Warm thoughts.

Wow, it’s cold here!  I read one time that it is a typically Canadian characteristic to express the temperature while taking into consideration the windchill factor –  I guess we sound even hardier and dare I say heroic if we say it’s minus 36 degrees Celsius with the windchill instead of a “mere” minus 29 without.  (That’s minus 33 and minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively).  The wind is something you definitely have to factor in, especially when you have get somewhere on foot or wait for a bus – it makes sense to give it its due.  The crazy thing about all of this, it’s even colder the further south and north you go in the province.  I saw a snippet on one of the local news broadcaster’s Facebook page this morning that said of the 15 coldest places in the world right now, 5 of them are here in Alberta.  (Should we be proud of that or what?).  By comparison, we’re actually downright balmy here in Calgary.

Unfortunately, a tropical escape is not in the works for me right now (I have all that holiday baking to do – I simply can’t leave now!).  😉  In lieu of a white sand beach and non-stop sunshine, and with the pressing need to get organized before the new year, I’ve been going through my photos from the summer, including the ones I took at the conservatory at the Devonian Botanic Gardens.  Located in Devon, Alberta, about 300 kilometres (186 miles) north of Calgary,  the 190 acre Gardens are run by the University of Alberta.   My hubby and I hadn’t been there in years and to say we were impressed would be an understatement.

One of the plants in the greenhouse that stands out for me as I browse through the photos this morning is Jacobinia carnea (formerly Justicia, Flamingo flower, Brazilian plume), a South American native with spectacular firework-like blooms.  I made a mental note in July to do some research about this beauty – it turns out there are about 400 species of Jacobinia but only two are used in horticulture, J. carnea and J. pauciflora.  (The latter is apparently considerably less common).  In zones 8 to 11, Jacobinia is an evergreen shrub, and can actually reach a height of 215 cm (7 feet), with a spread of 90 cm (3 feet).  I read that it’s easily espaliered and is often grown that way as a backdrop for other perennials.  Here, of course, it can be a successful houseplant if given low light conditions and plenty of humidity.  If kept in a container, it supposedly gets a bit leggy after flowering, so it is advised to cut it back after the blooms have faded.  Temperature is a concern – Jacobinia does not tolerate the cold and will not perform if kept in a room hovering below 12 degrees Celsius (55 degrees Fahrenheit).


The flowers come in various shades of red, yellow, orange, white and this incredible pink.  J. carnea is definitely a plant to remember if I ever get a sunroom to put one in.  Sigh…SUNroom….

Are you familiar with Jacobinia?  Do you grow any houseplants?  What are your favourites?


  1. yikes! I saw on the weather this morning how very cold the west is… brrr. I’m sure it’s on its way here. Stay warm and thanks for the beautiful flower image to remind us of warmer days! 🙂

  2. What a delicious pink color on that plant! Here we have sleet, ice rain and than later this afternoon a snowstorm! And two days ago I walked the dog without a coat on, it was 17C! Oh, well, hot chocolate and good book;0)
    My husband shares your dreams about sunrooms!
    I am NOT good houseplants but I cherish my crab cactus who seems to thrive and feels truly happy in my home already for years;0)
    Well…keep your feet warm and your head cool ,they say! hugs from Ohio.

    • I hope your weather has settled down a bit over the past few days – it sounds like it’s very up and down right now!

      I love cacti, too, but I only have one very small barrel type that has never flowered for me. Does your crab cactus bloom annually? They’re so pretty!

      Have a wonderful week!

  3. Wow! I can’t even fathom that cold anymore since I left northern Utah years ago. I just looked and it’s 82degrees F here in central Florida. That pink Jacobinia is gorgeous. But since I have been known to have even silk plants die, I will just admire from afar!

    • LOL I love what you wrote about the silk plants! Florida must be like a garden all the time, anyway – no need for many houseplants! Oh, how we’d love to have just a bit of your heat here right now!

      Have a fantastic week! 🙂

  4. Such a pretty plant Sheryl. I never seem to have exactly the right conditions for houseplants – too much sun, not enough light, too dry or warm, too cool! I only have a handful of indestructibles, my favourite is a tiny bamboo-like plant that has remained the same size for years and never needs any attention! (I must try and find out its name!) Stay warm Sheryl!

  5. I live in Australia and that temperature is frighteningly cold. And yes, the windchill does make it sound “more impressive” that you are experiencing that. Here we do a similar and say something like it is 39 degrees Celsius (102F) “in the shade”. 🙂

  6. Amazing and Thank you for writing which is quite good and best wishes always, and greetings. Kindness blossoms in your heart.

  7. When it comes to enduring cold, I guess we here are pikers compared to you in Alberta. Though it is pretty darned brisk here at the moment. That flower reminds me of something I saw at the Garfield Park Conservatory.

    • It seems quite likely that the Conservatory may have had one – from what I read, they’re more common than I initially thought.

      I’m sure it can get pretty cold there, especially if you have a good wind going…. What is the humidity typically like? It is very, very dry here, particularly in the winter.

      Today it finally warmed up a bit, but it won’t stop snowing. Oh well – time to break out the snowshoes! 🙂

  8. Thank you for visiting my blog and liking my poem. I live in the Australian tropics, so our temperatures are inverted. What you’re getting in cold, I’m getting in heat! I’d offer you somewhere to stay for that tropical beach holiday, but we’re just coming into storm season, so on top of temperatures in the low 30sC, we’re getting torrential rain, thunder, lightning and a bit of flooding… To each her own challenge. Mine’s flood-proofing rather than frost-proofing my garden!

    • Oh wow, I don’t quite know how I would deal with the storm season – all this snow and cold seems terrible but at least the garden is dormant and I don’t have to worry too much about the health of my plants. I hope your weather doesn’t do too much damage – how long does this period of storms typically last every year?

      I look forward to keeping up with all your future posts! Have a good week and take care!

      • Storm season is typically November through January, then it’s the Wet. That’s more or less constant heavy rainfall every day, accompanied by the threat of cyclones due to low pressure north of us. Cyclone season lasts until end of March or early April. Winter’s a GOOD time for us; moderate temperatures, low rainfall and not too much humidity. I’ve tried floodproofing by raising all the beds, digging over well, adding lots of organics and a very thick mulch to aid drainage. The soil was very poor, leached and compacted by being constantly flooded. Hopefully this year will be different, but of course, I’m growing stuff which is used to this climate – not much else will survive! Stay warm and safe.

  9. It’s raining and chilly here in Southern California, although I’m sure you’d think it warm! Love the gorgeous pink flower. I don’t have houseplants, and have just a small patio with a few plants. My pride and joy is the Donkey Tail growing profusely – it’s from a cutting of one my mom had growing well over 50 years by now. I’m also proud of the Epi plants that bloomed this year, from clippings my sister-in-law gave me. ~SueBee

    • Isn’t it so fabulous to have success with cuttings or seeds? Definitely something to be proud of! 🙂 And it’s especially wonderful when you can preserve a part of a beautiful old plant and keep it in the family!

  10. Gads, this weather really bites. I ran out for groceries tonight and my nose didn’t feel like it was going to fall off. Must have be at least -19 C, LOL. It’s misery when it’s been so cold that -19 C is a nice day. I’ve heard of that plant name but had no idea it was that stunning. Currently, I have one house plant, it’s an Ivy and it’s dying 😦 The leaves are falling off one at a time. I’d like to have more but the cats dig in them. Good times.

    • Aw, I know how cats can “love” plants a little too much! 🙂 That’s interesting about your ivy…I had one for years and years and it up and died on me this spring, just started losing leaves for no apparent reason. Sounds a lot like what is happening to yours. Hmmm…. I couldn’t figure out why mine died, I didn’t change anything in the way I cared for it, and I didn’t move it to a new location. Strange.

      I hope it warmed up there today! Did you get all this snow, too? It came down in bucketloads here today, everyone is getting stuck on the side roads and in parking lots. Eeek. Spring can’t come soon enough!

      • That is an odd coincidence on the Ivy. Mine is 3 years old, I move it to a shady spot on the porch in the summer and then back in for winter. It seems like it was going gangbusters all summer and doubled in size. Fickled.

        We actually didn’t get ANY snow today and it was -9 C It actually felt mild. Apparently it will still be mild in the morning and go back into the deepfreeze as the day progresses. I did get some of the news and saw the mess everywhere. I’m so glad we aren’t traveling at present time. Delays, bad weather and ice storms in the USA. It might just be me but this winter has worn out it’s welcome and it’s only December.

  11. We feel it’s pretty chill out here in Bangalore when the temperature hit 19 deg. C 🙂

    Yea, I Know how winter is in Canada, a few of my cousin’s are settled there, and we used to talk.

  12. Thanks for visiting and following my blog. I gawped at your temperatures – I live in North Cyprus after 40-odd years in Australia, originally from UK. But can’t tolerate cold temperatures now, yours are beyond my comprehension. We are normally warmish in winter but last week had a really cold spell with diabolical winds which have whipped our bougainvilleas and other flowers to shreds. I know they’ll grow again but they had just got to cover our fences and now we’ll have to cut them back. Loved the photo of your flower.

    • Thanks so much for stopping by, I really appreciate it! 🙂 Our winters can be a bit severe and difficult to take sometimes, that’s for sure! When the Chinooks come in and warm everything up, it’s such a relief! That’s too bad about your beautiful flowers…but as you say, they’ll rebound in time. The wind can be so harsh sometimes.

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