Resurrection (of my gardens)-Lenten Writing #11

My tropical plants after the 50 hour freeze from January

Earlier this year when Lauren was basking in the sun of Florida, we received for the first time since I’ve lived in Houston, a long term freeze.  

Houston sitting on the Gulf Coast, is in a sub-tropical climate. Rarely, like maybe a couple of hours a year, our temperatures might drip below freezing. Even if this happens a couple of times, we have never in the 17 years I have been here, had to get through several hours much less days of temps below 32.

 The weekend of the frozen hell started with the temperatures dipping down very quickly and without enough preparation on my part. I did the things I thought I would need to do for the horses and the animals but it was our first time at the new house to have temperatures this low.

We had every reason to believe that this house was better insulated, our pipes were safely covered and deep in the ground. We did not have that at our home in Wharton and literally had to turn the water off at the well to keep all of our pipes from freezing every time it got cold. 

So to begin with, as the temperature started to fall and fall on its path all the way to 23°, absolutely unheard of here, we did OK. But then before I knew it there was no water.

At our old house if we needed to prepare for the possibility of frozen water lines we would fill the bathtubs. We would fill buckets.  We would make sure all the troughs were filled with clean water.  We would make sure we to filled extra buckets in the barn but we just did not anticipate this and I was here alone with Lauren away. Ally essentially moved in. 

Oh, and a glimpse into my personal life. This whole no water thing meant no flush toilets, no ability to take a bath or shower, no washing dishes, no even just washing your hands. 

Then, things got worse before they got better. As the temperatures came up a little bit above freezing for part of the day on Sunday the water spicket on the north outside wall began thawing. The water line actually exploded-broke off-when it did this water started shooting like a firehose off the side of the house. We went from not enough water to way too much water. 

Fortunately, Luke was there to save the day. We got that water turned off and started to work on unfreezing the lines that went to the barn. Bit by bit we got the farm back working and the horses having some water to drink.

Again in the category of I just didn’t think, were all my much loved and specifically chosen tropical plants that make up my garden here. I’ve always been a big Gardner and have enjoyed it very much. My best place was in Florida where I had all these tropical plants including at least 20 varieties of orchids. Texas has proven to be more difficult to get the kind of plants and flowerbeds that I want. It certainly isn’t Florida. 

I should’ve covered the plants but again with so much on my shoulders on that weekend, the plants just did not get the care they needed. Many of the specimens I had here I had brought from Florida when I came. Had thousands of dollars of unique plants that were just killed in the freeze. 

Anyway reeling from the loss and not feeling physically or mentally ready to take on refurbishing the gardens all over again, I have waited. With all the rain we’ve been having it’s a perfect time to pull the weeds, take out the frozen tundra (the dead remains of my plants) and start over.

I am not replacing much of what I had grown before. I am trying new things and hoping that if we do have a freeze these new choices will get me through better than the old ones.

Previously, Allamanda vines twirled all the way to the lush thick top and assorted flowers were in the garden below.

Still needs additional specimens and lots of mulch but a big project under attack today


Resurrection happening here!

Thanks for riding along. 

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