Monday, February 23, 2015

Frozen in Time

Just a few days ago, I was enjoying the warm weather and taking pictures of butterflies and bees feeding on the flowers of my Elbow Bush shrubs, Forestiera pubescens. The shrubs are also known as Spring Herald because they are one of first native plants to bloom in the spring. 
Of course, Texas is known for its roller coaster weather and the warm springlike days came to a screeching halt yesterday when a cold front came through bringing rain, then freezing rain, and then sleet. Now all of those thoughts of spring are frozen in time.

Flowers were forming on the branches of the Redbud tree, Cercis canadensis. Now the buds are coated in a thin layer of ice.

The Coral Honeysuckle, Lonicera sempervirenshas several inches of new growth. Also frozen.

The new bottle bush is still in bloom and not experiencing any issues with the cold, rain, wind, or ice. The last test will be to see how it holds up to drought. I am concerned that the shrinking soil will loosen the rebar that I shoved into the ground.

Around in the front yard, one of the Possumhaw Hollies, Ilex decidua, has been putting on new leaves. This one always leafs out earlier than the others and is often hit by late freezes which can limit the number of berries. Compare these branches to the tree in the background.

Here is a close up of the other Possumhaw. More berries and no leaves. Its genetics are better adapted to North Texas weather than the other tree. 

There is another Possumhaw behind the stock tank.

It is easy to see why Possumhaws are my favorite small trees. The red berries really stand out on cold, icy days.

These little Narcissus are another plant that is often caught off guard by the weather. They seem to be a little sad that they popped up before the last of the cold weather passed. I am happy because I got a day off from work.

Plans for spring are on hold for now. There is a possibility of more ice at the end of this week and there could be more after that. Our average last frost date is a little over three weeks away.

10 comments:

  1. Gorgeous photos. It is fascinating to compare your shots of the trees. Easy to see how the propagation possibilities will favor the later blooming possumhaw. This is why I was so frustrated with the run of warmer than usual days we had just prior to now. All the early bloomers started firing off and are paying the price today, though here just south of Austin things are hovering at the freezing mark without threat of further precipitation. Stay safe and warm!

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  2. Love that sparkling possumhaw! Your icy pics are lovely.

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  3. Wow. I am breathing in the beauty. These are great photos.

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  4. There is a possibility of four inches of snow by morning. All of the school kids are unhappy about the possibility of a third day at home. I am hoping for my second at home because I don't want to drive in the stuff with all the crazy people on the road.

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  5. Great post!
    I am a beginner and just getting into planting here in Wylie. I planted 2 crepe myrtle and 2 Texas Sage bushes 3 weeks ago in a new part of my yard, I'm hoping I didn't plant too early..

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    1. Anonymous, your plants should be fine as long as they were not actively growing in an artificially warm environment just prior to planting. If they were dormant and adjusted to the cold, they should be fine. Good luck.

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  6. Your bottle bush is great. I didn't think of creating one in that way, but I really like it. I have a large bottle tree that keeled over recently after we got some significant rainfall. The ground got a little too swampy causing the tree to fall over. Even though the tree has a good staking system, it's still top heavy with all the bottles. I would think placing individual bottles on curved rebar would be more stable. I think I'm going to try this if you don't mind me stealing your idea :)

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    1. Go on and steal the idea, Ally. Mine kind of looks like a rip off of Pam's ocotillo bottle tree, but its not.

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  7. Nature is certainly having her way with our gardens this year. Some of our favorite blossoms may be missing but then just look at the jewels on the possumhaw. As though she needs them!

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    1. We may have more ice coming tomorrow. It is time for winter to end. The possumhaw may not have their berries much longer. Large flocks of cedar waxwings are circling.

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