For those of you just joining us, we’re so glad you came to visit. Each week, I, along with Carol of May Dreams Gardens and Mary Ann of Idaho Gardener will take you on the unfolding journey of our vegetable gardens. For prior submissions, please see the links at the end of this letter.
Well, when we discussed writing this series of letters, I wasn’t so naive that I believed all would be easy-peasy-lemon-squeezey. After all, tiptoeing through the tulips is fine in a song, but not very realistic or practical in application. I considered how an infestation of tomato hornworms, locusts or a heat wave of historic proportions might hit the garden. However, in all of my wildest disaster fantasies, I never dreamt of a blizzard in late March.
This week has been full of anxiety throughout Oklahoma. The meterologists, almost rubbing their hands with glee, started last Monday with dire predictions of snow, sleet, and freezing rain for two thirds of the state. Computer models were consulted like oracles, and having the weather on my computer only made it worse with weather, warning popups flashing every few minutes. On radar, I watched the gigantic, blue blob, that was the storm, gather momentum as it marched through New Mexico. Gardeners all over Oklahoma searched their cabinets for sheets and blankets, clothespins and safety pins. By Friday, I was a nervous wreck.
So, I wrote an Examiner post about what to try and save, and listing what I could do, calmed me.
As predicted, the storm slammed into the western part of our state, and my friend Sarah reported from her blog about her experience. Here, however (in the center of the Sooner state), it rained, and rained and rained. It rained all day and all night, and the temperature (which was my real concern) never dipped below 34F.
I thought we were in the clear.
Then, came Saturday. By mid-morning, the weather cleared, and the sun peeked out from behind the clouds. I rejoiced at my keyboard telling commenters that all was not lost. From the living room, HH yelled to look out the window. Fat snowflakes fell from the sky onto my springtime shrubs and bulbs. Like the little rebel I am, I grabbed a coat and scissors and ran outdoors. I filled my arms and every vase I own with tulips of orange, yellow, pink and purple. Because of the sudden change in temperature, they are now wide open as though filled with fright at their sudden change in circumstances.
All total, we got over two inches of rain in the gauge and one inch of snow.
In the midst of this madness, a care package arrived from Klehm’s Song Sparrow Nursery filled with an Acer palmatum ‘Tsuma gaki;’ three hostas, ‘May,’ ‘Dragon’s Fire’ and ‘Deep Blue Sea;’ and three plants of Hakonechloa macra ‘All Gold.’ I purchased these over a month ago, and they arrived in the nick of time to cheer my spirits. They are positioned just inside the front door, waiting for a warm day to go outside and play. Song Sparrow also sent me a new daylily, ‘Pumpkin Ruffles,’ I think. I later couldn’t find it in their catalog.
Can I just say that I always feel inadequate when shopping for hostas? There are so many to choose from, and so many resemble each other with only a small variation. I always wonder if I’m picking the best one for my hot dry climate, and no, I won’t be joining the Hosta Society anytime soon.
I realize that, so far, this letter hasn’t mentioned a single vegetable. Before the storm, I debated about covering the veggie crops, but while waiting for the inevitable freeze and frost, I ended up covering only the newly planted Japanese maple out front, a couple of Heucheras, my two climbing ‘Zephirine Droughin’ roses and the two ‘Rio Sambas.’
You can see where my heart lies. I reasoned that since the temperature wasn’t going below 30F, the cold weather crops would be fine. Plus, these vegetables are annuals, and the other plants were expensive perennials. I hope Saint Fiacre covered them for me.
I am surprised to write that two of my letters have referenced snow, and we rarely get snow this close to our last freeze date of April 20th. Although I know this too shall pass (and in the middle of summer I’ll be wishing for cooler weather), I must admit I feel a bit like the tulip in the photo, bent but not broken.
I hope your gardens are faring better. Til next time, I remain your affectionate friend.
For more letters in this series and an explanation of our garden project, please see prior weeks one, two and three.
Another programming note: Jodi from Bloomingwriter and Sylvia, who is a frequent guestblogger on Tulips in the Woods started their own letter series. If any of you decide to do the same, please drop us a comment, and we’ll let folks know.
Dee, Storms and freezes can cause heartbreaking damage. Here is Massachusetts nothing is up that can be damaged by coldfright now, but we are really busy cleaning up the mess caused by an historic ice storm in December.
commonweeder´s last blog post..Books and Gardens
Hi CW, we had one of those bad ice storms last year in January. It made such a mess. I feel for you.~~Dee
Brit' Gal Sarah
Dee yes you can almost see Rick & Gary salivating at the thought of bad weather! Glad you didn’t get hit like we did, even now we still have a blanket of about 5 inches of snow!
Sarah, I have to write that I’m glad too.~~Dee
So sorry to hear about the snow, but I was somewhat more than green with envy when you mention mid-April as last frost date…. we can go into June here in the great white north. Gotta love getting a care package in the midst of all this bad weather, they always lift the spirits.
Loving this wonderful correspondence immensely. Take care!
teza´s last blog post..Wills or Harry?
I wonder how many plants were wearing “coats” this last weekend? My back yard looked like the linen closet had exploded! That’s the weather I always dread; some years we dodge the bullet, other years we aren’t so lucky.
Dee, I look to you to tell us on your blog and Examiner posts how to handle the tough stuff. Everybody is a happy gardener when the weather is good. I am sorry for your garden. Still, your lessons and advice make gardening in the real world and for real people possible. We learn that everything doesn’t always look like a photo shoot or a Magazine Cover.
Your sheets remind me of my pots which covered the tomatoes. Paul from the Texas Triffid Ranch and I visited this weekend. We had warmed up after the overnight freeze and I had upended all the pots covering the tomatoes. I invited him to see the garden and all those pots were laying all over the place. I am still blushing. Glad you came through the storm just fine.
Mr. McGregor's Daughter
I hope that’s the last of the snow, for both of us! You could try looking up your Daylily in the online Klehm’s catalogue in the Sparrow’s Nest section, which has thing not in the printed catalogue.
Hostas can be very confusing, and I used to spend a lot of time reading about them, but I found the best resource for them is the “Color Encyclopedia of Hostas” by Diana Grenfell.
Carol, May Dreams Gardens
I can barely look at those pictures. I get that funny feeling in the pit of my stomach, knowing that it could happen to me, and did in April 2007. I hope everything recovers nicely as your weather must surely improve!
I think you are wise not to get all wrapped up in hostas. A few go a long way. Though I do know some real hosta freaks up this way. They do grow so well here.
I look forward to seeing your new ones when they get a bit more mature. I have some I’d like ot replace.
Even the roses are wearing coats? Too cute! It is rather nippy here too but I am hoping for the best for all of us for this spring. Fingers and toes crossed!
oh Dee, the sheets on the arbor, are those from Macy’s???
Just kidding. What a week! I think we can “weather” anything together.
I love our letter exchange.
Yikes! What a fun meme, though. I love it!
Your letters are so much fun to read Dee! So newsy, and remind me of back when I used to exchange letters with out-of-state grandparents and pen-pals.
I hope your weather moderates very soon and everything recovers quickly.
linda´s last blog post..Pass-Along Plants
Dear Dee, my thoughts were with you as the weather kept telling us of the dire warnings of cold and ice in OK. I agree, they delight in the bad weather, it gives them many more viewers and helps with the ratings. Good weather and pretty days are just boring and no one wants to watch a weather map with nothing happening on it, even if those are the days we love. I am glad you gathered the posies for enjoyment. For us, the cold snap is here. A camellia that has never bloomed is opening flowers and is covered with an overturned garbage can for the night.
Frances´s last blog post..Weekend Warriors
Meems @Hoe & Shovel
I am so sorry about the late snow. It is so disconcerting to lose our precious garden plants to weather anomalies.I do hope all is not lost and that when the weather warms everything will perk back up. I bet those tulips were happy to be rescued.
Meems @Hoe & Shovel´s last blog post..So Much More Than Flowers and Veggies