Thursday, January 17, 2013

The "Big Freeze of '13"; Casualties and Survivors

From Friday the 11th through Wednesday the 16th, we experienced the worst cold spell in 35 years, with temps in the low 20's for 8-10 hours each day, and even plants that were covered didn't fare that well.  Some will surely recover, but may need a severe pruning once all danger of another freeze has passed and some may perish.  Let's survey the damage in the front yard first:

The cannas that were blooming before the freeze now look horrible.
Despite the outward appearance, they will survive.
The red salvia doesn't look good, but will hopefully come back, if not, I have seed.
The Eureka lemon took considerable damage, but it should recover, though this year's crop may be affected.
The Anna apple is semi-deciduous, and looks like it'll drop more leaves than usual, but on the plus side, the chill hours should help produce a larger crop.
The grapes are dormant, as is the Ein Shemer apple and neither appears to have suffered any damage.  The irises, hyacinths and the day lily also seem to have come out unscathed, as did the potted plants on the porch and those planted up against the house.  Now on to the side yard:

The habaneros were covered, but still sustained considerable damage, though not enough to kill them.
The lettuce looks like it made it through just fine and I think I'll have a salad with my lunch tomorrow.  The plumeria and the avocado were moved to the front porch and will be put back in the side yard tomorrow afternoon.  Now on to the backyard:

The succulents in the wheelbarrow garden suffered a hard freeze and may have to be replaced.
The birds were fueling up against the cold and I went through 40 lbs of mixed seed and 10 lbs of nyger during the freeze.  I had 6 lovebirds one morning, lots of hummingbirds and the sparrows and finches were never too far from the feeders, roosting in my neighbor's grapefruit tree when they weren't eating and squabbling.

6 lovebirds out-muscling the other birds at the feeders.
One of many Anna's Hummingbirds to visit the feeder.
How many finches do you see in this photo?
While it was freezing outside, it was a pleasant 72 inside and the paperwhites continue to bloom, as well as an African violet and an orchid; the Minerva amaryllis has a couple of seed pods developing and another bloom stalk has come up.

Lastly, yet another gnome has taken up residence in the hen 'n chick planter.

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