Brrr. As I sit and write this column, it’s 25 degrees outside.

The wind is a little too cold for my native Texan blood, so I just peer through the windows and look over my winter landscaping. And I must admit, I’m pleasantly surprised.

I’ve written columns on how important it is to plant a variety of specimens so that no matter what season it is, there’s always something to enjoy. I’m seeing the fruits of that right now.

Many of my perennials have gone dormant for the winter, but my tough plants remain, making a showing on this cold and blustery day.

Now is the perfect time to take an inventory of your landscaping plan to determine if you are happy with how it looks. That way you can evaluate whether your choices for cold hardiness have been sufficient for the look you desire.

As I’m looking at my yard from the warmth of my home, I’m assessing it for color, spacing, texture and maintenance needs. The older I get, the less I’m willing to brave the cold winds to tidy up. So I want my landscaping upkeep to be fairly minimal. I’m pretty pleased with that as well.

So what do I see as I gaze outside today? The green version of a Santolina, which is as emerald in color as it is during the summer; a pink skullcap, which doesn’t have any flowers but nice and green; a beautiful, olive green-textured leaf Jerusalem sage; a red/yellow yuccas with long stems and awesome seed pods still attached; an Engelmann daisy bush with its yellow very cold and dry-looking flowers; rosemary shrubs, seemingly oblivious to the below freezing temperatures; a couple of gray cottoneasters with their uniquely textured branches; a green firecracker bush; Mexican feather grass, bamboo and Gulf muhly grasses blowing and swaying in the cold wind; spider and day lily plants that are bunched and green; artemesia, possumhaw, lipstick sage, oak-leaf hydrangea, yarrow, pincushion plant, thyme, coralberry, agartia, irises, oleanders, junipers, cat mint, damianita, four-nerve daisy, obedient plant, flax, Texas sage, ornamental cabbage and kale — all looking unfazed by the cold weather.

I love that I can see these plants looking the way they normally do on a cold winter day, and that I can enjoy them from inside my home. I don’t worry about them either because I know that until spring comes, they’ll be there, tough and hardy through this season.

Darla Menking is a certified Bell County Texas Master Gardener and a Texas Master Naturalist. Email her at

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