My Texas Green Thumb

By |2018-11-30T07:58:32-06:00December 3rd, 2018|Writer's Life|1 Comment

Gardeners claim green thumbs if their plants do well.

When we lived in Colorado, if you didn’t have a green house, the growing season was only about two months long. Hardly long enough for anything to grow to maturity and bear blooms or fruit. A green thumb didn’t produce much to brag about.

I was so excited to return to Texas and reclaim my green thumb status. Except, I forgot two things:

  1. White tail Deer and other varmints
  2. Texas weather

While wildlife is lovely to watch, the varmints do munch on flowers, fruit trees, and vegetable gardens. Living in a certified Wildlife Habitat, it’s unfair to discourage the critters.

I’ve tried to grow my favorites. Rose bushes lasted hardly a week and that was with something called “Deer Away” sprinkled around. The geraniums and caladiums didn’t make it overnight.

Mostly I’ve been container gardening around the patio and porch. The four-legged creatures rarely venture into the backyard thanks to our Finnegan, see his head in the picture of the nubby spider plant. Deer don’t understand he’s more afraid of them than they are of him.

Who knew deer or squirrels like citronella and spider plants?


The bigger issue is Texas winter weather.

We’ve already had several hard freezes, which is very unusual for November in this part of the state. I draped twenty-odd sheets over azaleas, spider plants, hydrangeas, four o’clocks, and cannas. Left them covered for days. Not a problem to do with multiple nights of freezing temperatures or months of cold temperatures.

But these yo-yo temps make it hard. You no sooner pack the sheets away and there’s another freeze warning.

Some like my rosemary do fine covered. The Texas Star Hibiscus turned to sticks anyway. So did some of the canna leaves. Others like the zinnias totally died.

I’ve taken to opening the back door after an evening weather forecast for a frost or freeze and shouting to the plants: “It’s going to be very cold tonight. You’re on your own.”

Don’t think me cruel or uncaring, all the tender potted plants live in the garage from when temps start staying consistently cooler. FYI, that’s around forty degrees in these parts and usually means from December to January.

My poor green thumb is pale, my yard kinda bare now, but there are lots of animals, large and small, to watch.