Monday, February 21, 2011

Winter Garden

Phoenix has had a fairly severe winter, days at a time with freezing temps and that is hard on the foliage that is unaccustomed to such chilly times! For many this will appear to have been a mild winter, I have heard of the ice and snow and 40 below days in other parts of the country and seen pics of snow piled high but in Arizona we don't expect that.
Here are two neighbors' trees on our street, ficus, usually a pretty hardy tree but the sequential freezing days this winter have really taken a toll on them.
This is our ficus, it used to reach above the windows on the second floor but DH trimmed six or so feet off it to get rid of all the dead leaves. I think it's still a good ten feet plus and by summer it will be a lovely shady tree again. Unfortunately our neighbor hasn't yet trimmed his trees so we will have more leaves to gather before the cold weather is over.
These trees will all come back but normally not deciduous, they look decidedly naked in the meantime!
I guess the large hardy Brazilian pepper tree in the center of our back yard must have protected the mums etc. around my little memorial garden because they seem to have survived and of course rosemary is pretty much indestructible I am happy to say because it's one of my favorite herbs! The Mexican palm [it was a "volunteer"] shows no harm from the cold either.
After several hours trimmimg and cleaning up our little suburban backyard it looks sad and bare. The hibiscus were at least ten ft tall and they froze so I cut them back to about half their former size, they were getting a little unruly anyway! The roses always get pruned way down so nothing new there and they had actually fared better than other plants. They may do better this summer anyway because there will be less shade from the trimmed ficus.
I did throw a couple of sheets over the orange tree for a few days, and it is still loaded with fruit. It's quite a small tree, "Arizona Sweet" oranges, but from the first year when it was only three feet tall it has had fruit all but one year. We have been eating and gifting the fruit for two months but you can see there are still plenty left. I save a lot of the rind, some I zest and freeze for cooking in the year ahead, some I peel without the bitter white and cook it up with sugar to make candied peel.
Another few weeks and we can begin to bring some color back to the garden, the potted plants on the patio, gardenias and hydrangeas were covered, they will leaf out and bloom as the weather warms.


farmlady said...

Oh this weather!! It's really cold this year isn't it. I guess the things that do survive will be even more beautiful in the Spring and Summer.... wearing new bark and "Tee shirts" that say "I survived the winter of 2011."
It's nice to see some of where you live.
I love the little Memorial garden.I must send you something to put there.

Miri said...

Love the new header!

Spring is ready to spring-we just have to wait a bit longer!