Garden journal entry
|March 20, 2017. Happy New Year! Oops, is it really late March? I guess I have been severely delinquent for many months now, but I expect to be posting here a good bit more frequently now. It's a new growing season in a new house in a new part of the country, and the time for "wait and see" has come and gone: we gotta build a garden!|
Back in the fall, we visited a few nurseries and picked up plants that were mostly unfamiliar to us – tender perennials, perhaps so tender that their survival even in our current zone 8B garden was dubious. All part of the learning curve.
When the first harder freeze arrived in early January (a night with sustained temperatures into the mid-20s – no big deal in our previous garden, but a rather significant event here), our new plantings, which had been going strong until then, collectively took a hit. Our nice new lemon tree was toast (we replaced it with a couple of satsuma oranges, which are much hardier), and the tropical foliage plants were all killed to the ground, except for the sago palm, which despite its label which suggested any frost would kill it stayed brilliant green. Fast forward a couple months, and most of those tropicals are starting to reappear – the tropical milkweed, the firecracker plant, and the variegated ginger all popped up with new growth by mid-February. But the cordylines seemed definitely dead – so much so that I planted a couple of (equally red) pennisetums in their place. So I was tickled to see that they too ultimately survived, pushing up a few tentative blades from where their stalks died. I have no idea how quickly they will grow to a reasonable size, but it's good to know that even in Houston, late winter and spring is a season of eagerly anticipating regrowth. It gives me new energy to tackle the project ahead of me: creating a new garden that will invite us outside, hopefully even in the heat of Houston's summer.
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|j.w. plankeel ||Mar 26, 2017||Great, you did start work on the new garden. Just did not share it. A few degrees of frost should not harm too many plants if daytime temperature is far above 50Â°. so you should have a lot of choice of suitable plants. How did the heat of summer affect the plants (and you)? Over here (Netherlands) we hope to reach 65Â° for the first time this year in a few days, but minimum this winter was 20Â° (for 72 hours).|
We have yet to go through a full season of gardening in Houston, so I'll reserve my judgment until I see how plants fare in the worst heat of summer. You are right that most traditional perennials (even tender ones from say the mediterranean region) can handle the occasional frost. But that's not necessarily true for tropicals. Those tend to be very conservatively labeled (for example, the sago palm we bought said to not expose to temperatures below 40F - while it got through our winter freeze just fine). So we'll be learning by trial and error to some extent.
September 09, 2009