save the mangave

it’s january 15th and time to start another year of garden blogger’s bloom day.  seeing that the blooms are lacking even here in balmy central texas it’s difficult to have much to say, let alone have a picture show for.  it’s actually been cool and gray here lately, with temperatures dipping nostalgically into the 20’s for a couple of days in a row…  brisk enough to bring out my favorite hand knits for their seasonal airing.  but i digress.

ice droplets captured on brassicaceae

freeze damage was limited in part because i didn’t really have many sensitive plants to protect this year.  of those that needed some extra t.l.c. were small, somewhat tender fall transplants that i buried in shredded leaves.  seemed to do the trick.  the one plant i have babied is the x Mangave ‘Macho Mocha’ (a cross between a manfreda and agave) that i acquired at peckerwood garden’s may garden conservancy open day.  here’s what it looked like when i finally planted it (with lots of expanded shale) in the garden:

x Mangave 'Macho Mocha'

before the holidays i was pretty judicious in covering it with a cardboard box on evenings that dropped into the low 30’s as mr. fairy, of peckerwood gardens told me to do.  but after we got back from the holidays i heard there was a few evenings below freezing while we were away, and even though i buffered the Mangave leaves with shredded leaves, signs of a freeze were evident:

x Manfreda 'Macho Mocha' with frost/freeze damaged leaves

notice how the lower left leaf lost its purple freckles?  its texture and density was also altered, most likely due to cell rupturing, but thankfully it wasn’t completely turned to mush.  don’t ask me about the mealy, powdery mildew-like fuzz at the upper leaves… i have no idea how they got there, nor how they survived the cold spell… anyhow,  to avoid further frost/freeze damage to this sweet little Mangave that i hope eventually becomes a garden focal point, i built on the cardboard box theory:

save the mangave, part 1

save the mangave, part 2

save the mangave, part 3

a little extreme, but i think it worked!  i don’t have an image for the shredded leaves piled high around the base of the boxes, but they’ll only help to insulate soil moisture levels.  since i won’t move the leaves away, they’ll amend the soil over the long haul too.  yep, it’s a labor of love folks, and yes, i can seem to have too much time on my hands, but you know what…? it’s all about the little things that we can help save along the way, like purple freckles.

save the purple freckles: x Mangave 'Macho Mocha'

happy bloom day everyone. go check out carol at may dreams gardens for other winter bloom watchers.

p.s. i do have something blooming indoors, even though someone wants nothing more than to be outdoors…

burro tail Graptosedum 'California Sunset' and one kitty desperado

tiny white flower of Graptosedum 'California Sunset'



6 thoughts on “save the mangave

  1. Save the purple freckles! I had no idea it would be so cold-sensitive. It’s gonna love you for your time. That burro is pretty sweet, and that kitty is a fanatic!

    • yes linda, you are referring to “metal man,” a sculpture that mr. grwhryrpltd welded in his spare time using hunks o metal he found here and there. glad you like him, he makes us smile. i’ll have to write a post someday on the adventures he’s had in the garden so far…

  2. I’m glad you got to enjoy your hand knits for a couple of days 🙂 School is closed here today. We’re in for more nasty weather…snow and perhaps freezing rain. Yuk!
    You will enjoy the fruits of your labor when you see the little mangave sporting purple freckles in the spring. I’m sure it appreciates your efforts.
    There will definitely be a white Christmas cactus cutting in your future! A neighbor brought me cuttings in the summer of ’09 and They’ve grown quickly. Too bad there’s only one blossom. I hope to remedy that this year.
    Your tiny white flowers are sweet little stars in their cute burrow and that kitty has a purpose! 🙂

  3. Yay for winter weather and hand knits! and your beautiful mangave will surely show its gratitude for your tender loving care by flouncing up purple speckles and all to be the centerpiece of your gorgeous garden. big smooches!

  4. Pingback: a bleak february #gbbd « grow where you're planted

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