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

Friday, January 27, 2012

This week in the garden

Running hither and thither for appointments and meetings this week left me little time to actually spend in the garden. And then, of course, there was our rain day.

On Tuesday, we got 2.7 inches of rain which puts us now officially above our monthly average rainfall for the first time in recent memory. The earth got a good soaking and all of the ponds in the area are now full of water. It is a wonderful thing to see.

Around the garden, spring is beginning to creep in already. We've not had very much winter at all yet and plants that have died back to the ground in the last two winters are beginning to put out green shoots. The fruit trees, too, are convinced that spring is just around the corner.

  The pomegranate tree that I planted this winter is already full of these tender buds.

My blueberries suffered terribly in last summer's drought and lost several limbs, but the limbs that remain are beginning to show some buds. I don't think my blueberry crop this year will be anywhere near as bountiful as it has in recent years, but it seems that there will be a few berries for my morning cereal.

The cheerful blossoms of the Carolina jessamine are beginning to open.

And the orange bulbine that has bloomed all winter continues to bloom.

My bulbs never seem to do very well, but in the front yard, a few of the daffodils are sending forth some pretty, little blossoms.

The signs of spring around my yard came as the USDA released its brand-spanking new 2012 hardiness zone map. When I went to their website and entered my zip code, I found that my garden had moved! My yard used to be in zone 8b, but with the new map, it is now in zone 9a (20 - 25F degrees for the low temperature). So without lifting a finger or packing a moving crate, I've moved to a more tropical zone. In fact, all across the  country, gardeners are now finding that they are in a warmer zone. Thus does global climate change affect us all.


  1. Wonderful that you got some much needed rain! Your winter blooms are lovely!

  2. HiYa Dorothy,

    Spring is really here... I spent the entire weekend looking at Nature and walking the woods around where I live to observe what's new!... I also drove around, did the weekly looking by car, went to Cypress and Spring, and Tomball yesterday...

    Hooks Airport Pond is now 100% full. 2 weeks ago it was around 75% full!

    Lots of Mallards were there.. The Muscovy Ducks are gone and I did not see any Nutria.
    I saw only one turtle in the water. So sad..what became of Hooks pond..but many folks did rescue the wildlife during the drought... but many did not survive ....

    The Cattle Stock Ponds up and down 2920 finally the cows and horses and other hooved animals have water and are able to graze on grasses and weeds!

    The birds are singing so many songs to attract a mate another sign of spring in the air!!!....

    I caught the Paper on Thursday while out and about, I can't believe that they placed this New USDA Map article on that day instead of Saturday's garden section. I only get the weekend papers because I read the paper online during the week.

    Finally a new Hardiness Map.. Linda Gay told me about it in 2006!! -- What was the big delay?? .. Hummm..... I recall me telling you about a future map change years ago!

    Most gardeners can see how our plants reacted from day one.. Most can see evidence since replacing things in the spring of 2011....Take a Citrus tree, Many perished during 2010 and 2011... Those that survived those freezes loved 2011, mine is filled with lemons over 50 lemons, I have never had that many !!! There are so many baby lemons on mine right now, and blooms so many blooms! - - I have never seen such a early bloom in the 10 years I have owned my Citrus trees! ,..Normally my first bloom is around Valentines Day.
    The funny thing is during this drought I did not even fertilize it after April of 2011.
    I was afraid to with no rain to spread the chemicals underground ..LOL!...

    On the New USDA Map:

    I have pushed zone 10 plants in my garden for years! -LOL!... Even annuals have reacted to this winter.. I had some PFAS Labor Day reduced plants ($1.00 per pot)... of Coleus.. ('Alabama', is what I found ) Coleus hates being cold.. A few of the coldest nights I used the "Planket Covers' and these annuals are alive and well and sending up new growth!....even the 'Ipomoea', have leaves on them.. some fried up in the cold.. but many are there... Normally this plant goes dormant this time of year!...

    Enjoy this coming week it looks like a good time to plant and weed...and then the news of rain makes me so excited!.


  3. Thanks for dropping by, Karin. I have very few winter blossoms, but what I have are choice!

  4. Regardless of what zone we live in, our gardens also exist in their own microclimates, as you well know, Urs. I can see how your garden would easily support zone 10 plants in most years.

    It has been a gorgeous weekend so far. I've spent it pruning and marveling at how far along the garden is here at the end of January. Spring has almost sprung!

  5. My daffodils are just starting to put some leaves up now. I'm jealous that you already have blooms! And my bulbine is nice and green, but there has been no sign of any flowers on it at all. Wonder what I did wrong there?

  6. Probably nothing, Jayne. I think it's really hard to do anything "wrong" with bulbine. It will probably surprise you with blooms soon.