Oleanders in the yard
During the next few days, even more severe frost is predicted, and in fact temperatures down to -12 C (10 F). The oleanders are not under the arcade any longer; older specimens in large pots have joined the ones already in the plastic-sheeting house. A thermometer will serve for checking on their safety. The outside temperature is below freezing. Despite this, just a few tentative rays of sunlight are sufficient to raise the temperature almost to 16 C (61 F) inside this favorable location in the shelter.
Oleanders along the front wall of the house
Since it is supposed to be so cold, further precautions must be taken. Additional plastic sheeting should provide more insulation; besides this, I have installed small heat lamps beside each bush – nothing complicated, small 25-watt incandescent lamps, one for each bush. I can switch them on and off from inside the house.
Oleanders planted out in the open field
protection. Wood shavings on the ground around each bush, a few sheets cardboard on top of them, and over that yet another covering of plastic sheeting, like a tent within a tent – several layers. But the most important thing is an additional source of warmth: a small convector – a frost monitor with a thermostat, which will maintain the temperature in the small space above freezing. Meanwhile, the electric installation is just as much of an experiment as everything else. If it is to work, it must of course be done professionally; as much caution and safety must be exercised as when electrical appliances are being used outdoors. The cable into the house is on its own electrical circuit, which has multiple safeguards.
The free-standing bushes in the meadow especially will need better This is what the finished “tent within a tent” looks like with the little convector inside. Once the the outer tent is closed, winter can come peacefully.
It is December 5, 2012.