Cleanup ahead after freezing weather reaches New Orleans

Published 12:12 pm Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Cleanup ahead after freezing weather  reaches New Orleans

Yes, thanks for asking. It got cold in New Orleans, too. Perhaps as low as 28 degrees for several hours Friday and Saturday nights, not cold enough to freeze our exposed pipes but cold enough to kill everything blooming in the yard.
This weekend, rain permitting, cleanup will begin. The biggest job will be the angel trumpets (Brugmansia, Wikopedia tells me). We had two trees of them filled with big, yellow blooms that freezing will have turned into woody goo by Saturday.
The cleanup from the angel trumpets will be nothing compared to the job that folks with banana trees face. They look exotic and tropical until they undergo a light freeze which turns them into a big pile of mush.
We will cut the angel trumpets back to the ground and they will immediately start growing back, if our experience from the last freeze can be a guide. They are not hardy but resilient.
We will wait on the hibiscus that grow in pots. They may recover somewhat and require only partial trimming. Nasturtiums were sprouting everywhere, but they are gone. The hope is that there were so many seeds scattered around after last year’s flowering that more will sprout.
And so on. We got a freeze two winters ago and went through the same recovery drill that year. The winter of 2015  gave us one night with temps below freezing, but that was enough.
Meanwhile, the damncats are all fat and warm.
My wife used to try to cover some of the plants with sheets and I’d find myself sleeping between bare mattress and blanket when freeze threatened. The cold wind that brought this weather blowing in made spreading sheets over plants an exercise in futility.
So she concentrated on keeping damncats warm and fed. She shouldn’t worry herself. Those that don’t stay inside stay under the house during cold weather where they have spent enough time on the central air ducts that they have flattened out the pipe’s surface to make it more comfortable.
Except for old Bighead, who won’t leave his spot on the north-facing back porch in spite of the cold. She told me that she rigged a duct tape, black plastic contraption to shield him from the wind. I hope it’s still intact to see when I get there this weekend.
There will be considerable yard recovery work under way in New Orleans this weekend. It will be a good time to be in the nursery and garden center business. By the time you get around to reading these lines I will have posted “before” photos on my Facebook page so that you can see, if you’re interested, what we’ve lost.

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