One day it’s freezing, and the next it’s in the 80’s. Welcome to December in Central Texas! Here’s what’s new in the garden this week at the Earth-Kind® Demonstration garden at Travis County AgriLife Extension and the Travis County Master Gardener garden at Pfluger Pedestrian Bridge.
More Mulch Added
This week’s garden task was to add two yards of first grind mulch. The mulch will help insulate plants from cold and suppress weeds. Teresa, the Travis County Master Gardener Demo Garden Project Leader, thinks that at least one more yard is needed. The next pickup load will probably be in January.
Cold? What Cold? ‘Whopper Red’ is a Texas Superstar®
Jane, the Master Gardener for the Layered Garden area, planted several ‘Whopper’ begonias that are STILL blooming despite recent freezing temperatures. Neighboring plants have suffered some damage, but tucked under the tree the begonias continue on in style. ‘Whopper Red’ is from a series of cultivars that carry the “Texas Superstar” label. Plants receiving this designation must be beautiful and perform well for consumers and growers throughout the state.
Still Fall According to the Aster
The Fall Aster (Symphyotrichum oblongifolium) reminds us that winter doesn’t officially start until December 21, 2019. This native plant can grow in the rocky soils of the Edwards Plateau and can handle full sun or shade. Here at the AgriLife Extension office, it flowers profusely near the the front entrance in the Pollinator garden area managed by Master Gardener JoAnna. You can see what else JoAnna has planted by visiting the Earth-Kind® Demonstration Garden plant list.
Icecap™ Rose Aptly Named
The Icecap™ rose bush is impossible to ignore. It currently displays several blushing blossoms in the rose area managed by Travis County Master Gardener Manda. This rose is a repeat bloomer and has been charming everyone for several months. The white buds open to soft pink semi-double flowers that are really lovely. Icecap™ was developed by Will Radler (the father of the Knock Out® Rose) and the french hybridizers, Meilland.
Stray Plant Adopted at Pfluger Bridge Garden
There are quite a few challenges to gardening in public. Plants can completely disappear or become damaged. Not this time. Jane, the Pfluger Pedestrian Bridge garden leader discovered a newly planted Echeveria in the Texas Superstar garden bed. The garden bed is under renovation, so Jane is wondering if someone thought the bed needed sprucing up or just had a plant that needed a new home. So far no one has confessed. Master Gardener Shanna thinks its the variety ‘Tippy’, which is not very cold hardy in Austin. Jane and Shanna have decided to leave it and see how it survives. You can see a what has been intentionally planted in the bed here: Pfluger Bridge Plant List