"Gardening is about enjoying the smell of things growing in the soil, getting dirty without feeling guilty, and generally taking the time to soak up a little peace and serenity. " ~Lindley Karstens

Thursday, January 14, 2010

My first garden experience with the cold weather

This is my first post ever. I am supposed to talk about my garden evolvement, but I think I will put that in another posting. I would like to record some lesson learned from the impacts that recent weather had in my garden before I forgot.

The recent unusual florida near-freeze weather caused some damages to my garden although I did bring most of pots either in the garage, or under the patio cover. I also covered some in ground plants that I think can not stand the freeze. However, it turned out I either covered some of them too late, or not enough. Here are some before after pictures of my damaged plants for my own record, so that I know what to do next time if the cold front ever decides to hit south florida again.

Agave (update: Agave desmettiana 'Variegata'): This is one of the housewarming gifts from my good friend Lily who shares the same love of gardening with me. Fortunately, I think the center is still not damaged. Even if I ever lose it, I still have quite a few pups hidden under the mother plant.

One of my Bromeliads (I am still learning the names. Can somebody tell me what is this called? Neo?)

One of my container combination: Diamond Frost, ornamental potato leaves ('Blackie' with dark purple, nearly black foliage; 'Margarita' with chartreuse leaves), and Orange Marmalade Crossandra. I loved the color combination, and hope they can all bounce back once the weather warms up.

Other plants suffered damages are:

Ornamental potato leaves 'Margarita', which is totally fried regardless the various locations they are.

Allamanda Neriifolia. This has been blooming the showy yellow flowers for me for months. I do think it will come back in the spring.Papaya trees. They are located on the south side of my house, outside the fence along the lake. There are absolutely no protection for them.
Braizilian Red Hots. I found this one is extremely frost sensitive. I have them under a tree, and even covered them after I saw the first sign of damage. You still can see the once beautiful foliage all turn brown.

Okay, enough of sad pictures, let's look at the bright side. Here are some of plants in my garden still show off their beautiful flower or foliages.
Dipladenia pink
Golden shrimp plant
Lily of the Nile (Agapanthus africanus)
Gardenia is about to bloom
Newly purchased dragon wing begonia, just planted in the container before the freeze, and was brought into the garage during those cold days.

Bulbine Orange
Sedum Hybrid Florida Friendly Gold

That is all for the first post. Wow, I so envy all your garden bloggers out there whom I have been following for quite a while now. You all made the blogs so pretty and easy to follow, and the reader would think it is as easy to write as reading one. Only when I started writing, I KNOW now how much efforts you guys have put into it!

Thanks so much for taking so much time to share. I surely learned a lot from all of you!


  1. Congratulations, Ami, on your first post. Now that you have been bitten by the gardening bug it only stands to reason to write about it and share with the rest of us who are crazy enough to garden in Florida. So happy you've joined us... always nice to have more Florida folks to talk with.

    Actually it makes me feel a little better to know the freeze damage made it all the way to south Florida. Of course I feel badly for you but it stands to reason that if it damaged the south there would be no escaping its fury.

    I am not good with bromeliad names... most of mine have been passed along to me from my neighbor and friends. But they surely are fun and easy to grow. Your potato vine will come back once you cut it back~~they absolutely do not like the cold... it doesn't even have to get to freezing and they start withering. But they do great in our heat and humidity. The sedum and bulbine are great aren't they? I'm loving them right now ~~ they made it through the cold without being covered AND they like our summers. Can't beat that.

    Thank you for your kind words on my blog... it is always nice to know when inspiration has been sparked.

  2. Meems:

    Very excited to see your comments. Believe me, after following your blog for about half year, I feel I know you already. Thank you for your encouraging words, and being the first to leave me a comment :)

    Yes, I love sedum and bulbine. I bought sedum from HD, and separate it to small portions, now they are all around my garden. I even give some to my friends :) I got bulbine from my coworker. When they just arrived, they are all squashed by transportation, but now they are thriving in my garden with their long spikes and orange flowers.

    Thanks again, hope I can get more time to garden and blog, but with a full time job and 2 young kids, it might not be that easy :)


  3. Hi, Ami! I'm so glad to see your blog and comments! Your photos are wonderful...I really like the Orange Marmalade...the flowers are sooooo pretty!! I had the Brazilian Red Hots...loved their color and foliage...but lost them last year to a frost. I also REALLY like your sedum. I think I'm going to search some of this out for my own garden.
    I'm looking forward to more posts! It's fun, isn't it?

  4. Kimberly: Welcome you to visit my blog! Sorry to hear about your Brazilian Red Hots. I hope mine can survive, or at least I will learn the lesson out of it :) If you are close to me, I would love to share my sedum with you. I have propagated it all around my garden and to my friends as well.

    Yes, I will try to do more posts. I know it will be hard for me with the full time job and two kids. But I will try, it IS lots of fun!

  5. Neo is short for neoregelia, and they are normally some of the hardier bromeliads. It looks like everything in your gardens gonna be A-OK! Beautiful pictures by the way, and I look forward to more posts!

  6. The Rainforest Gardener: Thank you for letting me know my bromeliad's name. I am totally new to the gardening, and not good at the names yet. Hope I will learn more from all of you! Thanks for the kind words about the pictures. I need all the encouragement I can get :)

  7. I tried the red hots for the first time in 2008 and lost them all to the couple little freezes we had in early 2009. (At the time, those seemed like big freezes, No longer!)
    Those are such great plants through the summer -- they just love that full hot sun -- I thought them worth investing in again last spring. But this time, I started lots of "insurance" cuttings. They are really easy to start from cuttings. Clip just above a branching of leaves and stick in a pot. Keep the soil wet and protected from the sun for a couple weeks, and you have new plants.
    The trouble is, they grow so fast and get so leggy, you have to keep starting new ones or plant the thriving cuttings. (Not all of my cuttings take, so don't freak if some just wither and die. You'll know after about two weeks if they're rooting.)
    Oh, by way of introduction, I linked to you through Kay's blog, which you linked to through Susan, who I count as a dear friend and friend of my blog, The Dirt. I'm also a Meems fan and fortunate to have visited her beautiful garden a couple times. We are all 6 degrees of separation!

  8. Hi, Penlyn: Very excited to see you visiting my blog. Just posted one long one out there. I came across your site a couple of times ago when I do my plant research via the google. You are one of persons who inspired me deeper and deeper in this garden world, until now I decided I want to have a blog of my own :)

    Thank you for the advise about red hots. I think I will try the cutting techniques if mine ever comes back (does not look like though), or I will buy a new one, and start from there.

  9. Buy new red hots, Ami, they won't come back. I kept cutting back and cutting back last year and, alas, they just kept dying and dying. But they're cheap and if I can grow them from cuttings, any 4-year-old can.
    I'm so glad to hear I helped inspire you! That's so cool! I'm not an expert by any stretch of the imagination. What I love about gardening - and garden blogs -- is you don't have to be. If you love it, you've got friends.


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