The damage my garden received from the rains generated by Hurricane Harvey was nothing–really nothing–compared to the destruction wrought throughout southeast Texas and into Louisiana. What Rockport, Port Aransas, Houston, Beaumont and other areas endured was catastrophic. While harm inflicted to my garden was annoying, it will allow for a transformation of an heretofore shady situation to one where sun lovers will flourish.
So what was the damage?
Yeah, that’s a problem. This mangled mess was caused by the 10-plus inches received that weekend and occurred in the form of a half-downed tree.
This mature Arizona Ash split at one of its two main trunks, not at the crotch (which might be expected), instead, a bit higher up.
Splayed foliaged and branches decorated the front garden, street, and driveway.
I called my arborist that morning, but he wasn’t able to take this job. I made several other calls, securing a promise from a neighbor’s arborist–I was 7th on his list. Because it was unclear how long it would be before the arborist could work some pruning magic on the tree (it ended up being 10 days), we gathered various saws and pruning utensils and got to work on the smaller branches in the street and along the driveway to tidy the tangle of tree.
A week after we pruned, some lovely guys from the city of Austin’s waste crew came by and removed most of the tree detritus. Eventually, the arborist crew arrived, took out the rest of the large branches, and all was cleaned up.
The garden was ready for an assessment and possible re-do.
The fallen branch injured the Giant liriope and Inland sea oats that dominated the center part of this formerly shady garden. With less overhead foliage, allowing for dappled morning and early afternoon light, and a now-clear western exposure, which means that the bright Texas sun will blast on the front of this garden, a reconsideration of plants is definitely in order.
The dry-shade loving Cast iron plants, Aspidistra elatior, must go–they will fry in the sun’s rays.
I’ve enjoyed the Cast iron plants in the front garden–there were three groups, only one remains for now. They’ve provided evergreen structure in winter and a lushness that soothes in our hot summers. But go these must and in fact, I’d already planned to remove one large section (opposite from this photo) this autumn because it’s receiving more sun, due to a neighbor’s declining trees.
I’ve removed the Liriope, Cast iron plants, and the Inland sea oats, finding homes for some, transplanting some, and ditching the rest.
I’m in the process of transplanting some sun-starved shrubs and perennials from my increasingly shady back garden, looking forward to their thriving in a new, sun-doused home. The fallen tree was a win-win for both gardens and for friends who were wanting shady plants for their gardens.
Lemonade from lemons.
A couple of nice gifts that Harvey’s rains left include these Red spider lilies, Lycoris radiata,
…and a clump or two of Oxblood lilies, Rhodophiala bifida.
That said, neither of these beauties showed off much in my garden this past month. Typically during September, there are several clumps of each that pop up and POP in the garden, responding to early fall rains. This year though, they’re sulking and hiding for some reason.
Perhaps 10 inches over one weekend was too much rain?