Just as our garden was slowly waking back up in early February following a mid-January snow, we were hit with a historic winter storm and record cold temperatures. It is now March, and although the weather was hard on our Gardens, Nature always finds a way to welcome back new life in the spring. Following is a recap of the past few weeks. You can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram for the latest updates!
It’s not everyday you see the bright bloom of agarita (Mahonia trifoliolata) shining above a snowy winter landscape in January. A rare and beautiful sight indeed.
Have you been seeing an abundance of American Robins (Turdus migratorius) in your yards and pastures? Large groups of this migratory songbird have been spotted in our garden this year. According to San Saba bird enthusiast Jimma Byrd, they’re here because of a disruption in their normal migration patterns due to fires and other unseasonal occurrences. During winter months the flocks may contain thousands of birds; then they break up into smaller nomadic groups to nest in the spring.
One of the missions of our wildscape native garden is to offer a different perspective of beauty. Sure, we all know that a blooming bluebonnet or a glowing sunflower is beautiful.But what do you see when you look at this aged Purple Horsemint? Can you look past it being a “dead wildflower” and see the the texture in its whorled shape? Or appreciate the sustenance it brings insects that feast on what remains? When you pull it up, will you take the time to spread its seeds, breathing in its wonderful lemony mint smell? There is so much to LOVE and LEARN from a winter wildscape.
We have been on a journey to become a zero waste garden for awhile now (thanks to our compost pile), but we didn’t have any way to reuse trimmed branches… until now! Meet the newest addition to our project, Dr. Chipper Shredder! Within minutes, a pile of branches turns into our own organic wood chip mulch. After several months of settling and heat burn off, we will apply the chips as ground cover. Our volunteer Daniel enjoyed his new task.
Sometimes the most inconspicuous flowers hold the sweetest nectar for our pollinator friends. The early blooms of Elbowbush are an important food source for bees this time of year. We just hope these delicate beauties can hold on through the freezing temperatures to come.
We closed the Gardens due to the Valentine’s Day week winter storm that caused extreme low temperatures and record snowfall for several days throughout the entire state of Texas. The sun came out and began melting the thick ice that had accumulated.
The last freeze was hard on our favorite little wildflowers. We lost several patches of bluebonnets. But by early March we noticed some survivors enjoying the sunny days. Standing cypress & a bluebonnet… the perfect wildflower duo.
The sight of Redbud (Cercis canadensis) budding out is an exciting sign that spring is near. We’re relieved to see the familiar pink patterns painting our native landscape. The harsh freeze this winter doesn’t seem to have affected these early spring bloomers.
We love the sight of a bright yellow dandelion amongst the drab colors of an otherwise dormant landscape. There are many reasons to love dandelions (Taraxacum officinale) including their:
- Edible and medicinal properties
- Capacity to feed many pollinators & increase biodiversity in a garden
- Ability to heal depleted soils & aerate compacted earth
This little wildflower got a bad wrap somewhere down the line and we hope someday soon this beauty will have her day in the spotlight.
By late March, our Mexican Plums and Redbuds were in bloom, a sight for sore eyes.