December 31st, 2006
Week 52: 12/24 – 12/31

New Dawn and lavender
A ‘New Dawn’ rose blooms among the lavender both grown from cuttings and both sadly in need of being transplanted. This one flower stayed fresh for about 5 days. Roses must like temperatures in the 60s. In May in Austin, a rose is lucky to not wilt after 5 hours.

Dateline: 2007
This week is clear, dry, cold and windy. As sunny as the days are, the garden is not very inviting. My garden chores this time of year are focused on transplanting self-sown seeds and these are the worst conditions for doing so. I’m busy enjoying the domestic comforts of the Christmas season so I don’t mind being indoors.

I did call in TreeMasters to take out the chinaberry along the west fence on Thursday (12/27). So the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me another pile of wood chip mulch and a pile of firewood from the cedar elm branch which was overhanging the garden house. I waited until all the leaves had dropped so this pile of mulch is clean and white wood chips for the paths.

On Saturday (12/29), I climb up on the roof to do battle with the fig ivy which is smothering the chimney. It’s going to be in the 20s next week and I want to be able to build a fire. I noticed that the fig ivy near the top of the chimney was turning brown from the heat. I feel lucky that we haven’t had a very hot fire or it might have caught fire and we wouldn’t have known it until it had spread and caught the house on fire.

On New Year’s Eve, I watch the fireworks on Auditorium Shores from the backyard. Now that the chinaberry and hackberry trees are gone from the north border, we have a perfect view of the fireworks.

No new flowers this week. The lawns have not frozen, yet, and are still green and much neater this year now that I have a mulching mower again.

Dateline: 2006
The year ends with green lawns and tomatoes ripening on the vine. The lawns are not still green, rather they’ve turned green just recently as a result of the rain. SAM brought cooler weather from Connecticut when he flew in on Christmas Eve. It was gray and drizzly all day, a lovely soaking-in rain that left us longing for more. On Christmas temperatures turned colder, between 45F and 55F, but the skies were clear again; it was good weather for deep-frying our turkey. The next few days it warmed to 72F ending Friday (12/29) with a tornado watch and drenching rains. Apparently downtown Austin got pea-sized hail but I was at the Round Rock IKEA at the time so I can’t confirm.

We had some lovely sunny days this week. Unfortunately I couldn’t spend any time in the garden. The larkspur is springing up faster than I can transplant it. It always hurts to simply thin it. I feel I need to find a home for every volunteer. The ‘Trevithian’ daffodils are starting to nose up. And I think I spotted some summer snowflakes in the south border.

No more paperwhites this week. Something ate the buds of the Chinese Sacred Lilies before they opened two weeks ago. There were only two spathes, though. I think they need more of a chilling to bloom well because I watered and fed this group all last year to see if I could get more blooms this winter.

Dateline: 2001
Thursday December 27, 2001
Since this is the last day we will have the truck, I go to the Natural Gardener for one last cubic yard of pine bark mulch. I want to finish making paths through the meadow.

December 30, 2001
The temperatures are getting progressively colder each day. I’m glad that this is not one of the years that MFM chose to visit us from Manchester (although it is even more bitterly cold there at the moment than here, and she said it snowed). I haven’t been outside to work on the paths any more.

As usual, when the weather is most miserable, the seed catalogs begin to appear. I received a catalog from Select Seeds yesterday. It is now printed on glossy paper with full color photographs. I’m rather nostalgic for their former more old-fashioned looking catalogs.

Oddly, I’m not even in the mood for seed catalogs. I think I will just curl up in front of the fire with my Christmas book, Karel Capek’s The Gardener’s Year.

At least I know I’m not alone, for I almost immediately read, “So in December the garden is mostly found in a great number of garden catalogs. The gardener himself hibernates under glass in a heated room, buried up to the neck, not in manure or brushwood, but in garden catalogues and circulars, books and pamphlets…” (pp. 150-151)

Dateline: 1999
Thursday December 30, 1999
Work shuts down at 1PM because they are closing off streets downtown for the A2K party. I go to Gardenville to get a cubic yard of Texas Topcoat.

Dateline: 1995
Around the neighborhood, blue flags and white flags are blooming.

by M Sinclair Stevens

One Response to post “Week 52: 12/24 – 12/31”

  1. From Annie in Austin:

    We missed the tornado warnings and the rain, but are back in time to wish you Happy New Year, M.

    There are a few paperwhites already open here, and some camellias buds beginning to open now. The pansies look fine, too.

    We haven’t hit the new Ikea yet – maybe in January!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

    We had a glorious rain and all is right with the world. Happy New Year, Annie. — mss