Freeze post-mortem and overall update and Hi y'all!
I hope everyone is well and happy, and if you are not, please know I am thinking about all of you, and sending a big, collective hug to y'all!!!! Life has been very, very hectic here, hence my absence. Before I fill you all in, here's a status report after the freeze. Let me just say it was really weird to see white ice in a sheet on my driveway and pool coping, from sprinklers! My kids were really disappointed that it didn't snow here, but Malibu and West L.A. got some. That's huge, because their coastal location means that they never get cold enough for snow. Most snow, locally, is in the high desert or local mountains, which is why you get those really cool photos of sunny L.A. surrounded with white-capped mountains every year, and why I can go to the beach one day, and ski the next.
Naturally, the roses did very, very well (in fact, several of my OGRs with European rose DNA exhaled an almost audible "that's how we like it!"). Some dropped leaves out of confusion; others just kept on blooming away. Some of the blooms look a bit fried, but not all. That has really amazed me!
But some plants and trees didn't fare so well. Since this is considered a temperate, subtropical climate, there is a really wide variety of plants that are grown here, and a lot of people have tropical gardens. Palms came through the cold weather just fine (although most palms come from other places, there are one or two native palms, so they can handle the occasional dip into the mid or low 30's). But I've seen some really sorry looking banana trees and at least one completely fried plumeria (and it had been blooming like crazy just a few days before) in the neighborhood.
My bougie freaked out and dropped a ton of bright pink sepals. What's left on the thing (which is HUGE) looks a bit fried. But I've grown these guys for years, and it will be looking terrific in no time. In fact, I've got to trim it back, because it looks like it is planning to take over the planet.
It took a major freeze to finally dispose of a tomato vine that some little kid (okay, my little kid) planted in between Secret Garden Musk Climber and The Prince. I would have pulled it up before, but the salsa we made from the tomatoes was so good, and the tomatoes kept coming, so I just couldn't. So now, it's totally dead, with ripe tomatoes hanging from it. Guess I'm gonna have to put out some new tomato seedlings, but this time I'll plant the thing elsewehere.
The coreopsis is looking really bad, but on the good side, that overwhelming daisy thing (I think it's marguerite) looks really bad, so now I can pull it out. The gerbera daisies are mostly still blooming, but the stock and snapdragons that have been blooming for months do notlook good (dropped flowers, but still green and alive). I'm not sure what it is about the word "annual" that these plants do not understand. If there was any doubt that it is time for the dahlias to die back, they finally got the message. I've got quite the clean up job waiting for me.
Some of my geraniums croaked, and some look great. The camelias are blooming like crazy, but the strawberries are totally dead (okay, they didn't look so great to begin with...they are really, really old and way past their prime).
My wonderful dwarf lemon tree came through like a champ, and no, I didn't run outside in the middle of the night waving a dwarf smokepot to keep it from freezing. My Santa Rosa plum seems to have grown several buds (looks like a good crop this year). One sea statice came through fine, the other is deader than a doornail. Some of my hydrangeas look like they'll have to be cut back further than usual.
I'm actually looking at this as a really good opportunity to clear out stuff and redesign.
But first, I've got to prune them roses, and condition the soil, and get some stuff moved and/or planted. I have waited too long.... I should have already pruned by now. I have way too many roses, and have started giving things away.....sob.
Now for the rest. I'm working like a fiend, unfortunately. I'm hoping to cut back this year for good, so my fingers are crossed. I really want to stop practicing law and start doing something else. I sold some of my handmade jewelry (first time!) over the holidays. I've done some research and am thinking about setting up a small business just so this habit will support itself. I made jewelry for two of my girls, based on birthstone. Sapphire and ruby necklaces, can you believe it? The oldest is a couple of months away from getting her Phd, and is on the job interview merry-go-round. She wanted a really expensive suit, instead.
My step-ds graduated from college (UC Davis) and we all went. I was so proud of him!!! I offered to pay for the middle stepkid to go back to school (she dropped out of college due to stupidity, and now is a struggling single mother, wistfully jealous of her sibs). She's taking classes at the local community college, and we came up with a plan for her to achieve a good education and improve her life. She's very, very excited and happy, and I'm very proud of her...she was definitely the black sheep of the three older ones.
My son started high school. He's really, really happy. We pulled him out of public school and enrolled him in a very special college prep school for 2E kids. We went through the legal process and achieved what we thought was impossible: the school district will reimburse us for the tuition. They admitted they could not accommodate his unique learning needs. Turns out he's profoundly gifted, and has nonverbal learning disorder. The school he's in is the only high school of it's type in the country, and it's two minutes from our house...we are really lucky!! So he's taking very challenging courses, and they teach to his learning style. Plus, they are helping him develop strategies that will help him in college. He's going on a cultural exchange program to Japan for 3 weeks in June, where he'll live with a Japanese family in a small town for a week, and attend a local school. Very cool!! He just starred as Macbeth in .... well, you know. He was terrific! He got a job as an extra in a movie, and now he's really enjoying theater.
My little redhead is in 3rd grade already!! She's so mature and sweet and sensitive! She is a very typical 8 year old girl: she's mommy to five goldfish and a turtle named Lily. She spent yesterday on a set for some Disney kid's show she watches (the parent of a friend is writer or producer or something), and had a ball....she came home with autographs and photos, and is planning how it will all get framed and on the wall. She had a terrific season with soccer, and is now asking for guitar lessons. She's very very bright, and very creative. Also, very independent. She reminds me of how I was at that age, but she's much more popular. And more beautiful. You just can't stop staring at that titian hair and crystal blue eyes! She is very, very family oriented, and nothing makes her happier than doing something together with me, dh and her brother (and the other sibs when they are visiting). She loves babysitting her 7 year old niece and 5 1/2 year old nephew when they sleep over. And they worship the ground she walks on, of course!
Okay, the truth is, I love being a mom! I wish my mom were still here to see them growing up. I know she'd be totally in love with them, too! I miss her (gone nearly 7 years...wow!)
Dh and I are still having fun. We have so many projects and hobbies and interests that it seems we really need at least 3 days each weekend to get stuff done. 2 days just doesn't cut it.
Wouldn't you agree?
Anyway, the frosty weather has subsided. It will be in the 70's this week (but windy and arid...ugh). My magnolia soulangiana in the front yard popped open its first blossom this morning...still waiting for the one in the back to do its' thing. Azaleas are blooming like crazy. My lazy streak (where gardening is concerned) must come to an end shortly, however short it has been.
I hope you all had a wonderful holiday, and I wish you all a happy and healthy New Year!!!