And she is just itching to get outside to continue the massive cleanup effort that faces us. She insisted that we make a start last Saturday and we spent several pleasant hours removing mushy foliage on herbaceous perennials and cutting back dead wood on woody perennials and shrubs. There are piles of dead limbs and foliage scattered about Wit's End, all of which must remain there until we can find assistance in removing them. For you see, dear fellow gardeners, there was an unforeseen consequence of that extended period of intense activity after several weeks of relatively little gardening. As I was contemplating changing into my gardening clothes after church Sunday morning, I turned slightly to the right, leaned down no more than 10 degrees and introduced myself to a world of pain. One or more of the discs in my lower back had finally had enough abuse and could stay silent no longer.
The first of Amy's tulips to emerge, looking a bit worse for the weather
As I see it, the HG has only herself to blame for our inability to take advantage of today's sunny skies and milder temperatures (a high of 52 is predicted). She strong-armed me into doing all that work on Saturday, even as I protested that it was too much too soon. I was thinking in terms of the woody plants ... conventional wisdom here in south central Texas is to leave dead wood on plants such as Hamelias and Durantas until the danger of a hard freeze has passed, to protect the live wood from freezing temperatures. The HG being the experienced and opinionated gardener that she is, however, persuaded me that all of the plants being pruned had proven themselves able to handle such treatment last winter. As she also pointed out, the bark was peeling away from the trunks just a few inches above the ground. That wood was history, future freezes or not. I did convince her to let me leave a good 10-12 inches of dead wood unpruned on most plants so freezing temperatures would be less likely to make it into the roots.
Narcissus 'Grand Soleil D'Or' (we think)
So here I sit at the computer with a sulky Head Gardener and an aching back. I've promised her that we can take frequent walkabouts around our corner of Katy, pen and pad in hand, so she can dictate notes to me on how various plants responded to this winter's low. We'll share the results of our walkabouts in a future post (later today, if the HG has her way ... since sitting too long exacerbates the back issues, however, she may have to wait.)