Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Getting through winter

I must confess. I don't like winter much at all. Cold, dreary, dead grass, dead plants. Not that we had much green a few months ago. With our ongoing drought, even the horseherb in the front yard has crackled away to nothing. The last time we had any rain of significance was the second week of last October. The Blanco River has completely dried up in many places. So sad. But only the dear Lord knows when rain will come again. We've been through this before, and we got through it then. We will again.

As my good friend, C.A. Rust likes to say, "We're one day closer to rain!"

So in the meantime, we're trying to keep bird baths filled in between cold snaps. I tried to get a little creative and held the hose while I snapped a photo of water splashing into James' carved-out stone.

On the chain-length fence, dozens of tufts of fluff dazzled in the sunlight. Those are spores released by resident ball mosses in our live oaks. They'll attach to anything, including fences, telephone lines, and tree bark. Check out my article on this misunderstood bromeliad (Tillandsia recurvata) in Texas Parks and Wildlife (February 2008).

Sadly, I'm guessing our leadwort plumbago has given it up for the season. This is its second winter so it should come back next spring. In the meantime, the leaves are so beautifully colored.

I do wish I knew more about winter gardening, like do we prune away dead branches? I've read that it's best to leave them, which helps plants to overwinter. So we're just watering occasionally and leaving things alone.

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