Hail Stone Meditations Part I

Posted by on Jul 1, 2016 in Garden Thoughts | 0 comments

gj_dateHello friends,

I realize in my last entry I promised a feature on my Bellis Perennis and that is most definitely forthcoming. I promise. In fact, it is very nearly complete. Right now, I have this story that is begging to be written.

(Started writing this 14 June)

cover_image1According to the forecasts, yesterday was going to be a cool day by all accounts with showers appearing off and on. The prognostications proved valid. The blessing of rain did fall heavily at times as clouds rolled in and then fluttered off nearly as quickly.

And then . . .

Like any self respecting monsoonal type moisture, the cold, dark sky opened up and released a brutal torrent of moisture. This moisture wrapped in ice pounded the ground relentlessly. No amount of sun could assist in softening it before it pummeled the earth below. All I could hear from the safety of my room were the stones bouncing off of every surface followed by steady accumulation. I wanted to close myself down as I did not want to imagine what this profusion of dark, icy moisture was doing to the plants below. So much fell so quickly the earth turned white as it piled up. The resemblance to snow was perfect and like a late spring snow storm, this storm would prove just as detrimental to my gardening efforts.

inherited_risk.fw

Where I have chosen to live and garden brings with it an inherited risk. The growing season can end abruptly as an early autumnal frost is not uncommon. Yes, certain plants will recover but usually that signals the beginning of the end for my little Rocky Mountain garden. When spring arrives, the excitement of all the new growth can be hampered by heavy, late spring snows crushing emerging bulbs and slowing down the growth of certain perennials even causing a bit of frost bite. This year I tried in vane to cover some of my daffodils and alliums. The snow was so heavy it sent my little makeshift tent crashing to the ground. Generally speaking, we are usually ‘safe’ from frost by Memorial Day which is observed on the last Monday in May for those who are not from the US. We typically get some decent spring rains but with that, comes the strong possibility of hail and this hail can be devastating to a garden shredding plants down to bare stems, defoliating trees and if a plant does survive the onslaught, it will end up with holes in the foliage which leaves it vulnerable to infection and bug infestation.

Viewing the Aftermath

I could not bring myself to go outside after the storm. I am not my best in the evenings as I am very much a morning person so I knew any observations of damage would be skewed and considered worse than they actually appeared. The next morning I completed my work out, made my breakfast and with trepidation stepped outside. Upon exiting the house, the first plants I see are the annuals within the Talavera pots section. I have two large resin pots flanking the entrance to the main garden. There, I have volunteer plants growing including Kiss Me Over the Garden Gate, Zinnias (though I only see one coming back this year), violas, etc. Kiss Me Over the Garden Gate should be an easy plant to grow but here, they never look their best. One hail storm and you end up with this or if the hail is really bad, worse. This photo was taken at the time of my publishing this article so there are signs of recovery.

garden_gate

I planted up some sunflowers in the other pot and thus far they are faring well and were not greatly impacted by the storm. As I progressed into the garden, I was very sad to notice that my Flanders Poppies were shredded. I then completed my tour of the disaster area and concluded that overall things were not too horrible and as mentioned, today, the garden is recovering nicely. It is this optimism that prompted me to create this post. As gardeners, we experience the best and the worst that nature has to offer and at the end of the day, like all things in life, we just have to hope for the best. We have to believe that in the end, nature’s will be done and perhaps she will be kind enough to leave us with something beautiful — a reward if you will for all of our hard work.

There is a passage in one of my favorite gardening books that summarizes what I am trying to convey beautifully. Taken from Old Herbaceous by Reginald Arkell.

The gardener is a frustrated being for whom flowers never bloom at the right moment. Change and decay in all around he sees. It is all very sad, and how gardeners manage to keep going in the face of such adversities is one of those things that no fellow will ever understand.

Thank you kindly for reading and I pray your garden has presented you with more blessings than heartache. Do you have a success story this season you wish to share? Please do! I would love to hear from you. Have a photo of a beautiful bloom you are proud of? I would love to see it. Until next time, I wish you a blessed day and Happy Gardening!

Now for some images of seasonal blooms:

Talavera pots

Talavera pots

Wasp making its home in one of my bird feeders.

Wasp making its home in one of my bird feeders.

Yarrow

Yarrow

Sunpatiens

Sunpatiens

Small morning glory type flower

Small morning glory type flower

Sedum growing in the cracks of the retaining wall

Sedum growing in the cracks of the retaining wall

Keeping the aphids away from the tansy!

Keeping the aphids away from the tansy!

Fly having a rest on a  bee balm leaf

Fly having a rest on a bee balm leaf

Faded aster bloom

Faded aster bloom

Day Lily Bloom in Whiskey Barrel

Day Lily Bloom in Whiskey Barrel

Blanket Flower in Bud

Blanket Flower in Bud

Unknown bee on small sunflower.

Unknown bee on small sunflower.

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