I already blogged about the first frost of the season and after walking around, now I need to talk about the damage it has done.
My indoor/outdoor registered at 26 Degrees Farenheit following the previous night’s temperatures of 31 degrees. The 26 degrees was enough to knock down a lot of the greenery. As it was a nice day with the temperature around 55 degrees, I got out the cutters and started on cutting back as much of the frozen and dead stuff I could see. I didn’t complete the job and still have more to do besides having to clear up the mess and drag it all to my trusty compost pile which is now six feet tall and about 20 feet in diameter. By the time I finish loading it with the latest batch, it will be a lot bigger.
It’s easy to cut back the flowers and native texans as they are mostly frozen down to the ground. It’s a lot more difficult with the hardwood type of shrubs and bushes as although the vegetation may be gone, it is difficult to figure out about the branches themselves. I think that to be on the safe side, I will leave them intact and see what buds out in the Spring. I have one area that has succulents some of which cannot withstand the freezing temperatures. I built a framework and have covered this entire area with a plastic tent which should be enough protection unless we get three days in a row as we did last winter. Some stuff I moved into the greenhouse and then I have the deck plants gathered together under a plastic covered framework.
The ponds themselves and the fish in them should be OK. I leave the pumps running through the winter and this keeps the water moving leaving less chance of it freezing over. It also keeps the water aereated for the fish who are now grouped together at the deepest point of the pond. The feeding they have done through the summer has fattened them up to where they will survive the cold as their metabolism slows down.
All is not lost as on my work around the yard, there are signs of new growth in the form of the daffodills and other early blooming plants that are beginning to shoot up. They did not seem to be affected by the frost and hopefully will stand any more that we have coming our way.
The up side of cutting back is that I am able to see areas that need attention like adding more mulch or in the case of the pond and streams, the streams themselves that I suspect are leaking water. Nothing is static in the garden. Things are always changing. The garden that you see in the January and early February is not the one that you will see in June and July. The former is of Nature preparing to break out in all of her glory while the latter is the end result of that breakout.
This time of the year will allow me to move some of the Canna‘s which have spread into an untidy mess and I have other plants that need to be moved because they are just not in the right place and are blocking my view of the ponds.
I love my garden. I love how things are constantly changing and how at the end of the season, nature shut’s down for a bit in order to get ready to start the growth cycle all over again. I love how everything becomes green and the flowers when they bloom. Even though the maintenance is a lot of work, it is a labor of love and I willingly do it.
I love Nature in all of her glory.