Abies balsamea 'Nana'

Abies balsamea 'Nana'

Monday, August 31, 2015

After the storm...

Well, the Pacific Northwest certainly had an interesting weekend. Strong winds, normally not seen until late October or November in this area, whipped through the region, causing unseasonable damage. From the looks of things, those living further north, around Puget Sound, received the worst of the storm. My garden got off pretty light, with only minor damage, unless you like corn. The sheltered plants in the center of the corn patch actually fell first, having been sheltered all summer from the lighter winds that stimulated the outer plants to produce sturdier support roots at the base of their stalks. For a while, it looked as though at least some of the outer rows would stay upright, but the storm unleashed a few more crushing blows that finally flattened the last holdouts.


So what to do now? Carefully untangle the fallen corn stalks and tie them up in tepees.

They look like drunken friends leaning on each other for support, but at least they're upright again. We'll see how they fare.

I was really hoping for rain, and wasn't expecting the amount of wind. At least we have about 1.5 inches of rain to show for it, with potential for more today and throughout the week. The photo below attests to the high winds. This poor Eleagnus pungens 'Maculatus' was ripped from its puny stake and blown about like one of those punching dolls that stands back up after you hit it. It even went fully horizontal a few times. Even though this one had the best root base of the lot when I picked it out, it still isn't very good. Hopefully this storm will encourage it to form more anchor roots. Even while I cringed at this poor little plant getting whipped about by the storm, I enjoyed watched the big trees sway. I enjoy a good storm, the sound of the wind and rain, watching the rain and everything blowing around. This one even included a bit of thunder and lightning in the night.


We have no large broadleaf trees on the property, which was actually a good thing at least in terms of this storm. Much of the damage caused by this storm was suffered by deciduous trees that normally don't have any leaves by the time such winds arrive. The worst I saw was a few large, already dead branches in the woods. I wouldn't be surprised if some trees in the nearby state park came down, though. Walking one of the trails through the park just a day before the storm hit, I saw trees down that I didn't remember from earlier in the summer. The especially dry year may have made things more brittle than usual, and there have been some smaller wind events this summer. On Sunday, the driveway was awash with small branches and needles from the Douglas firs. The patterns are interesting to look at, a bit of beauty left in the wake of the storm.

I'm glad I featured this Lobelia cardinalis 'Queen Victoria' as a favorite plant before it was blown over.

Interestingly, the other one stayed upright. Given its location, I would have thought it would be exposed to worse winds than the other. Perhaps the harsher conditions its growing in (more sun, less water, worse soil) kept it smaller and stronger to withstand the wind better.

Echinacea purpurea 'Magnus' is a wreck. A friend told me he's experimenting with cutting them back to rid them of the faded blooms and get them to rebloom. Maybe I'll try that with these. The other option is to tie them up like the corn. I don't know if the birds have actually been visiting the old seedheads in fall or winter. I haven't been home during the right time in the last few years.

Tiny little Powwow Wildberry echinacea couldn't really get much lower than it is already, so the wind did little more to it than ruffle petals.

A couple kniphophias flopped. They'll die back in a couple more months. I only have to look at them that long...

I may stake up the candy lilies and blackberry lilies. Certainly I'm not going to cut them back before the seedpods split open to reveal the shiny black seeds.

This clump of blackberry lilies didn't entirely flop, just most of it...

Beggars can't be choosers. While I would have preferred the rain without the wind, I'm really in no position to complain. The garden got some water, no trees fell, the power didn't go out, and most of the garden looks fine. I tend to avoid floppy plants, meaning most things stayed upright, aside from the things I've shown here and a handful of others. How did your garden handle this odd August weather event? Any plants surprise you, either by getting blown down or by staying upright?

14 comments:

  1. My garden fared pretty well. No plants flopped (more than they already were flopping) the banana leaves didn't get shredded, and only one pot was blown down and broke (plant fine.) There were some large branches down all over the hood and even a huge deciduous tree or two. Sorry about the damage to your plants but wasn't the rain welcome. Not so much for us as we're in the middle of painting the house but the plants sure liked it!

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    1. Oh, rain while painting the house! Bet you weren't expecting that this time of year. I had a few pots blow over, two landed on other plants, but no serious damage done. This morning I saw the top of a cotton wood that had obviously fallen across the road, but that was the worst damage I saw near my house.

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  2. It would be interesting to see if the corn bounces back; It looks pretty good in its new formation. I like the patterns on the driveway. At first glance I thought I was looking at a close-up of a Douglass fir...
    My garden didn't suffer much damage either. I'm thankful for the rain we got and for having brake in the rain so I could garden both days this weekend.

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    1. The driveway patterns do look a bit like Douglas fir bark. :) I'm happy to get the rain, too. I planted a few things on Friday, knowing the next week was supposed to be cool. I hesitated to plant more, though. I started walking around trying to figure out placements for things I want to plant this fall, but it was too windy.

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  3. When I staked a few floppers I found that the blooming stems had already bent at right angles to reach upward. It made for some strange l-shaped configurations. I hope they will be as dedicated and straighten themselves out. Every year I promise to stake early but then weeding takes precedence. Interesting observations you make here about what might account for sturdier plants.

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    1. Haha! That's a fast reaction! My floppers haven't tried to right themselves yet. Hopefully I'll get to them before they do and end up looking funny.

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  4. Wow you got a lot more rain than we did! Your corn tepees were a grand idea. Besides being a huge mess the worse things in my garden are the plume poppies flopped over and my Sasa palmata is now at a permanent 45 -degree angle.

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    1. At least the Sasa should send up new shoots in the right direction next year. Not so permanent. It's interesting to hear how much rain people got in different areas. I also got more rain here during the July showers than people I talked to in Portland.

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  5. You mentioned wind in an earlier post. Little did I imagine that you meant WIND! I hope the corn makes it.

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    1. It was just a touch breezy. ;)

      I'm ambivalent towards the corn. I don't actually like it that much and my parents still have corn in the freezer from last year. I don't know why they plant so much. There are better things you can grow that don't get stuck in your teeth nearly as much.

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  6. Wow! You have so many flopped over plants, but you seem to have come up with some ingenious ways of fixing the problem. The corn looks cool in that tepee shape. I recently bought some Echinaceas that are supposed to stay shortish, it bugs me when they flop. No big damage here, just lots of Douglas fir debris. And the rain caused the stream in the back garden to overflow its banks. It's never done that before.

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  7. It looks like the garden took quite a beating, but nature has a marvelous resiliency. I bet most of these will perk up rather quickly.
    Please come link up at this week's Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday) here:
    http://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2015/08/strange-visitors-in-garden.html

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  8. I like the idea of the corn tepee! If I ever grow corn, I will remember that :-) I hope the Eleagnus pungens doesn't have its roots too badly damaged by all that knocking around.

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    1. Me, too. Poor thing. Luckily, Eleagnus are pretty tough.

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