The Great Blizzard of December, 2009
by Donald Ray Burger
Attorney at Law

Many years in the Houston Heights it will not even freeze in my back yard. That was not the case in 2009. We were out of town for Thanksgiving, and upon our return, the weather forecasts were for snow. Right.

However, each day of the week the forecast stayed the same. Snow. Freezing rain. Low 30's. And the forecasts were right, as we had snow Friday morning, December 4th, and frost everywhere on Saturday morning, December 5th.

I only took two mussandae plants into the garage. I figured it would not get that low. I was wrong. Profit from my experience. Below is a list of plants grow or see grown around the neighborhood and how they fared.

Plants that were hit hard

Abelia: Took a hit. Should come back from roots. Basil: Killed.
Cat Whiskers looks very bad. I has come back from the roots before.
Crown of thorns turned brown. It may come back from the roots.
Flap Jack Kalanchoe: It looks really bad. Not sure it will make it.;
Nasturtiums: They look dead.
Musical notes looks bad. It was still in a one-gallon pot. I don't know if it will come back from the roots.
Mussaenda luteola: If you didn't take it in, it is dead.
Papaya: These took a hard hit. They may be dead. The trunks must be winter protected to have a chance.
Potato vine: We have this around the pond. It looks bad, but it is an annual, so maybe it would have died anyway.
Princess flower: It look bad. I grown mine in a clay pot. It may come back from the roots. Stay tuned.
Tomatoes: Killed.

Plants that were badly nipped

Duranta: Mine was turned uniformly brown. It is a big bush and I am hopeful it will come back from the roots. I need it to since the bees love it.

Hibiscus: most were badly hit. They almost always come back from the roots. I had a couple in clay pots. Stay tuned to see if they come back.
Hummingbird bushes: Most were turned brown. However, they are fine and come back from the roots.
Pentas were badly nipped. I think they will come back from the roots. Stay tuned, however.
Sago palms: Most did fine, with just brown on the tips.
Starfish plant: It took a hit on the tips, but may make it.

Plants that were lightly nipped Ixora in the ground were lightly to mediumly nipped. Some branches turned brown. If they were in the ground for at least a year, they will come back from the roots.
Katie ruellea: Lightly nipped. Looks like it will do okay. Mexican heather was turned brown at the tips. I think it will do fine. I prune mine back in the spring, regardless.
Mexican Limes: Nipped at the tips. Most limes turned brown. I think they will make it.
Meyer lemons: Same as limes. I think they will make it.
Swordtail ferns were hit hard. Some green left. I think they will come back from the roots.
Thunbergia grandiflora: Hit hard. It rarely does well in the winter, but comes back like gangbusters in the spring.

Plants that did fine with no winter protection

Alyssum: Still blooming.
Asparagus fern: No problems, even in a clay pot with northern exposure.
Blackberries: No problems. Broccoli: No problems.
Clasping coneflower: Unaffected, and continued to bloom.
Cherry trees: Look fine.
Cyclamen: doing okay. The actual blooms look a little peaked.
Dwarf bottle brush: kStill blooming.
Dwarf mondo grass: Not affected.
Encore Azalaes: Those in the neighborhood did fine. Still blooming. Ours in a clay pot looks unaffected.
Foxtail fern: Looks fine, even in clay pot with northern exposure.
Grapefruit: It looks fine.
Ornamental Kale: Looks great.
Kumquats: They look fine.
Peaches: They grown in cold country. No worries.
Roses: Did fine. Still blooming.
Spearmint: Did fine.
Sweet olive: No problems
Valencia Orange: It looks fine.

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