It’s been a cold winter, but the garden’s still got it going on


Thank heavens for evergreens, grasses, yuccas, and structural features like stock-tank ponds, big containers, and low walls. After this withering, frostbitten winter, my garden would otherwise be flattened. Of course I’ve been moaning and groaning about the damage anyway. (Isn’t that what we gardeners do?) But taking stock a few days ago, I realized there’s still plenty to enjoy in my winter garden. Case in point: the stock-tank pond, seen here reflecting a mango-colored sunset sky. Let me also give a shout-out to ‘Winter Gem’ boxwood balls and winter-tough squid agaves (Agave bracteosa) in raise-em-up-so-you-can-see-em containers.


Cast-iron plant is a dependable (if ubiquitous) evergreen for Austin too. I may not notice those upright, broad green leaves the rest of the year, but I’m sure glad to have them in the winter. Similarly, Texas nolina (Nolina texana), which grows low to the ground, becomes a winter focal point when elevated in a pot, especially framed by the winter-tan foliage of a dwarf Barbados cherry hedge (Malpighia glabra ‘Nana’). In the background, winter-hardy Yucca rostrata stands tall like a blue Koosh ball atop a trunk.


More yucca goodness here, with a twisted-leaf paleleaf yucca (Yucca pallida) elevated for attention in a purple pot atop a concrete plinth. A squid agave in a culvert-pipe planter stair-steps a little higher. Filling in around them are evergreen shade lovers ‘Cream de Mint’ pittosporum and Chinese fringeflower.


In a sunny bed along the driveway, ‘Color Guard’ yuccas take center stage with bright yellow and green stripes. Evergreen gopher plant (Euphorbia rigida) is beginning to bloom in the foreground, while last season’s inflorescences still dazzle on the pine muhly (Muhlenbergia dubia). I’ll cut the pine muhly back soon, but for now, everything that remains evergreen or stands tall through winter is treasured.

This is my February post for Foliage Follow-Up. Fellow bloggers, what leafy loveliness is happening in your garden this month? Please join me in giving foliage its due on the day after Bloom Day. Leave a link to your post in a comment below. I’d appreciate it if you’ll also link to my post in your own — sharing link love! I look forward to seeing your foliage faves.

I welcome your comments; please scroll to the end of this post to leave one. If you’re reading this in a subscription email, click here to visit Digging and find the comment box at the end of each post.
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Digging Deeper: News and Upcoming Events

Calling all garden bloggers! You’re invited to register for the annual Garden Bloggers Fling tour and meetup, which will be held in Austin this May 3rd-6th! Click this link for information about registering, and you can see our itinerary here. Space is limited, so don’t delay. The 2018 Fling will be the event’s 10th anniversary, which started in Austin in 2008.

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All material © 2006-2018 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

13 Responses

  1. Looks good with all of your evergreens scattered about. I didn’t realize how many of them you have when I’ve been to the garden at other times of the year.

  2. Those color guard yuccas are really dramatic. That entire border still looks good despite your weather.

    • Pam/Digging says:

      Thanks, Linda. I omitted from view the sad, bleached fronds of foxtail fern, shriveled flax lily, and wilted Mexican honeysuckle, all usually evergreen in milder winters. But from this angle the border holds its own! —Pam

      • Abbey says:

        It’s interesting how your Barbados cherry goes from being a background plant during the growing season to an attractive focal point when it it’s dormant.

  3. Peter says:

    Even in the winter your garden looks spectacular! Thanks for the new technical term, “raise-em-up-so-you-can-see-em containers.” I’m always learning new things from you.

  4. Thank goodness for evergreens! Your garden is looking great for February with lots of color and texture. It’s all about foliage and structure, especially in wintertime, and you’ve got it covered! Thanks for hosting Pam. It’s always a pleasure visiting! http://landscapedesignbylee.blogspot.com/2018/02/garden-bloggers-bloom-day-foliage.html#.WopbFoJG2u5

  5. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    My, I think your garden looks fabulous during this winter despite the cold. I don’t remember that head sitting by your tank. I have been thinking rather obsessively about heads in the garden. A strange thing for this time of year but I seem to notice them everywhere I look. I would like to invite them all here. Cheers.

  6. Kris P says:

    I need to find a spot for some ‘Color Guard’ Yuccas in my own garden. We haven’t had much of a winter here but at least the heat has abated. Here’s my foliage follow-up post: https://krispgarden.blogspot.com/2018/02/foliage-follow-up-return-of-ring-of-fire.html

  7. I think most of the country suffered a harsh winter, but as a reward, we’re getting an early spring. I know it will get cold and snowy again, but I already have crocus, hellebores, and iris reticulata so far. Woohoo!

    • Pam/Digging says:

      I bet they’re lovely! I’ve got pretty much nothing blooming except Carolina jessamine and loropetalum and Mexican sedum. But soon spring will make an appearance in my garden with fresh new leaves. —Pam

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