Sunday, December 8, 2013

From Balmy to Brrrr

The first week of December in North Central Texas was a very interesting week of weather.

We started out the week quite balmy, with temperatures in the 70s.  Early Monday morning a light fog had rolled in and created a beautiful photo op as the sun was rising.

We have had a couple freezes this fall already, but only down to about 30 degrees.   Some of the most tender perennials were burned, but other perennials were not even fazed.    Some of the trees had already lost their leaves, some were at peak color, and some were just beginning to turn.

As the fog burned off later Monday morning, the Japanese maples in my garden were showing off their finest fall color.

Tuesday was a sunny and warm day, my kind of December :-)  I went with a client to my favorite Japanese maple nursery, Metro Maples, with the intention of purchasing some maples for her garden, but I just couldn't resist the urge to buy another maple for my garden, as well!

I came home with a new maple is called 'Koto No Ito,' which means "String of Old Harp."  It has an upright form with narrow strap leaves that have green spring color and yellow/orange/red fall colors.
I planted the new maple on Wednesday when it was sunny and 78 degrees! 

I originally had a 'Peaches & Cream' maple in this spot, but I transplanted it across the bed where I thought its highly variegated summer leaves would brighten a dark spot.
The 'Peaches & Cream' maple was added to my garden in December of 2010, and this is the first year I have seen good fall color on it.

Thursday morning the temperatures had dropped to the 40s (tolerable), but the forecast was calling for the temps to continue to drop throughout the day, with freezing rain and sleet arriving late afternoon and evening (not so tolerable).   

I knew this was probably going to be my last opportunity to get some good pictures of the fall color in my garden, so I grabbed my camera and headed outside to memorialize this beautiful season.

      In the picture below you can see the new orange 'Koto No Ito' to the right front, and the similarly fall colored 'Peaches & Cream' is behind the bench now on the other side of the bed.

 'Sango Kaku' (Coral Bark) Maple (below - center) has been more yellow in years past, but this year it is showing lots of red color.

I think this is one of the prettiest fall color seasons I have seen in the 27 years I have lived in Texas.  A little bit of rain this fall, cool nights, and sunny days have created the perfect environment for a spectacular fall show.

'Orange Dream'
'Tamukeyama' (foreground)  -  'Viridis' (background)
'Sango Kaku'

By late Thursday afternoon the temperatures had dropped into the 20s and the precipitation started falling...and freezing.  

On Friday morning my garden looked like this...brrrrr!
Thankfully I had drained and cleaned the fountain on Wednesday when it was nice and warm outside.   

The front hellstrip perennials are now under a covering of ice.  

 The Yaupon Holly tree in the front is splayed open from the weight of the ice.   Back in the winter of 2011 we lost several feet out of the top of this tree from the weight of about a foot of snow that fell in February.  
I am hoping once the ice melts it will be okay.

In the backyard, the arbor cover over the patio is dripping with tiny icicles.

The ornamental grasses near the pond that usually sway in the breeze are frozen stiff.

The maples that were so beautiful just one day earlier are now covered in ice and droop from the weight of the ice.


"He gives snow like wool;
He scatters the frost like ashes.
He casts forth His ice as fragments;
Who can stand before His cold?
He sends forth His word and melts them;
He causes His wind to blow and the waters to flow."
Psalm 147:16-18

So until God sends a few warm breezes to thaw the ice that blankets our area, I guess I will just hunker down under a cozier type of blanket in my nice warm house, and treasure a few quiet days.

Take care....and stay warm!

Toni :-)


  1. Hi Toni - Thanks for sharing your pictures! Your Maple grove is gorgeous! The Koto is a nice addition - hope you don't have too much breakage from the ice - my maple is bent over also, but is planted next to the house so was somewhat protected. Stay warm! Dawn

    1. Thanks for visiting, Dawn. I'm excited about having the Koto No Ito maple in my garden. I think I need just a couple more maples. How many maples is enough? Just one or two more :-) I just ventured out and don't see any broken branches on the maples. Whew!

  2. Even in the snow and ice, your maples as well as the rest of your garden are beautiful.

    1. Thank you, Dorothy! The ice does add a different and beautiful perspective for sure -- nice to look at, but I'd be okay if it doesn't stick around just too long :-)

  3. Stunning images, Toni, both before and after the ice and snow! I feel like I want to go back and look at each image and savor it. What a beautiful transition from fall to winter.

    1. Thanks for visiting, PlantPostings! I feel like a wimp whining about our "cold" weather when I know y'all have had temps below zero. Hats off to my northern friends who have to endure winter for much longer than we do!! Take care and stay warm!

  4. Toni, your maples are beautiful. What a change in the weather last week! I just came in from pruning off the ends of some of the broken branches on my trees so they won't be in the way when the healthy branches spring back in place when the ice melts. The good news it that the ice is finally starting to melt. Hope you do not have any damage.

    1. Hi Michael; thanks for visiting. Yes, very good news -- the sun is out and the ice is starting to melt!! So far I have not seen any damage to the maples -- except their colorful leaves scattered all over the snow beneath them. Glad I got pictures when I did so I can remember how pretty they were this year...if only for a moment. Take care!

  5. I so enjoyed your posting, as always! Your fall garden is spectacular with those Japanese maples! Also, thank you for Psalms perfect for this weekend.

  6. Thanks for visiting, Sheri ! God's creation and His Word never cease to amaze me :-) Can't wait to see your garden this spring and watch it develop. Be safe and warm and have a Merry Christmas :-)

  7. I do so admire your gardens and the acers especially…. absolutely beautiful Toni!! I'm sure you are up on all that's happening weather-wise in Wisconsin with your family being here. Finally a little snow and the cold has been with us pretty much for the past month. I guess I worry more about winter thaws than temps around zero. Take care, and Merry Christmas… Larry

  8. wow those maples gave some great color..beautiful... and then the snow...very gets cold in TX!!

  9. Oh, I am drooling over all your gorgeous maples! That is an impressive amount of snow and ice. Brrr! Stay warm and hope all that ice doesn't do too much damage to the trees!

  10. Toni, your maples are beautiful! I will say this has been a very colorful autumn, the bradford pear, oaks, maples around town have given quite the show. We were out with a long bamboo pole knocking off ice on some of our young bent trees this weekend.

  11. I think God sends breezes of every temperature and moisture content to Dallas, maybe every week or two! Stunning pics and really impressive fall color. Your fountain is actually more impressive encased in ice...looks even more solid!

    But that's terrible to see your Yaupon do that...not sure our annual 3/4-1" of ice in college each winter did that to their Yaupons.

  12. I love your pavers by the bench. I really want to look into putting pavers into my backyard as the soil has become so lousy that it's sure not good for growing much. I have huge trees back there, with lots of shade. The pavers in your photo sure inspire me.

  13. Thanks for visiting, Sheri ! God's creation and His Word never cease to amaze me :-) Can't wait to see your garden this spring and watch it develop. Be safe and warm and have a Merry Christmas :-)