Zanthan Gardens fall colors
2007-12-01. The agave americana and the maiden grass reflect late afternoon light in December. As many of the trees have not yet lost their leaves this year, much of the yard is still dark.

December 8th, 2007
December’s Golden Days

This has been an extraordinarily beautiful week in Austin. Like the week before, a cold front blew in at the beginning of the week dropping temperatures almost to freezing. This was the same front that dumped so much snow on the Midwest but here in Austin we were left with some of the most perfect days of the year. After the front blew through, the skies were a brilliant desert blue which provided the perfect backdrop for the sudden coloring of the leaves. Many trees have partially dropped their leaves but the ones that remained finally were tinged with color, not the brilliant colors of northern climes–with burnished golds, deep russets, and glowing ambers. As we near the solstice, the color of sunlight is also golden, infusing the garden with honeyed colors. These are December’s colors in Austin.

Zanthan Gardens fall colors
2007-12-05. ‘Moulin Rouge’ sunflowers have finally opened.

I spent the entire week transplanting seedlings in the meadow garden. The self-sowers pop up everywhere but so thickly that they need thinning. My method is to dig them all up, replant the bed, and move the rest elsewhere. As such, my meadow is not really a meadow but drifts of planted wildflowers. The larkspur always sprouts when the nights are in the 40s and the days in the 70s. I was relieved to see some bluebonnets finally sprouting, too, although they are very late coming up (probably from the lack of rain in September and October).

Zanthan Gardens fall colors
2007-12-05. The Japanese persimmon provides autumn color for southern gardens.

By the end of the week, the winds had shifted to the south, bringing warm moist air up from the Gulf of Mexico. Although the cloud cover makes the scene above look gloomy, it’s warmer than the clear days early in the week. Forecast for today, 83F/28C degrees. Then back to cold and rainy next week.

Dateline: December 1, 2010

Camp Mabry had its first official freeze (32°F) early this morning but frost nipped Zanthan Gardens last week. Although the Gold Rush Currant tomatoes are still alive and opening new flowers, the pecans and cedar elms have given up their leaves for the year. The days are cool and the garden is flooded with light. Quickly, quickly I’m sowing all my annuals. If I do it before leaf-fall, they just get smothered.