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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.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Could Someone Please Cue the Fat-Lady to Sing??

Ornamental cabbage in container gardens ~~ a tough winter planting even in low temps.

Winter is certainly making its distinct mark this December. Snow is falling (not here) in record amounts all over the country. The weather map seems to be covered in white reaching even as far south as north Florida (as Darla reports).
Tri-color Stromanthe is a very tender, colorful perennial which needs protection from freezing temps.

Gardeners in central Florida had our fingers crossed that the last two (early December)blasts of arctic air might have been a fluke. That perhaps our typically mild Decembers and winters would escape future dips into frosty temps since it came so early.

Understory of front garden planted with layers of hardy foundational plants mixed with natives, Florida-Friendly perennials and a few tropicals.

Alas, it is NOT over. Instead we are braced for more freezing temps along with windy, blustery weather the next few days. Not snow. But for this subtropical climate this kind of cold is a huge threat to crops and tender foliage.

Container planting in the center of circle garden ~~ mixed with hardy and tender plants. It is wrapped in a blanket because it is open and exposed to the elements.

Refusing to panic and scramble at each weather report (like I've done so many times in past years) I'm urging the majority of my plants to get (somewhat) hardened to this abnormal cold.

At this point the chances are increasingly unlikely. Wishing still ... after all if I spoiled them too much by keeping them covered and warm they might not be as tough right?

The vegetable garden has definitely taken a beating. Every vestige of warm season crop has been burned by low temps.

A few of the tender tomato plants were covered as there was no chance they would survive without extra care. Even so leaves were burned but the eager tomatoes remain. They are wrapped up tightly again with high hopes of a harvest eventually. IF things get back to normal.

At first sight of the overall winter damage one would not imagine to see perky lettuce, tasty spinach, thriving broccoli, cauliflower, and radishes. But a closer look beyond the brown and shriveled plants reveals the cool season edibles hanging in there. Continuing to supply the dinner table with freshness in the midst of these crazy weather patterns. We always have to look for the bright side!

Far back gardens underplanted (what's visible in this photo) with selloums, variegated shell ginger, saw palmetto, xanadu, variegated aztec grass~~ all of it mostly protected by oak trees.

Throughout the gardens there is damage here and there. It's kind of random and mostly to be expected. Green is looking very pleasing to the eye these days.

Tropical pathway in back gardens struggling to look perky.

The large oak trees in front and back serve as a cover of insulation allowing some of the tenderest plants to defy nature under its canopy. So far.

Others are simply suffering from a haggard and fatigued appearance as they struggle to stay warm enough to keep from fainting all together.

As much as we wish the fat-lady would go ahead and sing signaling this crazy winter is OVER ... reality check indicates we may be in for a long season.

All in all we're thankful for the stalwart plants that aren't giving up easily. It is winter!

And in typical Florida fashion we will endure these few days of freeze and frost warnings and by weeks' end temps will be back up to the 70's with plenty of our warm sunshine to live it up outdoors! That news has to brighten anyone's world!


  1. I am waiting for a different fat lady to sing - the one who will end the wind blowing the snow into huge drifts.

  2. I agree she needs to sing and get off the stage. Good luck tonight.

  3. You still have a lot of plants that have melted in my garden. I'm loving my lettuce right now. The tomatoes have been in and out and in on the porch and so far so good. I think you're right about us being in for another couple months of on again, off again freezes. At least I'm getting ideas of what I should plant more of and what I should not.

  4. So far,so good here.But everything is bundled up tight as drum.Fingers and toes crossed.But at least we don't have to shovel snow!

  5. I have so much brown in my garden right now. I don't dare cut anything back! It is very cold out and that wind has been brutal. Looking forward to the 70's at weeks end.

  6. Oh, Meems. The green in your garden is such a welcome sight. The layered canopy has served you well as has the tender loving care you've shown your charges.
    We have an oasis of brown. Enjoy the warmer temps later in the week!

  7. Well, it is Tuesday morning here in Sarasota. It does not look good outside. Everything is white. I could not cover everything and many of the uncovered plants already look bad.

    Thank goodness we have those 2 big oak trees in the back protecting some of the plants. Also checked out my courtyard and things look good there.

    More coming tonight, but should not be a hard freeze like last night was.

    I know I will be visiting the nurseries in the spring to get replacements for the ones I lose.

    Stay warm!

  8. Hi Meems...It's looking like a looonnngggg winter ahead. Who knows...maybe Mother Nature will surprise us. I'm expecting the worst and hoping for the best.

  9. Hi Meems,
    Love reading your blog. I learn so much from you. My crinums are not looking so good. Should I leave them be? Miss you.
    Your painting buddy

  10. Lalalalllaaallllaaaala

    Don't say I never did anything for gardening :)


  11. Hi's always been such a pleasure visiting your garden...beautiful in every season. Wishing you the very best for the coming year. Happy 2011!!

  12. Well, it has been a cold and frosty few nights/mornings. The open areas not covered by trees resemble a winter wonderland of the Florida sort. Selloums are bent over with the heavy weight of ice running through their watery/fluid tall stalks.

    Some of the tropicals that survived earlier December frosts succumbed to the pressure with this cold blast. All looking pretty pitiful. It was expected as they were left to the elements.

    Every exposed (not under tree cover) limb/branch of shrubs and grasses and trees laden with crystals of white 3 days in a row. The sun will be out again soon to melt it all away but the damage has been done. In many cases old-man-winter will have won out temporarily making it a long wait for recovery. Nevertheless, most plants/shrubs/perennials will most certainly recover as the roots are not frozen. It doesn't stay cold long enough to freeze the ground.

    No, we shouldn't cut back any of the damage. Believe it or not that damage will protect the live plant underneath when the next blast comes along.

    Onward we go! It will be ugly in the garden for a few months but after all it is WINTER!

    Thank you all for your kind comments and my best to each of you and your gardens as we look forward to the rest of a beautiful Florida WINTER ... and especially SPRING! This is the perfect time to get outdoors and enjoy this wonderful season and lots of sunshine.

  13. Meems, We are having the coldest December weather I remember in a long while~This weekend it will be in the 60s...Someone please cue Mother Nature that we want our weather back to normal! In the meantime, your garden still looks lovely to these eyes used to seeing brown at C&L! gail

  14. It's always such a treat to visit you in winter, Meems, and see your beautiful, lush and green garden. I just want to reach out and pick some of that lettuce:) I hope the fat lady sings soon before too many of your plants are damaged from the freezes.

  15. so much for 'global warming'!! after having my patio plants wintering in my family room for days at a time, i foolishly trusted the forecast & returned them outside one night too soon - now all is burnt and lost! it is so sad & frustrating! but there is always 'Spring' to look forward to recovery or replacements! otherwise, loving the cooler temps!

  16. Gail,
    I'm not sure what 'normal' is anymore. I can remember several winters in a row when we didn't dip to 32 degrees. My neighbor gardener and I used to wish it would once in while to get rid of some of the pesky bugs.

    I love you to visit anytime and how I would love to share some of that yummy lettuce with you. We can't complain down here when we see what it looks like north of us. We really don't have it so bad.

    I'm so sorry about your container plants ... after you took such care to bring them in. :-( One more day would have been perfect.


Have a blessed day,

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