Herself's Houston Garden

Conservation through cultivation

The great cold winter of twenty ten




It’s only just begun.

First came the December freeze. All the tropicals lost their leaves. There’s so many of them that the garden smelled like rotting lettuce for a week. ( I’m pretty sure that didn’t win me points with the neighbors. )

The yellow and black bamboos lost their leaves and wilted, the greens are holding up so far.

The gingers have died back to the ground to await warmer weather.

The younger cactus have wilted, the older cactus have blackened tips.

Surprising to me the mother-in-laws tongues have help up well, I ‘ll plant more of them come spring.

This week lows will be in the twenties. For a light freeze covering your plants with fabric, then plastic helps, at 20’F that’s not going to do much.

Do not cut your plants back. I know they look bad, but if you cut them back they’ll try to grow on warmer days and the new growth will die back on the next cold night. Be patient, wait till spring to cut your plant back and more of them will survive the winter.

It’s been rainy so no need to water.

Adding mulch never hurts, or layers of newspaper. Plastic can not be touching the plant to do any good. Put paper or fabric between the plant and the plastic.

Large rocks in the sun heat up and stay warm a little way into the night, plants near rocks, and stone walls will have better protection.

In the spring the strong plants will still be here, in place or rebuilding themselves from the ground up. Let nature decide what plants should be in your garden. Come spring, replant the lost ones with something new.

The climate usually gives us a couple decades of warm weather, then a couple decades of cold weather. It’s too soon to tell if this is just a bad winter or whether we are returning to the colder winters of the 1980s. But I’m thinking I’ll be planting less tropicals come spring.