As I look out the window, it’s hard to believe this beautiful, warm twilight by the pool was just two evenings ago. Today a cold rain is freezing to tree limbs and encasing ready-for-spring plants in heavy ice. Shrubs are bent low. Bamboo is nearly prostrate. As I stood on my patio a little while ago, I heard a splintering crack and watched over the fence as one of my neighbor’s big live oaks smashed through their back fence into the greenbelt, a victim of the ice.
I’m worried about our trees and agaves and all the young plants I’ve been planting over the past few months. (Winter is normally a great time to plant here.) Austin weather forecasts are showing insane overnight temperatures of 15F and 7F. Seven degrees! What hardiness zone even is that? It’s certainly not central Texas’s zone 8b. I’ve heard we’ll have 4 days starting Sunday where we won’t even climb above freezing. I’ve also heard this will be the coldest weather Austin has seen in 30 years.
I know many of you reading this are worried about your gardens too, as extreme cold affects much of the U.S. this week and next. Hang onto your mittens, and here’s hoping our gardens come through this visit to the North Pole with minimal damage. One bright side: our independent nurseries will surely have record sales this spring, and we like to help our nurseries thrive!
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Digging Deeper: News and Upcoming Events
New to central Texas? Learn about native Texas plants and gardening tips in “Gardening for Newcomers,” a virtual class at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center on March 6, from 9 to 11 am. Cost is $35, with a discount offered for members of the garden.
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