Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Preparing for the First Freeze

We were expecting our first dip down to 32°F, Sunday night/Monday morning, so I hurried during the days before to take care of a number of small jobs.

-- I took cuttings from a few plants-- some that I'm afraid of losing in the winter ("pinata lavender", Salvia purpurea), and others that I'd like to have new "starts" of, either for myself or to offer to others.  Night-blooming jasmine and Confederate rose will die back in the winter, so now's the time to take cuttings.  Well, now's the time for Confederate rose, based on all I've read.  Cuttings of night-blooming jasmine might be better taken when the plant is actively growing, but since I know that will freeze to the ground, it does no harm to take some cuttings now.

-- I moved the more cold-sensitive plants onto their sunny shelves by the garage window (after first clearing the area; the whole garage is in dire need of a good organizing).  This involved cutting back the pots of "pinata lavender".  I don't know if they'll pull through the winter indoors or not.  The one pot I overwintered last year just barely survived.  This year, I've taken a ton of cuttings and brought a couple of the plants into the house, where I thought they might have a better chance (though a lack of sufficient sunlight will still be an issue).

-- I gathered the remaining plants still in nursery pots to one corner of the covered patio, where they spent the night under sheets.  (I hope to get most of them in the ground in the next two or three weeks, but we'll see... Some will most likely be waiting even longer.)

As it turned out, we had only a near-freeze (if our thermometer is to be trusted), but that was enough to at least begin to wilt a lot of things (elephant ears, black-eyed Susan vine, coleus, Salvia purpurea, parts of the Confederate rose, etc.).  It doesn't hurt to be a little ahead of schedule, in any case.  The first real freeze is on its way, and now "all" we have to do is take care of the more exposed pipes before a hard freeze hits.