22 Dec 2013

In the Bleak Midwinter II….


I will admit that it looks pretty and all, almost like there is an enchantment coving the branches of the Vitex that grows along the side of the garage, when in reality it is the result of a very real ice storm that blew through the region in the wee hours of the morning – knocking out our electricity for close to four hours!

DSC_0261 Ours is a house filled with contagion! It looks like both influenza and the noronvirus are running rampant this year, and with the spike in temperature this past two days, I am hearing lots of coughing and sniffling. I came home from work early yesterday, medicated myself into a pleasurable stupor and crawled beneath the blankets. A loud popping and arc of blue light sometimes in the wee hours signaled the sudden loss of power.

DSC_0259DSC_0260I awoke this morning to a window encased in ice. Looking out from the front door I gasped in horror to see my beloved Metasequoia ‘Goldrush’ bent almost to the ground. I had thrilled in its growth spurt this past year – it is now close to 3m in height. Looking further afield I noticed my Cercis ‘Burgundy Hearts’ was also entombed in ice, with a decidedly dangerous keel to the right. Sick or no, on went the coat. Kettle was boiled, rubber mallet was retrieved from the garage, and out I went to rescue two of my favourite kids! These photos show what they look like now: granted there was a lot of pruning required, but I’d rather they look sparse now and have the chance to fill in later! [Worst case scenario running through my head this entire time was I would be able to replace them both if necessary! It looks as though the storm has passed over. Temps are supposed to drop considerably in the next forty eight. And all this time, the car remains entombed in ice. Its all about priorities is it not!

DSC_0264Cotinus ‘Grace’


  My second Metasequoia [M. ‘Matthaei Broom] is bungied against the veranda so has remained upright while being incased in ice.

DSC_0265 DSC_0266DSC_0271The annual holiday wreath that hangs from the veranda looks ‘complete’ with the icicles dangling from the branches. If only you could market this effect in a spray! It was the one sign of whimsy – it isn’t alive technically, and I do replace it every year – on a morning rife with anxiety and concern.

DSC_0268 Alas, when all is said and done, we emerged relatively unscathed. I fear for those on the roads this weekend. Safe travels to those who are traveling towards family and loved ones.

DSC_0272If you look closely enough you can make out the distinct Geisha fan shape of the foliage on Acer shirasawanum ‘Aureum’ who, although firmly encased in an icy grip, seems to have come through unscathed! 

DSC_0271 "For she is a fair maiden, fairest lady of a house of queens. And yet I know not how I should speak of her. When I first looked on her and perceived her unhappiness, it seemed to me that I saw a white flower standing straight and proud, shapely as a lily, and yet knew that it was hard, as if wrought by elf-wrights out of steel. Or was it, maybe, a frost that had turned its sap to ice, and so it stood, bitter-sweet, still fair to see, but stricken, soon to fall and die?"

J R R Tolkien


Barbarapc said...

Kevin's just gone down to help a neighbour whose tree is blocking their door. Bedroom window broken by a limb at 3:00 this am. Our Tsuga that we planted when we moved in was crushed by limbs from the front yard Eastern White. My courtyard garden looks like the remnants of a xmas tree retail yard - practically everything that is woody has been flattened. I know this presents an opportunity for change and improvement….but can't help but feel a little sad. Hope your kids fare better than mine.

Anna said...

Now that is COLD! Hope that you and your beloved plants make a full recovery.

Helen said...

Our poor trees. They're really getting a battering. Stay warm and safe!

cheryl said...

It's so sad to see such devastation in our gardens, but we're safe and pause to enjoy the icy beauty.
Merry Merry Christmas Barry!


Holy crap Barry. I can feel your helplessness. Mother Nature can be beautiful but cruel. Hopefully your efforts to keep your plants upright won't be in vain.

My publishers--a husband and wife team--live in Maine. They were without electricity for 5 days. Fortunately they've got beefy wood stoves and plenty of wood. Crazy winter.

I hope you're all feeling better now and that you had a wonderful Christmas.

CanadianGardenJoy said...

Barry sweetie ... I too took pictures of some of my precious trees/plants bent over with the layer of ice from HELL .. yes! hell froze over here for a bit! haha
And these so called "frost quakes" like shot guns going off right outside the walls of the house .. enough to make you jump 3 feet out of bed ! I can only hope our garden year will not be as dramatic as this one going out ?
My best wishes to you and your babies for 2014 sweetie : ) All will be well I am sure !
Joy : )

gardenbug said...

I can't begin to describe my feelings... Damaged trees and barns left to tumble - these are among the saddest things.