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Storm-Altered Landscapes

Horticulturist and frequent Behnkes speaker Carol Allen has this report from her post-Derecho garden.

Carol’s “garden.”

Today an entourage of fourteen Pepco-affiliated service trucks descended on my little gravel road. They put up a new pole and strung some obviously temporary lines! …but I have POWER!!

My once heavily shaded yard has been reduced to a continuous brush pile about 15′ high in some areas. I will be moving my hostas and hellebores as I can reach them, as I still have some shady areas to the north and east of the house.

I have entertained my insurance adjuster, who remarked he had never seen anything as bad as our area. I have also entertained the owners of two tree removal companies. They both said they have NEVER seen anything as bad as our neighborhood. There are over 100 mature trees snapped off at about 20′ from the ground or totally uprooted.

Not to put too much of an emotional spin on it, but I have lost a landscape of 40 years work. The 25′ Dove tree is snapped off, the female fringe tree is now just a couple of thin trunks, and I can’t see the male fringe tree because it’s buried under oak limbs. The male fringe tree is next to a Styrax japonica, which is next to a Stewartia rostrata; I can’t see the damage to them, either. I have/had a Stewartia malacodendron, but it’s buried under the tops of three 50-year-old hemlocks. *Sigh.*  The Japanese Katsura is uprooted…but I really should have put a native tree there in the first place! Now I will.

I could go on, but I am sure there are many of us who will be coping with altered landscapes after we clean up from last Friday’s storm.

As a gardener, I look forward to more space for the daylilies that I love. I’ve always wanted the delight of fresh figs. There are many sun-loving perennials that I’ll now be able to grow in profusion. We gardeners know how to turn a cataclysmic event into new opportunities.

I wish everyone the inspiration and strength to meet the challenges of those opportunities.

Stephanie Fleming was raised at Behnke’s Nurseries in Beltsville. Her Mom, Sonja, was one of Albert & Rose Behnke’s four children. She was weeding from the moment she could walk and hiding as soon as she was old enough to run, so many weeds, so little time. Although she quickly learned how to pull out a perennial and get taken off of weed pulling duty.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. What a lovely post with the “can do” attitude of gardeners! I have always felt that we are just stewards of our gardens and what happens may not always be what we plan! I am sorry for your loss and good luck in your “new” garden!

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