Moving plants and cleaning up for Foliage Follow-Up

I’m posting for Foliage Follow-Up a day early this month because tomorrow I’m participating in a book release party and giveaway. But I couldn’t let our monthly celebration of leafy goodness slip away without a post. February is a turning point in the Austin gardening calendar. We may well have another freeze or two ahead of us, but we’re on the cusp of spring, with Mexican plum, quince, hyacinths, and daffodils all poised to bloom. The redbuds and spiderwort won’t be far behind.

Valentine’s Day is my annual target date for the big garden cut-back. Salvias, skullcaps, lantanas, and other flowering perennials plus ornamental grasses — all get a plebe-style haircut over the next couple of weeks. Don’t dilly-dally, I remind myself, or you’ll be cutting off new spring growth in addition to last season’s frost-browned or leggy foliage.

Mid-February onward is also a great time to transplant non-tender perennials, if you’re inclined to rearrange, as I am. It’s a little early for moving warm-season growers like yuccas and agaves, but I’m doing it anyway. Yesterday I reluctantly removed and discarded two large, variegated agaves from containers in the raised bed behind the house, both of which had suffered freeze damage this winter and had outgrown their pots.

Another impetus for the agave removal was to rescue a Yucca rostrata ‘Sapphire Skies’ hiding behind the agaves and smothered under the increasingly bushy ‘Alphonse Karr’ bamboo. Yucca rostrata is one of my favorite foliage plants — think blue-green Koosh ball!

With some blood and sweat (it was 86F yesterday), I triumphed on the agave removal. I considered leaving the yucca in the stock tank, but knowing that it would like more sun and will grow tall, eventually developing a trunk, I decided to relocate it to the lower garden behind the pool.

This is one of my sunniest spots since we lost a gum bumelia tree last year to the drought. When the tree came down, exposing the lower garden to sun, a number of shade plants in this area got scorched. I ripped them out last fall, as well as the purple heart that had carpeted the immense limestone slabs behind the pool. I’ve been loving the view of the exposed rock all winter. To keep the rock exposed I’m gearing up to battle the purple heart this spring and summer (for years to come?) as it tries to return from the roots. Purple heart is a wonderfully tough and richly colored groundcover, but I want to enjoy the rocks, which are a striking natural feature in our garden.

Here’s the Yucca rostrata all settled into its new home. It looks so much bigger here, and now it has room to grow and plenty of sun to soak up.

Please join me in posting about your lovely leaves of February for Foliage Follow-Up, a way to remind ourselves of the importance of foliage in the garden on the day after Bloom Day. Leave your link to your Foliage Follow-Up post in a comment. I really appreciate it if you’ll also include a link to this post in your own post (sharing link love!). If you can’t post so soon after Bloom Day, no worries. Just leave your link when you get to it.

All material © 2006-2014 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

24 Responses

  1. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    I am envious of your warm weather Pam. We are frozen in here. Maybe next month I will have some foliage to talk about.

  2. Robin says:

    Pam, tell me more about alphonse carr bamboo. I’m in need of privacy screen plants. And I’ll take any purple heart you want to get rid of!

    • Pam/Digging says:

      It’s tall and bushy and likes lots of sun. I like it as an accent plant, but like most bamboos, it’s vigorous with a capital “V.” My purple heart is gone, and I won’t be letting it get a toehold again. My rocks must breathe free! —Pam

  3. Thank you for hosting Foliage Follow-up Pam and enjoy the book release. It looks like you are getting a lot done in your garden. We are under snow here in the northeast and just got a few more inches this evening to form a new blanket. I do have some foliage to show though. Here is a link to my Foliage Follow-Up post:

  4. Helen says:

    Here is my post focussing on succculents as the rest of the garden is very wet from the never ending rain

  5. Kris P says:

    The Yucca looks great in its new spot! While I got an early start on my own pruning, I’ve been dilly-dallying myself in finishing it up – and spring is clearly already here in SoCal.

    Thanks for hosting foliage follow-up, Pam. Here’s my contribution this month:

  6. Alison says:

    I am also envious of your warm, dry weather, although I know you’d love some rain. I dreamed last night about Yucca rostrata. That’s kind of weird. My FF post is about the foliage I found on a recent nursery run.

  7. Tina says:

    It’s been interesting to see what works in the garden with this colder winter and what doesn’t. That rostrada will be lovely next to your pool. Here’s my Foliage Follow-Up for this month.

  8. Though I’m posting some indoor foliage for today, guests this morning were commenting on how great our bamboo in the garden looked in the snow.

  9. Wow your Y. rostrata has such interesting form. I’ve never seen one with such long leaves, and such an arching habit. It almost looks nolina-ish! No FF post from me this month, I’m taking the day off!

    • Pam/Digging says:

      It looks oddly lanky to me too, Loree. I can only assume that its unusual growth habit is due to being overcrowded and over-shaded for a few years. Either that, or I mistakenly bought a nolina instead! —Pam

  10. Cheryl Gorhum says:

    I have been trying to cover my limestone slabs for years. I think I will just embrace them.

    • Pam/Digging says:

      So much easier! If you ever feel you ought to cover your stone slabs, Cheryl, just think how much money some people pay to have boulders brought into their gardens. —Pam

  11. Renee says:

    I also started my clean up this weekend – all the salvias and the Russian sage in the back garden got cut down. For my contribution this month, I focused on anything other than the giant pile of trimmings I now have to deal with!

    And I love your Yucca rostrata! I hope it likes its new home! And are you replacing your agaves with something new? Those were big plants!

  12. Clean up is ongoing here. Lots to cut back…and, replace. And, we have a bumper crop of Rye Grass in the beds. Such fun…
    But, the weather’s been good for it.

    Here’s my contribution for the month.

    • Pam/Digging says:

      Winter did a number on my dianella and foxtail ferns as well — two of my go-to evergreens for dry shade. I’m hoping they’ll return from the roots, but if not I’ll be replacing them with inexpensive 4-in or 1-qt pots this spring. I just can’t do without them. —Pam

  13. Shirley says:

    Nice clean up and the yucca does shine in its own spot. I had that variegated agave on my list until I took a closer look at ones in the neighborhood. Love the color but need to find something else for the spot.

    Here’s my post on a surprisingly hardy plant.

  14. Peter/Outlaw says:

    Your warm and dry weather sounds dreamy for gardening! I was hoping for decent gardening weather this weekend but the rain is coming down sideways so I stayed inside and am posting about indoor foliage this month. They’ll spend the summer outdoors.

  15. Pam, thanks for hosting, here is a link to my post about the very little growth I am seeing at the moment up here in zone 3:

  16. We are nearly underwater here, so no cleanup yet. Waiting until it drains before I rejigger the paths and start planting. Here’s my Foliage Follow up.