Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Trash Hill

Cool and breezy today, in the 50s, but there was sun at times.  We had an inch of rain overnight.

Now that all the leaves are down, I went up on the back hill to see the real damage.  So discouraging.  I already knew we had lost the tuliptree --- that was cut down at the stump.
The back hill four days before the snowstorm.  The tuliptree is now gone.
And one of the sweetgums is decapitated about two feet above ground but lives, with only its lower skirt of branches.  I knew about the maples and oaks that were lost or deformed.  But now, seeing all the damage, with no leaves, it looks like a hill of trash.

What the storm left is encased in bittersweet, at least in the middle section.  I cut back what I could reach but it is like wrestling snakes.  One young oak was literally being bent over by the vines.

What the storm left and the vines didn't get was trashed by the road crews.  They hauled away so much cut brush from the road side, but they also left large branches, stumps, logs and limbs covering some of the young trees, in a little from the roadside and all over the top of the hill.

And there was more actual storm damage than I thought.  Some of the junipers were split in the middle.  The new oak I had planted near the top of the slope in 2010 and babied through that summer's drought and heat --- it snapped off and was lying on its side.

Then, to top it all off, I had not put plastic mesh around the newest of the small whips I planted in the meadow at the bottom of the hill.  Of course bucks found the one maple and one oak not covered up, and shredded the bark.. The oak is not bad, the maple is shredded on one side only but I think it will heal.  I put plastic mesh on them.

It does look like brush, kindling, weeds and broken trash all over.

And it had looked so awesome this summer and early fall.
October 11, 2011
And back in May, 2011

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Decorations are Up

Today was warm and almost muggy.  In the mid 60s with rain on the way.

Despite the unseasonable feel, we put up the outside decorations.  This year I didn't feel like struggling with lights at all.  We just went with wreaths on each window, a sprig on the lightpost.  Very low key.

They are held up by suction cup hooks on the glass.  We'll see how well they hold up in cold and wet weather.

I may feel differently later, and may light the little Alberta spruce in front.  For now, I just like the wreaths.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The End

Warmer than it's been for a while --- it's 65 today and not so breezy.

We brought the deck and patio furniture in today.  The chairs and the little bench on the front stoop are put away.  I did keep the lightweight plastic Adirondack chairs out in the gravel garden for a while longer yet.

Winter is coming.

The big bayberry shrub in the back of Meadow's Edge had gotten leggy and sparse at the tops of the branches.  With the snow damage, it looked even worse, so I cut it back by almost half, to a horizontal shrub about two feet high.  We'll see how it rejuvenates.  I tried to get a picture but didn't get a shot that shows the new shape very well.

I did get some nice shots of the startlingly bright red winterberry fruits.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Now It's Really Autumn

In the days after the October 29 snowstorm we had abundant sunshine and it was cold (20s and 30s at night, 40s and 50s in the day).  Now, in mid November it is warmer (60s today) but a lot of dreary overcast skies.

Phil and Becky were here all last week.  We had a great time, even got down to NYC again to see the High Line!  They just left Monday.  Now back to work in the garden - - - 

I dug up the plumbago today and put both of them in big pots in the garage for winter.  I cut back the hops vine (not sure I like its exuberant leafiness massing in the front garden.  I liked the more refined clematis there better.  Next year . . . ?)

Look at the yellowroot!  It started reddish and wine colored in late October but is golden now.

And the fothergilla has colored up. It is always late to put on fall color.  This year it is all golden, there is little of the orange and multi colors of past years.

Without the redbud in front of the guest room window it looks very different. 

November is the best month for the itea too.  It looked rusty red for most of October, but look at the deep, clear garnet now.  Nice.

Monday, November 14, 2011


Gwen got this close up of the bobcat sunning herself in the side yard on Saturday.  Wow.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

October 29 Snowstorm

A complete disaster, one of the worst storms in Connecticut history.

We got two feet of wet heavy snow, wires snapped, electricity shut down and we were without power for 7 full days.  Temperatures were in the 20s overnight and in the 50s in the daytime.

The house stayed at 50 degrees.  Very cold, very uncomfortable and very dark at night.  I showered one day at the emergency center in town at the middle school.  One day I showered at Milano's in the spa room.  We hunkered in the dark and went to bed at 7 p.m. every night, or earlier.  It was awful.

Power came on yesterday, November 5, and I am so grateful.  Half of the town and over half of Simsbury, Avon, Farmington and W. Hartford are still out.

Inventory of lost trees:
Most of the back hill maples are topped, snapped off midway.  The tuliptree (I just took pictures of how lush and big it had gotten!) keeled over and uprooted itself.  One sweetgum, so lovely, and growing so well from that little 2 gal. pot I got from Home Depot, has snapped off a foot above the ground.  All the silver maples have self destructed.

In the yard the Oklahoma redbud split in two and is gone; we cleared the branches out and nothing but a stump is left.

The Okame cherry is snapped off, only a foot of bare trunk left.

The new Forest Pansy redbud snapped off about 18 inches above the ground.

The witch hazels spit in two and are quite deformed. but may live.  The largest Tardiva hydrangea is completely without branches, but you can prune them severely to the ground and they regrow, I think.

The katsura tree has almost no leaves now, maybe three spindly branches left.

The pear tree split apart, and all three of Gwen's did too, as well as all three of her cherry trees on our side.  In fact, all over town and all down Day Hill Road the pear trees imploded.  Here's a picture of one on Deerfield, they all pretty much look like this:

The big maples in the yard are very deformed, with half their canopies ripped out awkwardly, but they will live, and may regain shape over the years.

The same for the beautiful flowering dogwood at the corner of the garage.  It is deformed, topped, with its middle chopped out, but it will live and may regain its shape over time as well.  The sourwood survived but lost a branch, which it can't afford since it only grows one small branch a year!

So I will start over with some design ideas, and make gardens where stuff has disappeared or must be cut down.  The river birches and white birches all look good, and the evergreens do too.  The sweetbay magnolia is tilted but I can tie it back straighter I think. The Elizabeth magnolia is lopsided, but will survive.

You know what looks good?  The stiff black gums and the stiffly branched blackhaw viburnums.  The strong oaks, even the small ones, look good.

It was a terrible unseasonable storm.  We are warm now tonight, but most of the town is not and is still dark and cold.