. This plant grows very quickly at the rate last year of six feet tall and just as wide in a few short months. It propogates extremely easily by cuttings in good soil. AND... it blooms in December/January!
If I could hug it I would. I've started several new plants from this one and they are blooming too! Baby plants... blooming! I must say it has been put on the list of favorites. I'm going to do my best to refrain from over using it. You know how it is when gardeners find such compliant performers!
I hope every dear reader has enjoyed a wonderful weekend. And I wish you warm and cozy winter days. Here's to counting the days until spring with happy faces.


  1. I'm glad the cold snap missed's still hanging on around here, but we are used to these weather tantrums each winter and just grin and bear it (not to be confused with grinning and baring it, of course, decidedly not recommended in this weather....)

  2. Great post, again. Your garden still looks happy. Jack Frost did show up here and stayed for about three days, I believe our low was 23. I covered a lot of my plants and even then some just gave up. I love your pink firespike, I have the red one. I have two inside growing from cuttings along with some other cuttings and of course all of my seeds.......where am I going to keep all of them until spring?

  3. So beautiful, as always, Meems. I wondered how your garden was fairing with this weather. We've had a couple of frosty mornings lately. It will be warmer the next couple of days and then more colder weather is forecast for the middle of the week. What I find most frustrating about this weather is that it is the perfect opportunity to have outdoor fires, but the low humidity creates too much of a fire hazard. *sigh*

  4. It's nice to come here and warm up! I didn't realize you were prone to freezing temps in winter. Brrrrr - send them back up to the Arctic! But please, not by way of Canada. LOL!

  5. Thanks so much for sharing your Florida garden with us shivering Northerners! It gave me courage to see flowers growing again, and knowing that spring will eventually return. But for us, it's still months away! Wah!

  6. I hope your beautiful flowers survive the cold weather. Yours is one of the few places to visit where we have a reprieve from winter.

  7. Your plants seem to be looking good, despite the near miss with freezing temperatures, thank goodness for the trees. The birds on the birdbath are frolicking anyways.

  8. If you could hug it, you would... I just had to giggle over that! I love some of my plants just that much, too, Meems!

    Yes, indeed, the weather there had better straighten up! Only three more weeks until I'm there! I can't wait, and I look forward to meeting you, too! :-)

  9. I can see why you like the firespike, Meems; what a gorgeous plant! And your impatiens are so beautiful! I'm glad the freezing temperatures missed you. This seems to have been an unusually cold week all across the country. I always hate to hear when the Florida citrus crops are hurt by a freeze.

    We had record temperatures this week, below zero...Spring still seems a long way off.

  10. Relief and I was worried. I thought for sure I would come over here and find disaster. I'm going to plant more angel wings next year. They are the best bloomers.

  11. what a nice post, meems. so glad you did escape, we have not been able to here. it has been ssssoooo cold. today actually feel warmer and we are in the thirties. yikes! i can only hope you will not feel the sting at all for the rest of winter.
    love your red leaves, they almost look backlighted they are so bright. these days i count on the birds to bring the much needed colour around here. i am thankful for the cardinals, titmouse, the bluebirds, woodpeckers...they all are a welcome sight.

  12. Meems my daughter who is at university in Illinois says that jack frost can go back where he came from. In the six years she has been in the USA she has never experienced anything like this. So I just hope that you will be spared. It has been a bit chilly at nights down here but for you that will be a warm breeze. However I wish I can get some cooler day temperatures for my impatients though LOL. Keep warm and take a swig of liquid sunshine (rum) in some fruit juice. That will fix ya!! LOL

  13. Thanks for sharing those beautiful pictures - a most welcome sight for sore eyes...
    Your header is great - what's this iris called? Is it a wild one or a hybrid? (I've sown some seeds from one of those, and I would really like to know its name...)

  14. What beautiful colors. We woke up to a heavy frost this morning. Everything was silver.:-)--Randy

  15. Meems,

    I'm so glad that your garden escaped injury! Viewing your colorful garden and green foliage on a January morning is a wonderful treat for those of us in the gray and brown of winter.


  16. Meems,

    So glad your garden was spared! It would be heart breaking to all of us to see some of these tender beauties frost damaged. Your garden is our respite; where we meditate, have coffee with our dear friend and catch up on life! Thank you for the tour and a sweet place to visit before I head out into the chilly morning. I do love those angel wings!

    Word verification is an anagram of people this morning!


  17. Oh heck Meems. Just go ahead and join us with a glass of whine. I am sure some of your plants are pouting after getting so cold. Like the rest of us whiners the will get over their pout and bloom again.

  18. Your beautiful garden is a sight for sore, winter eyes, Meems -- everything looks beautiful, and I hope you continue to avoid any harsh winter weather.

  19. I wish I could put angel wing begonias in the ground! Our winter has been weird- snow, snow, sun, sun, wind and more wind :)

  20. Visiting your website was like visiting a greenhouse full of blooms in the middle of the winter! I'm glad you survived the chilly visitor.

  21. Hey Meems - The frost has only just nipped us in our neck of the woods. Only the most cold tender plants died. (See ya' next year, coleus!) I LOVE the fire spike too. I'd really like the pink one.

  22. Whew, close call! I had to smile when I heard the weatherman say its warmer in Alaska than Alabama today.

    Glad to know that your garden was not touched by the artic blast. Mine right now is buried under more than a foot of snow but I keep thinking how good all that moisture is for the coming Spring.

  23. I am just down the road in Temple Terrace and bundled up the crotons for a chilly couple of nights. The funniest site is the Royal palm, wrapped in packing blankets all the way up to its foliage. A good 16 feet. What won't we do for our tropical babies?


Have a blessed day,

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