Welcome to my zone 9a habitat garden near Houston, Texas.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Shhh! Can you keep a secret?

Now that the season is fading fast, I have a guilty secret to share with you. I can trust you, right? I mean, we are friends and you would never use knowledge of my loathsome secret against me, would you? Okay, come a little closer and I will whisper it in your ear.


I hear your gasps and I feel your pain at my betrayal, but I have to come clean. Confession is good for the soul, and my soul needs all the help it can get.

Yes, it's true, for years now I have groused to everyone who would listen about the fact that we hadn't had a REAL winter in ten or fifteen years. A stray night or two under 32 degrees and that was it - nothing that anyone in Buffalo or Chicago would recognize as actual winter. To be honest, those folks probably still wouldn't recognize what we had this season as winter, but the people in Memphis and Nashville would and that's closer to home for me.

You see, I grew up in a place where there were four distinct seasons in the year. We had a real spring, summer, autumn, and winter and you could tell when one ended and the next one began. And that's the way my internal calendar was set from childhood. That's what I expected the seasons to be like. These last several years, I've been totally confused and cranky, because winter was completely left off our seasonal calendar. In reality, we had only two seasons: Seven months of Summer from April through October and five months of Not Summer from November through March.

It was downright depressing. Insect and weed pests flourished and the gardener and her plants flagged by about June 15. It was all downhill from there. And then, like a cool breeze on a hot August day, came the El Nino winter of 2009-2010 with its extended periods of below-freezing weather and occasional spurts of white, fluffy stuff falling from the sky. It was very refreshing.

Well, okay, I know it caused hardship and some heartache for some gardeners in the area and I am sorry about that. I lost a few plants, too, and I'm still waiting to see about some others, some of which I would be particularly sorry to lose. But you want to know the truth? Those plants that I lost probably shouldn't have been planted here in the first place. I pushed the envelope and the envelope pushed right back. A valuable lesson has been (re)learned.

It's not that I will be sorry to see winter go at 12:32 P.M. tomorrow, but I just wanted to say a kind word about the old season before it leaves. After all, we've griped and complained about it since that first freeze caught us by surprise early last December, but I, for one, wish to go on the record by stating that this is exactly the winter I had been wishing for these past several wimpy winter years and I want to thank Mother Nature for finally granting that wish. I feel sure that I will be a better and wiser gardener and that my garden will be a better balanced and more natural environment because of it.


  1. It's interesting what "winter" means for different parts of the world, and when it comes and goes. For us, this winter brought us some great moisture, and with the moisture, weeds. I'll be glad for the dry heat of summer when the weeds just hang out in seed form.

  2. The weeds have really taken off in my yard, too, lostlandscape. Truthfully, though, weeds seem to do well in my yard, no matter the time of year or the state of the weather!

  3. You're entitled to whatever you love.

    After last year's blast-furnace summer, I was delighted to have a real winter. I think we need the balance. It felt good to wear sweaters and build evening fires.

  4. PS I enjoy your blog and added it to my blogroll on Hill Country Mysteries so my friends can find you too.

  5. Thanks, Kathleen, for reminding me that I need to update my own blogroll. Hill Country Mysteries will definitely be an addition!