The First Freeze of the Year

And then, just like that… was Winter.

Last week, the temperatures were in the 70’s. This week, temperatures dove down into the 20’s.Texas weather is so unpredictable!  Locals say if you don’t like the weather in Texas, just wait a few minutes. I never really understood that expression until I had my own garden. Plants get so confused!  I currently have some Paperwhites that are trying to bloom right now. I also have Zinnias blooming right next to the Winter Bulbs. Total garden confusion.

Yesterday, I took in as many of my potted plants as I could. The whellbarrows full of Gerber Daisies, Oxalis and other whimsical flowers had to just tough it out. Normally, if my flowers aren’t  hardy enough to handle a freeze, I let nature take it’s course…….but not anymore. I now try to protect all of my little lovelies. I had just bought my favorite little English Daisies and Violets right before the flood. Ofcourse, they floated down the river, so iI replaced them AGAIN.  Now, a freeze……

Seriously, Texas Weather. Are you kiddibg me???

Next week, it will be back to the 70’s again, and there is no point in losing a flower out of spite. My studio now looks like a greenhouse.

The Crinum that I dug a few days back are resting comfortably inside the studio. I put them in water and placed them in buckets in front of a heater. Most bulbs will survive a freeze. Heirloom Bulbs are tough. A small freeze won’t kill the bulbs, but many summer bulbs will go dormant, including the Dwarf Crinum will go dormant. If the Dwarf Crinum weren’t such a cool, hard-to-find bulb, I might just leave them…..but instead, they are enjoying a nice rest in front of a heater in my studio. The other Crinum bulbs will also go dormant, but a freeze will actually make digging easier. The bulbs on a Crinum are HUGE. Roots from these enormous bulbs spread out 3 feet. I’ve broken many a shovel on digging up old Crinum.

 Be careful with bulbs kept as potted plants. A freeze will kill them, especially if bulbs are in terracotta. I actually lost all of my prized Pink Spider Lilies from a freeze while the bulbs were kept in pots. I was trying to protect them from a gopher invasion. Basically you could say, I loved them to death. Ground temperatures are warmer than the soil in a pot. Terracotta Pots are clay, so they actually retain the freeze. If your bulbs do freeze, just leave them alone. Remove the bulbs from the freeze (if potted) and place in the house or garage. Keep the bulbs out of freezing temperatures, and place in the ground after the freeze.  Many times, nature actually will heal itself. Bulbs protect the inner core, and will put all energy into survival. The other layers of the bulb will die and protect the inner core, which is the life and heart of a bulb.

Today, I will survey the gardens after daylight appears. Fingers crossed for minimal freeze damage. I have about 400 bulbs that are still waiting to go into the ground. Daffodils, Paperwhites, Oxalis, Daylilies and some Star of Bethlehem are all available right now. Email me If you are interested in some bulbs…..I always like to share!

Happy Gardening, my friends! Stay warm!