Did the Freeze Open Doors for Change in Your Garden?

gillnurseryGarden Design, Life in The Garden20 Comments

It’s been five weeks since the big freeze. As my yoga instructor, Gretchen Weber, said so well last night, the first few weeks was about mourning. Mourning the loss of big, beautiful, tropical plants that have abounded in our warmer-than-normal winters. 

Now we’re all in the recovery mode. Some have been quicker on the draw than others. Some want to just get their garden back to where it was as quickly as possible. For others, now may be a great time to rethink your garden. What do you want going forward? 

Do you want your landscape beds wider so they will accommodate the natural growth of plants without constant shearing? Or smaller beds with more grass or rock? 

Do you want a compost bin in a spot where a big overgrown shrub once was, a compost bin that will help you constantly enrich your soil?

Do you want to have more plants that feed the birds and butterflies? Yesterday, I visited with Dr. Dale Gawlik, Endowed Chair for Conservation and Biodiversity, Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies. He moved from Florida into a home on Padre Island that had many ornamental plants that died in the freeze. Instead of replacing with the same, he is going back with only plants that provide habitat and food for birds and butterflies. 

Do you want plants that stay lower to show off more of your house from the outside? Or plants that grow up and frame your views from the inside?

Do you want to change your color palette (another Gretchen comment last night)? 

Do you want less of your landscape to be tropical so in the next freeze you don’t lose as much? Now’s a good time to drive around and see what plants flourished in the cold temperatures. 

Take your time. Look through magazines and make Pinterest boards. Stroll our garden center and others. Our growers are ramping up to supply us more plants and greater variety than ever. Enjoy the process and always remember, we’re here to help you. 

-Sally Gill

20 Comments on “Did the Freeze Open Doors for Change in Your Garden?”

  1. I was just thinking simpler, freeze free, native..like lantana..and things like that.
    Thanks Sally! I’ll be over.

  2. You had me in mind with this article. Had to remove 18 palms so far. And all my lxorias. House looks bigger from street. So YES I’m taking my time and rethinking what I want to plant.
    Thanks for your article…I too will be visiting you.

  3. Gotta love Gretchen ☺️ We’re keeping some things the same, just regrowing from roots (lantana, esperanza, philodendron), and others we are swapping. Definitely adding lavender this go round! But also hoping to replace our bulbine – I miss it already!

    1. Yes, I am very grateful for Gretchen. She is a great teacher. I do love lavender but it doesn’t like our summers so I wouldn’t rely on it in a big way. I try to have a pot of it in the spring. Yes – bulbine is VERY dependable – great plant for South Texas! Thanks Julie! Sally

  4. We need more oak trees and less palms and this freeze could happen again. So I am planting oaks and crepe myrtles.

    1. Yes – oaks and crepe myrtles are great performers in South Texas. It’s easy to spot the cold hardy plants right now – other small ornamental trees that did well are mountain laurel, yaupon holly and possum haw. Thank you John! Sally

    1. Hi Teri! That was one idea I meant to mention in the blog – adding more seating in the garden. So smart. I love that it’s in the front yard – you can get to know your neighbors better AND watch the birds! Sally

  5. So well said Sally. The reality of the real damage hit me over the last weeks. I was hopeful and waited for a potential return but alas I have resigned to starting over. I’m day dreaming now of what comes next, how do I want to shape my views, how our space be better viewed. In some ways I realize I held on to plants I really don’t care for ( like Ixora, because it felt selfish to remove them and the freeze was like a good break up!

    Here’s to restarting!

  6. Yep, decided to rethink my backyard. James has always said my back yard was over treed. I have two large oaks that are just getting bigger. Crowded toasted
    bottlebrush and Norfolk pine (planted to close to the house, who new it would get 50-60’ tall).
    Decided, if it still looks like toast
    it’s gone.

    1. I haven’t examined any wild olive yet, so I would say lets just wait a few more weeks and see.

  7. I had planted a strip of native shrubs Guajillo (?) Yaupon Holly, Fiddlewood, sage, Mexican Olive, all are doing great. Will the Ebony , Surinam Cherry and Pride of Barbados come back? No sign yet. Please advise. Thanks.
    Ty Cobb

  8. Texas Avenue died to the ground in 83 and 89. So I’m expecting it may be the same this time. Should come back from the ground. Pride of Barbados also, should come back from the ground. Suriname cherry I don’t know, but I would guess it’s dead and not to return

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