Saturday, January 16, 2010

Foliage Follow-Up Following the Freeze

Crepe Myrtle Bark

Today is Foliage Follow-up day hosted by Pam at Digging. The idea is to showcase all the lovely foliage, bark, berries, and other beautiful non-blooming plants in our garden. Pam's got some gorgeous photos of her succulents and other beauties, and links to others' posts can be found there as well. So go check it out.

A few days ago I strolled around the garden, camera in hand, to create a photographic history of what plants faired well and not so well after our record breaking cold weather. So today I plan to share some of those photos, pitiable though some of the plants may look. I'll start with some of the sad looking ones.

Bunny Ears cactus (in good shape), Aeonium 'Zwartzkopf' (bent over and dead), and Agave desmettiana

The stock tank didn't fare so well, so no pretty pictures here. Although I prepared the soil well to survive our rainy winters, and I heaped pine straw and sheets over the plants, nothing could prevent the damage from the kind of freezes we had. Oh well, it's an opportunity to find something that will survive.

To avoid a long litany of thoughts on each plant that didn't fair so well, here are a few photos of some other plants and their damage.

Fig Ivy's frozen leaves. This should survive I think.

My Bamboo Muhly (Muhlenbergia dumosa) turned gray. Will have to cut it back for the first time.

‘Silver Shower’ mondo grass (Ophiopogon jaburan) surprised me by freezing. Note the frozen Smilax vines next to the rock - I wish those would freeze and die completely!

Oregano. Bet that comes back though as it's almost weedy.

First time to see frozen leaves on the Madame Alfred Carriere climbing rose

Now on to brighter things. Some plants survived pretty well. The Red Veined Sorrel below, though small, is rather cheerful looking to my eyes.

Red Veined Sorrel

My Wavy Leaf cactus is a sentimental favorite of mine since I grew this from a pad I brought from my old garden in Austin. It sacrificed its top two pads to the freeze (seen kind of laying down) but I'll just pot those two up and get more! I used some garden stakes for a tent for the sheets. Seen behind the cactus is Agave multilifera, another plant I brought from Austin. This was its first winter in the ground and it did just fine.

Wavy Leaf cactus and Agave filifera

I'm concerned about the camellias. I have two small ones. One of them now has brown buds but this one, Pearl Maxwell, looks in better shape (no close ups of buds as this is a foliage post!).

Camellia japonica 'Pearl Maxwell'

Last but not least is a hardy Autumn fern. It doesn't seem to like the summers here, at least where I've got it, but the cold didn't phase it a bit.

My post last month for Foliage Follow-up looked much more cheerful. But I'll bet by mid February I'll be happy at what's come back. Be sure to check out the other posts at Pam's!

This post was written by Jean McWeeney for my blog Dig, Grow, Compost, Blog. Copyright 2009. Please contact me for permission to copy, reproduce, scrape, etc.


  1. Jean, I love the colors of the dried grasses, the gray in the rock, tree trunk and iron in contrast to the leaves and fence. Your sorrel is cheerful to my eyes too... the Crepe Myrtle bark is beautiful too! The glossy foliage of your camellia add a wonderful green ... I hope the buds are OK! Lovely!

  2. I too was surprised by frozen rose leaves this year.
    Neat pictures - I like the foliage follow-up idea!

  3. Lovely photos Jean. That little red-veined sorrel is so cute. I'm not familiar with that plant. It will be very interesting to see how everything fares -- I hope it all does well for you.

  4. Overall it seems your garden fared pretty well, Jean. I like the colors of the sorrel, and crepe myrtle bark is a standout for winter interest. Good luck with your stock tank planter. Maybe try cold-hardier Agave parryi truncata instead of tender A. desmettiana next time?

    Thanks for participating in Foliage Follow-Up!

  5. Hi Jean, it's good to know what can take the cold and what cannot, as heart breaking as losses can be. The oregano is unkillable. The poor bamboo muhly, I hope it makes a come back, such a pretty thing. Our autumn fern is evergreen, even with the very cold temps, although the leaves look ratty by spring and should be, but aren't, cut back. That is the norm here, alive but ratty for most evergreen perennials. Love the little bunny ear cactus and glad it made it! :-)

  6. Jean, it will be interesting to see which plants come out of the freeze. I lost a lot of things here, but I won't know how many until spring. As to your autumn fern, I grow mine very successfully even during the hot summers in almost full shade. Just a thought. I don't know how much shade you have in your garden. Mine also seemed to just throw off the freezing temps. Happy foliage. Oh, and wow, on the size of your crapemyrtle. Ours aren't that big.~~Dee

  7. Jean, I was surprised by how many of my roses had foliage damage. My lone camellia had only four buds to begin with so I'll be very disappointed if those are lost!

  8. Thank you everyone!

    Pam - I planted A. desmettiana before I knew of its issues with cold hardiness. Although I don't have A. parryi I love it. But I have another agave that I bought in Ft. Davis. It's supposed to be the kind they have around the mountains there and therefore should be more cold tolerant.

    Dee - my Autumn Fern is on a hillside which gets shade in summer. I think it has trouble with lack of water there although it does better than some of the others.

  9. I'd be over the rainbow happy if this was how my January garden looked.

    Bunny Ears I luv that name and it's looking so good.


  10. Jean, we seem to have similar plants that are in the same shape!
    For me it's: Camellias alive but buds brown; leaves frozen and dropping off roses; Black mondo grass brown and dried, half of fig ivy brown & dead & half green. Most of the succulents did poorly. Our gardens will look different, that's for sure!
    Sorry about your bamboo muhly - those seem to be real landscape assets.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  11. I enjoyed seeing your foliage follow-up. All of us southern gardeners are in the same boat and it helps to see what worked for other folks.

    Your sorrel is gorgeous. Do you use it in salads?

    I bet your bamboo muhly will make it. As you said about the oregano, it's almost a weed. Cut back in spring and composted, you've got a good shot.

    Looke forward to following your progress.

  12. Kathleen - yes, you use the young leaves of sorrel in salads, much like spinach. Older leaves have too much oxalic acid in them so they apparently don't taste that great.

  13. It's good to see how many of your plants did survive, Jean! I do hope the camellias come back--I can't grow those here, but I think I would cry if I lost those. Let's all hope for a better February!


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