I did not post last week as, for the first time in my blogging history, it was too cold to go outside. Most of Florida experienced the coldest Christmas in 30 years. On the Treasure Coast we had temperatures in the mid 30s (close to 0 C) with a cold north wind coming off the Atlantic. Ordinarily our average low is 40 F (4.4 C).
Above is a Mammey Croton, these are notoriously cold sensitive and true to form, it is dropping leaves. Advice on this is to leave it alone and they will grow back with warmer weather. It had not occurred to me to cover it. The orchids I thought about covering, but didn’t are fine as is another Croton. This one may get a bit more wind.
Below is Miss Alice Bougainvillea, burned by the cold, and currently ‘snowing’ white bracts. This is already coming back nicely.
I am fortunate to have gotten off to a late start on planting seeds. Earlier in December, I planted tomatoes, peppers, basil, sunflowers, papayas, Chinese forget me nots and a few types of zinnias. The plants were just getting big enough to pot up when the cold hit. They spent a few days in the bathtub of our guest bathroom. I was surprised to see some cold damage on the zinnia seedlings and grew some pink slime mold on the surface of the potting mix. This pink stuff had me scratching my head for a bit, did I lose a Pepto Bismol tablet somehow? An internet search revealed the pink slime mold, I have only seen the dog vomit version of this in shades of yellow.
The seedlings. I have Lost Marbles, Black Cherry and Sweet 100 tomatoes and two red bell pepper plants. I gave up on big tomatoes a few years ago and usually have bumper crops of cherry tomatoes. Lost Marbles is a good name for this past year! I am letting these recover a bit before potting them up, hoping for Valentine’s tomatoes.
More seedlings. The zinnias seem to be recovering, though I lost several. I think a cast iron bathtub on the north wall might be colder that I thought it would be. The three seedlings in the second row are papayas grown from two Mexican Papayas we ate this fall. (I have been making Papaya Coconut cupcakes). It takes about a year to get fruit from a seedling if you get a hermaphrodite plant (with self pollinating flowers) Time will tell on these papaya seedlings; they can be male, female or hermaphrodite.
An unusual sight, but not around here. I took my dog to the vet (a neighbor’s Rottweiler bit her! she is doing well). Near the vet’s office is the former estate of Frances Langford, a movie star from fifty years ago. She kept a flock of peacocks and their descendants are still around today. There were about twenty of them, hens and peacocks. Not a great picture, but I always enjoy seeing them. Fiona the greyhound was puzzled.
That is my six from warmer South Florida. It is 84 F (28 C) today and I am grateful for the warmth. To see more posts, visit our host, Jim at gardenruminations.co.uk
Happy New Year and Happy Gardening!!