As February races toward its conclusion, this Austin garden is ready for spring. I started pruning in late December, after the first of the freezes lay waste to the herbaceous perennials in my gardens. I’ve been pruning since. Seven garbage cans full of garden detritus every week, for almost two months.
Plants like Turk’s Cap (Malavaviscus arboreus var. drummondii) are whacked.
The luscious, sunny-blooming Goldeneye (Viguiera dentata)? Nary but sticks protruding from the ground.
The Martha Gonzales Roses are reduced to a fifth of their full size.
Some Variegated Flax Lily (Dianella tasmanica),
fared better than others in my gardens.
All I pruned from the Flax Lily were the freeze damaged straps. It’s the one plant (I have four groups of them) that I dutifully covered with each freeze forecast into the 20s.
And the Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii) and other evergreen native shrubby plants are pruned into tidy balls,
or spindly bits of green perched on woody stems, waiting for the just right light and breath of warm spring air to burst into new growth.
I still have more to prune, but I’m almost finished for the year.
I didn’t lose any established plants this winter and that gratifies me and validates the choices I make for my gardens. I choose natives or hardy non-natives, with the occasional splurge for the newest, cheap thrill plant that everyone (okay, just gardeners) is talking about.
I always think of the winter landscape as barren, but it isn’t, even in this winter which was colder than any of the past 19 years. With most of the flowering perennials in my front garden temporarily gone, I’m reminded how nice my ignored-most-of-the-year evergreens are during their winter concert on this sunny February day.
And in my back garden, I like that the lines of the gardens are clear and defined. The iris and yucca straps dominate,
while the Heartleaf Skullcap (Scutellaria ovata ssp. bracteata) insinuates its soft green carpet anywhere it’s allowed.
I have a clean pond, which will make pond maintenance easier for the rest of the year and appeals to my aesthetic sense. I don’t think the fish care whether I clean the pond or not.
Spring is almost here. The Mexican Honeysuckle (Justicia spicigera) is pruned to the ground
but life begins anew.
The Columbines (Aquilegia chrysantha var. hinckleyana) are lush,
their first buds emerging.
Bring it on, Spring.