March 11, 2021
Marching Through A Topsy-Turvy Year
A year ago on Friday the 13th, I took a vacation day to get down to spring garden cleanup. Before gloving up (in the days before masking up), I checked email and learned that Austin PBS was moving to remote operations immediately. Since we had anticipated this directive, station operations were in place to carry on remotely, except for all editing. We thought we’d have another day to get that in place.
Anyway, I brought home my calendar organizer, figuring I’d just move edits, studio records, and location shoots back a few weeks. I always haul around an external drive with all of CTG’s non-video assets (backed up, of course), since I do a lot of non-editing/video work at home at all hours anyway. Other assets live in the cloud. But as May came along, I was editing on my home laptop at the kitchen table and doing Zoom interviews.
Since the pandemic situation wasn’t wrangled as hoped, later the station’s dedicated engineering team got me set up at home to edit all of CTG’s video and new at-home projects.
A year later, we’re still working from home. Our gardens look a lot different this March, too. My Mexican plum’s usual Valentine’s Day flowers got nipped in the bud. But just a week after the big freeze, flowers embraced the very top branches. In minutes, bees were back in business.
March always means something new every day as plants start stepping out of winter dormancy. This year, however, comes with sighs of relief! I wasn’t concerned that freeze would get my very young native red buckeye (Aesculus pavia), but I sure feared that last summer’s drought had. Instead, it surprised me literally overnight.
Red buckeye’s a shrub/small tree for part shade that pushes out remarkable red flowers in spring to feed migrating hummingbirds. On a visit to Scott Odgen’s garden, his was poised to unfurl.
My Mexican redbud’s not putting on a glamorous show, but it’s not skipping out, either.
My live oak looks pretty skimpy, though if I squint, I can see leaf buds emerging.
Roses are definitely back in gear. If yours are, too, you can go ahead and prune, but wait to fertilize if that’s part of your routine.
Bluebonnets around town guarantee wildflower-peeping soon!
Most of my native perennials are leafing out, including frostweed (Verbesina virginica) in part shade.
Also in part shade: native coralberry (Symphoricarpos orbiculatus). Birds chomped its last fruits during Snowvid.
Leucojum bulbs popped out new flowers after the sudden scare, along with pink-flowered oxalis that usually guarantee a bee fest.
Narcissus ‘Sweetness’ came through as usual. Although diminutive, it’s a reliable comeback for us.
Around the neighborhood, a clump of daffodils (Narcissus) ringed a tree, so they’ve been around awhile.
On a quick visit to designer/horticulturist Scott Ogden’s garden, Algerian iris snuggled up to a standing cypress seedling.
His native Sabal minor (dwarf palmetto) is tough as nails.
Silver saw palmetto was just fine, too.
Scott noted that needle palm is never fazed by our freezes.
Dramatic windmill palm’s wide rays caught those of the sun. Temperatures hit the 80s just a few weeks after 9 degrees.
His Dioon edule near the street suffered no damage. On the other hand, mine is golden brown. Like the sago palms (cycads), it may well recover and send out new leaves in a few months. Again, patience is the watchword here!
A statuesque cactus broke off into sections. Although beheaded by nature, it’s putting out growth on top. Scott’s adopted patience with many of his succulents, as we all should.
Still, this aloe is probably gone. The long-term beacons in my neighborhood are sad mushy lumps like this one, but we’ll see what happens.
Scott’s ‘Green Goblet’ agave sailed through without a whimper.
Others of his agaves are flattened like this one I saw around town. Even if still alive, it will take awhile to grow new leaves, so it’s really up to the gardener’s patience and aesthetic expectations.
Still, there’s still so much promise in our gardens as every day turns over a new leaf! And whatever your opinion about dandelions, they’re a sure reminder that resilience is all around us.
By the way, I got this shot while clipping a few leaves for my indoor bunny, Jamie. I blocked the sun reflected off the flagstones with a leg stretch and my foot!
Thanks for stopping by! Next week, check Linda