Dodging the Weather Bullet

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

It looks like we dodged a bullet last night when it comes to the weather.  After weeks of very mild weather, winter came roaring back.  Temperatures were forecasted to dip to 26 for 12+ hours, but thankfully a layer of high thin clouds moved over us, so it was only 29 degrees for our low and freezing temps for about 5 hours.  Not enough cold weather to do any harm to tender new growth that has started showing up.

All of the daylilies have started showing new growth, and as I was protecting other tender tropical plants, I was keeping my fingers crossed hoping this new growth wouldn’t be harmed by the freeze.  After it warmed up, I went to check on things, and all the daylilies were fine – the newly emerging ones as well as the evergreen ones that have new growth.



I had just been speculating that I would not have to purchase any wax begonia this spring because last year’s was still hanging on. I thought that I had spoken too soon, but, no, all seems to have come through fine.   All the new leaves are fine, so it look as if I just may be able to spend money on other plants instead of on new begonias.



Other plants that have started putting out new foliage and made it through just fine are holly ferns, cry baby tree, salvias, and even my returning coleus plant. Thank goodness for the microclimates in my garden that help so many plants make it through cold weather.

When we started having warmer weather in early January, in the back of my mind was always the scenario of a hard freeze coming after tender new growth or flowers showed up. This has happened in the past, and it is so frustrating that tender plants that made it all through the winter succumb at the last minute. Last night I was pretty worried about all this new growth, but today it looks like everything will be fine. Big sigh of relief.


Coming Back

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

While we all are sure that spring will return and many dormant plants will awaken with warmer temperatures, it is those marginal plants that have died back in the cold weather that have us holding our breaths. It seems that it has been so much colder just about everywhere this year. I know that I have had plants that have never had any trouble coming through our winters with its occasional freezes die back completely or have damaged leaves this year. However, there are signs that even these plants seem to be coming back.

The agapanthus, which has never had any damage before, took a pretty good hit from the late December freezes. Thankfully, it is starting to show new leaves emerging. I don’t know if there will be flowers this year, we’ll just have to see.



The lemon balm that I have had in a container for about ten years, is coming back also.



Finally, I noticed that the mint growing in a large container is sending out new leaves. This was another plant I was surprised was damaged. It has come through so many winters without any freeze damage.



Our temperatures this winter did not get that cold (mid 20’s) which isn’t unusual here, but the cold did last for 12 to 15 hours which is very unusual and we had five days of this. Normally if we get hard freezes, they usually don’t last but 4 to 6 hours before the temps are above 32. This year’s freezes over many hours and several days is what has knocked so many plants back. I am still looking for other signs of life around other plants. I am hoping most everything will come back.

Time to Cut Back

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

Today, was a lovely, sun-shinning day. It has been a long time since we have had mild temperatures and sunshine. Even though I had the day off from work, I was unable to work in the garden which means it will be the weekend before I can get out and cut back freeze damaged plant material.

Right now, I am only going to cut back the mushy parts of plants. Everything else will wait until it gets warmer. In the past, for example, I have cut back the Mexican Bush Sage stalks that had died in freezing weather, only to find later on that those stalks evidently helped protect the crown of the plant. After that first time of losing one of my favorite sages to cutting back too early, I have always waited until all cold weather is gone, and every year those perennials have sent out shoots from the base and lived.

There are several plants that seem crispy dead, and some that are mushy dead. It is time to cut back the mushy ones; the crispies can wait. The agapanthus and crinum plants need to be cut back. At least the agapanthus still has some leaves that are okay, and I don’t think you can kill a crinum, but the mushy leaves have to go.


Freeze Damaged Agapanthus


Freeze Damaged Crinums

Another Session of Sprucing Up

This post, “Another Session of Sprucing Up” was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 

Well, for once I got home early from work and with the longer daylight was able to work outside for almost two hours.  I worked on the circle garden.  Bulbs and other plants are already popping up, and I want the area to look neat and tidy when these do bloom. 

I cut out the two Orchid Trees (Bauhinia) that bit the dust with the last freeze we had.  I had grown these from seed and they were about eight feet tall.  It was sad to lose them, but I knew when they were planted that it was marginal that they would survive here for very long.  With these two plants gone, the Butterfly rose (Mutabilis) was a little floppy.  I didn’t realize that the Orchid Trees were helping to support it.  So, this too was pruned back and tied to a small trellis that my sweet daughter had given me a few years back.  Since I had just cut back some ginger that this trellis had been keeping from falling over into the lawn, it was now available to place elsewhere.

I also cut out the dead portions of the Bulbine which was about 2/3 of the plant.  My yellow lantana is coming back, so I trimmed all the dead branches off.  I raked all the leaves, pine needles, and pine cones from the outside edges and the path in between.  The next thing to be done was the picking up of all the leaves in the beds themselves.  My hubby has made me a stick with a nail in the end, and this tool makes stabbing and picking up leaves in a garden bed a snap.

After putting away the lopers, rake, and clippers, there was only one thing left to do.  I walked back to the area and just enjoyed looking at the cleaned up garden.  I had used my time well.  The bright yellow pansies, yellow daffodils, and the neatly trimmed plants were a very nice sight to behold.


These are the Apple Blossom amaryllis I showed in an earlier post.  All three are in bloom now and make a lovely, fragrant front porch show.