Sunday, June 28, 2015

LASTING IMPRESSIONS

No one likes to write about the bad things that go on in their garden. They really like to share the pretty photos of their garden design and flowers. No one has a perfect garden and no one is exempt from things that go wrong.
Not everything is rosy in my garden. It has been more than 2 months since the horrendous hail storm that battered our garden for more than ten minutes. The garden has made a good recovery and the plentiful rain has helped enormously. We were lucky it was in May because many plants were only just starting to grow. The worst hit of all were the cactus and succulents. This damage will never go away.


But it isn't just a matter of the unsightly. Many of the severely damaged plants are starting to fail. It's as though they have post traumatic stress. This plant bravely put out two new pads which are now hanging loosely. It was such a beauty too.


I have already discarded many agaves and pruned off tens of lower leaves on the large agaves at the front. Most of those are A. weberi, with sturdier leaves, and have taken the pruning well, their leaves spreading down to cover the cuts.  Not so the A. desmettiana. I waited before pruning the two in pots at the front gate. But in the end I had to do it. I knew it would create the pineapple effect and it just doesn't look right.


I think they will have to go. One of the reasons I decided to cut back was pups growing underneath. I want to give them a chance to grow in a more upright fashion. The mother plant will remain until the fall. At least I won't have to worry about the pots over the winter.


There are split stems on all the trees and bushes. Some will not recover. This is my beautiful Felicia. She put on a brave show producing new leaves only to find she couldn't support their growth. Then she bloomed again but the flowers were puny and pale. Now she is just bare twigs. I'm not sure whether to cut her back now or wait until the late winter. Either way it will be to the ground as all the stems are in this state.


A similar fate beset my once fabulous sage. I have waited hoping that it would recover but apart from a few new leaves most of the plant is dead.


Just before the storm it looked like this.


The vegetable garden faired pretty badly too. This is the first year that I have had to buy tomatoes. Beaten to the ground I hoped for their recovery but it was too late in the season to set fruit for this year. There will only be two lemons this year as all the flowers were knocked off the trees. Only the little calamondin is making new flowers.

But in all this I have my wonderful gardening friends to thank for some garden gifts. From Cindy at My Corner of Katy came a big box of bluebonnet seeds along with frilled poppy seeds. None of my bluebonnets managed to mature seed because their leaves were pounded to death. It was a huge blooming year too which made me concerned that they were putting their everything into the bloom after the great fall and winter rains. But surely mother nature is smarter than that and doesn't put all her eggs in one basket. Without these seeds from Cindy there may have been a poor bloom next year.


From Rock'N Oaks Garden Club in San Antonio, who had just visited my garden the week before, a generous gift to replace some of my lost plants. I know the new Felicia rose I buy in the fall will have their name on it. As will the replacement of my Princess Diana Texas clematis.

And my Austin garden friends have brought me agave pups, an Eve's Necklace tree and perennials to take the place of bare spots in the garden.
Thank you all. What a wonderful community of gardeners I belong to.
And on a much brighter note the Easter lily cactus bloomed two days after the white ones. Such a pretty color.


17 comments:

  1. This was an important post to see since I often think of you in the garden and wonder how the recovery is going. Our Rock n' Oaks Garden Club members will be thrilled to know you have something special in mind for our gift. We'll look forward to following your new Felicia as she grows and blooms.

    The next time I see you which may be fall by now I will be armed with cactus and seeds!

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    1. Thoughts of shopping for that new rose and clematis in the fall have certainly eased the pain of loss. I hope that your group received the thank you note I sent several weeks ago.

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  2. I'd the unrealistic hope that time would cure your garden's wounds despite the extensive damage you showed after the event. I glad that succulent pups and friends are stepping into the breach.

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    1. I am hanging in there on the rose. I can see that she is busy trying to heal the wounds but so many branches have died and I can't see any new growth below the damage. It was a brutal beating.

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  3. The decimated Opuntia is so sad, but getting those gifts for replanting is very cool! Garden friends are the best. Oddly, the potted agave you cleaned up was interesting with all the hail pits on it, though not the effect you might want.

    Here's to a better rest of 2015, and a gentle drying out.

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    1. What can we say. Mother natures loves to test plants and gardeners alike.

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  4. Gardening friends are the best!
    I wish all the best to your garden, Rose!

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    1. Thanks Tatyana. Texas has a strong gardening community.

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  5. I'm so glad you've been "showered" with garden gifts to help heal the emotional scars from the storm. That opuntia is just so so sad, and is there really no hope for the A. desmettiana? The post-pineapple photo shows so many happy heathy leaves, although I agree that look isn't desirable long-term. Maybe it will surprise you? (Fingers crossed up here in Portland).

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    1. It has 6 months to prove itself before it goes to the Gulag!

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  6. You are right about the way we typically blog. According to most posts I read there are never weeds or bug infestations (or hail damage!) to deal with, just an endless succession of lovely blooming plants. At the moment I'd be hard pressed to take a single photo that wouldn't show holes from grasshoppers, leaf hoppers, and/or leaf cutter bees. I consider that the price of doing business however, especially since I'm focusing on using native plants. They all always get somebody nibbling on them eventually, as well they should. It just isn't the way I thought a garden was "supposed" to look. The seed catalog photos sure don't look holey!

    What a shame about your opuntia! They do grow reasonably quickly and you should be able to secure a replacement. The large agave though, they are a different story. At least you have pups!

    I was wondering about your bluebonnets. I've read the seed is banked in the soil for 5+ years, so a bad season won't necessarily have too large an impact, but it is good you are getting seed to hedge that bet. Thanks for keeping it real, Ms. Jenny! Because real gardens have bugs and other damage and real gardeners help each other out when that happens!

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    1. Sometimes I think it is good to see that a gardener has failings and that not all plants look perfect all the time. The opuntias do grow quickly, as you say, I have some waiting to plant but they may have to wait just a little longer. Yes the old saying one years seed, seven years weed must also apply to wildflowers and I am sure there will be some that germinate next year. It would be a matter of building up the seed bank. The seeds from Houston are my back up.

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  7. Call me crazy, but I actually *like* that pineapple look on your potted agave! You could start a trend :)

    Sorry about all the hail damage in your garden. Hope that some of your plants do manage to recover from the PTSD with support and therapy and loving care.

    Meanwhile, it sounds like you have an awesome network of gardening friends to step into the breach!

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  8. Keeping it real, Jenny. It's something every gardener can relate to. I'm glad you have so many new plants and seeds to salve the wound of the hailstorm.

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  9. Jenny, it makes me so happy to think of a little bit of my corner of Katy growing in your garden! I'm so glad I could help out.

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  10. So glad to hear your friends are rallying. I've been pruning hail-damaged leaves off agaves, furcraeas, but nothing like that damage. Hail is so rare here, I never even thought of it as something to worry about. Your sage was amazing. I can't tell from the photo which salvia it is -- kind of looks like one of the officinalis varieties like 'Beggarten' maybe? Happy shopping for the new Felicia and clem!

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  11. I'm so sorry about your beautiful garden. Hail is just so awful. That and late freezes seem to cause such damage. Glad your friends were able to help some too. It's nice to have people to share one's sorrows, gardening and otherwise.

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