Running hot, cold

After a weekend spent shivering, temperatures start to climb


Harmony Gardens owners Theresa Estok, left, and Doris Klemm remove a cloth cover Monday from a group of lantana, hibiscus and banana trees after early morning temperatures that dipped below freezing.

ROB C. WITZEL/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Tuesday, January 13, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 12, 2004 at 11:12 p.m.
Florida's winter weather changes faster than who's seeing who in Hollywood.
Over the weekend, residents were shivering under cloudy skies and temperatures in the low 40s and 30s. But on Monday, warmer weather moved in and the skies returned to a picture-perfect blue.
"Temperatures are becoming a little bit more normal with not as much swing," said Andrew Shashy, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Jacksonville. "We could possibly get up to 70 degrees in Gainesville by Thursday."
But the anticipated warming trend doesn't fool nursery employees who can't afford a misstep when it comes to the fickle weather.
"What I've pretty much done is I've changed my nursery over to things that can take the cold," said Sherry Seabrook of Seabrook Nursery in Alachua.
Forget hauling plants in and out every time the temperatures dip, said Seabrook and Judy Brown, manager at Gainesville's Garden Gate Nursery.
"We only save that for the most tender of tropicals," Brown said. "Instead of dragging them in and out, we just cover them."
Brown uses "frost cloth," a material she said is well insulated and can remain on plants for about a week. Unlike plastic, it lets light and water in.
Back at Lowe's on Archer Road, however, the alternating hot and cold weather - sometimes in the same day - means a daily routine of covering plants or stacking them on racks so they can be wheeled in and out of the garden department, employees said.
Warmer, sunnier weather is predicted through the week with clouds gathering Friday, according to forecasters. The rain chance is expected to increase to 50 percent over the weekend, followed by drier weather and cooler temperatures next week.
Lise Fisher can be reached at 374-5092 or fisherl@gvillesun.com.

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