Texas Gardening forum→I could just cry!

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Name: Peggy
Temple, TX (Zone 8b)
Region: Texas Birds Hummingbirder Butterflies Deer Native Plants and Wildflowers
Bluebonnets Irises Lilies
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Peggy8b
Jul 7, 2021 12:07 PM CST
Sorry this is so long. You folks know what the Texas Snowpocalypse/Arctic freeze in February has done to our yards, psyches and pocketbooks: lost flowers, lost shrubs, lost trees. You also know the battle to recover from such freeze devastation: cut out the dead and replace, assuming you can even run down replacement plants. You also know from your own gardening what work it is to dig up old root balls, cut down branches/trees/shrubs & plant out the new. Takes time and hard work. Add on top of that the added difficulty and pain doing all that with degenerative disc disease up and down your back, making bending and stooping not only painful, but only possible for very short periods of time. Gardening is back-breaking work, even when you're young (I'm not) and healthy (not so much anymore). I've spent the last 5 months killing myself trying to reestablish my yard to some semblance of it's former appearance. I felt I was almost finished with that task, and was starting to feel pleased with my accomplishments. Smiling

Now to the point of my post. Our yard service mowed our grass yesterday. They come every 2 weeks, rain or shine, home or not home. We've had issues with them accidentally weed whacking young plants in the defined flower beds before and told them on at least 3-4 occasions to STAY OUT OF THE DELINIATED FLOWER BEDS with the weed whacker! Well, yesterday, we were away from the house when they mowed. When I got home and went out to hang out my (now large enough seedlings) baskets of portulaca onto our 3-globe street lampost, I looked around and realized they had weed whacked INSIDE the flower beds! They had whacked off all the leaves from almost all (9 of 12) newly planted iris bulbs just planted last week, 2 baby nandina 'Firepowers' that were 5" tall, and an entire just-starting-to take-off bed of 15 or so lambs ear starts (which I cut off my back yard clump and planted out front in April). Those were JUST starting to fill out and look nice, too! They also ripped off the tops of 2 newly-planted 8" tall Meidiland white groundcover rose bushes (which were clearly still yellow-tagged & bordered with small white limestone rock circles, to draw our own attention as well as their attention to them). I wonder why they missed the remaining 3 rose bushes? Those were unscathed. They decimated a number of baby purple heart seedlings planted last season that froze to the ground and were JUST starting to peek out. They cut down some of my just regrowing 12" Cast Iron leaves that were all lost in the freeze. I was so angry when I made the discovery of such extensive damage I was literally shaking all over. I came inside, but struggled to fight back tears to tell my husband what they had done. Probably a good thing I didn't check my blook pressure at that moment.

Just that morning I was saying to him "I finally feel nearly finished with my yard projects and freeze replacement plantings. Now I just have to be patient for them to grow to maturity to fill out the bare spots in these 3 beds." Oh, the irony of this! Five months of hard work and all for naught!

I called the lawn service and as nicely as I could, but fighting back tears, berated them for the massive damages caused by the idiot they had on the weed whacker that day. I also mentioned the foreman/owner had been told numerous times, both last year and this year, to stay out of the beds with the whacker (since they had proven beyond the shadow of a doubt the can't tell bedding plants/flowers from weeds)! The receptionist that manages the phones was so young and inept at her job, she didn't even apologize on behalf of the business! When I finished my tale of woe I said to "Please take us off your service call list, as "we no longer wish your services", she said OK, Thank You, I've taken you off the list now.......... Still no apology and she said Goodbye. Hubs was so mad he said he'd call the next day (it was near 5pm by now) and demand to speak to the owner.

A couple hours later, a supervisor called to apologize profusely and to offer to replace my plants, which I guess is SOMETHING. But I told her I doubted the iris bulbs would be obtainable anywhere, considering I bought those from a mamber here at NGA. Most vendors are sold out of their more popular roses, and many common spring plant offerings are even sold out at this late date in the season. But she insisted they wanted to replace damaged plants and that they have a landscaper they work with who can get priority fulfulment from his wholesale nurseries. She said they would do their best to get replacements as soon, as plants become available. I wonder, if they ever get them, if they'll offer than to do the plalnting out for me? Doubt it! Timing for planting some of them now is too late, too, as we're about to enter August and the likely triple digit tems season.

So she proceeded to take down on paper the species/cultivar names of what I said was destroyed or likely destroyed (irises were only planted out 2 weeks, so having their leaves lopped off to the ground will likely kill the bulbs, since the leaves feed the bulbs after bloom season) and said she'd be following up with me in future regarding any replacements they have been able to obtain. She added that with current COVID non-availability/supply issues and shipping slow-downs, it might take awhile.

Maybe I should just give up on gardening. Seems like what Mother Nature doesn't kill, and the insects don't eat away, the yard man finishes off!

My low-carb recipe website: www.buttoni.wordpress.com
[Last edited by Peggy8b - Jul 8, 2021 2:37 PM (+)]
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Name: Sharon Rose
Grapevine, TX (Zone 8a)
Grace of the Lord Jesus be with all
Daylilies Composter Cottage Gardener Hibiscus Enjoys or suffers hot summers Zinnias
Salvias Bulbs Amaryllis Lilies Clematis Region: Texas
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Altheabyanothername
Jul 7, 2021 12:24 PM CST
Group hug It has been hard Group hug Crying has been many of our middle names since the storm. I hope they come through with something and at least try to make it right!

May God Bless us all with better times ahead!
One to take to heart....1 John 4
Name: Donald
Eastland county, Texas (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Enjoys or suffers hot summers Raises cows Plant Identifier
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needrain
Jul 8, 2021 11:48 AM CST
So sorry, Peggy. I wouldn't count out some of those plants making a faster recovery than you'd expect. They can be very resilient and sound relatively young. We've been lucky with the weather since February, for the most part. Cooler with rain spread throughout. The speed they recover may surprise you.
Donald
Missouri (Zone 6a)
Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Frillylily
Jul 8, 2021 11:51 AM CST
you may be better off finding a local high school or college boy, someone you can schedule to only come when you are home, and show him what you need. I'd pay him the same as you do the lawn service and offer him dinner. Also, I'd post your review on Google and Facebook, yes, people read those reviews, I read them, and if I read this, I'd never call them to come mow my yard!
Name: Zoë
Albuquerque NM, Elev 5310 ft (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Herbs Salvias Composter Bee Lover Container Gardener
Bookworm Cat Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers
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NMoasis
Jul 8, 2021 1:15 PM CST
Frillylily said:you may be better off finding a local high school or college boy, someone you can schedule to only come when you are home, and show him what you need. I'd pay him the same as you do the lawn service and offer him dinner. ...


Or her Whistling

For me, gardening is really just an excuse for playing in the dirt. Admittedly, plants are a satisfying by-product.
Name: Peggy
Temple, TX (Zone 8b)
Region: Texas Birds Hummingbirder Butterflies Deer Native Plants and Wildflowers
Bluebonnets Irises Lilies
Image
Peggy8b
Jul 8, 2021 2:53 PM CST
I do know a few of the damaged lamb's ear and purple heart may have established enough roots since April to possibly come back off roots. But my new iris bulbs I bought from @alilyfan here on the forums recently worry me the most of all the things he chopped off. I've never grown iris before and have read the leaves feed the bulb after blooming season. They were only planted out in the ground one week, maybe 10 days max before the weed whacker beheaded them. I fear they were chopped down before the leaves had a chance to even wake up the rhizome, much less allow it to have started producing some roots to help them survive. I doubt, even if a few or them do manage to survive, they will get off to their full potential good start and may never produce for me. But like I said, I have absolutely no experience with irises......these were my first ever. I can only hope you are right @needrain.

@Frillylily, there are no teenagers in my neighborhood. The people on my street are all in their 50's or older. All their kids are grown and either still in college or already out and married with small children of their own. But I may ask around and see if I can line someone up. The hubs said he will just start doing the yard himself again, but I don't want him to. He's 75, has A-fib and tires easily so mowing gets to him; he has a bad shoulder RCuff injury and although repaired, the upper arm muscle was torn badly and he has issues holding a weed whacker up for edging for very long. Luckily, our yard is very small, but it needs to be done every other week. We'll keep putting our feelers out for someone that may be more reliable for the task. We had a GREAT guy who did it for years with his brother. But the brother died suddenly 2 years ago so the remaining brother closed down his business. I'm sure we can find somebody, though it may take some time.
My low-carb recipe website: www.buttoni.wordpress.com
[Last edited by Peggy8b - Jul 8, 2021 2:56 PM (+)]
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Name: Nancy
Bowling Green Kentucky (Zone 6b)
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alilyfan
Jul 8, 2021 3:52 PM CST
Peggy, i am so sorry that happened! the iris may very well survive, those are a very hardy iris and multiply fast. Probably won't bloom in the spring, but maybe by fall. If they don't look like they are coming back, let me know and I will send you some more. They won't be quite as large as the ones I sent, but at least some should be bloom size.
Name: Donald
Eastland county, Texas (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Enjoys or suffers hot summers Raises cows Plant Identifier
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needrain
Jul 8, 2021 6:32 PM CST
@Peggy8b
"But my new iris bulbs I bought from @alilyfan here on the forums recently worry me the most of all the things he chopped off. I've never grown iris before and have read the leaves feed the bulb after blooming season. They were only planted out in the ground one week, maybe 10 days max before the weed whacker beheaded them. I fear they were chopped down before the leaves had a chance to even wake up the rhizome, much less allow it to have started producing some roots to help them survive. I doubt, even if a few or them do manage to survive, they will get off to their full potential good start and may never produce for me. But like I said, I have absolutely no experience with irises......these were my first ever. I can only hope you are right"

I'm going to guess these were Tall Bearded iris rhizomes. I have experience with those. I think the main thing to worry about is being careful not to give them too much water. In fact, with the rain we've had they will be fine without ANY supplemental water and be better off. In Texas, bearded iris tend to go into a summer dormancy due to the heat. That dormancy combined with heat is not a good combination for bearded iris rhizomes and can cause them to rot, so try to avoid them getting too much moisture. They will be able to withstand the heat/dormancy issue after they've had time to fully establish themselves, but yours haven't had time for that yet. The good thing is that the foliage during the summer dormancy isn't doing a lot. The rhizome itself likely has enough stored food to be fine until they start actively growing this fall and establishing themselves. It's not unusual for all the foliage on a newly planted rhizome to die back completely. I'm not going to pretend they wouldn't have been better off without the whacking. It leaves wounds which might encourage rot, so let them dry out out. There is a good possibility they will be fine and not a lot different next year. The weather so far this year has delayed the onset of dormancy here because it's been cooler than usual. However, mine here, as is often the case, are being devoured by grasshoppers. They inflict damage comparable to even worse than a weed eater. It happens more years than not. Aggravating, but established iris rhizomes do manage it and go on to bloom. In your case, they aren't established yet. However, it's quite possible with the warmer temps, which will surely arrive sooner rather than later, the foliage the weedeater got would soon have died away anyway. Of all the plants you mentioned in the original post, I thought these the best bet on not being severely damaged. If they had been established rhizomes, I'd have even more confidence in them surviving.
Donald
Name: Sharon Rose
Grapevine, TX (Zone 8a)
Grace of the Lord Jesus be with all
Daylilies Composter Cottage Gardener Hibiscus Enjoys or suffers hot summers Zinnias
Salvias Bulbs Amaryllis Lilies Clematis Region: Texas
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Altheabyanothername
Jul 8, 2021 8:06 PM CST
My experience with perennials here in Texas is that they have their green tops way longer than their counterparts in the north. I defolliate plant tops regularly. After July 4, I take most of the green off my TB iris with scissors. Most of the tops are no longer straight and start bending. The plant does not have to stress trying to keep all those leaves hydrated. I leave a few inches of green.

What I would suggest is lightly tugging each rhizome to make sure it is still rooted in place. If not I would suggest potting it for 6 to 8 weeks or take a large landscape staple (bend it to go over the rhizome) to hold it in place. Remove the staple in 6 to 8 weeks. Those suggestions are just so squirrels or other 4 legged animals do not keep moving or running off with them.

May happiness be in your home!
One to take to heart....1 John 4
Missouri (Zone 6a)
Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Frillylily
Jul 8, 2021 9:06 PM CST
NMoasis said:

Or her Whistling



well.... it would be a 'he' for this yard Thumbs up


Missouri (Zone 6a)
Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Frillylily
Jul 8, 2021 9:09 PM CST
You can call your local high school or college office, nearby churches ect and ask for recommendations. Sometimes the staff can recommend students that are looking for extra money and need the work. It would take some time but finding someone would be worth it.
Name: Peggy
Temple, TX (Zone 8b)
Region: Texas Birds Hummingbirder Butterflies Deer Native Plants and Wildflowers
Bluebonnets Irises Lilies
Image
Peggy8b
Jul 9, 2021 8:55 AM CST
@alilyfan, Thank you so much, my dear. What an adventure from your yard to mine these bulbs could tell if they could talk, huh? LOL The remaining 3 standing proudly will tell it next spring. Smiling Those, I think, will be fine. Your offer is so kind, but after the latest posts from iris experts here, I'm encouraged those no longer sporting their 'dresses' will possibly make it. They were such healthy bulbs to start out! From my recollection at my last house, the leaves on my purple irises there didn't die off until early fall, so I was worried these were severed off way too soon. Donald's post has encouraged me. Thank you, Donald @needrain.

I'll definitely check the bulbs to be sure they are still well-seated in the soil. Thanks so much for that suggestion @altheabyanothername.

@Frillylily, very good resource suggestions. Never thought about the high school. I'll give them a call and talk to both the school's social worker and one of the counselors for potential candidates.
My low-carb recipe website: www.buttoni.wordpress.com
[Last edited by Peggy8b - Jul 11, 2021 9:24 AM (+)]
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Name: Peggy
Temple, TX (Zone 8b)
Region: Texas Birds Hummingbirder Butterflies Deer Native Plants and Wildflowers
Bluebonnets Irises Lilies
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Peggy8b
Jul 17, 2021 9:46 AM CST
Well, 2 of the 4 irises he didn't behead have now sent up a new leaf, so that's encouraging at least. Those I can spot still have white/green leaf stumps barely visible, so there is some hope. Wish I could say the same for all the other things he decimated.
My low-carb recipe website: www.buttoni.wordpress.com
[Last edited by Peggy8b - Jul 17, 2021 10:43 AM (+)]
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Name: Peggy
Temple, TX (Zone 8b)
Region: Texas Birds Hummingbirder Butterflies Deer Native Plants and Wildflowers
Bluebonnets Irises Lilies
Image
Peggy8b
Jul 27, 2021 12:35 PM CST
I'm starting to really get encouraged about my irises (most of them) making it after the beheading party. I can see new growth coming up on 9 of the 12 planted out showing new growth. One of those is only 1" of leaves pushing out of the soil, but at least it's alive! And one of them on the end of the row has sent up a second set of leaves! I assume that means it is dividing underground. So who knows, perhaps the remaining 3 will peek out before summer is over! Smiling
My low-carb recipe website: www.buttoni.wordpress.com
[Last edited by Peggy8b - Jul 27, 2021 1:30 PM (+)]
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Name: Debby
North Central Texas (Zone 8a)
loves_flowers
Aug 1, 2021 2:40 PM CST
So very sorry to read about the destruction....especially when the timing is absolutely the worst possible.
Name: Peggy
Temple, TX (Zone 8b)
Region: Texas Birds Hummingbirder Butterflies Deer Native Plants and Wildflowers
Bluebonnets Irises Lilies
Image
Peggy8b
Aug 1, 2021 4:19 PM CST
And now, the count is 11 of the 12 have shown tiny little leaves (some larger ones) poking up from the rhizomes. Things are definitely looking up!
My low-carb recipe website: www.buttoni.wordpress.com
Name: Peggy
Temple, TX (Zone 8b)
Region: Texas Birds Hummingbirder Butterflies Deer Native Plants and Wildflowers
Bluebonnets Irises Lilies
Image
Peggy8b
Aug 2, 2021 9:09 AM CST
Either I miscounted, or another iris' leaves popped up today! I'm counting 13 sets of leaves out there this morning: 12 I started out with and 1 that has divided off of the end set. YIPPEEEEE! Made my day! And it just stsarted raining. Another YIPPEEEEE! Big Grin
My low-carb recipe website: www.buttoni.wordpress.com
[Last edited by Peggy8b - Aug 2, 2021 11:17 AM (+)]
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Elysianne
Aug 8, 2021 5:44 PM CST
How awful, Peggy! It sounds like your irises are recovering, though, and that is excellent news!

Re the idiots who did this, you may want to file a BBB complaint if they cannot make things right enough for, you, and as someone else said, leave them a review! That would be a public service! I certainly would not want them working in my garden!

One other suggestion in finding help, try Craigslist. I found a really nice youngish woman who was happy to do any sort of work in the garden including mowing grass. I cannot recall if I posted a "wanted" ad or she had an ad posted in the farm and garden section. I lived further from her than most, but she was willing to work if I covered her petrol, and that was not a lot. Try Craigslist and ask for references, etc. Put up cards wherever someone has a board available. Often you can find them at markets, churches, community centres, etc. It should not be too hard to find someone.

I am not sure where is Temple, but my area also suffered the horrible freeze in February. Most of my plants died, but some came back. I was really surprised by the ones that came back. I have been behind all season long, though. The garden really does not look like a garden at all anymore. I hope to do a little more out there in October and then try again next Spring. I estimate I lost about $600 worth of landscaping. Oh, well, that is Mother Nature for you. She has her reasons even if we do not understand them. We cannot be too upset with her....but those idiot lawn blokes are another story! Grrrrrrr..... Grumbling
Name: Peggy
Temple, TX (Zone 8b)
Region: Texas Birds Hummingbirder Butterflies Deer Native Plants and Wildflowers
Bluebonnets Irises Lilies
Image
Peggy8b
Aug 8, 2021 5:55 PM CST
Thanks for the suggestions for finding yard helpers! I haven't tried Craigslist yet but will do that.

Temple is 1 hour north of Austin on I-35. We went down to 4º-10º for 3 nights, with 5" snow blanketed with 1" pellet ice on top. The snow/ice coverage allowed us to see nightly our resident tiny gray fox silhouetted against that snow. We discoved his/her den used to stay warm up underneath a huge clump of Cast Iron leaves we had to shear down completely below an elm tree in our front island bed. So the storm wasn't all bad. He's still hanging around our yard and seen several times a week now. :)
My low-carb recipe website: www.buttoni.wordpress.com

Birds Dragonflies Salvias Bee Lover Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge)
Japanese Maples Foliage Fan Roses Butterflies Ferns Dog Lover
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Elysianne
Aug 10, 2021 2:00 PM CST
Oh, that is heartwarming news. Are you able to snap any good photos of him/her that you could share?

The storm in February was hard on my area, too. Thankfully, I did not lose electricity or gas, but there were two water main breaks. I was not without water for more than 24 hours, though, so it was not too bad. I was so thankful I did not have water pipes break. I was very worried about that and about the wild birds.

I went to the wild bird store to buy seed the day before the storm hit. I was shocked to find that the store had closed down. Shop next door told me the wild bird store closed August, 2020. I cannot understand why they would have closed because they did good business there. The next nearest store was too far for me to drive, so I ordered the next best thing I could find on Amazon---black oil sunflower seeds. They lost the shipment, and I had to reorder, and by the time the seed arrived, the storm has passed, and the snow was beginning to melt. I am sure we must have lost a lot of birds. A huge flock of Robins came back too early and were clearly starving. I often saw 50-60 of them on the bare branches of the big oak tree in my front yard. They stared at me so pitifully every time I took my dog outside. If only the wild bird store had been willing to ship seed.....I still cannot understand why in this day and age of on-line shopping they will not ship.

This year, though, I intend to be ready just in case we have another major storm. I plan to stock up on seed around Christmas. We usually have relatively mild Christmases, but who knows what January and February will bring? Knowing birds and other animals were left outside just ripped my heart from chest. I cannot bear to see animals suffer.

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