I found my three-year-old granddaughter standing by the window yesterday, sobbing her heart out. When I asked her what was wrong, she pointed a qivering finger at the pond and did that “hiccuppy” thing heartbroken children do. Eventually she sputtered out that the frogs in my pond were too cold and she wanted to bring them inside where it was warm. I managed to convince her that the frogs were just fine and that they needed to be in the pond, but the whole time there was a little voice in my head accusing me of blatantly lying to this tender-hearted child. The reality was that I had no earthly idea what frogs do during the winter – or if they were even still alive.
I was throwing together a casserole for dinner the other night and half listening to the national news when a segment caught my attention. It was towards the end of the broadcast, near the “feel-good” portion of the news – the part that is supposed to leave you feeling more optimistic about the state of the world. A regional anchor was describing a revolutionary new program designed to bolster the mental health and self-esteem of our nation’s youth. The groundbreaking new idea? Take youth outside and let them experience nature.
I have to admit that I have been a bit obnoxious (ok. I’ll admit it – I have been insufferable!) showing off my avocado tree – the one I grew all by myself from a seed. The one that started in a jar of water on my window sill and wound up a full-fledged, luxurious tree on my patio. Yes, I have been prideful, but Mother Nature has pulled me down a peg or two because my gorgeous avocado tree has been reduced to this.
Our weather has been bizarre lately. We have had a string of dry, sunny 70+ degree days in December followed by a series of unusually cold snaps. In fact just this week our temperatures plummeted over 50 degrees within an 18 hour period – from 60 degrees F in the afternoon to 4 degrees F the next morning. Realizing the toll this weird weather is having on my psyche, I began to wonder what was happening to my landscape. What effect would these temperature fluctuations have on my plants – especially my newly planted perennials? What can I do to minimize any negative effects to my plants?