The most beautiful winter landscape garden in my thirty eight years of living here in Minnetonka occurred this winter, 2011-2o12.
In this the first winter without a January or February in the Twin Cities to my knowledge, there was little snow, no rain, and no cold.
The yellows of the golden chamaecyparis, sunkist and yellow ribbon arborvitaes, the plum of the Andorra junipers, blues of the Dwarf Colorado blue spruce and even the blue pfitzers were stunning all winter long. Add the usual wide variety of name-your-green arborivaes, pine and junipers and the bright tan and brown leaves of the Crimson spire and Red Oaks and the rich cinnamon shine off of the Griseum Paperbark Maple, this winter was certainly special…….
……………until a week ago when dumped on by heavy rain and heavy snow.
My most beautiful white pine, one of the ten second year seedlings I bought in 1976 to celebrate the American bicentennial birthday, now sixty feet tall, was shredded. SHREDDED by the weight of ice and snow……even worse than hat November 13th 32 inch wet snowfall of 2010.
I have spend three days picking up the debris, including most of the 30 branches over six inches in diameter. The usual weak-stemmed shrub arborvitaes, Rheingold and Hetz simply disappeared into the snow. Five or six deGroots arborvitae wanted to disappear, but could only tip. My back garden sunkist arbs were leveled but the well pruned beauty in the front garden hardly experienced a dimple over all its foliage.
Hemlocks, Yews, all of my spruce, expecially the Norway types, seemed to be bored by the weather attack. The tightly pyramidal Cupressina Spruce didn’t bend and inch.
I did have to save the Crimson Spire Oaks, however. All three had bowed nearly to the ground and would have snapped had I not carefully sorted the snow out of the leafy crown and gently lift the trunk vertically.
The entire back garden setting looked a if it had been bombed…..it still does. We don’t have a clue how much foliage can drop from a white pine sixty feet tall and forty feet wide in such a rain-ice-snow storm….with only six inches of snow…..and more than six inches of just the foliage cover after the deluge.
I have six other surviving bicentennial white pine from the 1976 plantings. None lost a much more than a fascicle or two. I think I know the reason. All but one of them doesn’t have the space to spread branchings 40 feet.
Mother Nature does do some beautiful work with her storms, however, If character is a consideration, my shredded white pine has more of it now than pre-storm……after we do some post storm artistic pruning, however.
Techny arborvitaes don’t do well in these icy messes. The globes collapsed. The uprights are becoming telephone poles.
One of my favorite plantings, an American Arborvitae, was split top to bottom and felled. A real loss causing a horrible sight. Although native to Minnesota this arborvitae is not easy to come by at the nursery. So about twenty years ago I sent away to Mentor, Ohio for a seedling. It cost about a dollar. It arrived in a ten inch envelope with its roots wrapped in moist cotton held together by Scotch tape, from 3M….Minnesota, Mining, and Manufacturing, as it was called in those days. I got attached to that tree.
Damn, that felling was crushing for it took away so much of the trees beauty and character.
I have guests arriving this Saturday……to see “Beauty in the Bleak Season?….folks from the Lake Owasso Garden Club.
At the moment the grounds are more bleak than the beauty. Today’s 54 Fahrenheit with Sun kept me very busy.
Give us a call at 952-933-5777 if you need help with your storm damaged plants. Perhaps we can create some special character by clever pruning.