Friday, December 5, 2008

Phase one - Texas style, or Brrrr!

Carol of May Dreams Gardens told us about all the complicated preparations for winter that they undergo up north before the snow comes and the ground freezes.

She wrote of bringing in bird baths and patio furniture and lots and lots of, well, work.

Here in Austin, the ground doesn't freeze.  But sometimes the air does,and so there are a few things we have to do to protect our plants, pipes and pets (as the weather folks are fond of saying!)

Last night is was 30* at my house.  Brrrr.

The plants were already in the greenhouse, so I took some sheets out to cover my lettuce and my leeks, and I picked all the remaining green tomatoes and lemons.

I brought in an overflowing bowl of tomatoes, probably 80-90 of them, and 25 more variegated lemons.  

While I was picking the fruit, I talked to the plants -- thanking them for their bounty and letting them know how much we enjoyed our harvest.  (It seemed the right thing to do, knowing the tomatoes at least were facing imminent death).  

While carrying the haul in, I realized with horror that the Brugmansia - German Double Pink, was still blooming and I hadn't yet dug it up for potting and overwintering in the greenhouse.

GASP.

So, I put on my clogs and got out the shovel and dug 'er up.  (Boy, did she have some roots for a 9-month old.)  And she almost didn't make it into the greenhouse, she cleared the peak of the ceiling by only about 2 inches!  I hope she survives so I can find a better home for her next year.  Her blooms are a pretty color, aren't they?

I ordered her from ebay (I know, don't laugh!)  

I found her on a google search and fell in love with the picture, so I forked over way too much money for one big 'ol bulb and clicked, "BUY NOW."

She's my first, so I had no idea what to do with her and I just stuck her in a hole where I could see her and where I had some room (and safe from deer).

I put her next to the Datura, as they are similar, but it turns out that was much too sunny a spot for her to be happy.  I watered her by hand daily in the 100 degree heat and she looked very sad many days. 

Then someone (probably a grasshopper) ate all of her leaves all the way up the stalk.  How rude!


There's Tanner, in his favorite perch, watching over his property as I prepare to dig.
I'd hardly call her blooms pink, though.  They are very peachy.  And now they are full of beetle bites.  These little yellow and black beetles the size of lady bugs have been having their Thanksgiving feast on her.  
After being overheated and too hot in the sun all year, she has to suffer the indignities of bug bites just as she's finally coming into her own.  Oh well, maybe it will make her stronger! Ha ha.

But my Christmas Cactus is about to burst into bloom.  Just in time for our humongous holiday party.  Oh, and I made two pans of ginger bars today.  Tomorrow I'm testing out some chicken salad filling in puff pastry shells...I'll let you know how it goes!