Saturday, February 5, 2011

The wounded in my garden...


Last week's unseasonably cold temperatures -- down to 17 here at my house -- left their mark on the garden.

I think most of these plants are simply damaged and not actually dead.

But I'm going to cross my fingers for a little good luck, anyway.

I didn't cover anything this year. Too many years of running around on dark and blustery nights with sheets and blankets and rocks, trying (mostly unsuccessfully) to cover plants.

First of all, the freezes this week were to hard and too prolonged to benefit from any covering.

And, frankly, I'm tired of running around on dark and blustery nights with sheets and blankets and rocks, trying (mostly unsuccessfully) to cover plants!

So, come on a tour with me -- and send some good karma my way as you look at my sad specimens.

The first one is an umbrella plant, (Cyperus alternifolius). Like many more tropical plants, like Sagos (cycads), the cold weather turns it pale and papery.

This big blue Agave is sad on the bottom, but the firm and standing center is an excellent sign.
This variegated agave will be getting a haircut for sure.
For the first time, the Society Garlics are all looking miserable. I know they will revive, but expect to sheer them after the danger of frost has passed.
This Mangave looks pretty squishy to me...
See, here's a Sago (Cycad) that's lost almost all of its pigment. It's a pale version of its former self.
Two more squishy Agaves (that's the technical term). The top one is a passalong - variety unknown.
This Agave celsii took a hard pruning last winter, but eventually came back. And now, it's back to square one. Do you think they are tired of this? I sure am.

But I know my garden blogging friends anywhere north of here have it far worse in the winter. And, this is not our official whining season, it's theirs. Ours is reserved for August and September.

How squishy is your garden these days?

12 comments:

rohrerbot said...

Well....interesting you should use the word "squishy" because that's what a lot of my cactus and agave have going on for them. It's nasty. I hope our gardens will recover from this nasty freeze. Your pics look exactly like the nasty scene here....except for the psago. I hope that little guy comes back for you....very expensive plant here.

Annie in Austin said...

Your garden this year looks like mine last year, Diana. I lost most agaves and all the bulbine.
Fingers crossed that yours are strong enough to recover.

Thank heavens I brought some starts inside the house from the Grandfather's Pipe you passed along to me. I like it so much but the ones growing outside are now..... squishy!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

PS Had to laugh that you didn't cover anything just a few weeks after your newspaper column about how to protect plants in Central Texas winters! Do-as-I-say/not-as-I-do?

ESP said...

Hi Diana.

My Aloes were oozing moisture in the strong rays of the Austin sun today. Yes, another prolonged freeze, my sago also is looking decidedly "anemic" after the recent cold snap, but it will live, like most things. The agave "pass along" is an Agave vilmoriniana, and mine looks about the same as yours, this agave was particularly hit hard, I think due to it being so young.
On a brighter note...more freezes on the way this week :-)

ESP.

ESP said...

Hi Diana.

My Aloes were oozing moisture in the strong rays of the Austin sun today. Yes, another prolonged freeze, my sago also is looking decidedly "anemic" after the recent cold snap, but it will live, like most things. The agave "pass along" is an Agave vilmoriniana, and mine looks about the same as yours, this agave was particularly hit hard, I think due to it being so young.
On a brighter note...more freezes on the way this week :-)

ESP.

Diana said...

rohrerbot - I hope my Sagos survive, too. These are smaller ones, mostly planted last year. The 2 giant grandpas were barely touched, because they are so well-established. Hope yours come back after some post-frost pruning.

Annie - Ha ha! Do as I say is definitely my motto! Many more such examples I could share (but not out loud!).

ESP - Thanks for the ID. Wasn't sure if I got htis pup from you or from Lori, so I didn't put in a link. As for more freezes - they're all on their own! Makes for interesting blog copy at least! Mutant plants and all. You must love it!

getgrounded said...

My agaves that made it through last year are also mushy this year. There are so many planted around town in public landscapes, I wonder if they will continue to plant so many or change for something else. It's going to be interesting to see what changes the city might make in the Grow Green guide recommendations after these past few years of weather extremes.
I had pulled my variegated Agave out of the ground and brought it in, since I was planning on relocating it anyway in the spring. Manfreda, also in the house for the same reason. If they don't make it through next year, I won't plant again. Same with Bulbine - no more!
I'm thinking about just planting plastic plants from here on out.

Carol said...

That Sago looks almost like it is plastic, and the plastic faded in the sun.

You have this northerner's permission to whine when temps go that low in Austin. Hardly expected and as you noted, it is not worth covering something when it is that cold outside. The reason for covering is so that the radiant heat from the earth gets trapped under the cover, protecting the plant. It works quite well when you are going down to freezing or a few degrees below that. But at 17, ha! There isn't that much radiant heat to make up 15 degrees.

I hope plants come back from their roots, as our perennials do after each winter. What I'll be looking for when we thaw out is broken limbs and plants that heaved out of the ground. Our low temperatures have been seasonal.

Lancashire rose said...

I'm with you. No more covering of plants, specially when there is a wind blowing. It is just sad to find ourselves with yet another year of freeze damage. It is just too tempting to grow marginal plants here. annie's comment about the grandfather's pipe reminds me that I had one growing beautifully in a pot on my gate. It was the one I forgot when we had our first frost. I could have cried. It shriveled away to nothing. I just wonder how the nurseries survive this.

katina said...

Is it wrong of me to say that I like the sago palms better when they're that white color? It's just so different, too bad it means freeze damage instead of naturally being that way.

Layanee said...

I am empathizing with your squishy agaves. Mine got squishy while overwintering in a cool room. Not sure what happened. Either too cool or too much water....Anyway, the outside garden here is snow covered and hard as a rock.

Gail said...

Diana, Oh my! What a mushy mess Mother Nature and Old Man Winter made of some of your pretties. I do hope they can recover...It's snowing here now and getting cold again~gail

Diana said...

Getgrounded - LOL - Just say no to plastic plants! I'm glad you brought a few things in and saved them. At this point I'm just ready for the regrowth to get on with it.

Carol - Thanks for the permission to whine! BTW - whining now will not prevent me from whining in August. You're so right - covering at those temps is futile -- there IS no radiant heat! But most of these will come back from the center, it's just going to take a long time.

Lancashire Rose - You're right, we're just so tempted to grow zone 9 plants because much of the time, we can. I'm one of those for sure!

Katina - Hmmm - When I cut off all the fronds of the Sagos, shall I send them to you?! They do look cool, though. But not so cool when they are bald!

Layanee - the Agaves should tolerate cool - many of mine survive a light freeze, but they sure don't like wet feet. I hope you don't get any more added to your already overwelming blanket of snow.

Gail - They should recover, it's just going to be ugly! No more pretties for a while. Hope you quit getting hit with such hard weather. Bad as this seems for us, I know it's hundreds of times worse for you - and a lot of work, to boot.