Thursday, December 14, 2006

Not gone forever

I haven't posted since Halloween. Every day I walk out into the garden and think, I'll go in there and write something. Just a few words. And then I get back into my office and get sucked into something else and don't do it. I think one reason I haven't been posting is that I feel like I must have a picture (I look at Pam's postings, with their beautiful images and feel even more intimidated). But getting the camera out is just one more thing and sometimes its one thing too many.

So, no picture today. Just words.

After the freezes of the past few weeks, the garden is in a crispy, limp place, at least most of it. The two hamelias were the first to feel the cold, the outer layers of foliage going a reddish brown and then, with even colder weather, actually crisping up and falling. Same with the yellow bells, the purple heart, the Mexican flame vine, and the Pride of Barbados. All semi-frozen but not down to the ground. I need to get in and whack things back but I'm always wary at this point of more of this 75, 80 degree weather that just encourages everything to send up new growth. Maybe I'll wait a bit.

All three roses made it through the freezes with no damage. All three were covered in buds before the first freeze and I was sure I would lose all those flowers but so far they're blooming away. Maggie is much happier with the various things — hypericum, flame vine, salvia leucantha — trimmed away. The flowers are as fabulous, both in looks and scent, as I remembered. Old Blush has been covered in blooms. I was out this morning examining it, trying to decide whether to prune back the stalks where the petals have fallen. Again the question of encouraging new growth. Hmmm . . .

Speaking of the hypericum, it's coming back with a vengence. I chopped it all the way to the ground and it's sending up new growth from every bare stalk. One tough plant. I think I'll dig it up and move it. If it's that tough even my manhandling style of transplanting probably won't kill it.

I brought all the succulents in, either to the screened porch or to my office, before the first freeze. Now I can't decide whether to move them back or leave them inside. Some of them are unwieldy but others look a little sad indoors. Sure as anything, the day I move them out another cold front will swoop down. The perils of Austin gardening.

I did leave the manfreda Macho Mocha outside in its pot, which was just too big to move. I covered it with a sheet and it's doing just fine. We covered the big agave Americana in the front with a couple of sheets too. Last winter it sustained serious damage, even covered. My theory was that it's reaching the end of its life (the mother plant, anyway) and was therefore more fragile. But so far this year it's fine. Maybe it was just colder last year.