The Big Freeze

I wish I had photos of beautiful frosted plants, or at east interesting natural ice sculptures caused by wind and precipitation. But no, I just have dead plants.

frozen aloe

Poor frozen floppy aloe.


Most of the tender plants that I could cover survived, but there were some exceptions. The covers were completely inadequate for the ashwagandha. Some blew off, the plants weren’t completely covered at all. The roots are probably still alive, I’ll just trim them back hard, feed them a lot, and see what happens.
frozen ashwagandha

Guess who will be adding hoops and frost cloth to the raised beds?


The landlady and some neighbors came over late in the afternoon and picked the smaller orange trees clean with the help of my younger son after he came home from school. We were all worried that the oranges would freeze and be ruined.

frozen orange1

So far it looks like the majority of the oranges are fine. I haven’t found any blackened or soft oranges yet, anyway.

frozen orange2

One wonderful surprise- I was sure that the seedling trays of Chinese herbs inside the greenhouse were toast. I thought the greenhouse would hold enough heat, but it definitely dropped below freezing inside the greenhouse Tuesday morning, I saw it on the greenhouse thermometer. Somehow, the seedlings seem fine.
frozen seedlingsThe camellia bushes were in full bloom and almost all of the blooms froze solid. I did find one glorious surviving camellia blossom in the center of one of the bushes against the fence.

frozen camellia

I am trying to hold onto the good here. The majority of my Chinese herb seedlings survived. I think all of my culinary herbs survived. The trees are fine. All of the established citrus and camellias have been through worse, I may lose some fruit and flowers but the plants will be fine. All of the natives that froze back are supposed to freeze back and sprout again in the spring, and in the mean time I will have plenty of organic matter to add to the compost bin. Now it just has to stay cool enough to keep the temperate fruit trees from flowering too early!

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