Written by Cliff Blackerby, Master Gardener
The winter of 2017 hit hard for a day. Temperatures got down to 22 degrees – can you imagine? While I managed to survive by cranking up the fireplace and turning up the electric blanket many of my plants look like they gave up the ghost. A year ago,
I made a garden promise to myself. I was no longer going to cover plants or move containers into the garage when a cold spell was coming. My plants were either going to “suck it up” or end up in the big compost stack in the sky. As you can see from the picture a number of them were wimps and I suspect many of my readers have lost plants as well. The positive thing from that cold spell is that we can now do some re-landscaping correcting all those mistakes made earlier.
I am ashamed to admit this, but as a master gardener my original landscape plan had not been very well thought out. I saw a plant I liked, bought it and then tried to figure out if I had a spot for the darn thing. I sometimes think this is a character flaw I share with all gardeners. I had not researched some of the plants very well and ended up with some short, very colorful plants that would have been wonderful viewing had I not put them behind plants that grew 6’ tall. I made other mistakes as well, but most plants seemed to be doing well and I’m too lazy to move them anyway.
Now thanks to the ‘Freeze of 2017’, I have an opportunity for a do-over. I don’t plan to acquire any plants until the spring. I want to see if any will come back. The time between now and then will be spent in researching. I want to check neighborhoods to see what landscaping plants did well. Plant spacing and growth patterns will be an important aspect when selecting plants, as will cold and heat tolerance. I intend to visit with my friends who are native plant enthusiasts as well as peruse the TAMU Earth-Kind® plant selector page. Maybe, if I do the up-front work first, my 2017 garden will be a little more organized and better survive the extremes in Texas weather. I’m hoping that by careful research and selecting plants for the space and the conditions I have that I can get control on my impulse buying and when the freeze of 2018 comes around I won’t have so many plants to replace. I know I am going to have a great opportunity to get replacement plants at the annual Master Gardener’s plant sale in March. If you need new plants join me there.