Sunday, September 6, 2009

35 Days After by Gardener Cumax

I've never been one to interfere with Nature, but that has never stopped Nature from periodically cold-cocking me to let me know who is really in charge. When the weak tornado that roared through at 10:35pm Monday, July 21st, Nature packed quite the punch for these parts. I hope I never hear the word "microburst" again because they are what they are: micro. No, this was a sustained macroburst if you will. How else are ping pong ball sized hail be sustained horizontally for 10 minutes? Yeah, right.

Remember the huge hailstorm 3 summers ago? That hail came down pretty much straight with such density and force that it muddied portions of the house 12' about the ground. There was no such forensics this time around; leaves were tattooed to whatever vertical planes and panes around. I do admit to liking the polka dotting on the fence though. The aftermath was gut-wrenching. It's really tough to see your hardwork, tender loving care and vigilance viciously shredded in a maelstrom of hail. Perhaps most shocking was how neatly every single of my plants save for tomatoes was cut exactly 8" off the ground. Lettuce was cut slightly lower despite being shielded by a vegetated fence (my succulent collection). Carrots had their tops completely removed. This was a microburst? Maybe at your place, but not at mine. Tomato stalks would have been completely shredded had I not staked them.

Now the garden looks much better. It's amazing what 30 days of sun and heat can do for a garden. Here's what I learned. It's okay to let Nature deadhead your flowers. I wouldn't do it as severely as Nature did, but next year I'm going to try deadheading seeing that Nature got the intended results: more flowers. This applied to perennials only. My annuals have not made any kind of comeback at all. It's been great seeing Echinacea sp, Linum lewisii, Sedums sp, Sempervivums and others come back and flower. Whew!
Carrot tops will grow back and their flavor will not have changed. Mine haven't anyways and I'm very happy that they've grown back because I have a bunch of them. Don't prune the tomatoes. Ever. They will not set fruit very well, if at all. The fruit I have right now was set about a week before the storm and they were sheltered from most, but not all, of the fury.
Do hope for a hail storm to pound your grass. Ours was brown and totally responded to the cool temps and ice coating - the hail was unusually ice clear with very little white which to me indicated it was rapidly cooled the way ice cubes are - by growing green again. It's looked lovely with minimal fuss. Overall, I'm happy to report that my garden isn't the total loss it looked like the day after. Nature severe pruning taught me a thing or two. One is to never stop trusting it and look for what can learn. I don't control the weather, but I do control what I can learn and how I can work with nature.