Correction: Exchange-Harvey-Freeze-Gardens story

GALVESTON, Texas — In a March 24 member exchange, The Associated Press included a link to the wrong newspaper at the bottom of the story. It should have linked to The Galveston County Daily News’ website, not the Houston Chronicle’s.

A corrected version of the story is below:

Texas gardeners welcome spring after Harvey, January freeze

Replacing an entire garden is an extensive and expensive project but some South Texans have done so following Hurricane Harvey last year and a rare extended January freeze

This is an AP Member Exchange shared by The Galveston County Daily News


The Galveston County Daily News

GALVESTON, Texas — Replacing an entire garden is an extensive and expensive project.

The Galveston County Daily News reports faced with the possibility of watching spring go by with only dead plants in her garden, Suzanne Little thought a replacement effort was worth the cost. So for 12 hours over four days, she and her husband worked to replant more than 60 plants around their home on Laffite’s Point on the West End of Galveston Island.

Little’s garden was a victim of a rare extended January freeze, which killed plants that aren’t meant for such weather. In a scene that has played out in gardens across the county, Little lost hibiscus, crotons and coleus, palm trees and all her tropical plants.

“I just didn’t have the patience to wait until the end of May or the end of June to see if they were all coming back,” she said. “My husband and I made the decision to tear up and tear out all of the dead plants and start from scratch.”

It was the first time in 10 years she’s had to do a total garden makeover.

On Jan. 17 and 18, temperatures dipped below freezing across much of the Texas coast, including Galveston County. The freeze prompted school closures, contributed to a large number of car accidents and sparked a water-conservation crisis on the Galveston Island because of a large amount of burst water pipes.

The freeze didn’t last long, but also wreaked havoc on landscaping and thousands of Galveston County gardens.

The damage has prompted questions locally about whether flowers in the Oleander City, as Galveston is known, will come out this spring.

Experts say that it’s still a little too early to tell how bad the total damage was, but it’s apparent that between the freeze, and the damage left over by Hurricane Harvey in August, planting season is in full bloom.

William Johnson, the coordinator of Galveston County’s Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Office, said local gardeners could wait until April or May to see whether their plants — including the oleanders that Galveston is known for — would recover from the winter weather.

At Little’s house, one of the few plants to survive the freeze unharmed were the oleanders. She joked the oleanders were really made of iron.

It’s not a surprise that many types of plants died during the hard freeze, because many of the plants that people choose for local gardens are tropical, Johnson said.

He didn’t think people would be inclined to choose hardier plants as they do their replacement yard work this spring.

“We love the tropical colors in the summer,” he said. “It’s a gamble.”

It is apparent that people are ready to plant.

When the Galveston County Master Gardeners held its annual plant sale in February, more than 1,400 people attended the event at the Galveston County Fairgrounds.

It was the event’s largest crowd ever, said Linda Steber, a master gardener and one of the organizers.

Steber’s garden fell victim to the freeze, too. She lost some shrubs — the Turk’s cap, Barbados cherry, variegated ginger and foxtail fern — and some perennials. She’s hopeful that her banana tree will bounce back.

Steber lives in Dickinson, and her neighborhood was flooded during Hurricane Harvey, which came ashore in South Texas on Aug. 25.

Looking at the damage that the weather has wrought over the past half year is stressful, but she’s looking forward to the recovery, she said.

“I’m trying to be calm about it all and I can see the future where it can be good again,” she said.

Information from: The Galveston County Daily News,

This is an AP Member Exchange shared by The Galveston County Daily News