Thursday, December 8, 2011

Brrr.... it's cold in Texas!

We had our first hard freeze of the season the other night. It got down to about 27ºF for at least 8 hours. Since I always watch the weather forecast, I knew it was coming and had propane ready for my heaters, frost blanket to cover hardy vegetables in the greenhouse so I didn't have to heat both houses and most the tender plants were already in the greenhouse.

Here are some pictures of the herb beds after the freeze. 

The Mullein - on the left - laughs at the freeze, while the stringy dead looking stems to the right are from the lovely Nasturtiums I had growing. I thought about covering them, but they're so tender and it's only going to get colder. I have lots in the greenhouse, some even with flower buds on them, so I'll enjoy them in there and plant more out in the Spring!

As a contrast, here's a strawberry jar I planted with various varieties of Thyme and a Lemon Verbena in the top. Behind you can see the rosette of a Salad Burnet and in the upper right is a Curry Plant- Helichrysum italicum- all unaffected by the cold.

Another Mullein with the remains of a big Basil plant- inside the circle. I think this one was Cardinal Basil - a Thai type with red stems and nice big green leaves. Ah, well....
Inside this circle, another Basil - an African type - froze, too.
On the other hand, here's a beautiful, healthy Fennel plant that's been growing here about 3 years - also unaffected by the freeze. I have lots of little Fennel plants coming up near it and in the adjacent bed. The red arrow is pointing to a stalk of Licorice- Glycyrrhiza glabra. I have Licorice coming up all over the place. It spreads by underground runners like Mint or Passion Vine. I don't really mind. I kind of like it. And, I can easily dig up a piece to chew on if I like.
Of course, Rosemary is another tough as nails plant unaffected by the freeze, heat, drought, hail, snow, humidity, dogs, deer, and perhaps even tornadoes... although I don't need to find that out for myself! Anyway, yes, Rosemary is hardy summer and winter - in the southern half of the state.

This little grouping has a native white Yarrow in the front. To the upper right of the Yarrow is Hyssop which will bush out by Spring and have lovely dark blue flowers which attract butterflies, bees and hummingbirds. Then, there's a big Garlic Chive cluster in the middle which also seems impervious to the freeze. 

So, there you have a little peek at the Herb Beds at The Herb Cottage after the first major freeze of the season. I've decided to plant Calendula where the Nasturtiums are now. They're cold hardy and will bloom cheery yellow and orange flowers. I'd like to distill some into a hydrosol when I have enough flowers. 

Until Next Time... Good Growing to you and stay warm!

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