I said I wanted more sunlight . . . but not like this.
Every gardener's year is full of ups and downs, nice surprises and dismal failures, glowing magical days and challenging weather events. We had one of those events last week, a big blow of a storm that brought down two large trees on our neighbor's lot ... a huge pine that smashed his garage and damaged his vintage Corvette, and a fifty foot willow that so conveniently fell right onto my wet meadow planting. (Yay!)
This part of the planting is mostly indestructible herbaceous things like Rudbeckias, Asters, Filipendulas, Eupatoriums, and tough Switchgrasses and Big Bluestems. But there are also mature specimens of 'Skyracer' Moor Grass just coming into its fall glory, and a nice group of three 'Winter Gold' deciduous Hollies, covered in still-green fruit and finally showing a substantial presence after five years in the ground.
The Willow also brought down my neighbor's power lines, which meant I couldn't even get in to assess the damage until the utility crew arrived to free the wires.
So what the tree didn't flatten, the utility guys managed to stomp down in their chain-saw frenzy. MEN AT WORK! ugggh.
Trying to look on the bright side . . . perhaps some voles were crushed?
Of course everything will grow back in time, but the loss of chunks of woody screening is a bit depressing. This Viburnum trilobum took quite a lick, and one of the Winterberry Hollies was badly damaged; the other two just dodged the hit.
Elsewhere in the garden, there was flattening of perennials and grasses, even normally sturdy plants like this 'Northwind' Switchgrass. A week later, most of them have already partially recovered, and will become even more upright as they dry out in the fall progression.
The Dahlias blew over, but that was mostly my fault. . . I got cages on but failed to put the stakes in before we went on vacation in July. They've been righted and they're fine now.
Remarkably, our two massive Silver Maples came through with just the loss of a few relatively small branches, and a couple thousand twigs. Could have been much worse. And the week before, we had such a beautiful Labor Day weekend with our Pop-Up Open Garden and Tag Sale. Lots of folks came, and we had a blast meeting new people and seeing dozens of old friends.
Coming on the heels of a summer filled with massive, tragic natural disasters, we feel humbled and relieved that there was no worse outcome. Our neighbor is safe and the plants will regrow. Yesterday, Kuan and I were able to clear almost all of the tree and get it stacked by the road for the town crew to haul away. Things are returning to normal.
Still, these garden tragedies are challenging, but all part of life as a gardener. Each year brings its share of delights and disasters, and we learn to roll with them. They all remind us of the fragility of our little creations, and of our life itself.
Welcome to Sempervivum, an opinionated, sometimes informed and completely unqualified journal of gardens, plants and plantings by artist-gardener Robert Clyde Anderson.