Marty's Gardening Journal, November 3rd, 2011

A gloomy Saturday morning dawned. We checked the weather channel. It looked like snow for most of Pennsylvania, but mostly rain for us. Well, so much for that particular forecast! Soon, little snowflakes started falling down, then the size of the flakes increased, dramatically. While this very wet snow at first didn’t stick, it soon became clear that this was one serious storm. As most trees were still in leaf, branches soon become laden down with snow and started sagging. Evergreens such as Arborvitae collected snow on their branches, which started to bend outward as well. I knocked the snow off several times, but eventually I gave up. The satellite dish was cleaned off a few times as well, but trudging through the wet snow became too much of a chore and we did without tv instead. Outside the world transformed into a winter wonderland, on October 30th!!!

Fall snowstorm 2011

The next morning I took stock. The Japanese cherry tree (Prunus serrulata), normally a vase shaped tree, looked more like a weeping cherry tree. The branches were hanging down so much they had dropped onto the roof of the car.

Japanese cherry tree in snow 2011

My small Korean lilac bushes which stood 5 feet tall were no higher than a foot. Everywhere plants were bowed down under the weight of the heavy wet snow and even careful removal of the snow did little to make them pop back up. Thankfully temperatures started rising again over the next days and most of the snow has melted by now. While in our development there hasn’t been much damage to the relatively young trees (17 years and counting), older more established neighborhoods with older trees fared far worse. In Central Park, New York, over a thousand trees were damaged, while the Brooklyn Botanical Garden has over two thousand damaged trees. Hundreds of thousands of people lost power in this State alone and now, days later, many people are still without electricity and heat. Hopefully, power will be restored to all by week’s end.

This storm gave us an early warning of weather to come as we are heading deeper into fall and inching towards winter. I am still not ready; there are 40 more daffodil bulbs to be planted and perennials to be dug up. Let’s hope I get a bit more time to do what I like best, playing in the “dirt”.