The Ginger Garden Before and After

This is my ginger garden after the freeze. The plants had turned to mush. The stalks were from last summer’s plants that I usually leave until they turn brown and the new growth starts.

I removed all the dead ginger stalks which took about two days. I have never seen this bed empty since we moved in.

The good news is that the tubers were far enough underground to survive the extreme cold. Now I can look forward to beautiful scented flowers this summer.


A New Start

This past February, we had 44 consecutive hours of freezing temperatures with the coldest reading down to 10 degrees. Our average temperature for February is 56. As I mentioned in a previous post, almost any plant above ground froze. It has been a wait-and-see situation to determine what needed to be cut down. My plants have been speaking to me.

The Angel Trumpet, which has finally started to bloom in recent years, does perfer warm climates and did not make it through the freeze. After weeks of waiting, it finally revealed it could regenerate from its roots.

I was confident the Hummingbird Bush would come back and it did. It has a long way to go before blooms appear. Unfortunately, the hummers and other pollinators are really missing its flowers.

It was really difficult to cut my Confederate Rose down to a stump. But it was heartening to see all the stems it is sending up. Click on the links to see the fully grown shrubs. The Automatic garden is proving to be very tough and everyday I see many of its plants returning after a hard winter.


Plant Shopping…In My Yard

Good news. The seeds that plants dropped in the fall were not affected by the freeze and have germinated. Now it is time to forage around the yard and find some plants to fill in empty spaces. My first find was some annual Black Eyed Susans.

White Salvia is coming up next to patio pavers and will be grouped together in a bed.

The Bartram’s Oenothera grandifloria or Evening Primrose, came up near my other patio area. The plants that were left over from last year did really well in the freeze. I routinely remove seeds from their pods while I sit on that patio, so it is not unusual to find seedlings in the area.

A rudbeckia had come up on its own last year and produced about six new plants. They were moved to a bed outside of my kitchen window.

A couple of years ago, I found and planted some old Cardinal Flower seeds. The seeds germinated and did well making many more plants. They definitely had to be moved.

We must have gotten enough heat for the Balsam Impatiens to start growing and there is more everyday.

While I was digging around, I decided to be “artsy” after finding a branch with a hole just the right size for a violet plant.


Hooray for the Automatic Garden

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It has been a little more than two weeks since our epic freeze. The Automatic Garden is pulling through and plants are erupting. The first plants up are mostly from bulbs and rhizomes that could take the cold better.

The purple Oxalis were the first to recover.

Bluebonnets made it through the freeze unscathed.

Mealy Blue Sage also seemed unbothered by the cold.

The Drimiopsis maculata had some mushy bulbs, but enough survived.

I believe nothing can kill this passalong canna.

The plants I have been most worried about are my gingers and I have started to see some signs of life.

One Snowflake flower was able to bloom.

I will have a nice list of plants that can survive hurricanes, flooding rains, drought and record breaking freezes on the Gulf Coast.


Beautiful, But Deadly

Today we woke up to the ground covered with snow. It was a beautiful site.

The overnight temperatures dropped to 16 degrees.

For those of you in a northern climate, it is no big deal. But here on the Gulf Coast, it has been difficult to deal with. Our houses are not made to keep the heat in, it is just the opposite. We do not have equipment to clean our roads. And the people that provide our electricity were not prepared. Many have spent hours without heat or water. I have been lucky so far. We are facing another frigid night.

My plants have froze and are turning to mush.

I am pretty sure the ones I covered are not going to make it.

A majority of plants here stay green in the winter and also bloom.

Snow is beautiful, but deadly in a climate that is not prepared.


Bromeliad Update

This bromeliad was one of the plants I had in my Christmas post. I thought it was prefect for the holiday as the flowers of this first time bloomer were red and green. I was quite amazed when the flowers opened all the way and they were blue. The bromeliad was full of surprises this year.


A Wagon Load of Moses

My Moses-in-the-Bulrushes (Tradscantia spathacea), spent many years growing in pots as a houseplant. The plant and its offspring have been with me since the 70’s. It has never been so happy as it has been since moving to the South.

Moses drops its seeds that readily germinate and the plant will spread. I have never been one to throw out a living plant and as they grew too big for beds, I’ve had to pull them up and replant them anyplace I could find space. The Moses I just pulled from a small corner bed filled the entire wagon. My one little pot has probably multiplied to nearly one hundred.

*I wrote this a few weeks ago and the grass is not as green right now.


Christmas Miracles in the Garden

There has been a few small miracles in the garden. Nature somehow knew this was the year that something was needed to lift spirits. The bougainvillea has bloomed for the first time since it was brought home from the nursery many years ago. The plant didn’t put on much of a show, but it was enough to brighten the season with its reddish flowers.

This plant, which I believe is a Aechmea recurvata Bronze Age and if anyone can identify it please do, has taken a lot of abuse over the years. Rabbits have eaten it back and it had to endure flooding rains. But, this year the plant has finally decided to make some flowers.

The flowers are slow growing and I will update its progress.

Another small miracle, which is personal for me, was a flock of Robins that landed in the yard. The birds busily finished off the berries on the Yaupon Holly and headed to the lawn to look for bugs. Robins always remind me of my childhood up North. In the early evening when we were playing outside, the Robins were always hopping nearby looking for their last meal of the day.

I hope in this difficult year, you all have found a small miracle here and there to bring a bit of joy.


It’s All About Location

Location is everything, especially for plants. I have grown this Blanket Flower in another bed for years. The plant always makes a few blooms and is finished at the end of summer. I decided to throw some seeds into this small bed next to the driveway that is south facing and really heats up. The Blanket Flower loves it there and has been growing larger and blooming for months. It is so big now that it sets of the alarm on the car that lets you know when you are close to an object.

Location does make a difference.


Hyacinth Bean

The Hyacinth Bean, Lablab purpureus, has decided to bloom again. It has made stems of pretty little flowers.

The flowers are barely gone when it starts making seed pods.

I think the best part of this plant is its beautiful seedpods. This variety is called Ruby Moon which is a perfect name.