Mother Nature's Freezing My Assets.
(Please pardon the cell phone pics)
Last winter I wanted to protect everything humanly possible, but this time things are different, somehow. Its not that I'm apathetic to the fate of my tender plants, I'm just more selective. The ones I see as worthwhile candidates for my efforts are showered with sycamore leaves and pine straw to provide some excellent insulation, as well as some fall flair.
For example, I'm proud to say that I overwintered monstera deliciosa and ficus decora through our record breaking winter last year, though this time I gave them minimal protection compared to my rarer heliconia "costa flores" and my picabeen palm. The entada gigas liana that I started from a sea bean also got some special treatment, and I took a bunch of cuttings, trimming the vine all the way to the ground before tucking the remaining stem under mulch and dousing it with leaves. I don't expect it to live, but I can at least say I tried.
I had a wealth of insulating material at my disposal thanks to my neighbor's large sycamore tree, whose leaves blanketed the ground into our yard. I raked up what I could, piling them with a crackle onto a tarp, and then dispensing them around the bases of ti plants, over ginger and heliconia rhizomes. and into the crown of my picabeen palm.
I know papayas aren't the rarest plants around, but if I'm ever going to get fruit I'll have to overwinter it. I piled leaves around it, and then slipped a big cardboard box over the top, weighing down the flaps with tiles. I plan on seeing a lot of damage, but at least it will be more protected at the base.
I provided a dyckia with its very own box as well, and I even granted the agave desmettiana one for being well behaved. A ti plant (cordyline "red sister") was dressed in cardboard too, but only after I took cuttings to propogate and use in an arrangement. She's getting fried to the ground by the freeze anyways, so I might as well start new plants!
I ended up bringing in only three plants, simply because they were in bloom. Aechmea gamosepala was about to show its blue and pink matchstick-like flowerspike, a cryptbergia hybrid was sharing its teal flowers, and the epidendrum orchid began to push out a couple of flowerspikes. I am NOT missing these blooms.
I completed one more important task before the day was over, and made the most of my blooms before the withered away like boiled spinach. Tropical Texana shared a couple beautiful bouquets a week ago in anticipation of frost, and I thought I would copy that idea using the doomed heliconia and firespike.
Thrilled at the Devastation
Hardiness List and Damage Report
My Bromeliad Garden is Oblivious to the Season