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Icy Weather & Plants: Five Tips From a Decided Non-Expert

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Cold weather continues to envelop Houston, although not to the degree that anyone in Chicago would notice.

But any below-freezing temperatures always bring with them loud and insistent demands that everyone wrap up their plants.

We wanted to do our part. We admit we may be hamstrung somewhat in this effort, our knowledge of plants being matched for nonexistence only by our interest in them. Still, we've seen our wife in the garden, so that should be good enough to offer the following tips on how to deal with your plants in this icy weather. 5. Say to yourself, "They're just plants" Your azaleas aren't in pain. They're not feeling abandoned by you. And look -- actions have consequences, as every parent of a teenager keeps saying. If you decide to bloom early because you feel it's warm enough, well, don't look for us to come running to bail you out.

4. Build fires under them Not big fires, mind you, just hearty little blazes to warm the cockles of their nonexistent plant hearts (Hearts of Palm excluded). Note: Hair Balls holds no legal responsibility for anyone who actually follows this advice. 3. Wrap them in your children's coats If you've read this far, you're probably one of those people who so love plants that you'll read anything in the hope of gleaning some small tip that might save your backyard buddies. You like 'em so much, take the coats off your kids and wrap 'em. It's not like your kids ever sprouted a beautiful tomato or anything.

2. Use heat lamps If they're good enough for McDonald's burgers, they're good enough for your precious babies. Note: During a rolling blackout you will have to replace the heat by standing over the blooms and blowing on them.

1. Shriveled, blackened clippings from your dead plants make great potpourri Well, at least they look like whatever that stuff is that people toss into potpourri. As for the smell, which we believe is supposed to be part of the attraction of potpourri, just spray some Lysol on it. Go for the "Spring Clean" scent, as a way of taunting the weak plant that couldn't tough it out.

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