You can never be quite sure what to expect from winter in a central Texas garden. It might be cold and dreary, but you have as good a chance that it will be sunny and 75 degrees. ABC's gardens welcomed the new year with echinacea, roses, calendula, rosemary, lavender, pansies, jasmine, and violas all blooming. Even a few pepper plants still had peppers hanging on them. The grass was green and the winter vegetables in the Antioxidant Garden enjoy the rain and cooler weather. Despite the current good weather, gardening in the winter here is about cleaning up and preparing for the spring, turning leaves into compost, and covering tender plants when it does freeze.
This winter ABC garden staff and volunteers are spending quite a bit of their time in the greenhouse, starting seeds and cuttings. One project involves propagating cuttings from many species of medicinal plants that ABC staff obtained on a field trip to the McAshan Gardens at Festival Hill in Round Top, Texas. Also, ABC has partnered with the Austin Community Gardens (ACG) to produce 100 flats of mixed herbs, both culinary and medicinal, for one of the biggest spring herb and vegetable plant sales in Austin. ACG lost their greenhouse in 2002 to disrepair and lack of funding, so combining resources to grow stock for the sale is a good community outreach effort. ABC is supplying the greenhouse, seeding flats, and seeds donated by Horizon Seeds of Williams, Oregon, and ACG is supplying seeds, planting medium, and volunteers to help grow and transplant the plants. In addition to the plant sale at the ACG Sunshine Garden, ABC is growing enough plants to participate in two other plant sales and host one onsite at ABC's Case Mill Homestead.