Only a few weeks away


Finally, I took a walk through the garden today, but it might be awhile until I try again.

I’ve seen some grass through the melting snow on sunny properties, but mine is shaded from the afternoon winter sun, and the snow remains knee deep. I was exhausted from the effort of walking twenty steps.

I managed a loop around the one acre garden, and I was both pleased and disappointed with the damage I witnessed. Boxwoods (above), nandinas, and mahonias are bent to the ground, their fate uncertain under a thick blanket of snow, but I expect they will recover with a bit of attention. Multi-branched hollies, arborvitae, and junipers are bent, but with few broken branches, so they are likely to recover with some pruning and strapping branches together in a few weeks.

A large branch of a thirty foot cypress near the swimming pond in the back garden has bent to a severe angle, I fear too far to be able to pull back into shape. I’ll try to envision the tree without the branch to see if it can be removed without disfiguring the tree, or whether the entire tree must come down.

The saddest injury is to a twenty foot Brackens Brown Beauty magnolia, a lush, dark green leaved evergreen that is extremely cold hardy, but apparently not resistant to snapping off major branches and the tree’s top in a heavy snowfall (above). Of the three southern magnolias, Alta and Greenback have more upright branching, and suffered minimal damage. Once the snow has melted enough the allow a closer look, I’ll remove the broken limbs and assess whether the tree is salvageable. I’m not optimistic.

Though temperatures have risen into the forties today, spring seems far away. Arnold’s Promise witch hazel (above) should be blooming in a week, and could despite the snow if we warm up a bit more. Helleborus will often show their nodding flowers in late February, but if they do so it will hidden beneath the cover of snow in this garden. More likely they will bloom weeks later than is usual. And, the black stemmed pussy willow (below) should be at its peak shortly, but I was too exhausted to venture the last fifty feet to the back border to see it.

In spite of my pessimism, spring will arrive in a few short weeks, and soon enough these sorrows will be forgotten, though the ache from the labor of clean up might remind us a while longer. Star magnolia (Magnolia stellata “Royal Star’, below), will bloom in my garden in early March, though Dr. Merrill was a few days earlier last year.

The Japanese flowering cherry Okame (below) will follow closely, then Jane magnolia, and all will be right again. Whichever trees that must be removed will be missed, but the open space will allow others that have been too cramped to show off, and of course, there will be room enough to add a few more treasures and stretch the spring planting budget. With that thought I am feeling much better.Okame cherry

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Toni says:

    Your landscape looks like mine and I too have been out trying to access the snowfall damage. It is sad to see broken limbs and those that are still buried under the snow pack.
    I am so anxious to see green grass and buds !

    1. Dave says:

      Until a few days ago, every garden in the area looked the same, white. Some have more broken parts showing above the snow than others. The more I see of others, the more I think I might be fortunate with how little damage there will be to mine. I hope you will be as fortunate.

  2. Judy M. says:

    Your garden blog is exceptional. It’s really about your garden and not cutesy dribble. It may be of help to so many homeowners in the area to host garden talks at your many “Meadow Farms”locations to help people understand how to deal with the ravages this winter has wrought on their landscapes. Not everyone understands how to stake or even prune for winter damage. A friend, who works with the Master Gardeners in Prince William County, and I, who volunteer at Green Springs Gardens, were commenting yesterday that these organizations develop their course offerings more than 6 months in advance; whereas your gardening business would certainly give a great community service by having your staff and designers respond to this BIG need for unforseen info by the public and help business, too!! I really enjoy your blog.

    1. Dave says:

      Thank you for your kind words. I am hoping to reach as many people as possible through our website and blog since we don’t have a tradition of off season seminars and I don’t know if we could get the word out enough to assure that they would be well attended. I’ll consider your suggestion to see if we can pull it off. No doubt there’s a need. Thanks again, Dave

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