The garden in January

January 7. We are two-and-a-half weeks into winter and my garden still has not seen a killing frost. Some gardens in the area have already been bitten back by cold weather, but mine has hardly been touched. Only the tops of some of the tender perennial shrubs, like Hamelia, show damage.

On several occasions, including again this week, the weatherman has predicted that we would get temperatures in the 20s F. during the night, but so far the lowest temperature registered by my Min/Max thermometer (which records the highest and lowest temperatures of the day) has been 34 degrees F. Now they are telling us that - for sure this time! - we'll have temperatures in the 20s over the next few nights. We'll see.

The mild weather has produced some interesting effects in the garden.

It's not often - well, never, really - that I've had prairie coneflowers blooming in January. 

Nor have I ever seen volunteer cosmos blooming on January 7 before.

The Copper Canyon daisies, a very tender perennial usually long gone by now, are still in bloom.

And so is the yellow cestrum. It blooms most months of the year but usually takes a rest in January and February. 

And the butterflies are taking advantage of those blooms. I have more butterflies than cardinals in my yard right now and that's just wrong! It certainly doesn't help my bird count for Project FeederWatch.

Even the wax begonias in pots around the garden are still in bloom.

As are the milkweed plants.

The kumquats, on the other hand, are not an anomaly. They are supposed to be ripe now and they are. And they are delicious. 

Now this is a bloom that I've never seen before. I've had this fatsia in the garden for a few years but it's never bloomed. Perhaps the mild winter has encouraged it to burst forth - or maybe it's just been biding its time in those previous years. For whatever reason, here it is.

So, is it the effect of global warming or is this simply a normal fluctuation in our weather? Mild winters are the norm for us here in Southeast Texas, but we've lived here for twenty-seven years and I can never remember wax begonias blooming outside in January!


  1. I still have milkweed as well and as of Sunday, I had caterpillars on them! I threw a sheet over them and I hope they'll find somewhere warm to hide!

    1. They can actually withstand pretty cold temperatures as long as the weather isn't inclement, so most likely they'll be fine.


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