January 17th, 2007
Week 03: 1/15 – 1/21

photos: icicles
2007-01-17. Austin, TX. The official temperature remains below freezing but at my house the icicles have been melting since sunrise…not that we can see any sun.

Dateline: 2007
The garden is a bit under the weather, literally. All the shrubs and shrubby trees are prostrate with ice. The 20 foot cherry laurel is lying across the path and I wonder whether she’ll get up again. It will take a few days to know the damage under the ice. Cabbages? Snow peas (which began blooming last week)? Banana plants (covered with cedar elm leaves)? Sweet peas (just transplanted)? Lettuce? The temperatures never got very cold at Zanthan Gardens, hovering around 30 throughout Tuesday.

The mahonia began flowering during the ice storm. I first noticed it on Thursday (1/18). It really does look similar to its cousin, nandina.

Sunday January 21, 2007
The week ended with a warm sunny day and it seemed that the entire population of Austin was outside.

First flower: Mahonia bealei (1/18).

Dateline: 2006
Just as I decided to stop grousing about the absolutely perfect days we’ve been having and get out and enjoy them, the week began with a promise of rain. None materialized, but the humidity is back up making it smell more like central Texas again. This morning a film of condensation coated the car windshield–a sight I haven’t seen in awhile.

Last week I loaded up the Miata with recycled Christmas tree mulch that I shoveled for free at Zilker Park. (Yes, there are times I wish for a pickup truck.) The yard smells like Christmas, but I’m worried that some passerby will toss a cigarette butt in my yard and that will be the end of it. This thought motivated me to clear out some of the dry brush. I made some headway, but I know it’s all dry brush and the danger of fire remains very real.

Several clumps of paperwhites are still flowering, as is one clump of the Narcissus italicus. The Chinese Sacred lily flowered well into the week but is fading now. I see a few “Trevithian” daffodils poking up, but no “Ice Follies”.

The garden is waiting, waiting–not for spring, but for rain.

Dateline: 2005
Finally warmed up enough in the afternoon to do a little yard work. I’m trying to finish moving the endless mulch pile to the back paths. A bit of weeding in the meadow is a by-product. The daffodils (“Ice Follies”, “Trevithian” and “Quail”) are up. As are the Spanish bluebells.

Dateline: 2004
Narcissus tazetta Grand Primo
2004-01-12. Narcissus tazetta ‘Grand Primo’
Blessed, blessed rain! Perfect weather this week. Grey, with the promise of rain on Thursday. Friday (1/16), the promise tendered–drizzle on and off prepares the ground for a good soaking and then it rained, lightly first, and then harder, really soaking in, setting daily rainfall records both at Camp Mabry and ABIA. It’s been months! Then Saturday (1/17), temperatures warm up to 76. I spent six hours weeding and cleaning up beds. The weeds slipped easily out of the rain-drenched earth, which smelled wonderful.

Today, cold January weather. Freezing tonight. But who cares. It rained!

Dateline: 2003
Last night (1/17), we finally had our first hard freeze downtown: 27F at Camp Mabry and a record low of 19F at ABIA. This morning many of the plants look like cooked spinach. I’m relieved (although I’m a little nervous about the banana). Some years I just want Nature to get it over with so that I can get on with the clearing out of the old plants. Of course, as I take inventory, there’s always a few plants that I look at regretfully and think, “I should have covered that one.”

Sunny and in the 59 by this afternoon. It warmed up sufficiently to enjoy being out in the garden. I think it’s the first time I’ve been out in over a week and I must say that it’s quite a mess out there.

I notice that a flower is forming on one of the lavender plants, a second generation plant in the vegetable garden

All the bulbs are up much earlier than last year. I think that this is more an effect of heavy fall rain than warmer weather.

Dateline: 2002
Although it was sunny and just as warm as last week, a chilly wind blew in (from the southwest of all places) and I did not enjoy being outside much.

The two red oaks have lost almost all their leaves. They are always the last and, although this makes some stunning moments of deep red against clear blue winter skies, it extends the leaf-raking season almost until spring. The leaf litter smothers the irises and the wildflower seedlings in the meadow. Until I clean it up, the backyard looks as unkempt as the neighboring rent houses; you wouldn’t imagine that there was a garden under that mess at all.

I’ve started feeding, watering, and mulching the daffodil bulbs. I did the ‘Quail’ and the ‘Hawera’ today. I need to hurry up and do the summer snowflakes, too. They have been up a couple of weeks and are six inches tall already.

Also on schedule, the Spanish bluebells are poking their noses through the mulch.

And the ‘Ice Follies’ daffodils are coming up. And the summer snowflakes by the air conditioner that I dig up every year, and yet the next there are always more. Spring is creeping up all around us and I haven’t even finished my cleanup chores from fall.

Dateline: 1996
Sunday January 21, 1996
Last Thursday (1/18) night we had a hard freeze, temperature in the 20s. And Friday (1/19) was miserably cold. Yesterday and today were sunny and in the 60s.

by M Sinclair Stevens

7 Responses to post “Week 03: 1/15 – 1/21”

  1. From Kathy (New York):

    That gorgeous Grand Primo does this Northerner’s eyes a lot of good. How I ever got through cabin fever before discovering the garden blogs of Southerners, I don’t know. Keep posting those beautiful photos, and thanks!

  2. From mstevens:

    My pleasure. And I look forward to luxuriating in the cool green of your Northern garden come our baking hot summer.

  3. From margaret:

    Paperwhites blooming outdoors in January – what a delight. Their petals are not shredded or spotted by rain and sleet. I have,or had, a good number of snowdrops but the snowfall followed by the freeze followed by a little more snow have hidden them. Maybe they are still there waiting fo. the thaw. My Daphne Odora has been dragged under cover. When that blooms there really will be hope of Spring. It’s always good to read your log.

  4. From Annie In Austin:

    I bought a few bulbs labeled as Grand Primo bulbs. They were for sale at one of the open days at the restored Anderson Mill out in Volente, so maybe they were extras dug from one of the members’ gardens. None of mine are blooming yet – not even showing buds. If Scott Ogden’s timetable is right, maybe these really are Grand Primo?

  5. From bill:

    There were some narcissus planted around that fountain in the picture I posted this morning. I haven’t noticed any of them blooming but it would be early for here.

  6. From Annie in Austin:

    You’re being very resilient about this yourself, MSS – hope the Cherry Laurel can follow your example! Maybe you and Pam can make me shape up and stop moping, too.

  7. From Carol (Indiana):

    Lettuce, sweet peas. and snow peas might be okay if temperatures stayed around 30 degrees. You do seem to be doing better than Annie and Pam with the ice. Good luck and happy thawing.