In times like these a blog post is as much a record for myself as it is a general report on what's happening in here in Portland. As such I'll share the coldest temperature officially recorded was 24, both Friday and Saturday nights, but more concerning is the fact we didn't make it above freezing from Thursday afternoon until early Monday morning—and with the strong east winds the wind-chill was in the single digits, of concern for broadleaf evergreens. It's hard to tell just how much snow fell, as the wind sent it drifting here and there. I'm guessing 10-12", a mix of snow, then ice, then snow, then ice.
Anyway, enough talking! How about some photos?
Invasion of the pod people! After years of watching me use every sort of bucket, empty container, and plastic bin at my disposal Andrew finally embraced his desire to build with split bamboo and last year he made a series of domes that—when covered with plastic—could be used over some of my more vulnerable plants. Since our temperatures for this event weren't predicted to fall below the 20's I was toying with the idea of not covering any my agaves. After all, they're temperature hardy... so why bother, especially when covering might trap moisture and do more harm than good? But when I mentioned that's how was leaning I could see his disappointment, he had made all of these, but hadn't seen them in action. So what the heck. This—above and below—is what our front garden looked like last Thursday morning, when the moisture was still rain, not snow.
Midday Saturday, this is the dome to the left of the steps in the photo above.
And the same dome midday Sunday.
Here's a container up against the front of the house that I briefly considered moving to the garage, but then realized it was just too heavy, photo taken on Thursday.
The same container on Sunday. The shrub on the right is a pineapple guava (Acca sellowiana) and it's in a container that's about two feet tall.
Last Thursday I wrote about the Echium wildpretii I was going to protect, even though I was pretty sure it wouldn't end well. Here's the largest, under an old garbage can.
Another under an overturned glazed pot.
And another, this one under one of Andrew's domes and a little frost cloth.
Remembering the great astelia melts of previous winters I also covered a couple of them. We'll see if they appreciated it once the thaw is underway.
Last year Andrew also made a couple of split bamboo tunnels. These went up late last fall, to keep things underneath dry.
The occupants received no added protection because dry succulents are better able to handle the cold.
I called this frozen Mt Sarracenia on Instagram and think it's a pretty good name! Friday 2/12...
It's interesting how brittle looking the yucca leaves become when the temperatures drop, and their colors get very dull and intense.
Then they get swallowed up by the snow.
Uncovered agave on Friday...
And on Saturday...
The gate to the back garden was nearly impossible to open on Friday evening, so after digging it out we left it open. Can you see the sheen of ice?
Schefflera brevipedunculata, cold and with a coat of ice on Saturday.
Ditto for the Schefflera delavayi.
It's tricky knowing exactly where to walk when everything is covered with snow. I appreciate identifiable borders like with this black mondo grass, Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens'.
Mahonia eurybracteata 'Indianola Silver' doesn't seem to like the cold at all. It's no longer silver, but rather sort of speckled.
The agaves are letting me know they can't be contained, Agave 'Sharkskin'
The same A. ovatifolia as above... it's snugged up to a frozen stock tank pond. The damage on that overhanging leaf comes from the stupid raccoon jerks who went for a swim last summer and then couldn't get out.
The Southeast corner of our patio. The wall is about 17" tall, but only a couple inches are visible above the snow.
Here's one of the plants I completely forgot about while tending to the tenders, Sinopanax formosanus (center), I think (hope) it will be okay.
Ice on a Fatsia japonica leaf.
Dasylirion wheeleri and Callistemon 'Woodlander's Hardy Red'
Yucca harrimaniae x nana
There's an Agave parryi 'JC Raulston' under that plastic dome.
Ditto for that one...
I thought the Callistemon sieberi foliage looked quite striking against the snow.
Here's the side of my car on Sunday afternoon as things started to get a little more icy...
And dammit! I'd been pretty confident our local rabbits hadn't yet found the back garden and it's sumptuous banquet of foliage delights. I was wrong. The little bugger didn't even use the open gate but yet squeezed in next to the house, letting me know he's done this before.
I followed his tracks around the upper garden, he eventually moved into the neighbor's back garden.
A snow covered Trachycarpus wagneriensis.
Nolina hibernica ‘La Siberica’
Sammy, our tallest Yucca rostrata.
Looking back at one of our Trachycarpus wagneriensis in the foreground with our Trachycarpus fortunei behind it, and the neighbor's even taller T. fortunei behind that.
The bamboo doesn't hold up well to the ice.
Another Nolina hibernica ‘La Siberica’ with a loropetalum in front.
And finally just a late Sunday afternoon shot of the front garden.
Really we were very lucky through this entire event. Only time will tell what kind of damage the garden has sustained—but so many folks I know have been without power for days. Others are without power and face the daunting task of cleaning up downed trees and branches from the catastrophic ice fall—so much damage! Then of course you have the ridiculously low temperatures my friends in Texas are facing. Mother nature surely does remind us who is in charge, doesn't she?
**edited before publishing Tuesday morning to add that I had every intention of updating this post with photos from Monday, the 15th, but time and energy got away from me—so Storm Report Part Two will be filed on Thursday the 18th—stay tuned for more exciting news! (hahaha)**
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Weather Diary, Feb 15: Hi 49, Low 30/ Precip .03
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