I checked on the lettuce in one of the cold frames today. It is frozen. We've been close to zero degrees Fahrenheit each night since Christmas and not warming up much during the days. So, I wasn't surprised. I thought our snow was going to melt before Christmas, but the cold front kept any that is in the shade most of the day. Lends a Christmas feel to the garden. We're suppose to get a little above freezing this weekend.
Inside, the Christmas Cactus is starting to bloom.
Gardening catalogs are arriving in the mail. Unless we get a lot of moisture very soon, I'm not planning to put in new ornamental plants this year. Our city manager is talking about going to a 'water warning' which would tighten our watering codes more as the drought will not break. I'm sure I'll order vegetable seeds. There will still be cozy evenings with the catalogs.
The recent winter storm Euclid only gave us flurries. Hope you weren't impacted badly by Euclid.
While Christmas shopping I found a small 'kit' to force a hyacinth bulb. I've always wanted to try this. I snatched one off the close out sales shelf and brought it home.
Not much to it. A box with the simple instructions on back, the 'special' vase and a hyacinth bulb.
It says not to have the bulb touching the water.
I tucked it to the back of the refrigerator. I'll need to check that it has water and watch for a sprout so I can bring it out.
The box said it will be weeks (10-12) before it is ready. I guess people who know what they're doing with these already have them going. That's OK. For the sale price, I can have it bloom a bit later than most.
Today in the garden...
...removed the frozen plants from the containers on the patio. When I dumped out the clay containers, there were ice crystals around the edge of the soil. I have my experimental purple fountain grass overwintering project and the gooseneck loosestrife still in containers to water if needed.
...found the lettuce got a little nipped in the cold frame but mostly looks fine.
...noted that we got down to 3 degrees Fahrenheit Monday morning. Brrrrrrrrr!
...still no rain.
I have tried to overwinter purple fountain grass in my house, my basement and my garage. No luck. It always died. Well, the very warm winter we are having is keeping the purple fountain grass growing on our patio. Idecided to give it another try. I cut back the grass in one container (mostly so it wouldn't be in the way by the back door) and I moved it up by the house just off our back steps. It'll be protected from cold winds, warmed by the sun heating up the concrete and close enough to cover or even drag in the house if we ever get really cold. Wouldn't it be amazing if I could overwinter purple fountain grass outside?
The purple fountain grass is still very green.
If you look closely at the top of the photo (click on it to enlarge) you'll see a lady bug who I guess was thinking this is a good place to be for the winter.
In other garden news, I spent some time weeding. I know. Weeding in December. I pulled out henbit which was blooming, chick weed, wild oats, a couple of dandelions and another weed I can't name but don't want.
My wonderful husband asked me the other day when was the last time we had a rain. I dug out my garden calendar and the last time I wrote down rain was in the middle of October. We've had a couple of wet fogs but desperately need rain. Farmers are starting to see their winter wheat struggle here and cattlemen are selling off herds because they can't feed them. It was hard to get enough feed stored for them for the winter with the drought during the growing season. We are still in a water watch and some neighboring towns still have tighter watering restrictions.
I removed a few plants from the containers on the patio. The last spider plant hasn't liked some of the colder nights and was getting blacker and blacker from freezing. The yellow petunias were really scraggly. So, they went too. Here are the remaining plants.
I watered the lettuce in the cold frame. I also noticed these green sprouts.
My garlic is coming up. I remember being concerned that last years crop hadn't sent up any sprouts in the fall. That's not a problem this year. I watered the garlic sprouts too.
Recent temperatures in the 20s Fahrenheit reduced the number of plants in the patio containers. These are the ones which remain. I think the purple fountain grass is done growing, but the plumes still look nice. I'm going to hang onto them until all the other plants give up for the year.
While the plants don't look terribly well, I am surprised at how nice the blooms are still on these petunias.