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?