Good Grief! As If Sandy Wasn't Enough, Now It's SNOW?

hunt4carlNovember 7, 2012

Consider me one of the lucky ones: my power came back on Friday - then

we lost it again! - then it returned on Sunday. . .so many others around me

STILL have no power, nine days later. About an hour ago, snow started

coming down like crazy - the ground is completely covered now - and my biggest fear is that leaves still on the trees (Yes, really!) will catch too much

snow and bring down more power lines! Sorry if I'm sounding a little

"anxious" - so very un-Yankee of me! - but this is really started to get to me.

............Deep Breath............at least the gardens look lovely with their first

winter blanket. . .and it neatly disguises all the debris left last week. . .

Carl

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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Snow in NJ too? Jane/corunum reports snow in CT. Just strong winds and occasional spitting rain here in Plymouth, MA. The Weather Channel has decided to name winter storms and you have been blessed with "Athena" (as if Jersey hadn't had enough storms for a while).

How did your trees manage to keep leaves on after Sandy?

Deep Breaths are definitely in order now (Yankees take deep breaths, that's perfectly understandable, but no wrenching gasps are allowed).

Claire

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 3:31PM
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diggerdee zone 6 CT

I need more than a few deep breaths, lol! I've been on the phone for the last 15 minutes with my daughter who cannot get up (any of) the huge hill(s) she needs to get up to get home. Luckily she has pulled over into a parking lot at the bottom of the hill, (with dozens of other people!) but she is low on gas so she doesn't have too many options of "going the long way", which of course would be even longer than usual. She's already been driving for an hour and a half (a normally 20-minute drive!) and she has never really driven in this weather, so she's kind of panicked, which makes me more nervous (the last thing you need to drive in this weather is to be panicked!). I'd have her walk, but no sidewalks on a hilly, curvy hill makes for dangerous walking. Besides, lol, a kid her age would never walk five or six miles, not even on a sunny day! I think her best bet right now, even though she just wants to get home, is to wait for a plow and jump in behind it and follow it up the hill. Gee, I don't know why I ever moved to a place named "White Hills". I shoulda known by the name....

Okay, deep breath, deep breath...

:)
Dee

Stay safe everyone!

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 5:33PM
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diggerdee zone 6 CT

I forgot to say, I also still have quite a few leaves on my trees. They're oaks - the leaves just never fall completely till the new ones in spring force them to, lol. So I am watching my trees as well, listening to the winds, hoping nothing falls besides leaves. It was rather amusing earlier while it was still light out to watch the leaves falling along with the snowflakes!

By the way, since my last post my daughter has decided to drive BACK to the town where she was, about 10 miles from where she was stuck, rather than try to make it up any of the hills to get home, 3 or 4 miles from where she was stuck. These hills are killers. I never minded driving in snow till I moved here.

:)
Dee

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 6:01PM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

When we lived outside Philly, there was one hill on my commute home that I always worried about. Once I was over that, the rest was flat.

My dad, who grew up in serious snow country, had a long list of hill tricks. The absolute ultimate was driving up the berm backwards. I always found that idea rather mind-boggling.

The snow has finally started here. After watching white stuff on the radar for hours, but no visible precipitation, it is finally coming down. The cats are mad at us, thinking it is all our fault.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 6:58PM
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gardenweed_z6a

The wind is howling and there's still snow falling here in north central CT just 5 mi. (as the crow flies) south of Springfield, MA. I was hoping the storm had fizzled out late this afternoon but the wind/snow is still trucking right along.

Carl - so relieved to see you're safe/back in business after Sandy. My power was out for 11 days after last year's snowstorm brought down dozens of huge limbs from the trees & ripped power lines right off my house. Not an experience I care to see repeated in this lifetime. I'm lucky I have an ancient woodstove in the cellar (+ plenty of firewood) that kept the house a comfortable temp. Lost two mature dogwoods to the October snowstorm--they snapped off 12 ft. from the ground so had to be cut down. I've got two I grew from seed that are 3 ft. tall this year but don't expect I'll be around see them big enough to bloom.

...at least the gardens look lovely with their first
winter blanket

The prospet of warmer temps in the forecast for the weekend sounds a whole lot better to me than the sight of the winter outside my windows!

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 7:02PM
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terrene(5b MA)

I'm sure I'd be pretty aggravated with days of no power. Hang in there Carl!

And yeah, yuck, snow. But it's supposed to be 60 F by Sunday.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 7:11PM
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rockman50(6b SEMASS)

just heavy wind swept rain here in deepest darkest SE MA.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 8:55PM
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hunt4carl

Here's the 9:00pm update:

You can hear the branches of the maple tree next door, which normally soars
WAY above my roof, scraping on the shingles. . .the wind has eased
considerably, so I thought I'd go out on the deck to check things out. . .

HOLY TOLEDO! There are 7 inches of wet, heavy snow everywhere. . .every
shrub in the back yard (we're talking dozens of them!) is flat on the
ground. . mature tree limbs are twisted and bent into impossible positions,
and I'm sure I'll be hearing them snapping and cracking all night long. The
temps tomorrow will only get into the low 40's, so if any of this partially
softens, it will then refreeze tomorrow night. By the time the warmer weekend rolls around, most of the damage will be done. . .

Oh, and my lovely 10' blue juniper right outside my back door has already
snapped off at the ground and is lying across the neighbor's driveway. . .
I tried lifting it and the weight of the snow and ice made it neigh unmoveable.

Sigh. . .

Carl

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 9:27PM
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NHBabs(4b-5aNH)

Carl -

I am so sorry for how NJ's couple of weeks have been weather-wise; seems like you have gotten several years' worth of bad weather stuffed into a very short time period. I hope that you get good enough melting today to relieve the woody plants of the stress they are currently under. It's difficult to watch plants you have nurtured destroyed by ice and heavy snow.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 7:34AM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

What a depressing scene that must have been, Carl, and it must be even worse in the early morning light. My heartfelt sympathy at the loss of so much of your work and the devastation to the plant life.

Sigh, indeed.

Claire

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 7:36AM
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diggerdee zone 6 CT

Carl, so sorry to hear about all this added weather-related plant grief. It sucks, to put it frankly. At least you have power still this time.

I haven't yet heard/read reports of how the hard-hit areas fared in the snow - I've been outside shoveling. The predictions of 1 to 3 inches (delivered very casually by forecasters who didn't seem to believe we'd really get that much) turned into 5 inches of very wet and very heavy snow. I say I've been shoveling; well, actually so far I've been out there knocking snow off flattened shrubs to help them pop back up (hopefully) before any major damage is done.

Came in for a cup of tea and as I looked out the kitchen window was amused by the scene - I have lots of small scrub trees in the woods (not sure what they are) but they are all still a vibrant green. So if it isn't odd enough to see autumn-colored leaves in the snow, here I have a big stand of trees still in their summer glory, surrounded by snow. Odd...

Going to check the news now and hope that those in the Sandy-devastated areas are not too hard hit by this noreaster. Hopefully this will be it and they will have a chance to start to rebuild.

Dee

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 9:32AM
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hunt4carl

The Morning After Report:

It's every gardener's nightmare - 10+ inches of heavy, wet snow, and I DID
hear the branches snapping and cracking all night long. . .the devastation
is awful, far worse than Hurricane Sandy, believe it or not. . .tree limbs from
three other yards, plus my own trees, are littered everywhere, seemingly
every shrub has been crushed or buried. . .you know that awful feeling when
you are ever-so-gently trying to shake the snow off shrubs, and you hear
that fateful "snap!"? You've just added to the damage. . .

Fascinating how a mature, 6' nandina, or a 9' viburnum, can be buried under
wet snow, flattened to the ground, but a few hours later, after the snow
that's heavy-as-cement has been carefully brushed away, those shrubs
have bounced right back to almost full height. Not so with the winterberries
and PJM rhodies. . .this is all doubly discouraging since I never fully recovered from Irene's terrible flooding last year. Maybe "someone" is sending me a message, that it's time to let this garden go and move on elsewhere and start again. . .

Sigh. . .

Carl

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 12:09PM
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diggerdee zone 6 CT

Oh Carl! You sound so discouraged! I wish I could cheer you up!

Okay, this is really easy for me to say, sitting here with virtually no real hurricane damage, and minimal snow damage (only a few broken small branches - due to that "snap" you mentioned while I was trying to clean off the shrubs) but I'm going to say it anyway and hope it comes off as encouragement and not condescension.

Maybe instead of taking this as an omen to let go and move on, you can take this as an opportunity to plant new plants, try new things, design new beds...??

I know how much you love *your* garden and how much you love *to* garden, and I'm hoping that once you get over this initial discouragement and this feeling of being beaten down, that you will roll up your sleeves and get to work with some gusto and even find that you are enjoying reinvigorating your garden.

Okay, if that just made you more pissed off, then I'm sorry, lol! But I'm hoping that instead this might have offered some encouragement. I hate to hear you sound so defeated, especially afer you seemed to have come through Sandy relatively okay.

Chin up!
:)
Dee

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 1:03PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

" . .you know that awful feeling when you are ever-so-gently trying to shake the snow off shrubs, and you hear that fateful "snap!"? You've just added to the damage. . . "

Yup, I've done that too (Pinus strobus 'Louie').

I'll follow Dee's lead and try to encourage you to reinvigorate your garden. Sure you could move and start a new garden, but what would you do with the battered shrubs and trees and perennials in this one? Throw them on the compost pile and let the new people deal with them? Put them out with the garbage? I wouldn't want to do that and I suspect you don't either. The plants deserve a second chance.

I see I'm not exactly encouraging you, it's more of a gentle brow-beating. So pull yourself together and do what has to be done to bring the garden back to health. At least the plants are mostly dormant now so they can rest a bit. Spring will surprise you.

A little chocolate wouldn't hurt with the morale, maybe hot chocolate with a dash of brandy given the weather.

Claire

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 1:41PM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

Dear Sighing Carl,

You actually sound quite normal and gardener-sane considering the present circumstance. Many of us here felt the same way last Oct. 30 when 14" of wet snow brought down everything it could and destroyed years of growth and thousands of dollars. Last year's event for me and your current status, as unpleasant as they were/are, brought me to a new level of gardening thinking. I try to make gardens look like more with less material not just because of $, but the aging bod can't do what it once did. Also, I've had to adjust my expectations of plant/tree/shrub heights. Last year's storm toppled 15' rhodies so that I had to lasso them and use the riding mower to bring them upright again, rebury the root system, only to eventually have to cut their height in half to prevent toppling again. The changing climate and its odd timing of storms forces me to rethink what I plant. Full Southwestern-like xeriscaping isn't quite my thing, but Mediterranean style with shorter growing plants works for me. Once one has lived through a night of 90' tall oak and maple trees cracking and their tonnage crashing to the ground making your house shake, well, shorter ornamental trees are now quite appealing to me. If you want them, Carl, I have a couple of lovely little Jap maples here with your name on them.

Oh, and as for the sighing or 'deep breathing', I'm a 7th generation Connecticut Yankee who can make fire with two sticks, have had to pee in the woods and live for weeks without electricity; but these recent storms damn near made me pass out, so you can bet your asters I'm changing with the climate change.

Start thinking about your spring swap wants. We will help you.

Kindly,
Jane

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 2:03PM
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molie(z6 CT)

Great post, Jane about the Spring Swap! I'm betting that lots of us have plants to share with Carl and others who have lost so much!

And I like your, Claire's, and Dee's idea of maybe his turning in a different gardening "direction"---- that may be just what Carl needs. (Well, that and Claire's suggestion of a little "nip" in the hot cocoa.) Carl will never be able to replace that beautiful 10 ft. juniper, but maybe something else new and unique will lift his gardening soul.

How about this ---- everyone at the spring swap comes with one favorite plant of theirs for Carl?

Molie

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 2:51PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

I can't believe you had 10 inches of heavy snow, Carl! It doesn't seem fair when that area hasn't finished dealing with Sandy. What a job ahead of you. I have some shrubs that were damaged last year in the ice storm that I pruned minimally in the spring to see what they would do and they have not looked good, so next spring I am going to do some rejuvenation pruning down to the ground. I know that doesn't sound like it will be a solution for some of your shrubs, but I hope the damage isn't as bad as it looks right now. I'm with Jane, we will help you at the spring swap!

NStar is still fighting a $9 million dollar fine in Massachusetts for their failure to perform in Irene. Sounds like something NJ should be considering.

Jane, I didn't realize your Rhodies toppled over last year?! And you had to cut them back by half? After getting them moved in one piece at their full height, what a shame. But I'm sure they will fill in fuller and prettier than ever.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 5:18PM
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