O Hail!

(I've copied the following from a post I did for the Colorado Gardening forum...I think it said what I needed to say about whether or not to visit Kendrick Lake soon after their disastrous Hail)

Kendrick Lake was extremely hard hit three weeks ago by the hailstorm: about as hard hit as much of the West side of town in the Kipling-Wadsworth zone from southernmost metro to Arvada. I went a week after the hail and saw Molly and Greg and their crew essentially cutting everything that was damaged severely to the nubbins. It was heartbreaking.

Everyone who has experienced hail of this order knows the feeling: helplessness, depression, sadness. I as sure most people on the list have read Lauren's magnificent chapter on hail in the Undaunted Garden. I also recommend the opening chapters of The Thunder Tree by America's foremost nature writer (and our native son too) Robert Michael Pyle. Hail sucks.

But suck it up, we live in a Hail zone. I was STUNNED to see that every manzanita at Kendrick Lake seemed unfazed by the hail: they are obviously used to it! And quite a few other plants were barely touched. it occurred to me that designing "hail proof" gardens might be a worthwhile endeavor, especially in areas prone to the phenomenon.

So visiting Kendrick now would be instructive to put it mildly. I think it was two years ago Kendrick was hit again in early July, I think, by a really bad hail. They did the cleanup thing and I recall going by a month later and my jaw dropped: it was spectacular. I have no doubt that will happen again (although the garden is a bit older, and the soils perhaps not quite so rich and the plants not quite so juvenile and quick as they were then--and the storm came a week or so later than the previous time). I predict by early September Kendrick will look perfect!

My last words of hard won wisdom: I have experienced a number of hail events over the years. They are profoundly humbling...and those were the years I sort of gave up gardening and had a bit of a life! If you are hail hit, don't despair--just take up another hobby for a short while.

Miraculously, the garden bounces back faster than you ever dream possible, and next year you will enjoy and appreciate and love it all the more realizing how utterly frail and evanescent our efforts be. Gardens are not monuments, but mercurial moments of precarious balance that we must celebrate and treasure, even as they are ravaged by weather, weeds and their inevitable demise.

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