Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Selective Sights After a Cold Winter's Night

The garden thermometer under the big double-oak showed 29 degrees this morning at first-light. 

Smiling Pansies

As a native Floridian who has never lived anywhere else, I remember cold winters like we have been experiencing these last few years.  However, I had been lulled into forgetfulness by the decade or so of milder winters occurring prior to 2008.

Bamboo, Multiplex 'Fernleaf'

I've lived on the same piece of property for 25 years now.  When the children were still small my gardening efforts were limited to a few hedges of ligustrum, viburnum and lots of azaleas.  All of those plants are cold-hardy and have never been fazed by winter.

Budding Azaleas

A few hibiscus bushes and pass-along bromeliads were in the landscape but I don't remember winter ever ravaging them like it has recently.

Native Saw Palmetto

The last four years have afforded a slower lifestyle that fueled a new interest in gardening.  Yep, just in time for a cold winter cycle to hit.

Flowering Maple

All the beautiful tropicals and butterfly nectar and host plants that drew me that first spring of 2007 gardening have taught me much.  Old stand-by plants once considered "boring" are now appreciated for the structure they provide during just such times as these.

African Iris

Oh, the tropicals and other tender perennials will always be loved and grown in this garden, but more thought is being given to a reliable frame-work to define the garden during the dormant months.

Shrimp Plant

This thought began after last January's eleven days of freezing temperatures.  By April, the thought was hidden beneath the exuberance of seeing those tender plants returning.  Soon, the thought of providing a form that would be cold-hardy was completely forgotten, or at least, ignored.

Sasanqua Camellia 'Yuletide'

A few reliable garden residents are rewarding my initial effort and refueling my resolve to follow-through better this next gardening year. 

My blog title says "Learning and Growing in a Florida Garden" and, albeit slowly, I am.


  1. NanaK: It is so true that we tend to "forget" about the winter and the impact to our tender tropical plants when the weather warms up in the spring. Your selective sights of the garden is still beautiful. Love, love that camellia 'Yuletide'!

  2. Hi NanaK...Aren't we ALL still learning. Every time a killer freezes touches our gardens we're forced to learn new ways to garden. By the time we get it right, we'll be back to warm winters. :-) We were at 30 degrees this morning and the usual butterfly plants are looking mighty sad. :-(

  3. You have a couple degrees on us, NanaK. Got pretty cold here last night. Everything looks pretty rough in my garden (except those boring viburnums and azaleas, heehee). I do wonder if we will ever have another string of warm winters. Over the past 20 years, it was warm enough here in this spot to grow up massive crotons and areca palms. Then, one night just decimated it all. Certainly rethinking my choices these days. Some of the allamandas might go, as well as some of the pest-ridden hibiscus. The pentas and crinums are all in a sad state, but they'll stay, since they're worth a little dormancy time. Of course, we'll never get rid of the broms and ti plants. Baby steps....


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