At this moment it's still just 19 degrees in suburban Atlanta, which is crazy cold for this part of the world; the forecast of temperatures reaching into the low 40's today has me optimistic that there is hope on the horizon, though.
The good part of the cold weather is that I'm not working in the garden until around noon, so I have an unexpected relaxed morning. Sadie the dog and I took a long leisurely stroll around the neighborhood, for her the opportunity to sniff every new aroma that might have landed on the ground in the past 48 hours -- for me a chance to enjoy the sun and check out how things fared during this cold blast.
The Fatsia outside my dining room window is completely bowing down in the cold, almost as though it is huddled there in a coat of its own giant leaves; whenever it goes down into the 20's this particular shrub behaves that way, and it's always cool to watch it start to open up and stretch again when the sun comes out. By this afternoon it will be right back to its usual pseudo-tropical look. The Daphne Odora near the front steps looks just fine, but I'm sure this cold is going to delay the exposion of color and fragrance that I expected by this weekend.....based upon the nature of Daphne, I'm always pleased to see it still alive!
The Flowering Quince (Chaenomeles speciosa "Toyo Nishiki," pictured above) is completely covered with buds, making me happy it's planted in a place that keeps it a couple of weeks behind those of some friends. Their's were in full bloom this past week, and probably now zapped by the freeze. Every summer as it tears the skin on my legs with its vicious thorns, this quince is referred to as "that horrible bush," but in winter it's the star of the mixed border. Perhaps it will stay for another year....