Winter in Austin, Texas

photo: December 2000: Ice Storm

Winter is the vaguest season in our calendar. If you mark it from the first freeze to the last freeze, sometimes winter doesn't come at all. But usually we have one ice storm that forces us to cover our plants and bring the potted ones inside.

Austinites need not put our gardens to bed for the winter. Many years, with some planning and some luck, you can have flowers blooming throughout. The downside of above freezing temperatures is that plants don't go dormant, and thus can be easily damaged when it does freeze. And without snow cover, a hard freeze of more than a few days can be devastating. Many tender perennials are cut back to the ground during a freeze. But if you have mulched them well ahead of time, they will come back from their roots with warm weather.