Honestly, much of my spring garden looks like hell.
My spring garden is a shadow of its former self. Remember the October ice storm? After cleaning up all the limbs and being without power for two weeks, two more snowstorms hit Oklahoma. The final February storm had an extended and intense cold period that did a number on my garden. Any plants below the snow line, which looks to be about six inches, are fine for the most part. The perennials are pretty fresh. Snow is a great insulator.
Everything above the snow line in my spring garden burnt to a crisp.
The plants above ground, especially trees and shrubs, took a terrible beating, unlike anything I’ve seen before. I don’t know if the deodar cedars will ever recover although I saw one in Oklahoma City starting to sprout fresh green tips. As for my southern magnolia, Magnolia grandiflora, I called three arborists for help, but they are all booked until June. I planted that tree as a sapling 32 years ago, so that one really hurts. I hope someone can save it. It’s too tall for me to handle.
I’ve been working feverishly to clean up debris, remove trees, and cut down crapemyrtles which I hope will come back from the ground. They have before. My friend, Sharon, and I worked all day last Saturday just removing dead plant material. I still have much more to do.
I have two favorite power tools right now. They are made by DeWalt and are the first battery-powered tools strong enough to do this kind of work. They are pricey, but the batteries are interchangeable and rechargeable. I cut down all of my crapemyrtles trees with the DEWALT 20V MAX XR Chainsaw. I used the DEWALT 20V MAX Cordless Hedge Trimmer to cut down my ornamental grasses and will use it to trim up the boxwoods. I’ll also use it out front on my shrubs. It is fast and easy to use. No electric cords either.
I surveyed the remaining damage with a plan for the future.
I took a break from carnage control and walked around my property today, taking pictures. In the ice storm, I lost two Japanese maples, and another is damaged but alive. They were all small trees because they were in the newest shady section of the garden, but it’s still a hit. I’m sad to report that one Acer palmatum, ‘August Moon’ is no more. I have one ‘August Moon’ remaining, and I’m grateful for that. I replaced the other with a new orange one from Marcum’s Nursery. I think Marcum’s has a great selection of Japanese maples. Many sizes too so that they don’t completely break your budget. I love Japanese maples in the Oklahoma landscape so I keep planting them in shady spots.
[Click on the gallery photos to enlarge them.]
I noticed the native trees and shrubs had very little damage from the ice, cold, and heavy, wet snow. Ribes odoratum, clove currant, Viburnum rufidulum, southern blackhaw, Lindera benzoin, spicebush, V. dentatum, southern arrowwood, and Ceanothus americanus, New Jersey tea, all sailed through the storms with aplomb. So, I believe I will plant more native trees and shrubs throughout my garden. I finally found Amelanchier × grandiflora ‘Autumn Brilliance’ serviceberry at Nature Hills Nursery which I will plant next to the green she shed. I couldn’t find one locally. When it arrives, I’ll take a photo and post it to Instagram.
Even so, I won’t ever have a fully native garden. There are several exotics I still love, but in places where nothing else thrives, native shrubs seem to fit the bill. Also, they take less care than roses. I still love roses, and I ordered several from David Austin. They should be arriving soon.
So, that’s the garden report after the storm. All of my seedlings are still hanging out in the greenhouse while I watch the weather. We may have one more cold morning so don’t plant any tropicals yet. That includes tomatoes.
Beautiful if battered, my garden will look different this year, but it will survive. It has been through similar extremes before. I hope all of you are having a beautiful spring. Talk to you soon.