Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Ice storm

In this latest go-round of winter weather we got ice, and thankfully all we lost was internet access for 12 hours.

Some of these pictures look rather post-apocalyptic, especially since they are dark, but the damage was more annoying than serious. G. had to spend a couple of hours chainsawing pine boughs off of the fences and got whacked in the leg by an errant branch for his pains.

Everything with leaves was bowed way down. Young pines had the most damage, losing major branches and/or tops, but most everything else has bounced back. Not this wax myrtle though. It's the second time it's imploded, I think because it's a volunteer that's been cut down to the ground before so its multiple trunks all branch out straight from the base.

The pine boughs were weighed down with ice but most sprang back up after the ice melted.

Another weighed down wax myrtle.

I was reminded of winter in Narnia.

The broken down max myrtle from the other direction. It'll make a comeback. Wax myrtles are basically unstoppable.

What a difference between the leafless Rose-of-Sharon and the leafy witch hazel. The witch hazel won't lose its leaves until it's done blooming, a trait typical of witch hazels. It bounced right back.

The Knockout rose to the right of the witch hazel did not - the weight of the ice pulled the plant right over and the roots weren't able to hold it up. I need to get in there to at least take out the dead wood, and probably thin out some of the live branches too. It has vicious thorns, the kind that goes through even thick leather gloves, so I'm not really looking forward to that.

Baptisia with ice

This gardenia didn't bounce back either - and that's because voles had nearly chewed through the base of nearly half the branches. I was able to pull them out with one hand. I mulched the base with gravel and left it at that, since my attempts to trap voles weren't very successful. This is a single-flowered gardenia that I grew from seed. The big gardenia from G.'s grandmother's garden, with huge double flowers and good rebloom, is fine.

Sad gardenia, now thinned by half.

When the sun came out on Saturday the ice glittered like a thousand jewels.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Japanese Flowering Apricot

The weirdly warm weather over Christmas brought out a lot of the buds on the Japanese apricot and winter honeysuckle.

The flowers are all along even the main branches, even the interior of the tree, and the trunk, like a redbud. The cool pink of the flowers is closest to the color in real life. The golden light of late afternoon lights up the flowers and can make them look coral on camera, even though they really aren't.

The warm temperatures brought out the honeybees too. To get the full effect of the apricot and winter honeysuckle have to be shown with bees! There was buzzing all around the flowers, with the bees moving around so quickly it was hard to capture them with a camera.

This summer I really must remember to try to take cuttings from this tree. It's 15 years old, and Elizabeth Lawrence wrote that these trees are good for about 20 years, and I LOVE this tree.

I have remarked on here that I find witch hazel to be a combination of Fruit Loops and a crisp clean smell, and that winter honeysuckle has a strong sweet lemony edge. This year I found that the winter honeysuckle smelled like Fruit Loops too. The cold blast this week will likely finish off the witch hazel and apricot, but probably not the honeysuckle. It's the longest blooming shrub in my garden, typically blooming from December through April.

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