Wednesday, January 6, 2010


An Arctic front is blowing through and temperatures are expected to stay below freezing for 60 hours or more. These will be the coldest temperatures the DFW area has seen in several years.

I am not too concerned about my plants because most are native to the region and they have already been through a few cold spells this season to harden them off. I moved the yet-to-be-planted plants that are still in pots to the covered patio for some protection. I have a few plants from South and Central America that are in the ground. They are on their own. If they don’t make it, there will be room for new plants this spring!

My rain barrels are full of water and will probably freeze solid. I hope the expansion of the ice does not cause cracks in the plastic.

Stay warm.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Frosty Blossoms

A couple of years ago, I bought a frostweed seedling at the annual butterfly plant sale at the Texas Discovery Gardens at Fair Park in Dallas. Frostweed, Verbesina virginica, is a tall, coarse, perennial that grows in sun to mostly shady conditions. In late summer and through the fall, small clusters of white flowers form at the end of the long stalks. The flowers are very attractive to butterflies, bees, wasps, and other pollinators.

The photo above shows several queen butterflies enjoying frostweed nectar at the end of September of this year.
After the flowers fade and temperatures drop, you discover how the plant got its name.

Freezing temperatures cause frozen sap to burst through the stems in interesting and delicate shapes.

The frozen sap is often referred to as frost flowers.

Here at the Prairie Garden, you have to get up early to see the frost flowers. The temperature generally does not stay below freezing beyond the early morning hours. Warmer temperatures and sunshine melt the ephemeral frost flowers quickly.