Freeze-damaged succulents; east Austin snow; Garden Posse

February 25th, 2010 Posted in snow

What a difference 48 hours makes!

primrose jasmine in snow

Iberis (candytuft) in snow

Narcissus erlicheer in snow

On Sunday, the sun was glaring down on this Narcissus ‘Grand Primo.” By late afternoon, all the bulbs were drooping from the heat.

Narcissus 'Grand Primo'

Two days later, it was drooping for another reason.

Narcissus grand primo in snow

Narcissus ‘Sweetness’ is flowering in the den and crape beds. This heirloom jonquil from 1939 has reliably returned for two years for me.

Narcissus 'Sweetness'

Narcissus sweetness in snow

Spring star flowers (Ipheion uniflorum) are showing up with gusto!

Spring star flower (Ipheion uniflorum)

Along with their pastel blossoms, I like their strappy, low profile winter foliage along pathways (or even in them).

Spring star flower (Ipheion uniflorum) foliage in snow

They’re a good way to fill in spots where the perennials are cut back, too, especially outstanding in masses. You can order bulbs in fall but I’ve also gotten transplants spring and fall at local nurseries.

Here’s my surviving Agave celsii in the snow. It’ll make it this time. I’ve already cut back the freeze-damaged leaves. The agave and irises have grown so much that I’m moving the irises later to give the celsii breathing and visual room.

Agave celsii in snow

Since emails about freeze-damaged agaves and aloes arrive daily, this week on CTG, Tom meets with Jeff Pavlat from the Austin Cactus & Succulent Society. Jeff brought along examples to help identify what’s truly gone and what just needs some pruning and time.

This one’s gone. Probably an Agave titanota.

dead frozen agave

If you’re looking for cold hardy agaves, check out his comprehensive list for details. And get more information, including events and meetings, at the ACSS site.

Here are two events to get personal advice and to add or replace succulents and cacti. The Austin Cactus & Succulent Society holds its spring show and sale on April 10 & 11. The San Antonio Cactus & Xerophyte Society holds its show and sale April 22-24.

On tour, Ed Fuentes and I spent an afternoon and evening with The Garden Posse. This passionate, energetic group of gardeners scouts out neglected spots and turns them into gardens overnight.

Garden Posse of Austin, Lindsay Patterson and Caroline Crosier

In some cases, like the Cherrywood garden they install the night we taped, the neighborhood group asked for their help. While we were taping, neighbors strolling by or riding bikes raced home and came back with tools from their sheds to help. In a church garden, the parishioners were so thrilled that they named each watermelon as it ripened! Mainly, the Garden Posse is reaching out to their community and doing what they can to make it better, one little plant at a time.

Over the years, I’ve watched independent projects, neighborhood strips, and school gardens come and go. Some are ephemeral and quickly return to their Bermuda grass roots once the team leaders move on to other endeavors.

At the same time, I know that each one made a lasting impression. A child takes the memory to adulthood and plants a garden. A neighborhood starts to borrow ideas to try at home. As the Garden Posse says, they know some of these gardens won’t be around forever. But the philosophy that they’re planting is one that will.

I thank Marshall Escamilla from The Unbearables for allowing us to use his original music compositions!

This week, Daphne explains what “woody perennial” means, and John Dromgoole has great tips for planting and maintaining your container plants.

John Dromgoole container plant tips

Another great event, on March 6: Celebration of Urban Birds. This is a family fun event with bird walks, bird talks, kids’ bird drawing, and more. Check out our Events calendar for more details.

Remember, you can always watch CTG online!

Until next week, Linda

  1. 7 Responses to “Freeze-damaged succulents; east Austin snow; Garden Posse”

  2. By Larry Green on Feb 25, 2010

    Here in Colorado, I’ll be following with keen interest what survived your recent snows for examples of plants to trial.


    Linda reply on February 25th, 2010 6:17 pm:

    Hi, Larry! The snow wasn’t the problem. It was the days that dropped below 15; in my garden it was 9 or 10 degrees. Already, the starflowers and narcissus have perked up after their snow bath!


  3. By Annie in Austin on Feb 25, 2010

    Looks like a great show, Linda! A couple of my agaves may be dead but I’ve done nothing but avert my eyes as I passed. Maybe Jeff will help me decide what to do with them.

    Ipheon is very pretty and I like the foliage – another entry for the plant-one-day bulb list.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose


  4. By Daphne Richards on Feb 26, 2010

    Thanks for another great, informative post! I always learn something new, every time I check in.


  5. By Bob Beyer on Feb 26, 2010


    You inspired me to post my “snow garden” pictures on my blog. It is indeed a rare opportunity to see our garden from a rare and unique perspective.

    Bob Beyer


  6. By Leonard Poe on Feb 27, 2010

    We have aprox. 12 palm trees; 8 Mexican Fan Palms, 4 Sago Palms, and one more large one I don’t know the name of (they were already here when we bought our house)
    During the cold snap a month ago, our temps got down in the teens a couple of nights, followed by 20s & 30s a few nights. The Texas Fan Palms’ fronds have all turned tan, except some have green center columns. I have removed aprox. 25 fronds, especially the ones drooped down into the swimming pool. My question is: Will these palms likely recover from that cold (the snow last week didn’t help either), or will I probably have to replace them (come spring)
    We moved out here from CA and we seldom had temps below freezing in our area, so we never had our fan palms turn tan in the winter like these did.
    We enjoy your TV program.
    Thanks, Leonard Poe


    Linda reply on February 28th, 2010 4:10 pm:

    Thanks for watching & for writing! This was a first for us, indeed, but supposedly they will recover. It may take some time, but you’ll have a better idea when warm weather arrives. I’m cutting off the sago leaves in a week or so; I’ve heard they should recover, too. Don’t worry, the snow didn’t make it worse! We didn’t get below freezing, so that didn’t add to our headaches. Best with them & welcome to Texas, Linda


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