Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Out with the Old

We certainly had a white Christmas this year.....the Portland area had record snowfalls and Cloudrest ended up with about 2 feet of snow, the most we've seen in over 35 years! The best part was that we didn't lose our electricity, which usually happens at least a few times during the Winter months. Our dead end private road wasn't cleared until a few neighbors hitched up plows to their tractors, but the hilly terrain and frozen surfaces still kept the mail and paper from being delivered for a few days. We enjoyed the quiet and solitude that the storm brought. Especially interesting was being able to see the various tracks of the animals as they foraged for food. Our family of deer (numbering 6-7) weren't shy, often coming right up to our doors and windows in search of greenery that had escaped the blanket of snow.

My garden was transformed into glistening mounds and snow-covered branches arching from the weight of the never-ending snow fall. Our trees held up quite well, with only a few branches broken off. Many of the smaller shrubs were protected from the record cold by being entirely covered up with snow. Others are slowly springing back to their original shapes after being flattened. Some of the more tender plants may need to be cut back to the ground later in the season, but for now I will leave them.

I'm sure this Spring there will be a surge of activity as Portland gardeners revive and reinvent their gardens. It may prove to be an opportunity to explore new ideas and plants. Perhaps having all those exotics and tropicals wasn't such a great idea!

There are still large patches of snow on our back slope. It's interesting how snow can accent the contours of the land and create wonderful patterns, making a simple slope appear as an intricate tapestry. The snow takes away all the clutter in the landscape. The landscape architect A.E.Bye knew this when he created his wonderful gardens in New England. Nature is indeed our best inspiration. Look to it for new ideas.

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