33 degrees F. on November 12??? Really? Well, that's what the Weather Channel website shows as our predicted low for tonight. It seems as though winter may be arriving a bit early this year.
Our high today, which occurred at mid-morning, was 64 and already the temperature has fallen to 58, so 33 does seem eminently reachable tonight, especially if the clouds clear out as expected and the skies are clear.
All of which raises a delicate question for a gardener: Should I protect any of my plants? After all, 33 degrees is just one tiny degree away from freezing.
Most of my plants that are in the ground are very tough and I'll take my chances with them, but I do have some plants outside in pots that could be damaged by the low temperatures. Should I lug them inside or cover them with frost cloth?
One plant in particular comes to mind. My Christmas cactus has flourished in a pot under the magnolia tree all summer and it is now full of buds. I would be devastated to lose it, so that one will definitely be coming inside to rest in a closet for a few weeks.
Then there's the big Ficus benjamina tree that lives in a pot on the patio. It has sentimental value for me because it was a gift from friends on the death of my father fifteen years ago. I have babied that tree through various traumas over the years, including a previous unexpected freeze. It made it through that time, but it doesn't like cold weather. Time to bring it inside, I think, or at least to a protected corner of the back porch.
So, time to get outside and start shifting some plants before the temperature drops any further. Our average first frost date is still about three weeks away, but there are always unexpected exceptions. Tonight just may be one of them.