A Warm Solstice
After a cooler fall and an early freeze, December has proved to be rather mild and on par with usual temperatures for our region. Even plants that were nipped back for the freeze are breaking dormancy and showing signs of late February growth instead of what they would usually be doing post-freeze. I must say that the last few weeks have been wonderful though, moving about the yard with ease in only a fleece instead of hunkering down in multiple layers or not going outside at all, which is something I am wont to do when it dips below 50*. I'm reptilian or lepidopteran, only moving when it warms up enough, apparently!
As you will see in the videos below, it has been warm enough for the pipevine swallowtails to break diapause. I had one eclose earlier this month after being in pupa since September. And as I type this while visiting family, I had my pet sitter find another one eclosed. I had a feeling this would happen after seeing the first pupa and with temperatures in the 60s and 70s as of late. There's not much I can do about it but hope for the best and that we won't be having any harsh freezes in January and February.
In addition, I had two monarch chrysalises from about early November that I thought might overwinter but they also eclosed a few days after that first pipevine swallowtail. I tagged them for Monarch Watch and let them go as well, hoping they would at least hang out along the Texas coast if they weren't going to make it to Mexico. Again, not much I can do but hope for the best.
The edible garden is thriving with our onion bed planted and lots of the greens I sowed in late September and October finally coming into a period where I can begin harvesting. There's nothing like a massaged kale salad in January! (Chopped kale + a bit of olive oil, massaged together, then a bit of coarse sea salt and I like adding a few dashes of tarragon vinegar for some tang! Delish!)
It's been a slow but steady winter so far, staying on top of the leaf pile in the walkways, sowing seeds that need stratification, repotting seedlings, and planning for spring. Because it will be here before we know it!
Garden Reads & Listens:
There are a couple of blog posts I wrote recently that I'd like to share:
+In the Garden | December 2018
+Bushwhacking in Sam Houston National Forest
+Root Cellars: Putting up the Harvest, My Way via Seed to Fork
+Wild Ridge Plants Native Plant Nursery & Wild Plant Culture Blog