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Thursday, January 18, 2018

Time to warm up for Market Day

Warm Greetings all !  At least we hope it's warmer by the time you see this !

All of us experienced some unseasonably cold weather this week and we know everyone has been concerned about their garden plants. Let's face it, some of it may have got zapped...probably some it won't make it...probably some WILL  revive !  So no matter how ugly your plant(s) look, "now" is not the time to cut back/clean up, you have to have patience :)

Here at my house in NE St. Pete, it got down to at least 30 degrees for several hours, as documented by the quickly acquired temp thermometer purchased at last moment.  My home nursery probably looks a lot like many of yours...every sheet and blanket used to cover things, not to mention, small entrances placed so that neighborhood kitties could find a warm cozy place out of the elements.

Fun fact: During these times when we see ourselves and our neighbors all using sheets etc, it is like a walk of history for all of us, showing the history of the many sheet sets we all have had over the years -  From the single sheets of our college-age dorm kids, to the original wedding gift sheet sets that were washed to an inch of their life and now tear so easily if you just look at them..... to the colorful ones from the hippy sixties (yes, I have a sheet with peace signs on it) to the mix-matched stuff we pick up at Goodwill. I personally think the more colorful the better..its kinda like decorating your outside house post-Christmas.

Many plants, if they were well established in the soil, will be fine, once the more-consistent warm weather returns early March.  Plants amaze us all the time at their resilience, either in cold, heat, lots of rain, no rain etc so don't give up, you may be surprised.

That being said, obviously there was serious protection issues at my home nursery here in St. Pete, jut like yours and yes, spent lots of time putting up tarps, sheets and boxes up and around the things that really needed protection. And just like you, ugh, will all spend a ton of time taking it all down and putting things back.....just remember, we still have the rest of January and Feb to get through, so don't pack those sheets away yet.

The things  "reallllly" wanting  protection ?? Well, of course that would be the hundreds and hundreds of mini succulents and cacti that are brought to market each week.  Those babies all got boxed up and have been sitting calmly inside the house, awaiting fresh air tomorrow when the load for market starts. 

What else was done? Well, the "rare and special" hanging plants found temp homes hanging on  indoor rods over the washer and bathroom. Approximately 100.25249 old Air Plants that usually hang from my old grapefruit tree out front were taken down and they were cozied in boxes too.  Air Plants slated for market sit quite prettily atop the succulent boxes inside the house, which makes for some fun temporary house decor and I can ignore the dusting for a bit longer.

Since there is not a greenhouse here at my home nursery,  the front porch was turned into a temp green house with hundreds of other specimens huddled on the porch, with sheets and the market banners hung along the roof line as wind protection.  You do what you gotta do ! Just had to remember to pull down one sheet quickly this morning to let the mailman thorough.

Don't forget during times like this to think about the outside critters - yes, doing what could be done to provide protection for feral kitties, and keeping fresh water in the birdbath is important (even if you had to hack thru the ice this morning).  Feeding the birds - I have one feeding station hanging outside the office window - nothing fancy, a flat wood plank hanging from the branch of the Bougainvillea tree - this morning I noticed constant stream of birds to it, hacking at the very last of the suet square I buy at Ace hardware. Birds need the nutrition during winter, especially when dealing with colder temps and the feed gives them energy and internal warmness.  Other than staying inside today swabbed with my favorite housecoat, I did make quick trip to Ace to get new ones..they are cheap (less than $2) and easy to use..if you don't have a feeder, just unzip the plastic square and put it out in the yard, preferably on a surface off the ground and our Bird friends will be very appreciated.

Anyhoo, wow, sorry to go so long here..think I am suffering stuck-inside-house mode !  So, tomorrow the warming trend starts and come Market day on Saturday, the Armstrong Nursery crew will be back in shorts and working on our tans. Please come out and see us at Market and support us and the many farmers and artisans that work so hard to bring you great product during sometimes-tough-Winter days.

Here's the scoop:

Saturday Morning Market, downtown St. Pete  for more info and directions.
Market hours 9am-2pm
Armstrong Nursery booth is located on the very East (back) row of market, right across from the fabulous Hot Cuban booth !


Mitch Armstrong Nursery is a licensed Tropical Plant nursery with the state of Florida.
We do not have a retail location, but you can find us weekly at 
Saturday Morning Market, downtown St. Pete

Mitch Armstrong, Owner
Annie Sprague, Nursery Manager


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