Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Seasons Toy With Us

Sunday afternoon we had snow showers that came down thickly for a while, although nothing accumulated on the ground. It was cold and my fingers froze even wearing gloves as I did some clean up in the garden.

Then Sunday night we went from a frost that zapped the annuals to a hard overnight freeze with temperatures in the mid 20s all night.

Even well after the sun rose and I went out to break up the ice in the birdbath with a hammer, it was still only 25 degrees. It was not a skim of ice on the top; the birdbath was frozen in a solid block and all I could do was chop it into chunks.

I completely forgot about shutting off the outside faucets before the freeze. Two of the garden hoses were spouting fountains after the sun warmed the frozen hoses and the burst fittings gave way.

The beautiful yellow buckeye foliage is gone now, all brown and limp. The oakleaf hydrangea that was just reaching maturity this year is also limp now. I had been waiting to get good photos of it, but it's too late.

I was also waiting to take a picture of the flowering dogwood in its garnet red glory. It didn't brown from the freeze, but the leaves have curled, leaving it skimpy looking, and the red color is now on only the east side. Still pretty, but much diminished.

Lots of shrubs are also browned or curled, but not all is lost. The maples, black gums, birches and other trees are still fine and I am hoping they'll continue to color as fall progresses.

Ah, fall, how you plague us.

I was looking over my journal from prior years to see when a hard freeze first occurred in other years, and I came across last year's photo of the most glorious tree in my garden, the small Stewartia monadelpha.
Stewartia monadelpha on October 30, 2014

Last year it looked the best it ever had. Not only a stunning red in fall, but it was gaining a pretty shape.

It did not survive last winter, and this past spring it never leafed out at all. It's gone now. You wouldn't know -- the spot where it had been growing is filled in with other plants this year. You wouldn't miss it. But I do.

How the seasons provoke us. It's cruel.

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