When I first came to Houston (many, many years ago), one of the first things that was mentioned to me was a fact about the weather. It was said that if you did not like it wait five minutes, and it will change. Our weather is not that changeable, but during the day yesterday, we had a thirty degree temperature drop. I think it is those drops which make us feel the cold all the more in Houston, even when it is not that cold.
I went outside to check on my plants this morning to see how they are handling this climate. Quite well really. My pepper plants are still going strong, and their biggest worry is that my daughter will come to attack them. Basil does not like the cold, but I have two plants that are struggling on. My main plantings this week have been more swiss chards and nasturtiums. I also planted onion sets, which will probably be more for next year’s harvest. I knew that we were in for more cold temperatures, but when I saw that the tomato plants have come in, I decided to give them a try. These plants do not do well in Houston. If you wish to spend the time nurturing them, you can get a crop, but I do not want to lavish that much attention on them. I like being in the garden, but I do not always want to work in it. I am just going to let them wander, to see if they fruit.
I was finalizing some pruning before spring, which will be upon us soon. If you have shrubs which flower in the spring, like azaleas, do not prune them now. You will destroy the bud growth, so you will have no flowers. The best time to prune such shrubs is after the flowers are spent. The plant can grow through the year, and then you will have another nice showing of flowers in the spring next year. Azaleas are quite common in Houston, and I guess that is why I never desired them in my yard. However, I had some bushes in the garden of this house when I bought it, and I have to say that I have enjoyed these spring blooms.
If you are looking for spring color, you will find many options at your garden center right now. It seems that they are already prepared for the coming season, but they now have in stock an item for summer color: caladiums. These bulbs are heat tolerant, and they can give you some vibrant foliage, which will last longer than a flower’s bloom. Check out the different types, and you may find one for your beds.