Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The fifth season...

Malus 'Firebird' with glazed fruits

Somewhere between winter and spring, we have been blessed with a "fifth season"... it's more attractive than the "mud season" of the northeast, but sadly more damaging as well. One must look for the best in all things... there certainly are some diamonds in the rough throughout the gardens this morning.

Icicles dangling from the branches of the tree lilac

A column serves as an exclamation point to its shimmering surroundings

Crystalized conifers as in the case of Picea pungens 'Montgomery'

The lightly tanned bark of Hepticodium miconioides contrasts nicely 
with the silvery sheen of the hanging ice

Malus 'Mary Potter' is more sculptural than usual, supporting its glaze of ice

There is sadness connected with an ice storm as well... the white pine that I planted forty years ago as a seedling dug from the forest will never be quite the same... doubly offended by a too heavy snow load over the winter, and now the by the weight of ice, a second pile of it's branches lie about the ground, the first having been removed only a few days ago. One must look for the bright spots however... the good news is that much more light will be available to the magnolias that surround the tree and often times trees like people, scarred by the tests they have endured, are especially beautiful in their own tempered way. 

A young Malus 'Louisa' displays the color of its bark particulary well
with the addition of the shimmering ice

The birch trees have it right... being able to flex under the weight of their burden of ice until the difficulty is past and they can once again stand tall

Another and larger Malus 'Louisa' displaying the beautiful
color of its bark against the 'shimmer'

My temporary water feature... a moat that is short lived but
worthy of a childlike imagination

One wonders how much abuse an arborvitae can withstand
 as once again they lean precariously

Magnolia 'Rustica Rubra' braves the cold covering in preparation for its
season of bloom that will arrive eventually

So too, magnolias throughout the yard are well prepared for their most glorious season as well.... for this year there has been no ensnaring heat to coax them into swelling their buds way too early, only to freeze after the unfortunate deception...

I still have very high hopes for the coming season in general, despite the trials my patience must endure...


Christys Cottage Wildlife Garden said...

Hi Larry...I have to admit the ice is beautiful! I'm so sad about your white pine. I hope it's OK. You are due for some nice weather.

kate maryon said...

Hi Larry
Your pictures are absolutely breath taking... and although I can appreciate the comment that the trials we endure and leave us with scars does indeed add to our character...I will hope that there isn't too much damage done in your garden. I can't wait to plant some Magnolias in my garden. I have never been priveledged to own one yet. Do you have a favorite you would recommend? Also, with your knowledge of trees. Have you ever had to deal with spruce needle cast? I have been hit very hard with it.
Take care and as always I thoroughly enjoy your garden. I can imagine what walking around with a cup of tea first thing in the morning would be like there.
Thank you for sharing.

Larry said...

Hi Kate... In response to your question about magnolias on my post, I have many that I really like. Perhaps my favorite yellow is "Elizabeth" which has been around since the 50's and is out of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden... another yellow from there which I will be getting this year is 'Lois'... reputed to be outstanding. A favorite peachy pink is "Daybreak' which blooms with 'Elizabeth' and is very fragrant. Check out Klehms Song Sparrow Nursery on the internet... they have some of the newest and hardiest magnolias with bloom periods in the range of a month... many are from the hybridzation program of my friend Dennis Ledvina and I am trying eleven new ones this year. Be sure to check out my "pages" in the upper right hand corner of my blog... there are two that reference magnolias.
Crescendo is an outstanding choice and it is available at Song Sparrow... the original tree is in a friend's yard and is spectacular in bloom!

Regarding needle problems on spruce... it seems to be inevitable after 20-30 years especially and I have been hit big time over the past two years. I am going to be 64 years old in July and it's too late to start a new wind break for example... my solution is to prune up the trees and where plausible, to add shade gardens. The disfigurement of the trees greatly bothers me, so I try to ignore it since there really are no solutions that are realistic. It has even started to take hold in my large number of Montgomery spruces which saddens me greatly... I will probably do some pruning up and add large hostas to hide the problem in the lower branches.

I could easily remove 100 or more spruces at this point but I would never regain the look I want in my lifetime... the more realistic approach is selective removal as I come up with new ideas for change in the landscape.

I did limb up one main area of my windbreak last season and added rustic fences at the outside edge... it has created an interesting space and actually one tends not to look overhead at the branches and their loss of needles. So that's my take on it for now... we'll see how I feel about it in the future...
Take care, Larry

VW said...

How sad! I don't think we've had an ice storm since we moved to Spokane - except for the ones where I forgot to turn the sprinklers off during a hard early/late frost - but we had some kickers in Iowa. It's strange that last year you were sooo far ahead of us with spring and this year we've flip-flopped. Good luck getting your heucheras divided with all the other damage to take care of!

Karen said...

Hello Larry, it looks as if you had much more of an ice storm than we did, though our trees were coated as well. There was 2" of snow on the ground this morning. Who knows what this next storm will bring, but at least the daffodils weren't up yet. All is not lost, I had an enjoyable time skiing!

Sunray Gardens said...

Some of the most beautiful photos I see are the iced branches and unfortunately also the most damaging to our plants. A shame on the damage that happened but it could have been more. Beautiful photos though.
Cher Sunray Gardens said...

I am so sorry that you are going through this ice storm. We have those here too and they do the most damage of anything I wrote a post on it called the Joys and Sorrows of Winter where I tried to look at the bright side. Almost 90 degrees here yesterday.

Larry said...

Unreal Carolyn... what an odd spring! I'm afraid that we will have no spring this year as the cold continues through the next ten days with lots of rain/snow and no sun. My concern is that we may jump directly into summer. However, I am feeling very blessed this morning. I went out with a flashlight last night in what was supposedly more freezing rain... it was slightly above freezing and the wind was severe. The rain and wind in combination removed enough of the ice that there is no apparent damage beyond what happened yesterday afternoon, although that is far from insignificant. I am trying to get my courage up to go investigate! From the house, the birches appear to have survived. I will have some rather thinned out pine trees but as I noted yesterday.... this will allow more light for other things. There are a few other total losses, but I can deal with that. Hopefully today's continued freezing rain will not come to pass. It all causes one to really think about one's attitude when it comes to gardening andis a sort of test on the priorities of life! Larry

Larry said...

Thank you all for your concern espressed in your comments... I appreciate having gardening friends who well understand what it is to have damage to something that means so much... and yet, it is very insignificant when compared to the challenges that so many have to face in life. I keep telling myself... it's just a hobby! In a couple weeks we'll hardly know that this storm occurred other than by way of a few 'scars' on trees that will be left in place to recover as they will.
Thank you, Larry
p.s. Karen... I'm glad that the ice for the most part didn't make it as far north as you guys!

Orchids and Nature said...

Ice storms are very rare over here in England they are beautiful and photogenic but as you imply very damaging.

Alistair said...

Hi Larry, I have heard about ice storms but never before seen how tree branches can be so encased in ice like this. I guess one can say that your climate is anything but boring. I had a look at your previous post highlighting all of those amazing Lilies, we keep wanting to add more but don't have the room, planted a good few in pots this year, looking forward to seeing how succesful they are. Your Orienpet which you think may be 'Caravan' also looks very much like one which we have named Robert Swanson. Hope you get a good spell for your visitors come May.