“Frozen”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana

The Deep South is just not supposed to be this cold. I don’t know how people up north make it with so much cold weather. The last few nights have been extremely cold for us, but tonight is supposed to be the last night of unusually cold temps. We should get down to 19 degrees, but I keep hoping it won’t be that bad. Last night was 21 degrees which is about 20 degrees colder than normal. Our highs the last three days have been about 30 degrees below our normal. I know every place seems to be below normal, but with all this cold weather, I wish we would have had a little snow.



The birdbath pictured above is on the side of the house and is frozen solid to a depth of about four inches and this was at mid-afternoon. We are used to having the shallow birdbaths freeze solid, but not this one. I had to go out about four times today to get rid of ice so that our winged visitors would have water to drink. They say that it is just as important during freezing weather for birds to have water as food.

I went out this afternoon to check on the plants (tropicals) that are under protection. So far, things look okay, but I can’t say the same for many plants that are out in the garden. In the past several years, I have tried to plant only things that will survive a zone 8 winter, so I am hoping that most plants will return from their roots in the spring. If they don’t, I try to have the attitude that this will give me the opportunity to plant new things. I had planned on redoing several areas of the garden this spring, therefore, this latest round of extremely cold weather may just give me the clean slate I needed.

Malodorous Freeze

“Malodorous Freeze”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana


Yesterday, after I posted my Tuesday blog entry and the weather warmed up, I went outside to check on the plants that had been under layers of old bed sheets and plastic sheeting. I was immediately hit by a very unusual odor. At first I couldn’t figure out what it was. I thought it smelled of onions? garlic? But who would be cooking those so early in the morning? It was so strong it would have to be someone working with these outside – like on my patio. As I walked out into the back yard, it got stronger and stronger. Finally, I figured out where that smell was coming from. The society garlic. This plant has long, slender grass-like foliage and very pretty pink-lavender flowers. If the leaves are crushed or disturbed there is a faint garlic odor released. Well, I have found out that when the leaves freeze and then thaw, they release a tremendous amount of garlic “fragrance”. As the day warmed up, the smell became stronger and stronger. I am so glad we only warmed up to 39 degrees. I can just imagine what the yard would have smelled like if it had warmed up to say 50 degrees.

Later on that afternoon, I swear, you could smell it in the house. This was so embarrassing. Smelling up the entire neighborhood! Only about a quarter of the leaves were freeze damaged, so when the temps dip into the predicted teens Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, I just may have even more damaged leaves and more smell!!!

This is the first time we have had temperatures this low since the late 1980’s, so I wasn’t aware this could be a problem. You can bet I am going to make sure and protect the rest of these plants so that no more leaves will be damaged and release such an odor.

Here is a photo of society garlic when it is warm weather and blooming – a lovely little plant



Last night we had another hard freeze of over 14 hours with temps going down to 26 degrees. A few more plants have freeze damage, but I am pretty sure that they will return at least from the roots. The ferns I showed Tuesday are showing damage, but there still are many around that are unaffected by the cold.
Some plants are showing no damage at all. The Iceberg rose flowers looked fine this morning. The paperwhite’s flowers were totally unaffected.



The cordyline (Red Star) had me a little concerned since it is in a container, but it has no damage at all.



Our worst freezing weather won’t come until the weekend, so I am still keeping my fingers crossed that the garden plants (esp. the tropicals) will come out of this okay. I just hope I don’t have to wear a gas mask in the back garden after the freezing weather is over.

Frigid Blast

“Frigid Blast”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana


24.6. That was our low temperature when 29 was the foretasted low. Now, I know that is not anywhere near what other areas of the country had as low temps, but when your average low for this week is 41 degrees, this is cold. Areas along the Gulf Coast are simply not used to these lows since we only get this frigid very occasionally. It was freezing by 7 o’clock last night, and it is still below 32 degrees at 10 a.m. , so this really ended up being a hard freeze for us with even lower temps predicted for the next few days.

I have covered a lot of plants and gathered together the tropicals in containers under heavy plastic and sheets, but I think I am going to have to put a light bulb under this makeshift tent to insure that those plants pull through the lower temperatures. I am also hoping that the sunshine today will warm up the tent which should also help keep them from getting too cold tonight.

It’s too early and cold to uncover anything to see how plants made out, but in the garden, a few uncovered plants told the story.



Every bird bath was frozen over, so I went out early to add more water since there were a few chickadees forlornly looking for water.

Firebush didn’t make it, though it rarely does even in a regular winter. It has returned from the roots every year, so since it has about ten inches of pine mulch at its base, I am hopeful that it will return in the spring.



The calla lilies were damaged, but some still look okay, but I am sure that tonight’s lows will end them. Again, these have a heavy mulching and will return in the spring though the blooming will probably be delayed.



Now, don’t think that everything has been nipped back by the cold. There is still a lot of green around. The kalanchoes planted out in the garden still look okay. It always surprises my how much cold weather these plants can take. You’d think they’d be mush at 32 degrees.



The ferns in the side garden look okay, too.



Many other plants look fine also including the walking iris, Mexican bush sage, and variegated shell ginger, but with more cold weather coming, I don’t know how many others are going to succumb to this unusual arctic blast in the nights to come.

Since this blog is my way of keeping a record of what happens in the garden, I sure hope there won’t be too many more posts cold damage. Even though I think most damaged plants in the garden will return from the roots, I am still holding my breath about the tropicals in containers. I sure wish this extra cold weather would move out of here faster.

Winter White

“Winter White”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana


So much of the country is covered in snow and freezing temperatures right now. Reading so many northern garden blogs, this Deep South gardener doesn’t know how they make it through those days and days of subfreezing weather. Of course, cold temperatures are relative. Here, on the Gulf Coast anything below 40 degrees is considered frigid. The last few days, the highs around here have been in the forties, and the lows about 30 degrees. Because we grow so many tropicals, this is considered very cold weather.

While there is no snow cover here, we still have some winter white around. This white, however, consists of flowers, not snow.


Iceberg Rosa




White Sasanqua


Tonight is supposed to start even more cold weather coming through for the next four or five days. Some weathermen are reporting temperatures down into the teens where I live, but then other sites are not predicting temps that low. I wish they would hurry up and find some consensus on the low temps so that I can adequately prepare to take more extreme steps to protect the garden.

An Early Spring Bouquet

“An Early Spring Bouquet”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana


Even though it is the dead of winter, I got a springtime bouquet today. A very good friend of the family sent this lovely flower arrangement.



We will be getting our first really cold weather tonight and over next few days, and I know the garden will really be shutting down. Living in the Gulf South, we can garden all year long, but when a severe cold front comes through, many of the plants that will continue to bloom during our little dips of cold temperatures will stop. Many flowering plants that are annuals up North are really tender perennials and will often overwinter in my garden. But every now and then, we get a very cold blast of arctic air and many plants don’t make it. I am afraid that scenario is what seems to be shaping up for the coming week.

Today I was busy covering the tropical plants and very heavily mulching other marginal plants. Tonight is not supposed to be too bad, but the next few nights should be very cold.

This beautiful arrangement of lilies, roses, mums, and stock will help soften the blow if I lose any plants.

Happy New Year

“Happy New Year”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana



Here’s hoping that everyone has a very Happy New Year.


Today is also Garden Blogger’s Muse Day, day to post a poem relating to gardening , nature or whatever strikes you.  I thought since there has been a blue moon for New Year’s that it would be very appropriate to have a poem about the  moon.





As I lay awake in the white moon light,
I heard a faint singing in the wood,
‘Out of bed,
Put your white foot now,
Here are we,
Neath the tree
Singing round the root now!’

I looked out of window, in the white moon light,
The trees were like snow in the wood–
‘Come away,
Child, and play
Light with the gnomies;
In a mound,
Green and round,
That’s where their home is.
Honey sweet,
Curds to eat,
Cream and frumenty,
Shells and beads,
Poppy seeds,
You shall have plenty.’

But soon as I stooped in the dim moon light
To put on my stocking and my shoes,
The sweet sweet singing died sadly away,
And the light of the morning peeped through:
Then instead of the gnomies there came a red robin
To sing of the buttercups and dew.

– Walter de la Mare


Thanks to Sweet Home and Garden Chicago for starting Garden Bloggers’ Muse Day.  Be sure to visit to see other poetry for today.

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