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.
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:
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:
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:
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.
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…