When the reports first began to appear of a polar vortex swooping down upon south central Texas to wreak havoc and destruction in the form of a historically early freeze, the Head Gardener and I scoffed. In 17 years on my corner of Katy, neither of us can remember the mercury dipping below freezing before December ... and we were unanimous in that. That in itself is as rare as a freeze in November!
'La Marne' rose, Country Girl mum, Salvia 'Henry Duelberg'
But as the forecast dipped lower and then lower again over the course of the week, I confess that we both began to wonder if perhaps we'd been too hasty in our judgment. By mid-day yesterday, models were showing a sustained period - 3 to 6 hours - of temperatures in the 28 to 30 degree range. The HG and I had to make a decision: did we unearth the frost cloth and old sheets from the depths of closets and the garage, then venture forth into the chilly and breezy afternoon to cover those plants which were not only tender, but valued?
Readers, we did not. We sat in our warm and comfy living room, read the latest Darling Dahlias cozy mystery from Susan Wittig Albert and told ourselves that we'd leave the fate of the garden up to Mother Nature. The frost cloth and sheets remained in the closet and garage, and we remained warm and comfy.
Ribbon Bush, Hypoestes aristata
And we chose well ... The HG's first thought upon waking was to check the temperature. 37 degrees is unseasonably cold but not cold enough to damage most of the plants on my corner of Katy. We haven't gone walkabout yet to survey the garden but when we do, we don't expect to find anything of real concern. We were ready to say goodbye to the coleus, anyway!
Coleus after being slapped around by Mother Nature