We live in zone 9a, and have very mild winters. Winter is usually 3 days, not consecutive. Just 3 days total.
It fools you sometimes, and really does get cold. It is the nastiest, wettest, coldest cold when it is cold here; it just goes right through you. But it doesn't last long. The next day, it will be back up in the 60s or 70s, with a bright sun in the sky. We garden year 'round.
The killing weather for us is our hot, HOT summers. August in South Texas can be brutal. We lose more plants in summer than we do in winter.
My husband starts to talk about turning the AC on in April. I resist, usually until about July. Nights are pleasant with a fan, and sleep is comfortable. When it gets too hot at night for tomatoes to set fruit, I relent and turn the AC on. He has never understood this.
So, last April, I told him, "When we turn the AC on, I won't go out to work anymore." And when we turned the AC on in June, I didn’t go out anymore.
This summer was really brutal, because we had a drought. No rain for about 5 months, it was awful! I would go out to pull hoses, or turn the water off or on, but I didn’t spend much time out there weeding, grooming, or anything else. Even with us watering, we lost some things. Many trees are down, due to the drought, and some of them are big trees.
We didn’t lose any trees, but my favorite salvia (seen above) bit the dust. I was very sad to lose this. It is called Bog Salvia, blue and white salvia...it likes wet feet. I had a swath of it about 15' long x 3' wide. It was soooo pretty. I will have to find some more. The big leaves behind it are 'root beer plant' or 'spice plant'. It is a thug. It is healthy, of course.
I lost my ‘lycoris radiata’, and a prized blood lily. The blood lily, here, was put
in the ground 3 years ago. It was wonderful seeing it come back every year, and put up more and more of those blooms. I will have to find
another. I was very worried about the yellow spiders, but they seem to be fine. No blooms, but there is always next year.
I also lost crocosmia, and I was very
surprised about that. I had these
planted in several places, I will have
to check around to see if
there are some left for next year.
I love them.
Things that did well in the drought included all the natives. Esperanza was especially drought hardy. The ornamental grasses did well, and although we didn't see as many wildflowers, they did not die. They sprang back to life as soon as the first sprinkle hit the ground.
I am sure there are other things that I lost that I don't know about yet. I am just thankful that it isn't worse.
We were out pulling weeds last weekend. My Darling was helping me, (like it isn't his garden, too), and he was just amazed at how I had neglected my duties in the summer.
"We are NEVER turning the AC back on!" he announced. I have been giggling over that for days now.