Ghosts in the Yard

            If your headlights rake across my yard tonight you’re going to see ghosts, some in plaid, some blue and others in floral jammies. It’s not what it seems. It’s the weather we’re having. Global temperature shifts have derailed the normal Jet Stream pattern and So Cal is freezing. Twenty seven degrees Farenheit last night, I kid you not.

            That means one thing to me. As the shadows stretch across the lawn I go out with all the old sheets and blankets that are no longer bed-worthy, and swaddle or tent my tender plants. Thank goodness most are weather hardy, but I am still picking hot peppers off my jalapeno, habanero Thai and Serrano plants and I want to coddle them into continuing. They get some fine soft blankets of long memory. My neighbor across the street asked if an electric blanket would be my next effort.

            I also tent the papaya, orchids, young snowpeas, cycads, Szechuan Peppercorn, Pandorea, Tibouchina and the Greyia. All teetering on the edge of their temperature tolerances in a year like this, all loyal performers. As said, I’m glad that most of my citrus and vegetables are frost hardy, but there’s still work to do.

            Past years with younger exotic plants I had much more scuttling about to do. The ghosts looked some years like a convention, shapes leaning in together as though to share some secret or an improper joke. The super vulnerable exotics became lanterns, with lights strung under the tenting sheets, extension cords running back to the house. It was a spectacle. Plant lovers unite. The shadows grow long and the hour has come for all good souls to come to the aid of their plants.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Ghosts in the Yard

  1. I have been doing the same, except that I pulled out all our table cloths as well because I didn’t have enough old bed sheets. I feel so unprepared for this kind of stuff. I almost took everything in today, but then saw yet another frost warming for tomorrow morning. My peppers did not make it. I pulled three of them out this afternoon. I hope your plants survive yet another cold night!

    • Me too. Very sorry about your peppers! I think we need to be considering how we’ll deal with this in years to come. I’d love to talk more over the issues of sustainability and plant care with you. My best guess is we’ll continue to see hard to predict extremes with climate change, not at all the linear ideas most folk associate with ‘global warming’.

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