Sunday, January 20, 2008

After the Freeze

A crocosmia "Lucifer" and a "Cajun Spice" German iris peeking up through the mulch and leaf litter by the pond. Sustained low temps (last night in the 20's) left icy patches on the pond rocks and pushed the frost damage further down toward the ground. Tips and new growth had been damaged before, but most of the salvias, "Mexican petunias", and other tender items are gone now. This bed by the pond is usually dominated by a salvia puberula. Here's a picture of its vivid blooms as they appear from late summer until the frosts start. They start out a tight ball and slowly unfurl from the bottom to resemble a more typical salvia bloom. Thanks to my friend, Bill Hyland, for finding its botanical name when the nursery could only tell me it was "Rosy Sage".
The row cover over the hoja santa is just too tempting a toy for the squirrels. They seem to make a game of tearing it up. The plant freezes down to the ground, but the bit of protection provided by the row cover seems to give it a head start at coming back in the spring.
Here's Bradybeans (above) rooting around in the same corner just a month earlier and keeping the world safe from squirrels (below.) Get a good look at that right hip - there's no hip socket, just muscle holding his leg in place! You'd never know it when he rockets around the yard and jumps several feet in the air after squirrels. He's got a great story I'll save for another post.

The greenhouse successfully kept the chill at bay, protecting orchids, a five year old jalapeno plant, and a variety of scented geraniums. The coral vine that usually covers the bamboo lattice has died down for the season, as well as the variety of tomato plants usually populating the "grow boxes" you see here. Only strawberries, swiss chard, and the peas continue to thrive in the cold - and the peas are looking a bit frostbitten! Dwarf Gray Sugar is covered with blooms and the promise of more tiny pea pods.
This one Zebrina delphinium still looks great, hosting a well-chilled but tasty breakfast of its sap for a leaf footed bug this morning. Poor plants never seem to get a break from the bugs in an organic garden, but so far the bugs haven't seemed to tip the balance in their favor. Other "Zebrinas" in the garden are looking much worse from the sustained low temps, even though they're larger than this little guy. To the left are hyacinths (I think!) There are also some native tulips in this same area that start out looking much the same.

Here's my favorite polar bear - Gable, my white Labrador Retriever.

This antique rose, Sam Houston, still had a couple of buds and one open bloom. The roses Martha Gonzales and Bengal Tiger also still had blooms up until this freeze. We'll see what happens if the temps stay low for any length of time. I know folks gardening where it's really cold are laughing at all this talk of "low temps". Yeah, we know we're spoiled.


Annie in Austin said...

How cool to find another new Austin garden blogger, VBDB! Pam let us know you were here. It will be fun to read about your garden adventures, not only with plants but with dogs, a pond and a greenhouse.

Hill Country Water Gardens is a place I love to visit and mentally tag a few things as 'mine'. Thanks for letting us know about the helpful classes.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

BTW Did you mean to turn off the comments for the pond post? Or did it toggle on you when you chose the options for posting?

vbdb said...

Learning by doing ... thanks for the toggling tip.

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