Welcome to austinagrodolce … My family and I garden with more intention and enthusiasm than allocated budget or overall design plan. It shows. Wildlife populations don't seem to notice our lack of cohesive design, they just like the native plants here. It seems by growing local we've thrown out a welcome mat. Occasionally, we're surprised at who (and what) shows up.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Resolved....a Declaration of Determined Dormancy

I was sitting there, snug in my well heated home, grateful the overnight forecast had changed to reflect slightly warmer temperatures for our area last evening.  I was dreading hauling in and covering plants to protect them from freezing temperatures and since it wasn't going to freeze, I wasn't going to bother.  Actually, not bothering is getting to be a theme of sorts around here.

Honestly, I've gone just about as dormant as most of our garden plants, to the point of rigorously ignoring multiple opportunities to get maintenance or other outdoor winter work accomplished.

Obsessing (but only through the windows) about how the bluebonnet rosettes are handling winter weather so far is about as much energy as I've spared in December for the very same spaces I worked in multiple times daily other months of the year.
Bluebonnet rosettes holding up well so far...
That is just the way I roll, folks.  I go from one extreme to the other.  I am either thinking about the plants and beds and working in them nonstop, or alternately I go about my indoor business, living as if I had staff, as if those outdoor spaces were somebody else's responsibility entirely.

Should I say all that will that change in 2015?  Can I come to you with assertions I will do better, I will behave differently, I will take full advantage of winter's chilling effects and personally get around to addressing the laundry list of chores that routinely accumulates during the growing season?
These succulents are displaying the characteristic color of the cold bitten.  My apologies for leaving them uncovered during the last freeze of 2014 had no visible effect.
Nah.  We've been at this too long not to be honest with each other.

Nope. I am resolved, as I face another New Year's Day, to reconcile myself to myself.  Going forward I will freely admit my own nature.  As a native in my own microclimate I acknowledge I will go dormant in December, drop the pretense of garden control, and remain horticulturally insensate not only through January, but potentially well into February.
When I enlarged this photo I was a little shocked to spot aphids on the stem below and to the left of the seed head on this Tropical Milkweed plant.  I never thought of aphids as cold hardy.  
If you are and have been out regularly working your own spaces, planning ahead and getting prep work done for the growing season to come, then I offer you my deepest admiration and most earnest accolades.  I am currently and will remain cocooned inside, keeping the loosest eye out for freeze warnings but otherwise letting the garden have its head.  I am counting on reappearing from the roots, bouncing back vigorous and fresh right along with my garden as the weather warms.  It has certainly happened that way every year so far.

Wait, you may well wonder, does this declaration of dormancy mean I will have nothing at all to say here for weeks to come?
A little home crafted dino succulent planter bling.  This was a favorite out of the various gifts we made this year.
I wouldn't bet on it.

Happy 2015 to one and all!  As this new year unfolds, here's an early wish: may we all experience growth and grace in equal measure.


Tina said...

Theoretically, I'm working the garden. Realistically, not. Except for the leaves (a horticultural pet peeve of mine), I'm not doing any gardening either. I am raking/shredding leaves though. I know too well how much good they do my gardens, so as much as I'd rather do other things, when it's dry, I'm out there. But the walkway that I need to re-mulch? Hasn't happened yet! The rocks which need moving to a different space? Ain't gonna do those! At least not today. I'll put that on my list for tomorrow.

A good 2015 to you and your gardens! Love your dino, btw.

TexasDeb said...

Tina: And now I'm hearing a certain song that shall remain nameless from the musical "Annie" playing on repeat in my head. I'll get you for that... : )

Speaking on behalf of slackers everywhere I will admit we, like the misery bunch, do like a little company. So, welcome for as long as your lethargy lasts.

Isn't he cute!? My daughter and I made the dinosaur planter as a gift for her elder brother, to put a little extra sparkle into his decor. I'm personally on the lookout for a T Rex to use around here. Rawr! Happy 2015!

Debra said...

Love the dino planter! I haven't been doing a thing outside beyond filling up the bird feeder. And ordering veggie seeds. Resting is what winter was invented for.

Rock rose said...

I also have reconciled myself to myself. I just told D this morning I am not making any resolutions because I won't keep to them. I may say I'm going to do this, try for a while and then quit. I have learnt who I am and what I can do. I always have plans to do things in the fall/December and in the end I don't want to go out there when it is cold. It will get done in the Spring.
Happy New Year Deb.

Anna said...

Wonderful post! My fingers are getting itchy to dig in the dirt, but I have to console myself by just watering the plants brought indoors and tending to the wildlife. There's really nothing going on in my garden and it's been too cold to even think about doing anything even if it was possible. The leaves do need to be mulched, though. Thanks again for the great post and I hope you have a great new year.

LindaCTG said...

This is positively the best New Year's post I've ever read! Our thoughts totally aligned--makes me feel so much better about everything. I plan to print this to remind me. Thank you.

Kris Peterson said...

I've discovered I operate similarly in response to "extreme cold" (i.e. anything below 60F) , as well as heat. However, my area doesn't get either as cold or as hot as yours. In fact, one of the UK bloggers referred to temperatures lower than those I'm dealing with as "balmy" so apparently I'm the equivalent of some tropical prima-donna plant, needing a narrow range of temperature within which to function effectively. As our forecast is for temperatures to return to the low 70s next week, I expect I'll venture out again then and get back to work. It's too bad really - I could use a longer break!

TexasDeb said...

Debra: Thanks - that planter turned out to be so adorable I think we almost hoped the intended recipient wouldn't want to keep him so he could stay home with us. (no such luck)

I haven't even refilled the bird feeders lately with so many seed heads and berried available. Or ordered any seeds though this reminds me to get my Asclepias asperula seeds into the refrigerator.

TexasDeb said...

RR/Jenny: We are certainly on similar pages - the only resolution I made last year was not to make any resolutions.

Stay in, stay warm, enjoy your lovely family and surroundings and here's to warmer days when the wildflowers and wild gardeners re-appear!

TexasDeb said...

Anna: It is good to have you dropping by - thanks for commenting!

Where most of our leaves end up is also where the deer go frolicking through our beds so I convince myself they will break the leaves up and help speed up the decomposition process. It is my one of my more enduring fantasies, that the deer are somehow helping fertilize, turn the soil, prune and compost by their presence and activities. Ha! I laughed just typing that....

TexasDeb said...

Linda: You are too kind. Honestly, any time you'd like encouragement about NOT doing a particular garden chore, especially the more noxious ones? You just let me know. I've got lots more slacker boosterism where this came from.

Happiest New Year to you!

TexasDeb said...

Kris: I think we've compared notes about this a bit before. You and I are both prima donnas when it comes to our comfort range. Ah, the sacrifices we make!

You make a fascinating point about folks in your area never really getting any sort of seasonal down time. I'd wasted all that energy being jealous it never freezes there when I should have realized that no breaks from the growing season also means no break from the garden work!