“Safe”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana
Winter here on the Gulf Coast is usually a series of ups and downs on the temperature scale. Below freezing one day and in the 80’s the next, and a few days later – freezing again. When temperatures fluctuate like that, plants can really be damaged or lost completely. Gardeners have to scurry around trying to protect plants when we get a cold spell following a warm period.
This year has been different. We have pretty much had consistently chilly to cold weather. Once cool weather settled in, we have had only two short warm-ups which means that plants have stayed on the dormant side. Many of the plants that flourish in our fall and winter gardens are really tender perennials which can succumb to freezing weather, and last night they were put to the test.
We had about eight hours of below freezing temps, and everything seemed to come through fine. While it only got down to 29 degrees, with that many hours, I was afraid I would lose a few of the more tender plants. But, so far, everything looks safe. Oh, some of the salvias have a few leaves burned and the coleus that was still trying to hang on are gone, but many plants that die back every winter are still up and look good. I believe this is the first year that the fire spike has not died back. Even my hydrangeas still have leaves hanging on.
However, I was really worried about the gerber daisies. The red ones I have in the entry garden are a little protected by the house, so I was only mildly concerned about them, but the yellow ones I planted this past summer are in the circle garden which is away from the house and in an open area. Since the forecast changed Friday afternoon to a colder and longer freeze, I did not have time to even cover them with mulch.
I was so happy this morning to see that they made it through the night with no problem. The red ones were fine.
And, so were the yellow.
Since the second week of January normally is our coldest period, I am thinking that we just might make it through this winter with lovely, dry, chilly weather and no plants lost. With no super cold weather in the near future, the plants may just be safe for this year.