Welcome to my zone 9 garden. My roots are deeply planted in the sandy soil of sub-tropical central Florida, where the summers are long and hot, but the rest of the year is paradise!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Painful Relief

I spent the better part of last Thursday preparing the yard for the arrival of Hurricane Matthew. It's at times like these that you realize how much non-plant stuff you have in the garden. One day later and a garage and house full of patio furniture, garden doo dads, benches and various other stuff - - we filled our jugs of water and waited for the arrival of our uninvited guest. Thankfully the storm was not as strong as was expected but, nonetheless, he left his mark on my garden. From tattered and broken banana tree leaves . . .

 to branches and leaves scattered across the patio, his high gusty winds were busy wreaking their havoc.

 He blew and he blew until several plants, including my large elephant ears gave way and surrendered.

He snapped every dead branch in the oak and carefully disbursed them evenly across the walkway. He did a great job - don't you think?  He saved me some money since I won't need to hire a tree trimmer to clean out the trees now.

 He flattened my beloved red pentas and blackberry lilies. Even the amaryllis' look forlorn and exhausted after his unwelcomed visit.

He insisted that the yellow flowering candlestick plants would no longer be standing when he finished his unrestrained use of power.  He ripped a shingle from the roof of the birdfeeder and would have blown it down, too, had the crape myrtle not been there to lend its support. 

As I surveyed the yard Friday afternoon my spirits were lifted when I saw a hummingbird visit the red spike and a couple of teensy butterflies on the salvia.  They, too, were glad that Matthew was gone! The birds soon began squawking the good news, too. Things were returning to normal. The next day as I began cleaning up, I found 3 Monarch caterpillars on the ground and was able to place them back on the Milkweed plants - small joys in the life of a gardener.

As painful as it was to see this mess, it was a huge relief that all the big oaks around my home were still standing, and that the storm had been less than expected! We did however, lose electricity for 33 hours due to a huge oak down the road from us which took down the power lines. But, all-in-all it could have been a lot worse, and I'm thankful that it wasn't.

In closing, I must say it was so kind of Matthew to take the sticky humidity in our air with him when he left. It makes putting all that non-gardening stuff back in the yard a breeze!

I do hope my fellow Florida gardeners did not have any major devastation in their gardens. 

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