Monday, March 3, 2014

Spring Fever (Not Quite...) 2014

 
Here are a few herbs that have survived the colder-than-usual winter. Today when I woke it was in the high 30s, unusual for Houston in March. We had three hard freezes this winter. I  know that is nothing compared to so much of the country, but freezes here do require a lot of fuss-budgeting -- dragging pots into the house or garage, wrapping shrubs in blankets and every old sheet you can find, building freeze barricades out of cardboard boxes, etc. Enough already!

 
Agaves are becoming my favorite succulent. This one looks like it may need a bigger pot soon, but generally they are content to be pot-bound.

 
Here's another agave. Easy to care for, and they don't need much water.

 
I love to plant nasturtiums after the new year and watch them arrive as the first blooms of late winter.

 
Buddha guarding the flowering salvia.


 
I planted five tomato plants yesterday and to tell you the truth, I should have waited, given the weather forecast. This plant looks OK since it is somewhat protected from the cold because of the fence nearby. Two of the tomato plants looked a little wilted this AM, so I may have to replace them. Other years I've planted tomatoes as early as mid February and not had any problems. My favorite places to buy tomato plants: Buchanan's and Joshua's, both independent nurseries thriving in the Heights neighborhood of Houston. I especially recommend the Juliet tomato variety (sort of a plum tomato), great for salads; it stands up to the Houston heat and thus lasts longer than any other variety I have tried.

 
I love gazing balls. There I am trying to get a good shot. Everything is springing up clover this time of year. Later on, it will be too hot for weedy clover and they will disappear.
 
I have decided not to try and grow many vegetables this year. It just takes too much water and time, plus we have only sporadic success depending on the weather. We will make do with tomatoes, lemons, figs, and herbs. In fact, I am really striving to simplify my yard for a more Zen look. Using more much, gravel, stone pathways, etc., should hopefully make things easier to care for. The problem is plants that spread like wildfire -- ferns, wedlia, ruella, plants that do grow well here but persist in trying to take over! This year I do not really feel spring-feverish. I am concentrating on the less-is-more concept and hopefully that will result in more time to appreciate and enjoy the yard. I will, however, continue to indulge in flowers -- just can't resist their beauty. Note to self: plant sunflower seed as soon as this cold patch is over....