Although we’ve already had the first freeze of the year, much of the lawn, roses, trees and shrubs remain green. But that’s about to change. In this area, we are fortunate to experience brief “winters” when vegetation goes dormant (makes summer a little easier to take!). That period starts now and will continue until some time around late March or early April. With mild winters, we have a number of green plants all year. Roses, most shrubs, live oaks, and a few of the daylilies will maintain greenery above ground, and develop roots below ground.
Yaupon Holly (right) is a wonderful small tree that is often found in the woods and since it is evergreen, I have added it to my landscape. Although we have little “fall color” from leaves, there are varieties of Yaupon Holly that help out — and they provide a food source for any birds wintering in the area, or returning to the area in the Spring. The red berries and green leaves of the Yaupon Hollies provide a striking contrast to the trees (elm in this picture) that have dropped leaves for winter.
Most of the Meyer lemons (left) have turned yellow and there are still green beans (below) to be picked–however, there are always a few mild days after the freezing and low temperatures so I’ll use tarps to cover both the lemon tree and the green beans until all produce is harvested. (Contender Green Beans are shown in the picture below). Since the fresh picked green beans last 7 to 10 days in the refrigerator, we’ll have them for the Thanksgiving feast! (Green beans can be frozen, but are much better fresh, so what we can’t eat is given to family and friends.)
The lemons shown in the picture are all ripe and will be picked today, but there are about 15 or so in the center of the tree that will remain on the tree until completely yellow. I’m not sure what variety these lemons are, but when picked ripe, the juice is slightly sweet and is a lot like tart orange juice. Lemon juice can be frozen in ice trays, then packed into freezer bags for storage — a great accent for iced tea with lemon! (Note, the trunk in the foreground is a mimosa tree that is next to the lemon tree—the mimosa has dropped leaves for the winter.)
In other news — I’ve started a page about gardening trivia, check it out if you haven’t already! Gardens have always been a part of human activity, but the purposes and uses has varied over the course of history.
Have a great weekend!