currently in Austin


Patience pays off; bizarre mountain laurel!

Gardening can be like recording TV shows:  “Hurry up and wait.” I hate the waiting part.  But since the thryallis woke up for sure, I won’t wait any longer to trim it up this weekend. I’m glad that I didn’t hurry up a few weeks ago and chop it to the ground.

Thryallis returns after hard freeze
I do like the waiting part that leads to novelty, like spring’s spiderworts.

Spiderwort gigantea in Austin Texas
We can’t go out and get new stuff every day, but in a perpetual garden, there’s always something old that’s new.  It’s like finding a favorite sock stuck to the sweatshirt you put away last season.  Oxalis may be a weed for some, but for me, it’s like finding the sock in spring, especially when paired (sorry, couldn’t resist) with spring star flower (Ipheion uniflorum). And it feeds early bees.

Oxalis with spring star flower Ipheion uniflorum
Since my ‘Mr. Mac’ Satsuma orange is budding, I may go ahead and trim it a bit this weekend. But, since we’re still guaranteed one more little weather surprise, be ready to cover those new buds. If yours aren’t budding yet and you’re in a colder spot, wait to prune.

'Mr. Mac' Satsuma orange after freeze damage
We’re wary of the first fall frost, but tend to forget the last one, especially when it’s so warm.

On April 9, CTG brings you expert tips on citrus, what to expect this year from freeze-nipped plants, which ones are the hardiest, and when to fertilize.  Again, this is a hurry up and wait situation. Limes may not have made it, but don’t dig them out yet.

Also, wait to take the shovel to abutilons or anything else that looks “pretty brown.”  Hey, it’s still early days!  I’ll clean up mine next weekend. As soon as I see signs of life again, I’ll give them some slow-release organic fertilizer.  Gardeners have a reputation for being patient, except in spring!

This Freesia laxa was impatient to be the first to show that freeze doesn’t get in their way.

Freesia laxa in Austin Texas
In the cat cove, some of them are standing by, along with lots of other plants. For now, they’re bowing to Lady Banks.

Lady Banks rose in cat cove
I rather like that it that it doesn’t happen all at once; I revel in new things every day.  I’d hate it if it all happened at once and was gone. Okay, I’m the one who takes an hour to open one Christmas present.

Last year, Ava Hayes sent us this crazy growth on her mountain laurel.

fasciated growth on mountain laurel

Daphne identified it as fasciation, which develops when the round growing point, the apical meristem, becomes distorted and crescent shaped. Most of these occur in nature and we have no known cause; it may simply be a genetic anomaly. Here’s what it’s doing this year!  Is that cool or what?

Fasciated mountain laurel flowers Fasciation on mountain laurel flowers

And hurry up and put this on your calendar: the San Marcos Green Living Showcase on March 26.
Save time for Zilker GardenFest March 26 & 27. And this weekend, March 19, check out the East Austin Garden Fair which will focus on edible landscaping (and lots more).

Until next week, Linda