Thursday, December 23, 2010

An Emergency Coleus Delivery

A side effect that we've had with all this cold weather that we had last week and will have again next week is that a lot of the Exotic Species have died off. 

The last time I saw an Iguana in my neighborhood was before the last cold snap, last winter.  The last cold snap was just about as cold so I suspect that most are gone.  We'll never get rid of the things but here's hoping.

I noticed that my Poinsettias in the yard were a little freezer-burned with the edges of the leaves being crispy.  They were in excellent color, but the things are damaged.  A lot of plants have the same problem being plants from a full tropical area. 

I'm in an area that is not supposed to freeze, but I am on the Northern and Western fringe of that area.   The wind blows normally off the ocean and I can tell that the winds are correct today because the trees are bending in the breezes to the West.  That will keep our area a degree or two warmer than the areas over West of I-95.  Move much further inland and there's the bottom of the zone that can see frost, although it really does depend on the wind direction.  If it is coming from the North instead of the East, it is entirely possible we'll have strange cold spots in places like Plantation. 

Go even further out to Sunrise or Weston and the Everglades will moderate the temperatures warmer in Winter. 

Got all that?  No problem... I didn't think so either.  Weather is a subtle thing.  If you go just a little bit in one direction you will find a place that is consistently a degree or two warmer or colder and that can mean the difference of a plant surviving or not. 

Where I lived in Philadelphia I was considering to try to grow a palm tree.  They will grow outside if you have one of two species where I was at, Saw Palmetto or a Needle Palm.  Move to the bottom of that hill or to the East and there were six palms that would survive a sheltered spot over winter.  They won't grow fast but you will have bragging rights that you too can grow a Needle Palm in Cherry Hill, NJ.

Here my most fragile plant is the Coleus.   I grew whole bunches of the things in offices and indoors over the years up North, and they're all over the place here.   The plants can't really survive just a few miles North, they'll get frosted over in a cold snap if they're exposed. 

All of the Coleus I have are from clippings, and I just break a piece off and stick it in the ground where the sprinkler can find them and hope they take.  Mostly they do. 

In the last cold snap I didn't lose any but some of the more exposed ones look more ragged than I'd prefer.  This morning walking outside to look at the Screw Palms and Poinsettias that I keep sticking into the ground to make sure they survive, I noticed that they all looked fine.   I came back in thinking that the Coleus looked Leggy and needed a trim but didn't think too much about it.

Then after checking the Email this morning, I had a message from my Godmother.  Seems like up in Wellington which is about 60 miles North and 15 miles inland, it got too cold for them.  I had a request for an Emergency Coleus replenishment shipment.   So along with the Coffee and Cookies, I  will be bringing up for Xmas three varieties of Coleus Cuttings stuffed into an old Parfait glass.

Driving a Jeep with a giant feather duster worth of Green and Red foliage will be interesting but they'll make it.  Most importantly it will make someone who I care deeply about very happy.

Now just how will I secure those silly things?

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