Lack of a hard frost has its advantages

Do you keep seeing this winter thing on television?  I do, and it brings back memories.

Winter meant a lot of work in the garden, even in Georgia.  First, it was the angel trumpets.  We lived just south of Atlanta and would get a hard frost sometime is November.  Before it hit, we had to get out there and cut down the angel trumpets.  This was quite a job as they could torleyheader062314get almost 4 meters tall (about 12 feet) during the growing season.

But chopping them down was a must because they have hollow stems.  If a frost hit them, the water in the stems would freeze and thaw right down to the roots and kill the plant.  So it was cut to the ground, cover with mulch and plastic, and then they were   protected and came back in the spring.  The smaller cut branches went inside into water and then, when roots started, into pots to grow for friends.  Good thing I had a sunny window.

Caladiums were another protect plant.  The bulbs had to be dug annually and stored carefully then replanted in the spring.  Sounds easy, but the tops usually died off before I got out there, the dog knocked over the location stakes, and I often found myself digging in the wrong places.  I lost a lot of caladiums that way.  But not here.  Here I just plant them and let them go.

There are a lot of things that I used to have to dig up and store for the winter.  I remember my mom and her geraniums when we lived in New Jersey.  And the iris, or was it the gladiola, and the begonias.  They all had to come up and get lovingly stored in the garage, safe from the winter storms.  Then there was the leaf raking, which I shouldn’t complain about because jumping in piles of leaves is a favorite childhood memory.

But back to the plant protection thing.  Now I only protect my plants from leaf cutter ants (or try to) and I only dig them up to split them or put them in new locations.  Life is a lot simpler down here.

And, while I am on the topic of that winter thing, what about poinsettias?  Remember getting a couple of potted poinsettias before Christmas and then trying to keep them alive?  Or reading all the advice on getting them to rebloom for a second Christmas?  Forget about it.  Just take it outside and stick it in the ground.  Of course, by next Christmas it will be way too big to bring inside, but it is going to look terrific in the yard.

Have a great winter everyone.  I will.

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