A easy stroll by means of the neighborhood is sufficient to depress any gardener.
In our slice of South Austin, vegetation worst hit by February’s severe winter storms, a minimum of as seen from the road, have been the succulents, palms and bamboo.
Now, we don’t plant palms or bamboo in our yard. And we introduced within the porch succulents earlier than the storms and prolonged freezing temperatures, so they continue to be untouched.
Nonetheless, we misplaced quite a bit — something smooth and inexperienced, corresponding to lilies or sedge grass; additionally nearly any vegetation with hot-weather nursery names that start with “Mexican” or “African,” corresponding to these valuable erosion stoppers, African irises.
The herb backyard, even the rosemary, is successfully gone. We anticipated that.
Deeply rooted timber that had shed their leaves earlier than the times of subfreezing temps are probably OK. In spite of everything, we mulch and compost liberally. But our mature loquats and kitchen bay timber, which had produced annual bounties for neighbors and associates, are badly browned and unhappy.
Borderline species embrace Anacacho, possumhaw, persimmon, Japanese blueberry, lantana, Asian jasmine, Turk’s cap, wild rose, shrimp plant and Shoal Creek chaste tree, a neighborhood favourite that rivals the Mexican plum in our hood for spring showiness. We’ll see if they arrive again.
We’re significantly frightened concerning the Japanese blueberry timber, an especially sort present from a brand new neighbor. They have been supposed to interchange the boughs of a pruned purple oak that shaded our entrance porch from its southwestern publicity.
As beforehand reported on this newspaper, don’t prune broken vegetation immediately, except they endanger pedestrians (our kitchen bays did). In any other case, any new development from these cuts may make them weak to late March freezes.
So what to plant now? Brief reply: What works over time.
As an illustration, our two purple cedars fared properly by means of the current ice and snow, however their predecessors didn’t make it by means of the height of the final drought in 2011.
Lifeless or dormant? How to tell if your plants survived Texas’ winter blast
We’re in search of vegetation, amongst these normally leafy yr spherical, which have survived the profound climate extremes of the previous decade. Word that these survivors won’t match those in your backyard. Ship footage and tales about your winners to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Laurels: Our Texas mountains laurels are once more the champions. Their darkish inexperienced leaves stand out in opposition to the overall carnage. They stood out simply as gaudily in the course of the 2011 drought. Now we’ll see in the event that they produce their copiously perfumed blooms this spring. Gradual rising, mountain laurels normally catch the attention of their bushy section, however pruned proper, they’ll develop into good-looking timber, as specimens in our neighborhood have confirmed.
Our cherry laurels, as a lot as we prize them, are extra delicate. We misplaced one in an ice storm years in the past as a result of the frozen water weighed its branches right down to the bottom. The final drought stunted a trio of cherry laurels that we had planted to be a year-round hedge on our jap border. Though bent a bit, they got here by means of the 2021 freeze fairly properly.
Aspidistras: No marvel these are referred to as forged iron vegetation. We now have 4 clumps of those leafy aspidistra wonders that come up immediately from the bottom. Apart from some yellowing and ragged ends that wanted clipping, a fast and customary chore, they give the impression of being nearly regal after the winter storms.
Yaupons: Each wild and cultivated yaupons do extraordinarily properly in Central Texas. Our builder planted tall, slender Will Fleming yaupon hollies on our property traces and we love them. A pair are nonetheless leaning a bit three weeks after the storms, however they set an instance as elegant survivors.
Stay oaks: There’s a purpose these, and never imported olive timber, pretty and mythic as they are often, are our Central Texas requirements. Some native specimens return a whole bunch of years. Ours are youthful. We already had loved three outdated, spreading pecans, and planted a rapidly rising cedar elm, so we complemented these with an oak “mott,” a crowd of nonetheless younger dwell oaks that shade our again backyard, set off by flame-leaf sumacs.
Stay oaks normally shed leaves to make approach for brand spanking new development within the spring. A few of ours are shedding early. I discover others within the neighborhood are doing the identical. however I’m not likely frightened. Even given the periodic scourge of oak wilt, they appear to endure.
Gardening, like cooking, is lifelong studying. If we take note of what nature is telling us, we will adapt.