Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Could it be that, once again, I'm talking about the weather? You bet. The wind is howling through the trees as yet another front passes through. Last week it brought a temperature in the low 20s, yesterday it was in the 80s. Tonight, back to freezing again. No rain in weeks. Yep, if you want to grow in Texas you'd better be tough.

someone is kind enough to take you into the house. Some of my plants get to spend the winter in a more favorable place; the greenhouse, potting shed or even the house. These two ice plants are just flowering their heads off in the greenhouse.

I moved all my 'tenders' into the greenhouse last week and, despite no heater, they seemed to survive that frigid night. I put it down to a few things. Radiation heat from the rows of wine and milk bottles, warmth stored in the gravel on the ground and some protection from the cross vine which re grew this year and is once again creeping over the roof.

The third blooming plant is Plectranthus, 'Mona lavender' It was one of the plants used by the folks at Gardener's supply. I enjoyed its blooms so much in the fall that I thought I would try to winter it over.

But apart from that, the garden is now taking on its winter appearance, with the loss of all the little zinnias and cosmos which were growing between the pavers in the herb garden. Aready, I see the tough little spring bloomers waiting for their turn. Blanket flowers, coreopsis, poppies.


  1. Uh oh. I have both of those kinds of ice plant, purchased from the Natural Gardener. Are they frost tender? Both of them seemed to take last week's freeze like champs. Now I'm worried.

    -Matt in Austin

  2. Matt- Don't worry. The yellow plant I bought in the late fall and decided to keep it over the winter to give it a better chance of surviving if there was very cold weather. I will be gone quite a bit. The pink one is in a large pot which sat on top of the wall and trailed down. I live in a very cold spot- one of the coldest in Austin. If you see the Oak Hill weather completely out of line with the rest of the area- that is just about what I get in the winter. On Saturday we were 7 degrees different from the temperature in Austin. It is just a very cold pocket. Both these are hardy so you shouldn't have a problem. However, the Natural Gardener does not always sell plants that are truly hardy for our area without protection. You only have to look at what they do on cold nights. A. desmettiana, for instance, rarely survives a winter over here.

  3. Even in winter your garden shines, Jenny. I do love all your beautiful hardscaping.

  4. As always your photos are beautiful. Had not heard of the milk bottle and wine bottle idea- that is really neat! The Mona lavender is absolutly beautiful!!!! I love the ice plants. Always been one of my favorites- the nurseries out in CA think I am nuts for liking those hahaha To them it is more of a weed. Someone told me the other day they plant it there as it helps with fires- I am sure you knew that but I didn't, thought that was really interesting. As always, I enjoy your posts.

  5. Hi RR
    I have complete faith in the name ice plant :-) Do they not use this plant on the side of highways in CA as a fire retardant? Or did I just dream that?

    Jenny, like Pam I like the winter starker aesthetic, I can already see the next generation of feather grass getting ready for the spring show in-between your paving stones. My experiment with these small grasses continues.

    Psst...trying the lamb this weekend...shhh:-)


  6. I love all the moods of your garden, because you've thought through so well how it will look in every season. (Had to laugh at ESP's comment about ice plant in CA -- it does indeed blanket sides of freeways and is planted for its fire retardant qualities. Some dream!)