Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Time to study replacement plants for our "dead" garden

It is time to make a quick study of my heirloom gardening books. When I wrote the previous post on heirloom gardening, I didn't realize I would need to begin studying the books sooner than later.

A few days ago, we had an extremely cold weekend for the Houston area. We actually pulled our winter coats and boats out for the walk from the parking lot to the church that Sunday. After the temperatures dropped into the 20s for a few hours two nights in a row, plants in my yard were brown. However, I'm not alone because it seems the entire city of Houston has dead yards and plants. Yet, somehow there is green in the pots next to my pool. I must find what those plants are, and get more! But not just yet.

According to an article in The Houston Chronicle, it is not time to pull up plants that appear to be dead.

Time for a change?
With our gardens in their barest state, it’s a great time to evaluate.
A “correction” like we’ve had allows the plants that really belong here to perform.
Emphasize plants that do well, and be careful about tropical plants that belong in Zone 10 — unless you accept them as annuals. Roses are among the hardiest survivors.

I have followed the advise of the author and pulled up annuals that were not meant for winter gardens. Four trash cans full of dead annuals challenged me to rethink whether or not I wanted to use such a huge amount of seasonal plants.

We also removed the "mush" from the tops of some bulbs and hostas and discovered life below the mush. I must remember to cover these tender plants if it freezes again. But, there are beautiful plants that are totally brown and we are encouraged to wait to see if they come back in the spring. These are plants we enjoy, that bring hummingbirds and butterflies to our yard. It is sad to see the all the brown that looks hopeless.

Meanwhile, I need to get seeds planted so they will be ready to transplant into the garden in March. I just need to figure out which seeds can handle the summer heat. Plants For Texas has an old plant list I need to save on my phone. Photos can be found by clicking on the links on the Plant List page. It is time to study, make notes on my shopping list, and start searching for seeds, while keeping an eye on the arrival dates of plants for spring gardens.

The Chronicle author's point was well made. It's time for a "correction." It's time to invest in heirloom and stop wasting money every year on plants that can't survive in the summer heat, or the winter freezes my yard is subjected to. I simply hope I am up to this challenge.

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