gardenandgem, Updated: 2 min read263 views

I am starting to reveal what the January hard freeze did to our garden. For instance, I do not think all of the Princess palm trees survived. As you can see from the picture, the leaves are yellow and brown more than green.

It’s in any case time to start the big spring cleanup in the garden. Though the really hardcore gardeners swear to end of February or the start of March here on the Gulf coast to cut back and groom shrubs, trees, and plants. And they have very, very good reasons.

The plants who have got their frost withered limbs removed, and also have received fresh cuts into green, fresh wood will be incredibly vulnerable to frost damages again.

So if really cold wind and frost hits again you have to be super, super committed to cover all tender plants with blankets, farm fleece, cardboard and whatever else you might have at hand.

But there is some first aid we need to do to some of the struggling plants because of the frost damages, so why not start with things who will make the garden look slightly better.

First, you have to remove wet and rotting plant parts. Like the Agave “leaves” that are destroyed by the frost. If damaged and dead leaves are allowed to be a rotting blanket around the central core of the plant the rot will probably infect into healthy tissue, and the whole plant will probably die.

Sparkler Sedge, Yucca, Bulbine in the front and a sad, sad Agave. The Sparkler Sedge handled the cold very well and seems unscratched from the freeze.
This is a familiar sight when you’ve grown up in an area with cold winters. The lowest branches of this Gardenia have still green healthy leaves, while the rest of the shrub looks dead and scorched.
Tiny buds on Gardenia
But do not make the mistake that you remove all the brown branches too quickly in the belief they are dead. If you look closely at the branches you can see tiny buds already appearing.
This is the Foxtail Fern just after the frost.
Sprouting Foxtail Fern
This is 14 days later. Damaged leaves are removed and new growth has started. But remember to cover the plant if a cold spell should hit again! As you can see from the pictures, I have dry leaves and branches ready next to the Ferns!
New sprouts from the Variegated Ginger. I don’t dare to remove the dried dead leaves yet
I cut down the dead branches on the Firecracker Ferns to around 3-4 inches to protect the new sprouts from the root.

You can read more about frost, winter protection and cold weather and plants in these links:

What to do after the frost, It’s time to cover up! How to cover up tender plants fast, How to prune Lantana