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Brrrrrr! It’s COLD out there!

By Sara Henderson
Our January weather has been typically erratic. It reached 65° this past Saturday and then into the teens Monday night. Thankfully most of our plants are able to handle these wide swings as long as it cools down gradually the first time, letting the plants go fully dormant before the coldest weather. That was the case this year and everything was fine until it decided to drop into single digits.
Atlanta ended up with a low of 7° and the damage is beginning to show. Most of our plants are hardy to these temperatures but some find our infrequent dips into single digits quite challenging and possibly fatal. The most noticeable is our wonderful weeping rosemary. The upright forms are largely unharmed, however the weeping form is known to be less hardy and it is easy to see the difference. Most of it has turned brown and is showing signs of significant damage. I’m almost certain that some pieces have survived as portions of many plants are still green, and we are hopeful that others may resprout come spring.

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 The agaves are another story. We brought many inside but some were just too large and well established to move. Those left in the ground suffered badly and have been removed. Those we protected are fine and will be used to replace the others. There will be additional damage and losses from the cold and the accompanying high winds, some of which we won’t see until spring, but the gardens handled the cold as well as we could have hoped.
The agaves are another story. We brought many inside but some were just too large and well established to move. Those left in the ground suffered badly and have been removed. Those we protected are fine and will be used to replace the others. There will be additional damage and losses from the cold and the accompanying high winds, some of which we won’t see until spring, but the gardens handled the cold as well as we could have hoped.
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Many thanks to the great volunteers who came over that Sunday and helped us get ready. They moved our container plants to safety and used Christmas wreaths and pine straw to insulate a few of our most tender plants. This is something we don’t usually do, but every few years we have these very cold spells and find that a little extra effort helps. I just hope we don’t have another cold spell like the -8° weather we had in January 1985. That was truly a killing freeze!
 
 
 

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