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February Fights Back

What. A. Week. 

The month started with my son testing positive for COVID-19, which he picked up from school. The entire household proceeded to slowly deteriorate over the course of the next week and thankfully our symptoms were on the milder end. My husband recuperated first, which was good because during that week we were sick we knew we were going to be facing the Polar Vortex this week. Last weekend my husband started preparing for the worst, knowing that temperatures in the single digits and teens were predicated. Mind you, it had been in the 70s and almost 80* this month. It was spring! Spring was coming, even the plants were getting ready for it. 

We lost power overnight early Monday morning and it was off for 36 hours before we returned to power for about five hours and then began rolling blackouts for the next 12 hours. Thankfully, since Wednesday morning we've had power completely restored. We are luckily not attached to any boiling water notices because we have a well but that has been problematic in its own issue because without power we don't have water and without water keeping the pipes moving, pipes freeze. Only one pipe burst, caught in time in an out building and thankfully (everything is thankfully---insert all of those prayer hand emojis) not in the house. But thousands of people are dealing with catastrophic damage to their homes from burst pipes. 

I'll keep the recap short but next week I will have an episode out that is basically an audio journal of this week. As things thaw out I will have another episode talking about the damage to the garden. Only time will tell on that end.

In he mean time, I am reevaluating what grows in our garden. I love my tropical plants and enjoy zone pushing but my need to pull towards native plants is even more intense now. 

Good Garden Reads:
From my blog:
+A Flock of Cedar Waxwings
+Snowpocalypse 2021
+Looking for Nature at Schreiner Park in Junction, Texas

+Under Western Skies by Caitlin Atkinson and Jennifer Jewell: If you need a feast for the eyes, this is the book! Jennifer and Caitlin chronicle gorgeous gardens throughout the west, from the Chihuahuan Desert of Texas to the Pacific Northwest and everywhere in between. It shows just how diverse the western landscape can be and how the gardens all fit with their climatic preferences. Stunning photography.

+New Naturalism by Kelly D. Norris: In the veins of the New Perennial movement in natural gardens, this book is a primer for the home gardener in moving towards a naturalistic landscape, using both native and non-native plants designed to work with your garden's environment. It has some basic elements at the beginning for those just coming into the gardening world but this is not "just another gardening book". Also stunning photography!

+Discovering Dahlias by Erin Benzakein: I have been tempted to start growing dahlias after seeing several Texas gardeners bend the rules and grow them. Dahlias are really adapted to our climate but some Texas folks are making them work. I devoured this book and it is certainly eye candy for sure. And then proceeded to go through Etsy and purchase some dahlias tubers myself! It will be an experiment this year!

Elsewhere in the Natural World...
+ Unofficial Pollinator Plant of the Year: Frostweed via Texas Butterfly Ranch
+Questions on the Mt. Cuba Coneflower Trials and Pollinators via The Deep Middle
+An Introduction to Big Cypress National Preserve with Lisa Andrews BCNP Outreach Coordinator via Orange Blaze Podcast (tooting my own horn here---my other podcast!)

Finally, as always, if you enjoyed this newsletter and would like your fellow gardeners to know about it, forward it on and encourage them to subscribe!
Previously on the Podcast
+Favorite Plants I Used to Grow
+No Waste Organic Gardening | Shawna Coronado 
+How I Use iNaturalist

Coming Up on the Podcast
+Snowpocalypse 2021
+Medicinal Herbs in the Garden | Mark 'Meriwether' Vordebruggen

+Post Freeze Garden Assessment
Early February 2021 Edible Garden Tour - Before the Freeze
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