Wednesday, February 5, 2014


Today I turned my attention towards the garden. My poor neglected garden. How could I have left it for so many weeks to endure one of the coldest winters we have had in a long time. The blankets that I use to cover cold sensitive plants lay in a pile in the potting shed. I had to trust my greenhouse heater to a never-yet-tested thermocube which is supposed to switch on the heater when the temperature dips to 34°

Maybe it did switch on because the Kalanchoe, Mother of Thousands is in bloom. Admittedly it is growing in the cactus bowl and was sorely in need of water, but after a day the flowers have perked up and I can enjoy their welcome burst of color for a few days.

There are, however, many losses in the garden. This Agave desmettiana, for instance, is only hardy to 25° and I know it went way lower than that.

There is damage on the Mangave, 'macho mocha' which is a surprise as it is in a sheltered part of the front courtyard. Hopefully new growth in the summer will hide the damage.

But I am even more surprised to see frost damage on Agave parryi.

I never have known the name of this agave but apparently it shrugged off the winter cold. I have a larger one in a pot that I will plant in the ground this spring.
But casting aside the damage there is much to look forward to. I see seedlings popping up everywhere.
Outside the potting-shed door I have a seedling nursery with Rose campion, Lychoris radiata.

They are now potted up so they can grow on ready for planting in the garden.

And there are larkspur,


California poppies,


snapdragon vine, all waiting for someone to move them into a garden bed!

and today a real sign that spring might be on the way after yet another sub 32° temperature tonight.


  1. Glad to have you back in the garden Jenny! Sorry to read about the damage, but your volunteer seedlings always get me jealous.

  2. Seedlings are such a hopeful sign - thanks for sharing yours. Trowels crossed we get some rain to help them along. It isn't just the cold but the dry has been a problem (again!) this winter.

    I too have many agave that suffered cold damage for the first time in years, here just west of Austin. It remains to be seen which are total goners - we are clearly not out of the frost/freeze woods yet this season. On top of that, with a lot of their forage gone, the deer are nibbling on plants they usually leave alone. Fist to sky: WInter!

  3. It's sad to see so many frozen plants. I'm going to have to start my fenced area. Lots of frozen things there. Holding my breath, that some will come back to life...IF we ever get sustained warm weather.

  4. Winter really hit us with both fists this year! It will be fun to see your garden recover. So glad you're back.

  5. I think it's going to be a very fine wildflower year. But the succulents have taken a beating.

  6. Agave parryi is hardy to at least zone 5 -- I had it in my CO garden -- so I would guess some moisture or ice caused the damage.

  7. Agave parryi is hardy to at least zone 5 -- we grew it in CO -- so I would guess moisture or ice did the damage.