Tuesday, May 31, 2011


February is always an iffy garden month in Austin - sometimes pleasant, sometimes cold and rainy. But in more northern states little real gardening can ever be done in February. Here, at least, "iffy" does not mean impossible!

For the February meetings of 2001, 2002, 2004, 2007, 2008 & 2009 we enjoyed decent, sometimes even beautiful weather. It was off-on mist in 2006 and we were totally rained out in 2003, 2005 & 2010. What would this year bring? January had been cold, and the beginning of February was positively brutal - setting records for both low temperatures and the number of hours under freezing. This was not the Austin we Divas of the Dirt had signed up for!

The inside of Mindy's house was warm and welcoming and unlike the freeze-blackened landscape outside, here were bright flower faces - primroses to take home.The scent & sound of chopping chives told us breakfast was in progress
Mindy claims she'd made Mock Eggs Benedict a few years ago but it tasted new to us: the eggs were gently scrambled, spinach added, scooped onto sandwich rounds and her favorite Hollandaise Sauce poured on. With a huge fruit bowl and country potatoes, this was a substantial breakfast!There was no real rain falling - just mist & drizzle - so we went out to see what we could do to get Mindy's yard ready for spring. We know this garden well - what a shock to see what repeated dips to 15°F had done to old favorites like the Barbados Cherry trees and Fragrant Mistflowers
Beauty came from raindrop-spangled spiderwebsThe sprouts from the live oaks were not discouraged by winter - removing them from this bed, weeding and mulching took a long time

The dead trunks of Barbados Cherries were cut low, but these shorter stems may resprout. We cleaned up around them and added compost and mulch.
The gate beds needed help - assessing the damage from winter, weeding, cutting back & mulching were the tasks needed here. Deer-resistant evergreens like rosemary and artemesia did not have a happy winter
The opposite gate bed is now ready for March
We continued to work on the back yard and pond edges but soon the scents of cooking and baking pulled us back inside. We noticed the tidied front door area as we went in for the delicious meal Mindy & Warren had made -Warren's homemade bread, sandwich flats, shrimp salad!

Chicken salad !

Fruit salad, lettuce, pickles!
And a finale of Red Velvet Birthday with whipped cream...
We got part of Mindy's new project done, too - her dream was a Paisley-shaped border around a big-ole Cedar tree (that's a juniper to you Yankees). The shape traditionally resembles a teardrop or maybe a mango As usual, the shape was laid out with the hose. Whenever Mindy & Warren dig a hole, some rocks have to come out - these rocks are homegrown! They were scrounged from various piles, rolled and moved over, set in place and compost and soil were added. We did the preliminary work, leaving the planting design and acquisition for Mindy to do - maybe she'll take a photo this summer so we can find out how this new bed worked.

Maybe the weather in March will be more like spring!

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