Plant Protection Time and Bee-utiful Weather

The weather forecasters have been very busy predicting the winter storm and severe cold for this weekend. We have been anticipating it for days. It was hard to believe it was really coming with the sun shining brightly and the thermometer readings of nearly 40 degrees yesterday! We decided to take heed of the warnings since the national news was confirming heavy and drifting snow followed by an arctic blast tonight and tomorrow.

The majority of our trees and shrubs are going to have to fend for themselves. We are hoping that the more established plants will fare well since we are far from spring and in no real threat to the buds. We think that the newest trees we planted are in a dormant stage that will also keep them protected. Our biggest worry is for the specimens that don’t really love the harsh cold but have come to thrive in our relatively light, previous winters. In the orchard, these would be the peach and nectarine trees and in the landscaped front quadrants, these would be the Japanese Maples and Portuguese Laurels.

So we devised a plan to create a wind screen of sorts for the laurels and were able to extend it somewhat to help protect some of the azaleas as well. The Japanese Maples may benefit from some of the wind barrier as well, but frankly, we ran out of time and burlap! Here were some of our essential supplies. Wooden stakes, burlap and a staple gun.IMG_5159

First we hammered stakes into the area in front of the plantings and added some bamboo poles that we had on hand to help for the shield.IMG_5154

Then we attached the burlap to the stakes, wrapping it from pole to pole. IMG_5157

Our arborist, Jon, advised us not to let the burlap touch the plants since the expectation of heavy snow could weigh on the burlap and actually do more damage with broken limbs. IMG_5161

Sure enough, the snow started early this morning and has been steadily falling and accumulating. We have been out most of the morning plowing, shoveling and gently brooming off the snow laden limbs to keep them from drowning in snow. Here are the Boulevard Cypress shrubs, laden with snow that fell in a mere 3 hours. IMG_5172

Here they are after I managed to broom off much of the snow. IMG_5173

I’m sure I will need to do this several times today, but I may have to quit with the photos since taking my gloves off to use my iPhone proved to be too much for my fingers after a short amount of time. Since this will only get worse, future photos may be taken from the warmth of the doorway!

All this time, Dave was out with the tractor, trying to make a little impact before the snow became too deep and the temps too challenging for even riding around on the machine! IMG_0903

Our new driveway is a dream to clear compared with the former pea gravel. IMG_5169

We have shoveled the front walks several times already so that our short legged Farley can manage to do his business without getting buried! I think I will have to get his winter coats out and let him model some of them in the next few days. For now, he is happily encamped as close to the fireplace flames as he can get and he confirms this by occasionally letting out a little sigh. For once, he is not particularly clamoring to join us outdoors but when he does, he can wear his, shearling wool coat, his down vest or his Gap hoodie! IMG_5179IMG_5180IMG_5183

As usual, I saved the best news for last! Yesterday afternoon I received an e-mail from J&H (it was actually from H) alerting me to a day-long workshop on beekeeping being offered by the Eastern Missouri Beekeepers Association in February. I immediately signed up for the beginner level and will look forward to this educational outing.IMG_5178 2

We then met long time friends (sounds better than old, eh?) Tom and Joan for a pre-blizzard, post-holiday dinner and we had a little gift exchange. They were right on target with the bee theme…this is what we found in the box for the Sauerhoffs: A pair of gorgeous, goatskin beekeepers gloves and three types of honey (spring, summer, fall?) from local, Clayton, Missouri hives and aptly named ‘Stinger’s Honey’. I will be delving into lots of reading about beekeeping before the workshop and will dream of the buzzing of future hives! IMG_5177 2

Luckily, I have plenty of knitting to work on in between outings of plowing, shoveling and brooming of plants!  IMG_5175

Oh the weather outside is frightful
But the fire is so delightful
And since we’ve got no place to go
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!!

2 thoughts on “Plant Protection Time and Bee-utiful Weather

  1. Good luck with the damage control measures! These photos just scream “hot chocolate!”. . .and Farley will look quite dapper as he surveys the snowscape. It looks like we both are experiencing a real WINTER weekend. 🙂

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