One of the worst things about this extended cold snap is that I've got a serious case of Cabin Fever setting in. I had planned to spend the first week of the new year cleaning up the gardens and getting ready to plant some winter annuals. Instead, I've spent it huddled around the space heater wrapped in blankets and multiple pairs of socks.
We've had at least one hard freeze in the last week here in My Florida Backyard. Geographically speaking, we're only about 6 miles from the bay, so that helps to keep our nighttime temps up just a little bit. Still, it only takes one night with a record-breaking low of 27 (27!) to do some nasty damage. Most of the grass in the area is now brown, and weeds like Spanish Needle are especially burned. (Gee, what a shame.)
Most of our plants are native and cold-hardy, so the only real damage I've noticed is to the Blue Daze in the front gardens. It was due to be cut back anyway, so there's no real loss there. The hibiscus, which lives on the southwest corner of the house, is showing damage only on the tips of branches, also easily trimmed. Surprisingly, even the pentas and angelonia on the south side of the house have survived without being covered, most likely because they are close to our house and sheltered by the fence of the house next door.
Still, I'm eager to get out and do some work. My winter Indian Blanket Flower seedlings are starting to thrive, and I need to thin them out and transplant them a little more evenly. This native (and Florida State Wildflower) is one of the most economic purchases I've ever made. I started them from a packet of seed that cost about $2, and they flourish each winter in the butterfly garden, adding some much needed color in a difficult time of year. In the late spring, I cut them back, but not before the heads have gone to seed. By early winter, I seem to have twice as many plants as I had the year before, all from one little seed packet.
Anyway, if we can just make it through the weekend ahead, next week promises to get a little warmer each day until we reach our normal 65 - 70 degree highs. Can't come soon enough for us!
P.S. Did you know butterflies shiver to get warm just like we do? Check out this video I shot at the MOSI Bioworks Butterfly Garden this week.