It’s Monday and It’s Cold in Atlantic Beach

It’s been a freezing week here at atlantic beachlife.  And what’s more boring than writing about the weather, unless it’s some spectacular sort of weather event, like a hurricane.  Or…snow, in Florida.
My colleague, Nick Lulli of 2News Now, has been excitedly predicting, “snow in northeast Florida!”, all day, every day, for the past week.  From flurries to sleet, Nick is ready for some weather action, since we barely had a tropical storm this season (I’m not complaining). While we’ve had the temperatures for it, and I’ve seen the ice to prove it

nary a flurry has flown in my micro-climate.  It’s been  28 degrees on more than five mornings when I ventured out at 7:20am. When when I spotted this ice slick

(that would be ice on the road!)

I thought I was back in Michigan for a second, where temperatures, frankly, were but a few degrees colder.
I know, exciting stuff.  Well, Nick’s excited; he’s a budding meteorologist and cannot wait for an actual snow event to report on.  I admire the kid’s tenacity. He’s been a storm-chaser since he was 11 or so (some pretty accommodating parents, don’t you think?). He was out in Jacksonville Beach the other night and reporting on the cold like he was Jim Cantore of The Weather Channel.  Watch for Nick, people, for someday he probably will be on that channel, or some more technologically advanced channel that hasn’t even been developed yet.  His Facebook status reported of snow flurries! in Sanford! last Saturday morning!
For his sake, I hope it snows already because if it doesn’t he’ll be absolutely verklempt by this missed opportunity.  For all the kids in this neighborhood who are still running around in shorts with their hoodies and yes, flip flops (I’m talking to you and you)  let’s see if they can man up to the weather.  It’s now a mere 36 degrees at 4:09pm, so maybe, just maybe, tonight is The Night for Snow.
(Date palms in warmer days – also before we painted the house: another post)
The lovely blue tarp is protecting my tender pygmy date palms which I brought home in the back of my car several years ago.  These trees  could succumb if a sustained freeze occurs.  So finally an effective covering has been devised by the man of the house and now I can relax. If you drove through the neighborhood today you’d see all manner of coverings on people’s protected plants: old sheets, large towels, tarps, bags,  whatever can be scrounged up to toss over the tender tropicals that we insist on planting despite these annual winter risks. I  have a large garden of just gingers that I’d love to cover but the area is just too vast.

(ginger garden in summer)

(ginger garden an hour ago.  so far, so good.)

This fellow below doesn’t look as lucky.  For one thing, I forgot about him, so he’s spent the last week in an unprotected area of the garden when I could have easily hauled him into the garage.  His sad leaves tell the story of my neglect, and are a poor prognostic indicator of future horticultural health.
(a forgotten Croton.)

I gave him a drink of water and he’s spending some time out in the 44 degree sun; I’ll bring him in tonight and we’ll take his future day-by-day.

I have mixed feelings about this next plant.  Well, no.  I was actually planning to transplant him soon, and now his fate is still uncertain.  I hate to see him die of cold, if that’s what happens, because he started out as a couple of small (and I mean small!) plants on my sunny kitchen counter. Now he’s grown big and mighty, a tropical beauty that’s overtaking the front entrance.  Still, I didn’t want him to die, just…move to another location, which is exactly what will happen if he survives the this cold.

(He is a Gold Dust Croton; kind of rare. You have to go to a specialty nursery to find these.)

(This is his sibling.  I thought I’d transplant the first one over here.  Do you care?)

So anyway, it’s all weather talk around here because this is the longest run of frigid weather that Florida’s experienced in many years.  I realize that my friends in the plains states are scoffing at this but honestly: it is damned cold here!
Look what some beachlifers do for fun.  They rig a sprinkler up in their tree, let it run during the night and by morning, it’s a beautiful icy, sculpture for their sub tropical neighbors to behold.  Lo, it’s not Disney!  It’s Atlantic Beach!

It would have been spectacular if I’d arrived in the morning and not 1:45pm.  I was dodging hastily dripping water to get these mediocre shots.
From under my warm throw (but never a Snuggie),


  1. Karen says:

    Well, let me say.. you have a beautiful home and yard! And then let me say.. I feel sorry for the plants who are not equiped for these extremes and I hope you don't lose any..the tarp is a good idea.

    And THEN.. I'll say this.. HA HA HA… now I feel just alittle bit better about sitting in this 20 degree weather.. but you'll be laughing at me again soon as you bask in the sun once more and I chip the ice off my windshield wipers. 🙂

    Stay warm –

  2. Terra says:

    Lovely ice garden you have there.

  3. Sammi says:

    What a beautiful home you have, Jeannie!

    I can hardly believe the weather you guys are having… Although hoodies, shorts and flip flops cannot be all bad.. I am pining to wear my flip flops again soon, rather than two pairs of socks and thick boots.

    I hope your plants survive!

  4. Nick Lulli says:

    LOVE the mentions Jeannie! 😀

    It's very unusual to see such a hard freeze all the way to the beach…

    I had no idea your kids were following in your footsteps LOL…

  5. Mickey (Michel) Johnson says:

    …been cold here too. josh played a tennis tournament over the weekend in weather that was a bit too cold for most, but i loved it as he did…the apple doesn't fall far from the tree! i wish we had snow, but none came…we did have ice on our pond which was a first! xo, mickey

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