I shouldn’t complain when friends in Wisconsin are “enjoying” -14 F (-25.5 C), but the past week has been cold for North Carolina. The days have hovered right around or just below the freezing mark, and nights have dropped as low as 11 F (-11.5 C). We have several more cold days in store, with low temps on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday 10 to 13 F (-10.5 to -12 C). These temperatures aren’t unusual for a North Carolina winter, but usually they are short lived, and generally the lowest temperatures are accompanied by an insulating layer of snow. It is quite unusual for weather this cold to persist this long when the ground is bare (we finally had a little snow last night). Consequently, the ground has almost certainly frozen deeper than it has for years.
During the past few years, when winters were mild, it has been tempting try various tropical and subtropical plants outside in the garden. Come spring, it will be interesting to see how many of those plants, mostly South African and South American, have survived.