Welcome to my zone 9 garden. My roots are deeply planted in the sandy soil of sub-tropical central Florida, where the summers are long and hot, but the rest of the year is paradise!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Month Later...

It's been about a month since we experienced the two weeks of frost and freezing temperatures in the 20's  that took its toll on my zone 9 yard. When it comes to brown dead stuff in the yard... I have no patience. I know they say to wait until middle or late February to cut back plants... but that doesn't work for me. The first part of the yard to get cleaned up is what I see directly out my windows.

So, I thinned some plants out...clipped some dead stuff off...stuffed as much as I could into the composter.

As, I walk around my yard, I notice that the Fashion azaleas are back in bloom...their first round of flowers having been burned by the frost. And, the grass is greening up again...hurray! Things are already looking up.

Frozen plants are already sprouting from the base of the plants. 

I learned a couple of important lessons...or should I say, remembered from previous freezes that I had long since forgotten.

#1 - Trees make a BIG difference. My bromeliads and other tender plants fared much better under the canopy of the trees where frost was unable to reach them.

#2 - Create a good structure of basic, cold-hardy green plants - good bones, if you will.  That way when the less hardy plants succumb to freezing temperatures, the garden will still look good. This is especially true in the front yard.

#3 - Plant pockets of tropical plants. I'll plant my favorite tropicals as little pockets of color in areas throughout the basic green plants. That way I can add color and interest to my landscape without leaving it vulnerable to a devastating freeze. It's kinda like having your cake and eating it, too! :-)

Once again the garden is humming along with the expectancy of spring.


Ami said...

Good documentation of "lessons". I know sometimes gardeners tend to forget things :) Glad to see your garden is coming back to life. Love that Indian blanket flower, so bright! I want one! Is this something easy to start from the seeds? I did not see it sold at nursery as young plants.

NanaK said...

Oh those lessons learned from a freeze. I think I'll print out this post and carry it with me when I go to the spring plant sales.

It looks like you are well on your way to a garden ready for spring.

Rusty in Miami said...

I am the same way; I could not stand looking at it all brown and droopy. The beauty of plants is that they come back fast, my garden is looking much better

The Rainforest Gardener said...

Very good advice... I can't wait til my trees get bigger so they can help protect my tropicals! Even my bottlebrush trees got hit in the long run. I understand completely about cleaning up the dead stuff and ended up just removing the leaves from woody shrubs... they don't look so bad then and can still sprout from the living wood.

Susan said...

Ami...I bought the Indian blanket flower at Lowe's. It does reseed itself which is great. It's a great 4-season plant.

Kay...Things are starting to turn around, especially since I've just about got all the brown stuff :-( cut back. It won't be long now!

Rusty...Hey, I thought you were watching the Olympics. Yes, fortunately the plants do make a quick comeback. Glad to hear your garden is on the mend.

Rainforest Gardener...I have some dead looking sticks sticking up in my garden, too. And, you're right -- they are tolerable without all those brown leaves hanging from them.

Kimberly said...

Great advise, Susan! The brown is really getting me down. I'm waiting for my young trees to become mature and help out!! And we experienced a soft frost the last 2 nights! UGH!!!

Meems said...

With the canopy of trees we can rest a little easier on the nights when a light frost is predicted. We'll never give up our tropicals all together but planting them in the more protected areas is great advice.

Next week I'll cut back all my dead... already I can see budding out and green foliage coming up from the bottom of some plants. It won't take too long as the days grow longer and more sunshine is available. But I have to say, I am really enjoying working in the garden on these cooler days.

Wicked Gardener said...

I could take it any longer - I cleaned up a bunch today too.

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