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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.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Halfway Point of Wintery Weather

The transition out of winter is decidedly easier than the slipping away into winter. Looking forward to spring is becoming increasingly more of an issue even in Central Florida.

I can remember (back in the day) when we wouldn't have a single freezing night for several years in a row. We often wished we did back then just so the bugs and weeds would be at least partially exterminated.

Today marks the halfway point between winter and the coming of spring.
According to the Old Farmer's Almanac it's no accident that February 2 is both Ground Hog Day and Candlemas.

Quoting from The Old Farmer's Almanac Legends and Lore newsletter:

"Both signify the triumph of light over darkness, spring over winter. The 2nd is the astronomical midpoint between the winter solstice and the spring equinox.

Candlemas, a Christian feast day, got its name from the candlelit processions that accompanied it. Groundhog Day, a holiday that uses a furry prognosticator to foretell the coming of spring, depends on the presence (or not) of sunshine for its forecast.

Thus the day is known for weather rhymes, such as Half your wood and half your hay, / Should be gone and be left on Candlemas Day, a reference to the halfway point of wintery weather.

It was not held as a good omen if the day itself were bright and sunny, for this indicated that snow and frost would continue, whereas if it were cloudy and dark, warmth and rain would thaw out the fields and have them ready for planting.

Our Groundhog Day is a remote survivor of that belief!"

AND, fellow central Florida gardeners, we can go ahead and cut back all that damaged foliage.

The Old Farmer's Almanac has a long range forecast for weather in our area:

FEBRUARY 2010: temperature 63.5° (2.5° above avg.); precipitation 4.5" (2" above avg.); Feb 1-6: Sunny, warm; Feb 7-9: Scattered showers, warm; Feb 10-13: Sunny, seasonable; Feb 14-21: Heavy rain, then sunny, chilly; Feb 22-25: T-storms, warm; Feb 26-28: Sunny, cool.

MARCH 2010: temperature 68.5° (1.5° above avg.); precipitation 2.5" (0.5" below avg.); Mar 1-4: Sunny, cool; Mar 5-11: Scattered t-storms, turning warm; Mar 12-21: T-storms, then sunny, warm; Mar 22-31: T-storms, then sunny, seasonable.

Now those average temps remind me of the Florida I know and love.

Find the Long Range Weather Forecast for your area here.


  1. Thanks for sharing this info on the 'mid-way point'. I know you will be glad to get to the other side, after what you've had to go through this winter! It looks like there is never a dull moment in your garden, but I noticed you have some wonderful assistance from time to time, with that little mallet;-) Well, the groundhog didn't see his shadow, so 6 more weeks of winter are predicted up here. I'm not sure how that will play out for you down there. Hopefully, your freezes will end sooner, as you are hoping!

  2. Ooops, I forgot to mention the Garden Bloggers Sustainability project I'm having; along with a garden product giveaway. Here's the link:

    There are CobraHead weeders, and West County Gardener gloves, so far...but I'm expecting more items.

  3. Given that our wintry weather usually starts in November, I think here in eastern Canada we're actually on the downside! At least that's what I keep telling myself on this bitterly cold day. :) (-4°F)

  4. I can't wait till spring! I'm so tired of theses chilly, dreary days. :(

  5. What an encouraging post Meems. I looked at our long range forecast, looks pretty good other than rain....oh and a major hurricane..sigh.

  6. That shrub with the droopy orange leaves is driving me nuts! What is it?

  7. I didn't know that! I always have the feeling that the worst of winter is behind us at this point, but many times that's just wishful thinking, as we've had many a blizzard and ice storm in February and even March, for that matter. But still, December and January are behind us and that is a good thing.

    So...YOU'RE GOING TO BUFFALO!!!!!!!! I'm sooooo glad to hear this!!!!! Yay!!!!! I'm so EXCITED to hear this!!!!!! (Can you tell?) :-))))

  8. Jan,
    I always wonder how accurate that ground hog test is? I don't think we'll be having any trouble with freezes any more this year... we are back to our mild winter and itching to start pruning. I'll check out your project shortly ... thank you for letting me know.

    Oh, Nancy,
    THAT is so cold. Hopefully you are on on the other side of the halfway point, too. Even though it probably doesn't feel like it.

    I'm not minding the rain too much ~~I know we need it. The dreary part is so UNcommon for us... it will be nice when sunny days are back... I think tomorrow.:-)

    Oooo... a hurricane... didn't see that one.

    Kind of deceiving...not really orange except from the sunlight... more like brown. It is one of my frost-bitten Firebush shrubs, Hamelia patens. I'll have to cut them back almost to the ground. But they are fast growers and will return by summer. Quite pitiful right now though.

    Until the last 2 years when we got early (January) freezes I've always thought of February as our coldest and hardest month. Now it very much feels like the upside of the winter getting through Feb. If all goes as usual it will feel very much like spring by the end of Feb. Can't complain about that... YES!!!! Going to Buffalo. My sister and I have our reservations... see you THERE!!!!!Very EXCITED too!

  9. This time I hope the almanac is right. I can live with that prediction and even take a LIGHT frost and not complain. The above normal rain sounds good too. I am hoping for a good year on all fronts for a lot of folks. There surely is too much suffering in the world today.

  10. Good news, indeed, Meems! My firebushes look like that right now as well. I had planned to cut the garden back on Saturday, but my health precluded me from it, though I did venture out for a few minutes to clean up the aechmeas and crinums next to the driveway.

  11. Meems,
    I hope the big freeze did kill off some of the bugs so something good will have come of it. I suspect though when the rain and heat returns so will the bugs.

  12. Don't you just love the Old Farmer's Almanac... I truly think they do a better job with the weather than the 'professionals' do!!!!!

    I had never thought about comparing Ground Hog Day and Candlemas.. That is such a neat comparison about LIGHT....

    Your forecast for Feb/March looks good. I'd say you are SAFE.


  13. Today I just noticed that the red of new maple leaves are just starting to peek out. I love Florida!

  14. My plan for this weekend has been to whack everything back,just 'cause I can't stand it anymore,Thanks for the reassurance.
    The tools are sharpened-let me whack away!

  15. Meems, I noticed that you said you were going to cut your firebush all the way to the ground. The one at my house I cut way back and its seeping on the ends. The ones at the school I just trimmed just a little and are not seeping. How do you know how far back to cut them? Janis

  16. I hope that forecast is accurate because I'm ready for some pleasant weather. Fortunately, we've gotten lots of rain and our grass is turning green once again...hurray!

  17. Rick,
    Our forecast looks very decent and our good start on rainfall is a big blessing. I'm holding out hope for so many folks on other fronts as well.

    I've stopped carrying my pruners in my back pocket as I'm out and about in the garden. It is just too tempting to snip away. Although after this weekend I will most likely not hold back any longer. Maybe by then I'll have all the yards of dirt shoveled I'm working on.

    I suspect you are right. Especially if the weeds are any indication. Here they are in full force as always this time of year. And mosquitoes? They never go away do they!

    I'd venture to say growers/farmers probably made out okay with just the Almanac before 24/7 media. "...triumph of light over darkness" ... I liked that, too.

    I've been seeing that everywhere... the cold probably helps intensify the color... very pretty.

    I know what you mean... restraint is not easy with this great weather we are having... today will be my perfect kind of day. But I'll be shoveling dirt and trying hard to keep my pruners at bay for a little longer.

    Last year I cut the one featured literally all the way to the ground and it came back to over 6'tall and wide. I'll probably take it back to about a foot or two this year. My rule of thumb is to scratch the limb with a fingernail gently peeling back the outer layer to see how far down the "green" starts appearing. I'll cut the dead back to the first sign of green limbs. Those ends sometimes gradually harden off (depending on the plant) and new growth splits out from there. Later it might need another slight snipping for appearance sake. Firebush is hardy one... yours should all come back.

    I like the forecast. And this rain has been really good timing. Wouldn't it be nice if we could depend on the natural pattern of rain only. Right now we can and it is wonderful to have it.

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  19. Meems: Glad to know the long waiting is over, you finally can start to trim away those ugly browns. I know we will all start seeing the garden back to the life again! Looking forward to seeing the progress of your garden!

  20. Half way ... yippee! However, Meems, I must admit to being one of those that is enjoying down time inside.

  21. Best news I've heard all day. SO tired of dead plants.


Have a blessed day,

September 2010

Back Garden: October 2010

Louise Philippe: Antique Rose

Tropical Pathway