It’s Tulip time in Lousiana!

My flower beds were a huge mess after the week of unseasonably cold and icy weather, but I enjoyed some beautiful tulips this past Sunday. Sometimes, you have to focus on the good things in life and do the work later! Then gardening can be rewarding and fun instead of drudgery.

Next week, I will be updating my progress as I continue to watch for emerging foliage. I am still clipping back the dead leaves of never before defoliated plants! I was worried about my ferns and crinum lilies because 19 degrees was close to what they can tolerate and survive. I will write again next week. Hopefully, more tulips, daffodils, and alliums will bloom. Stay tuned!

Check out this video of a very interesting tulip I found in a mix that has burgundy and red variegation. I love how this one stands out. I tried to find one like this online and have not found a match. I enjoy discovering a few neat varieties thrown in a mixed bag of tulips.

Guinevere Jumbo Perennial Tulips

I decided to try Guinevere Jumbo Perennial Tulips from Brecks and was not disappointed. They are really big flowers and so bright! I will share more pictures and videos later.

Photo Album of February Tulips Variegated and Long Stem Mix

  • Variegated leaf Tulip with red and white bloom
  • Variegated leaf Tulip with red and white bloom
  • Variegated Tulip in burgundy and red
  • Tree Frog sitting inside of a pink tulip
  • Tree Frog sitting inside of a pink tulip
  • Bouquet of pastel mix tulips pink and yellow
  • Variegated Red and White Tulip
  • Milkweed Assassin Bug
  • Bright Peach Tulip

2021 Winter Storm Inexpensive ways to protect plants from Ice and Frost

leaf covered in ice

The weather was crazy this past week from February 15th and a week afterward. I had to cover my plants during the night and uncover them during the day. I used mulch as much as possible, but there wasn’t enough to go around for all my containers. We have never had this much ice to freeze for days on end, so I learned what kind of fabric materials work best for frost protection and are inexpensive and easy to move around once they become encased in ice.

Winter Storm 2021 leaf covered in Ice
Winter Storm 2021 leaf covered in Ice

Lovely Unseasonal Snow and Ice Pictures in Zone 8b

I have some pictures to share because I braved the elements long enough to take a few photos of this historical ice event! I will share later about how my rather slushy flower beds are a wreck, but I wanted to enjoy how pretty the landscape was appearing and try to look on the bright side!

#Single Seed Challenge 2021 Japanese Katana Hybrid Tomato

#2021SingleSeedChallenge Katana Hybrid Tomato Seedling

I have joined the #SingleSeedChallenge2021. On February 13th, I chose the Japanese Katana Hybrid tomato seed to plant during this video. I also planted Sun Cherry extra sweet and Italian market tomato. I had my potting mix and seed starting trays set up when the weather predictions were becoming ominous. I am thankful my electricity stayed on during the 2021 winter storm. I could have brought my seed trays into the living room since we have gas heat. The peppers I have planted are Parks Whopper, Caballero, and another Huge Market pepper I found. Youtuber Scott Head of Black Gumbo Southern Gardening has the original video for the 2021 seed challenge. If you are interested in joining, watch the video and follow the directions.

Amaryllis Benfica and Sweet Nymph

Lovely Blooms During Winter!


Benfica was the last Amaryllis to bloom indoors this winter. I was impressed with the saturated color of the blooms. This one unfurls four blooms at the same time instead of one at a time like Sweet Nymph. I have a video posted on youtube. https://youtu.be/MY1ci8woqZ8

Benfica Amaryllis
Sweet Nymph budding

Sweet Nymph attempted to send out a third large bloom stalk, but I noticed the bulb was shrinking. I snipped that one off to stop the plant from blooming itself to death. It even has a large offset to grow this spring! I have to say this amaryllis is a top performer.


How to Protect Tulip Buds From Frost

I worked way too hard on November 30th as I planted my spring bulbs in the rain. The second week of February, a snowstorm was in the forecast. In our case, it was more like an ice storm. The day before the icy precipitation struck on February 15th, I covered all my tender budding tulips with blankets and towels. I did lose one pretty red and white tulip that was blooming at the wrong time.

Budding tulips at this stage are vulnerable to frost damage

The next morning they were firmly encapsulated in ice blankets. If you watched the previous video, then you know what I am saying! I waited a day then uncovered the containers during the day after the temperatures were above freezing. I had to break the ice off of some of the covers. Then I went through the process of uncovering them in the morning as soon as the temperatures rose above freezing and then covering them again at night. Hopefully, the tulips will bloom beautifully in the next few weeks.

Winter Storm 2021 Frozen Flowers and Plant Covers!

Wild Violet covered in ice

We have had a little more cold weather than usual lately. I covered most of my containers and found out this morning they were frozen solid! My tulips and grape hyacinths had just begun to bloom when the weather report of Winter Storm Warning was announced and sent me outside with armloads of blankets and towels. On the morning of the winter storm, I took some pretty pictures of flowers frozen in ice. I found this wild purple violet and some wild buttercups covered in ice. Many robins were hanging out in the garden, and the moon was pretty at the end of the day. I will update later on after I find out how my plants are doing. If you watch the full video, you will find out why I know nothing today! https://youtu.be/3fVrqBSylHg

  • Violets and Wild Buttercups after the Ice Storm
  • wild buttercup frozen in ice
  • wild violets in the snow
  • Wild Violets and Buttercups in the Snow
  • Wild Violets Frozen in Ice
  • Wild Strawberry Covered in Ice
  • Wildflower covered in Ice

Preparing for Freezing Weather

Tomorrow night and some days afterward are when we might get severe cold weather for our climate. I even covered some of my bulbs that should be good above 10 degrees to be on the safe side. Temperatures in the teens are too close for comfort! The weather was warm last week, which caused the miniature daffodils tulips and Muscari to begin blooming. Now, I am rushing to cover everything I value the most. I brought the rose cuttings inside so they would survive another update.

Yellow Jonquil with Bright Orange Trumpet

This lovely bloom appeared just days before the bad weather started. I love how tough these little flowers are and the squirrels and chipmunks don’t touch them.

Container Garden Frost Protection

I had to drag all of my old blankets and sheets out of storage to cover all my containers. Hopefully, my lettuce and root crops will be ok. I will update later.

Fabric Pots

I found these fabric pots are very good to use for overnight frost protection! They fit right over the smaller pots and give room for the plant to keep its shape.

Frost Protection

Things are not looking attractive out here but hopefully my flowers will be protected for Springtime.

2021 Late Winter Early Spring Blooms Daffodils Trailing Rosemary Freckles Pansy

Trailing Rosemary and Dwarf Tulips

My Trailing Rosemary has been blooming all winter. I didn’t realize that it would do this and be so cute and charming. The way it has developed a sort of bonsai looking trunk and drapes out of the container is cooly attractive. I will try taking cuttings and plant this one in more than one place for sure!

Imagine my surprise when I stepped outside in January and saw a tulip bloom budding up. I discovered that I have some dwarf tulips in the mixes I purchased last fall! I have some delicate soft yellow and bright pink tulips going on right now and never guessed they would be this early.

White Dandelion and Freckles Viola Pansy

I have so many blooms this winter. My pink dandelion bloomed white. I have another dandelion budding and wonder if that one will be pink. I also have been enjoying the delicate freckled blossoms of this viola. How fun!

Avalanche Jonquils

It is a no brainer why these jonquils are named Avalanche. They are an avalanche of blooms in January! About ten years ago, I found one lonely neglected bulb in the lawn getting mowed over and over. I moved it to a safer spot where it has naturalized beautifully.

Frost Tolerant Lettuce and Greens

I have enjoyed growing lettuce and various vegetables during the winter in my zone 8b garden because it is too cold for bugs plus the varieties like Lettuce Sanguine Ameliore (Strawberry Cabbage Lettuce) require colder temperatures to grow well. This variety is a butterhead type and is very pretty with the red splashes of color on the leaves.

2021 Amaryllis Sweet Nymph Minerva Apple Blossom

Amaryllis Sweet Nymph and Apple Blossom Blooms

Sweet Nymph Amaryllis

Here is a mid-January update of my Amaryllis I have been growing inside by my kitchen window. I am waiting on seed pods from Ferrari Amaryllis, Apple Blossom plus the red and white mislabeled Amaryllis resembling Charisma Amaryllis. Unfortunately, Opal Star did not make any seed pods. I did save its pollen to use for crossing with other varieties.

Minerva Amaryllis Blooms

Minerva Amaryllis

Close Up of Sweet Nymph

Close up of Sweet Nymph

Sweet Nymph was the star of the show this year. I have to say what a beautiful plant this is! The blooms are huge and hold up very well as they unfurl one by one. This one is pod infertile but makes lots of pollen. I love the mesmerizing striations of dark and light pink in the petals. Sweet Nymph Amaryllis will hold your gaze for moments as you sip hot drinks and enjoy having a garden in the middle of winter!

Sweet Nymph Amaryllis Markings

Sweet Nymph Amaryllis

Zone 8b Container Vegetable Gardening in winter

It’s Time to Harvest the Lettuce!

Lettuce Sanguine Ameliore 
 Strawberry Cabbage Lettuce

Lettuce Sanguine Ameliore has pretty reddish markings on the leaves.

In this video, I am harvesting some delicious fresh lettuce. I was impressed by the Strawberry Cabbage Lettuce from Baker Creek because I forgot to cover it and found the leaves were frozen solid, but they thawed out just fine!

I have planted strawberry cabbage lettuce, alpine strawberries, Kyoto red carrots, Red Cored Chantenay carrots, Japanese Minowase Daikon radish, Early Wonder Beets, and Cipolle di Tropea onions. I am enjoying growing through the winter but will have to watch the weather and be prepared to cover my containers with blankets if the weather forecasts a freeze. So far, the plants have survived 30 and 31 degree nights without covering, but I don’t want to make the mistake of not covering if it gets into the 20s, and that is rare but can happen. I may have to cover my plants overnight a few nights throughout this winter, but most nights will hover in the high 30s and 40s.

Lettuce Sanguine Ameliore ” Strawberry Cabbage Lettuce”
Lettuce Sanguine Ameliore 
 Strawberry Cabbage Lettuce image 2

I also spent some time doing fall garden clean up. I have enjoyed using the Sunbelt weed fabric but have found it still requires some weeding and maintenance. I have kept all fallen leaves and debris swept off and kept the edges trim with the weed eater. I think I would rather sweep my garden than pull weeds any day! The result of not keeping the weed mat clean is that weeds will grow in the mulched debris. I will place some rabbit manure in the holes left from last year’s plantings and cover that with hay to prevent weeds from growing over the winter.

Burpee Lettuce Loose Leaf Blend and Daikon radishes
Burpee Lettuce Loose Leaf Blend and Daikon radishes

Winter Garden Clean Up Planting Dahlia Tubers and Cosmos Corms

In this video, I am planting dahlia tubers and crocosmia mix corms on January the 16th, 2021, in zone 8b. My first winter Amaryllis bloom was Marquis, and it is in the intro! This year, I am planting an assortment of winter vegetables I will be updating later.

I have planted strawberry cabbage lettuce, Alpine strawberries, Kyoto red carrots, Red Cored Chantenay carrots, Japanese Minowase Daikon radish, Early Wonder Beets, and Cipolle di Tropea onions. I am enjoying growing vegetables throughout the winter! It will be necessary to watch the weather and be prepared to cover my containers with blankets if the weather forecasts a freeze. So far, the plants have survived 30 and 31 degree nights without covering. Still, I don’t want to make the mistake of not covering if it gets into the 20s, which doesn’t happen very often. I may have to cover my plants overnight a few times throughout this winter, but most nights will hover in the high 30s and 40s.

Strawberry Cabbage Lettuce

I also spent some time doing fall garden clean up. I have enjoyed using the Sunbelt weed fabric but have found it still requires some weeding and maintenance. I have kept all fallen leaves and debris swept off and kept the edges trim with the weed eater. I think I would rather sweep my garden than pull weeds any day! The result of not keeping the weed mat clean is that weeds will grow in the mulched debris. I will place some rabbit manure in the holes left from last year’s plantings and cover that with hay to prevent weeds from growing over the winter.

Last November, I planted some echinacea seeds gathered for Cheyenne Spirit Echinacea, and I am so curious what colors will bloom this summer. In this photo, you can see the echinacea and my grape hyacinth doing well in the cold weather of January!

fall sown echinacea seedlings
fall sown echinacea and grape hyacinth
grape hyacinth and echinacea

Last Harvest for 2020

  • butternut squash and dry harvested luffa gourds
  • Japanese Morning Glory speckled split petal
  • Japanese Morning Glory white split petal
  • Cosmos Gazebo Mix
  • Cosmos Gazebo Mix
  • Cosmos Gazebo Mix
  • Cosmos Gazebo Mix
  • Coral Canna Lily

Welcome to my gardening journal. I am a small hobby gardener. I love growing from seeds and experimenting with growing in containers. I have one last harvest this year of yellow cherry tomatoes, yellow squash, butternut squash, and luffa gourds. I did manage to keep the squash vine borer eggs off my plants this year. I also have some results from my canna seeds I planted last spring. Next year I will have more results to share especially since I will have more mature plants.