Sunday, January 26, 2014

Climate control

     Two, used-to-be-green, ferns flank our front door.   I say used to be because up until three weeks ago they were a lovely greenish yellow, even in January.  We inherited them with the house and up until now they required little to no maintenance and they gave the front porch a real "Southern" feel.

     As I was saying, three weeks ago we had a real cold snap and me and my northern brain aren't used to worrying about plants in the middle of January, so they didn't get covered, and now they are brown.  It's just one more thing that makes me frustrated with this change we made.  I remember thinking one "positive" out of this move would be a year round garden, but I think I prefer 3-4 months of a winter rest knowing the lilacs and peonys and tulips are using the hard freeze to become even more beautiful, and at least the brown grass is covered with snow.

     I was listening to a southern gardening show on the radio yesterday and all I kept hearing was "yes, but that plant really isn't suited for our heat and humidity."  "Sigh", I thought I left weird micro-climates back in Utah, but it turns out my dreams of a subtropical climate where the plants use the humidity to stay hydrated exists much further south of Dothan, more like Miami.  I'm already late planting my peas, lettuce, and other early spring veggies because they come up in February and gardens are done producing here in late June.

     Dean says I can use my spare time to research exactly what will grow well here.  Yup, he really said "spare time".  I think I'll start by buying some more ferns, and remembering to cover them, and start familiarizing myself with new plant names that seem hardy and low maintenance.  Names like Lantana, and Satsuma, and Magnolia.

       Gardening itself is difficult, but when you're in unchartered territory, it's daunting and overwhelming.  Gardening in our new climate is a lot like learning a new language.  I hope it's something I'm successful at.  They have an entire magazine dedicated to "Southern Gardens" so there is hope.  I'll use the next few weeks to get my hands dirty and plant something....maybe I'll find my greenish thumb somewhere along the way.


  1. I completely understand. It's so foreign to me that there really is no break from gardening, we even mowed the lawn on Saturday, that was just weird. It does make me kind of excited to learn new things about what will grow out here and where and when. The local library offers some free gardening classes which I will be sure to take advantage of. I can't wait to hear more about your Southern Gardening adventures.

  2. Jewels, you have such a better attitude than I do. I can't wait to see what you do with your new space!