December 13, 2022
Shiver, Sweat, Swat
The past month certainly lived up to Central Texas’s reputation of zooming through all four seasons in 48 hours. “Gloves or mosquito repellent?” we asked each other as the CTG team headed out to gardens. To up the weather challenge ante, as in this Hutto garden, sun and clouds swapped control within seconds for a camera color balance shuffle.
Sometimes we ran for cover as rain suddenly bucketed. Or, it was flat out misty chilly, tempting hot tea and a cozy blanket. Still, the brisk weather energized us, as in this garden where new plants are growing into a design that controls erosion with a dry creek bed in shade. But as one of the team said, “When we get back, I’m pouring hot coffee over my hands.”
Other times, we shed layers. When we toured a garden where this DIY pond is just one of many features, the day started so nippy that the gardener dashed in for a sweater and we zipped up our jackets. By the time we packed up, we cranked up the AC on the vehicle as we headed to the station.
In every garden, we’ve seen how well-adapted plants play along with dramatic weather swings, especially after months of brutal heat and drought. Refreshed with gentle spurts of rain, plants glowed even after dips into the 30s. At the Deep Roots garden, a community garden project of Whole Foods, we taped a segment on growing microgreens indoors. Along one fence, I spotted this beautiful example of a wildlife habitat in contrasting light. In the shadiest spot, flowering native turk’s caps disguise the chain link. Moving closer into sun, there’s chile pequin, Mexican honeysuckle, lantana, and fall asters.
It’s not too late to plant trees, hardy shrubs and native perennials like yarrow, aster, penstemons and coneflowers. On It’s My Park Day, we joined enthusiastic students and interns at Austin Youth River Watch who planted a bat garden after months of prep with Bat Conservation International.
Last Saturday at the Long Center for the Performing Arts, an island of native blue grama grass, Gaura lindheimeri, and fall aster attracted me even as I passed by in a dreamy glow after a magical performance of The Nutcracker. Cinnamon-hued mulch provided courtesy of nearby bald cypress trees!
My tropical sages (native Salvia coccinea) whimpered this long, hot summer, but revived to carol for the butterflies and bees out and about when December pretends to be spring. This grouping in a part shade island bed made it back after winter’s freezes last year.
And, curbside in the gutter’s gravel grit thrown from my street, a bluebonnet seed installed itself. What a firm reminder that plants know what they want and proudly display their resilience when they get it.
Thanks for stopping by! Linda