The Garden Community for Garden Lovers

Going Darwinian.


By Raquel


It was a rather strange winter this year, with much colder spells than what we’ve seen in recent years. And by cold I mean it actually dropped below zero for several nights, something which rarely happens. In Houston most gardeners (or the landscaping business people hire even to plant a garden in a townhouse!) take their plants indoors or wrap the ones outside with plastic (especially the palm trees) or even old towels and blankets so the frost won’t burn them.

In my case this creates a serious problem: I have no space for plants indoors. And ALL of my plants are container plants, because I live in an apartment with one bedroom and one living room. And I don’t have one or two or even five, the entire length of my balcony is lined with plants in pots. So. Much as I feared the end result was going to be the demise of my plants, I opted to leave them outside. The strong and the most fit would survive. The others would die. The petunias and the marigolds died. The white penta and one miniature rose died. Some pansies died. The lantanas withered and looked dead, as did the pentas. The dwarf snapdragons got burned leaves, as did the scented-leaved geraniums, the roses, the pansies and the mums. But amazingly a lot of flowers survived, and the lantanas and one penta, as well as the dianthus, sprouted up again. And the prize goes to the Rangoon Vine, which I imagine is not meant for cold climates, for surviving. It is now sprouting leaves like crazy. And my giant bird of paradise, which so far survives anything I (or nature) throws at it. Here are some pictures of how the flowers looked the day I decided to start cleaning them up and pruning:

The dianthus with the dead petunias next to them:

One of the scented-leaved geraniums (the dead rose is next to it):

Surprise! the pink penta decided it didn’t want to die (sadly the white penta did not revive):

The white geranium still had some green leaves and stems:

The dead marigolds (the vincas, though I imagine they’re a subtropicalor tropical plant, survived quite well):

Once I cut the withered stems, I saw that both lantanas were sprouting up (I have “Dallas Red” and “Samantha”, which is yellow):

This pot was full of pansies, at the time of this photo only the white, yellow and blue ones seemed to have survived:

The dwarf snapdragons were frost-bitten but beginning to flower:

And the rangoon vine creeper refused to die:

Another scented-leaved geranium:

This was a lantana (“Irene”) and a pink mum I had bought on a very warm Sunday, not knowing temperatures would dip that night and remain freezing that entire week…so I couldn’t plant them:

The poor fern, which was the only plant I moved during the freeze, I put it next to the giant bird of paradise.

So it looked pretty dire but not entirely dead. I cleaned and pruned and watered and fed the plants, and left them looking much better:

The giant bird of paradise lost a leaf that withered (and never unfurled):

But it also has a new baby leaf!!

More blog posts by Raquel

Previous post: The "SuperMoon" on March 19th...(better late than never!)

Next post: Rangoon Vine Creeper - success!!



I'm pleased you had some survivors :o)

2 Apr, 2011


All things considered I think you have done well, lets hope they thrive and give you a balcony of blooms and scent for this year..

2 Apr, 2011


I like that phrase, Lincslass ...
..."Balcony of blooms and scent "

very good ! :o)))

2 Apr, 2011


Me too, that's very poetic, Lincslass! And thank you both. Container gardening can be a little frustrating, but I don't know what I would do without my plants!

2 Apr, 2011

Add a comment

Featured on

Recent posts by Raquel

Members who like this blog

  • Gardening with friends since
    14 Aug, 2008