On Wednesday, June 8 at 11:00 pm I was awakened from a dead sleep when the sky exploded and a freight train crashed onto the new metal roof of my house in northern Colorado. Flying from my bedroom to look out the back door, I couldn’t hear anything but the pummeling of 1″-sized hail crashing at supersonic speeds from the sky to my deck, patio, gardens, cars… Forget the cars, but what about the gardens???
It lasted for 30 minutes, and it took 25 of those for me to register the enormity of the disaster. By then, it was too late and all I could do was go back to bed and deal with the trauma in the morning.
Of course the worst part was that we’d been preparing the garden for an outdoor dinner party with some “Very important gardeners” from out of town for the past week. Every weed was pulled, every (EVERY!) new plant in the ground, and ALL the containers were brimming with color and strategically placed to impress our guests. I’d also just brought home several trays of trial plants for Plant Select® – ready for placement the next day.
It took me a day in shock to be able to face the mess, but that weekend we got in and cleaned the worst of the shredded foliage out of the beds (completely filled my very large compost bin – shouldn’t be full of GREEN leaves this early in the season, right?). It’s been over a week now, and many of the perennials are springing back to life. Unfortunately, the spruce were in fresh bud, so they’re trashed for another year or two. The pines weren’t flushed yet, so the new growth is strong, though the plants are all a bit thinner. Anything with a wide leaf (Silver sage, viburnums, Crambe maritima – a potential Plant Select® selection) were trashed, and all my Eremurus (foxtail lilies) are now about to bloom, albeit one-sided like apricot and yellow flower flags.
Now that I’ve had time to recover, I’ve found that many parts of the garden have recovered a bit, as well. The fine-foliaged plants fared the best – grasses are tattered but look like they’ll come out of it. Golden storksbill (a 2011 Plant Select® winner) looks perfect except for lost flowers. We’ll trim the spruce to shape later in the season, and their adventitious buds will pop new growth in the spring. Bush clematis (C. integrifolia Mongolian Bells®) and Crambe were cut all the way to the ground and are already responding to their “second spring.”
Unfortunately, most of the agaves and yuccas are trashed completely, so will have to be replaced (or not).
As all gardeners, however, we are ever the optimists and will be heading to Timberline Gardens this afternoon to replenish and replant this weekend!