Blizzard of 2013

As snowstorms go, this – Nemo, the Blizzard of 2013 – wasn’t a pretty one. Though it was pretty spectacular in some ways… The crazy blue flashes of lightning were pretty scary. Power outages made a lot of our houses pretty chilly. But the snow itself – heavy, wet and icy – and the damage it caused, was really pretty ugly.

Here at Blithewold, about 45 trees were badly damaged and at least 7 are total losses. The grounds are a mess of broken limbs — I would caution against taking a walk here to see for yourself at least until Fred, Dan, and Nick have had a chance to clear trees of dangerous hangers. (They’re called widow-makers for a reason.)

Click on pictures for bigger view and captions.

But It was a relief this morning to see how some of the flattened shrubs and weighted limbs had popped back up after yesterday’s rainy thaw. I know first hand the temptation of knocking heavy snow off tree limbs and shrubs but generally it’s better to let nature handle that. By clearing limbs ourselves, we risk doing the plants – and ourselves – greater injury. That said, if another round of snow had been expected, then gently – so gently!- sweeping what you could off limbs to at least lighten the load would be worth a try. (I’m trying to train myself to think that whatever doesn’t break them makes them stronger.) The pictures below are of our huge chestnut rose (Rosa roxburghii) flattened (taken Sunday) and today after it had bounced back. Its limbs were wired after Hurricane Bob flattened it in 1991.

The gardens will be fine, although here and there – mostly in the Rock Garden – we’ll have to reposition shade lovers out of newly sunny spots. And even though Bristol lost power for days, the plants in the greenhouse were completely safe and warm. This was exactly the storm event that Gail and I used to worry about before the greenhouse generator was installed. It purred like a kitten all the way through and we are beyond grateful.

How was your storm? Pretty or pretty ugly? Did your garden suffer much damage?

3 thoughts on “Blizzard of 2013

  1. Ugh, I’m so sorry to see the damage. Amazing what Ma Nature can do! Interesting about wiring the tree, too.

    Lynn, I’m sorry to see the damage too but since we’re gardeners and plant lovers here, we’re thinking of all the new opportunities… And I should probably do a proper post on that chestnut rose if I haven’t already… (even if I have!) -kris

  2. I was going to mention the new opportunities but didn’t want to seem crass so close to the crisis…some new sunny spots might be nice!

    Lynn, We’re already mentally playing musical perennials around the newly sunny spot in the Rock Garden… – kris

  3. P.s. do any of your tall trees have lighting wires? Many at Plantations did, and I always got lots of interested looks when pointing them out to visitors. Seems like something you hear of but don’t often see, especially on trees.

    Good question! The giant sequoia did have one (it’s still up there actually — the tree has grown up around it) but there’s some worry that the rods attract lightning so there’s no plan to reinstall it or put any others up. Do you know if the ones at Cornell have saved any trees from direct hits? -kris

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