Peckerwood, East Side Patch, scat cats from plants, roses

January 14th, 2010 Posted in Uncategorized

Gardeners won’t soon forget the “winter of 2010.”  Indeed, it will be in quotations for years, like “the drought of 2009″ and the “2007 floods.” Gardeners forget where they put their pruners, but they never forget weather events. It helps us remember significant life events. “Oh yes! It was 2005. That was the year of the grasshoppers. Now I remember when we had the baby!”

Seriously, it shows that we are actually connected to the real-life reality show, as opposed to the ersatz version. Our concern for our gardens connects us to what weather events mean to the farmers who provide our food, and to our wildlife.

In our heartbreak over plants that may be lost, there is beauty in the “winter of 2010.” I thank viewer Don Baker who found these sculptures in ice while wandering a field with his grandchildren.

Don Baker's ice sculpture Austin Texas 2010

What a moment to share. Long from now, his grandkids will remember the day they found the crazy ice things with their grandpa.

Don Baker's ice sculpture Austin 2010

Essentially, frost flowers or ice ribbons or ice flowers happen when sap in the stem freezes and breaks it open. Thank you, Don!

I’m not ready to count anyone in or out in my garden. I can tell you that I fearfully peeked under the Satsuma’s cover and saw green leaves! Some lettuce was a little wilted but not ready to give up. The Agave celsiis: not sure. I’ll report later. It’s too early. For all you eager, anxious beavers, don’t clear out or dig up.  That includes the sago palms.

Mine doesn’t look too hot.

Frozen cycad, sago palm

Neither does the one I gave to CTG’s director, Ed Fuentes.

Frozen cycad, sago palm

The story behind this: I dug up that cycad last year and moved it. It lost all its fronds, so I decided to replace it. But I couldn’t bear to toss it, so I stuck it in a pot, threw a shovel of soil on it and stuck it behind the shed. One day it had new fronds coming out. To make it up to it, I gave it to Ed, who treasured it. Like a rescued pet, the cycad was so grateful that it grew into a beautiful plant in just a few months. Lesson here: this spring, we’ll cut off the foliage and see if the root ball made it through. This time, I won’t be so hasty to sign off on it. (Greg pointed out that sago palms didn’t survive since the Prehistoric days by being wimps.)

Here’s a surprise for you:  a Salvia coccinea in bloom!  A few months ago, I told you that I dug it up and put it in the patio “greenhouse.”  Is that fun or what?

Salvia coccinea in winter patio greenhouse

This week on CTG, we highlight a Texas treasure, Peckerwood Garden. In 1971, John G. Fairey dedicated his land in Hempstead to explore his ever-growing collection of rare plants native to the southern U.S., Mexico, and Asia. Thanks to his endeavors, many of us have plants that were strangers to us just a few years ago.

Garden manager Chris Camacho joins Tom to show off a few of Peckerwood’s spectacular winter performers, like this Magnolia tamaulipana. The entire list will be on CTG’s website, where you can also watch the show online.

Magnolia tamaulipana Peckerwood Garden

Along with their Open Days tours, this year Peckerwood invites you to attend their Winter Lecture Series in January and February.

On tour, meet Leah & Philip Leveridge from East Side Patch!  In “Fall 2008,” (momentous event), I got to visit their garden on a Garden Bloggers tour. As we approached taping in “Fall 2009,” I feared that drought, heat, and a month away to visit family in Scotland would end up in yet another cancellation. “Fall 2009″ goes down in CTG records as the most cancellations ever.

Instead, their garden was a paradise and testament to tough plants. See how they started from scratch to turn grass and overgrown shrubs into a family destination of discovery. Especially, I love how their children are growing up in the garden. Generations from now, their stories and “weather events” will encourage the gardeners of the future.

Got cats that tear up houseplants and garden beds? Trisha responds to viewer Billie’s question about how to keep their little paws off.  Thanks, Billie! 

Daphne explains why we want to get bare-root roses in the ground soon. It’s also a great time to plant container roses, too. The heat will be back before we know it!  Check CTG’s website for lots of info on the best rose varieties, pruning tips, and how to deal with problems.

Until next week, Linda

  1. 7 Responses to “Peckerwood, East Side Patch, scat cats from plants, roses”

  2. By Diana on Jan 14, 2010

    Linda – I have some very small cycads that look like that, too, but my giant ones seem unphased. I am surprised since I’d heard that they were hardy to 26F. I was really only worried about the Sagos and the Eureka lemon. Not sure about it yet – it may take a while to diagnose it. It looks sad now…not dead…but very sad.


  3. By mss @ Zanthan Gardens on Jan 14, 2010

    “Gardeners forget where they put their pruners, but they never forget weather events.” Oh, Linda. How true! How true!

    I agree with Greg about the sago palms. They are old survivors. I just hope we’re right because I’ve never seen mine look so bad. I feel fairly certain that new fronds will emerge but I think it’s going to look pretty pathetic for a long time to come.

    Looking forward to seeing East Side Patch as I missed my chance to see it in real life.


  4. By Pam/Digging on Jan 14, 2010

    Philip’s garden is a testament to how to plant for torrid, dry summers in Austin. It’s a beautiful place, and I’m so glad you filmed it for CTG.


  5. By Bob Harper on Jan 15, 2010

    Well, Linda, here we are 15 days into the new year (how come the days zip by so fast’) and I’ve not wished you a Happy New Year. Now we’re about to wash away with all this rain but soon enough we’ll be back fanning like crazy and wishing it would rain. Isn’t life fun ! ! ! ! Hope all your plants have made it thru the cold safely. And, that you are well and happy. Bob


  6. By Bob Beyer on Jan 17, 2010

    Hey Linda, Not to worry about the Sagos. I’d just clip off the damaged fronds in spring and they should regenerate a fresh new set of fronds for you to enjoy by this summer, Two cycads I have made it through the 20 degrees without any damage at all,
    Cycas panzhihuaensis and Ceratozamia hildae (which was in a pot, not in ground). (look them up on Google) These are not easy to find but as cold hardy standouts for central Texas, they are worth searching for.


  7. By Daphne Richards on Jan 18, 2010

    As always, a great post! Love to ice bloom photos.


  8. By Nathan the care for roses guy on Jul 25, 2010

    Well what are the results with the “sago”
    interested to see what has happened be good to share the effects and outcome from winter.
    The photo’s are really are so wonderful, nature at its best, kind of like images of clouds in the sky. This season has been very cold and moist causing some mildew on are roses back in bayarea , summer has been late for sure.


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