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IN THE GARDEN: Protecting Plants from Freeze Damage

Fleece blankets can help protect your outdoor plants from freeze damage.

Did you know monarch butterflies will halt their progress on their migration through the Texas Tunnel on their way south? We were concerned about their travels due to the storms and flooding that ravaged Central Texas.

According to Elizabeth Howard from Journey North/South: “After being stalled by rain and cold for over a week, the weather finally cleared, and the monarchs set sail (10/25) … Cold, clouds and rain slowed the monarchs’ arrival all last week. But when the clouds finally cleared on November 6th, the first lonely monarch was spotted! The following day, the monarchs arrived en masse (at the sanctuaries in Mexico).

“Dear Friends! Let us allow ourselves to now declare the massive arrival taking place on November 7th at 13:30 hours to our sanctuaries and to town!”

Thank you, Sondra Fox of Horseshoe Bay for the intel.

As you stand in your backyard or front yard or walk through pastures, it is quite evident that our resilient butterflies and moths have survived in abundance.


The first freeze of the season is happening overnight Nov. 12 into Nov. 13.

You knew we were going to say it: Mulch mulch, mulch, and more mulch. Water your plants when the freeze is expected. There are also cool products on the market that facilitate keeping your plants safe from the winter cold.

The first of these products are covers, blankets, even fleece blankets for your plants. Don’t cover them with plastic. You can purchase coverings for individual shrubs or entire rows of your garden. Search for the products or ask your local nursery using phrases such as “winter frost protection,” “freeze blankets,” “freeze cloth,” “shrub jacket,” “frost armor blanket,” or “floating row cover.” Sometimes, simply knowing the correct phrase will get you further in your search.

For young trees, for example olive trees or young citrus, a protective solar insulating teepee is a good choice. It consists of water-filled connected tubes that are placed around your young tree. The sun heats the chambers, creating a frost-free interior.


Back by popular demand: Have you noticed that the male Ashe juniper (cedar) trees are loading up with their annual red pollen, which wreaks havoc on so many of us? If your doctor says it is OK for you to use homeopathic solutions for cedar fever relief, it is time to start gathering the berries from the female tree. Yes, men, we are saved one more time by the gentler — but not weaker — of the sexes. You can collect, clean, and freeze the berries now for future use in about three weeks. The homeopathic recipe calls for one-half cup of berries, which will give one person approximately two weeks of relief, so we are going to gather about two cups of berries each. Warning: This might not be for everyone, so first consult your doctor. For those of us for whom it works, we can hardly wait to gather the berries and let the relief begin.

Thanks to fellow former cedar fever sufferer Betty Branch, we can enjoy some relief from the ailment.

Here is the recipe:

• Place ½ cup of berries in a saucepan with 1½ cups of water.

• Bring ingredients to a boil then remove from the stove.

• Cover and let cool.

• Transfer the tea and the berries into a jar and place in the refrigerator.

By the way, if you do not have enough berries on your place, they are available at local health food stores (or stop and ask any rancher if you can harvest their berries). In case you are new to Texas, we always ask permission first.

Each morning, take one teaspoon of the tea. Presto: You will have no more allergies to Ashe juniper for this season. After doing this each year, at some time in the future, you will eventually become immune.

Repeat warning: Please consult your physician before trying this homeopathic remedy as some folks are highly allergic to Ashe juniper. Thanks again, Betty!

There have been times when allergies hit when we are out working in the fields, pastures, or open woodlands. Reaching up and eating a few berries straight off the tree helped. (It tastes like Christmas tree.) Our children and grandchildren even went so far as to dip them in chocolate (melted chocolate chips or the kind used for strawberries). That method worked as well.

Keep your souls and soles in your garden!

Remember the True Master Gardener: Jesus said, “I am the vine; my Father is the Gardener.” John 15:1

Contact Bill Luedecke at The Luedecke Group Realtors at (512) 577-1463 or email him at Contact Martelle Luedecke at (512) 769-3179 or

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