This morning I woke up to a house with no heat and no running water. My mind was on the lack of these essentials that Americans like me take for granted; however, I also thought about the marginally cold hardy plants in my landscape. After hopping onto the tropicalissimo band wagon and experiencing the elation of now living in zone 8a instead of 7b, I planted a bunch of plants that are well-suited for the Lowcountry and Coast rather than the Piedmont. I’m now experiencing Mother Nature’s wrath. Various cultivars of citrus, olive, figs, and Viente Cohol banana could have been injured or killed by these freezing temperatures despite my attempts at enveloping these them in burlapped cocoons of leaves and wheat straw.
I’m also reminded that the USDA map is based on “average annual minimum temperatures.” Plants don’t recognize averages. I can only hope that these cold temperatures also proved to be disastrous for the fire ants—squatters in my landscape who refuse to move.