Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Wordy Wednesday

Sorry: no pretty pictures!

I might have had some pretty images to share yesterday: snow on agaves, snow on yuccas--that sort of thing (we got almost 10" of snow that melted like butter on a skillet--mostly gone in a day!), but I forgot to load my charging battery in my camera: you shall just have to imagine them.

I happened to look at an old blog from last year--there was more blooming in February than there is now in mid-April: the most devastating spring in over half a century. It will take months--maybe years--to assess the extent of damage from our severe frost on April 8--when we had 7F and only a dusting of snow. So strange to have almost our entire suite of spring bulbs wilted or frozen utterly--and all the flowering shrubs and trees fried for at least a month: no crabapple fruits to bother tidy gardeners this year.

I am sure that by mid-summer our gardens will have "healed" and the damage will not be as obvious. But after seven of the most perfect springs in Colorado history (I now realize--we did have a late frost or two one or two of those springs that curtailed some of the magnolias or forsythias a bit) but nothing like this. This was a Lollapalooza that will go into our history books like the October 31, 1969 early autumn freeze when the temperature dropped 100 degrees Farenheit in 24 hours and killed marginal trees (and many toughies) outright.

Every climate regime has its moments: hurricanes in Florida, drought in Texas, winter cold in Tucson have all taken great tolls in recent years. We are not immune on the steppes of Colorado--in fact, we have more than our share of untimely frost and hailstorms. One could argue that it's these BAD times that make the Good Times GOOD.  Just as we need the Damocles sword of death to make us realize how precious life is. Perhaps this explains the media frenzy over the terrible Boston bombings of yesterday: the awful contrast of bombing at such a joyous event--making us realize our hum drum lives are not so bad?

I look at the lush Facebook postings of springtime in New York City by Gary Lincoff (the great mycologist), or Gerry Barad's daily images of gigantic cherry trees in blossom, or suchlike and I sigh. We too have had lovely springs. And maybe when I get back from Europe in a month or so things will have healed a bit.

Speaking of Europe, Peter Korn writes that this is the latest, coldest, and most miserable winter where they have had the most damage ever: sound familiar? So out of the frying pan into the fire! Great!

I may have to change my Avatar name to Eeyore.

I promise: I'll find something pretty to post--even if it is a big pile of snow with a few agave points sticking out of it!


  1. Hi, Eeyore K.! I hear you, all the early plants are a month late down in Abq (many still daffodils, redbuds), but all the late plants are greening up on-time (mesquite leaf-out, etc). Maybe everyone is becoming like the wild side of the high plains steppes?

  2. Panayoti, Here is a blog post that might explain things.



  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Thanks for the link: glad to know about Chris Helzer's blog: looks like a good one to peruse!

    I'm sure one could "explain" our Colorado weather a million ways--and his is plausible no doubt.

    Simple fact: our springs are usually capricious: the miracle is not that we've had this horrible spring: fact is, practically every spring here is subject to repeated frosts. Old timers day we don't have spring at all: just a constant yin-yang between winter and summer--actually year round! (At least from January to June).

    What was really miraculous was that from 2006 to 2012--that's SEVEN years--we had nearly maritime springs: with gentle warming and only a few years had late frosts--which were not severe enough to cause major damage (just finish of magnolias say). Seven good years in a row is almost a lifetime! We were lulled into such complacency that now we have a truly more "Normal" spring (i.e. schizophrenic, bipolar, wacko) we freak out! The steppe climate is by nature whimsical and unpredictable--and we steppers have to just suck it up and get used to it! Illinois (don't forget) is at the other end of the summer rainfall steppe from Denver--so we are brothers under the sky! I had to delete the post and repost it because I found too many typos the first time (problem with writing during insomniac spells!)

    1. Panayoti, I have found it best to refrain from using the computer between 10 pm and 6 am. What I write when I should be sleeping usually just embarrasses me later. However, this is often easier said than done. I find it is best to stay in bed when I cannot sleep. When my mind is ready to relax again I waste no time falling back into rejuvenating rest.


  5. Yet to see a single bloom here in Wisconsin except for the apple branches I snipped off and forced indoors in a mason jar of water. I didn't have a single apple last year due to a late frost, but I still have my fingers crossed this year.

  6. You are lucky to be late this year, Nicholas: you will probably have your fruit. We were lulled by a series of seven years of thinking we lived in a milder climate than we do: this abrupt and horribly flip flop between the deep freeze and warm days is actually more like it has been over the years: very discouraging indeed! We are at least three or four weeks behind last year--and slipping since we have had such great amount of snow lately: oh well!


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