Year-end update: Fall/Winter 2022/2023

Remember that time I wrote a New Year's post with my blogging intentions? Back then, I was going to post once a month. Alas, that didn't happen.

I threw up a quick blog post last March, just before the cut-off to qualify to attend The Fling, which basically said, "Hey! I'm still here, still gardening, slow going - more soon!" Turns out, that was the last time I posted.

Now I'm thinking a good goal might be to blog once a season. Spring, summer, winter, fall - four times a year. Sure, I might blog more often if I get inspired, which, to be honest, is a tough ask these days.

One big factor in my lack of inspiration is this crazy Texas weather, which was crazy enough already, thanks very much, but thanks to climate change, just keeps getting more and more extreme. Two months of 100+ temps with zero rain this past summer was a new one for me; just like a full week below freezing was a new one for me in February 2021.

St. Augustinegrass lawn in May 2022. Never looked better.

St. Augustinegrass lawn in August 2022, after the two months of 100+ degree temps without rain; mostly dead. (The green patch is near a Rainbird sprinkler head; it succumbed to the brown death a few weeks later.)

I won't be replanting St. Augustinegrass here. It gets too much sun, it can't handle drought and I want to put a plant border along the fence line anyway.

In contrast, the sedge lawn (Carex perdentata) in front has established itself very well, very quickly. It gets more sun than I'd planned, thanks to Snowpocalypse 2021, which reduced the crown of the red oak by two-thirds, but it is hanging in.


At various times throughout the year, bulbs and other ephemerals rise above the sedge and bloom. Delightful!

Rock rose, mealy blue sage, pale leaf yucca

Fall aster, Symphyotrichum oblongifolium

Monarch butterfly on blue mistflower (Conoclinium coelestinum).
I don't like that brown spot on its wing near its body...

In the hottest driest days of summer, the sedge looks rather peaked, like everything else. But, with a little trim, it greens up right away after the first fall rains. Then the first freeze comes, and it turns a little tawny. The more shade, the more green it stays. It needs a little trim a couple of times a year. It's best to time the trims right before a good rain, I've learned.  

Carex perdentata in shade

I had to remind myself every single day leading up to this Christmas's Arctic blast: ""Do Not Cover Anything. Do NOT Cover Anything. Do Not Cover ANYTHING. I really wanted to cover up the Freesia and Ranunculus foliage. I really, really did. It wouldn't have helped. It would have been wasted effort. It all died back. Honestly, if it needs babying, it probably isn't going to live long here.

Covering didn't help the vegetable garden, only the intrinsic cold hardiness of the plants. I think we got down to 13 degrees F the Friday night before Christmas. Without a heat source or significant snow cover, few veggies survive that low a temp for over 24 hours. It's called frost cloth, not Arctic Blast cloth!  

Broccoli didn't make it but spinach and cilantro did   


Baby head of broccoli. Yes, I ate it!

A handful of things did stay nice and green after the freeze: yuccas (pale leaf, 'Color Guard,' and 'Bright Edge'), squid agave, and heartleaf skullcap, in addition to the Old Blush rose - it got a little tip burn, but otherwise remained green. The dormant 'Dame du Coeur' rose already has buds breaking, so I quickly moved her today, out of a container and into the ground. In the veg garden, sage, a few lettuces, the spinach, some parsley, and all the garlic did great, hooray! Time to fertilize and mulch the beds, start veggie seeds indoors and wait for spring.

(Before I go - take a look at this photo of the red oak after Snowpocalypse 2021, before we trimmed the dead wood so it wouldn't fall on our neighbor's vehicles. That was a terrible winter!)

That crooked mailbox has been replaced, BTW. And the boxwood mustache is GONE!

Words and photos © 2005-2023 Caroline Homer for "The Shovel-Ready Garden". Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.


  1. Wow, spinach and cilantro are tougher than I thought! Maybe I should try to grow some in spring and fall. I love your sedge lawn! Your garden looks great.

    1. And, that is the lowest, coldest spot in the garden, too! The cilantro surprised me the most. Nothing to lose but some seeds - give it a goo.

  2. OMG! "It's called frost cloth, not Arctic Blast cloth!"... I'm going to be using that line, so true. That third photo, the front of your house, *swoon*... it's just lovely!

  3. It looks so much better without the ‘stache!!!!!!

  4. I love how your front redo turned out. So natural looking.

    1. It's more open and less oppressive feeling, too. Too claustrophic before!


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