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Our Herb Garden > Garden Notes > Beauty of Winter

Beauty of Winter

    our crape myrtle, 2019 ice storm

    There’s a wonderful, old crape myrtle that lives along the side of our driveway. Throughout the year, it is one of the prettiest things in our garden. In early summer, it becomes totally covered in delicate pink flowers. As the new leaves form, they push the spent flowers off the branches and the driveway gets a dusting of what we call “pink snow.” In the fall, its bright orange and gold leaves often entrance the entire neighborhood.

    But, even when the myrtle is taking a well-earned rest during winter’s cold; she still knows how to put on a show. This winter’s ice storm was a biggie. The freezing rain began on a Friday night and didn’t really stop until late Saturday. It left everything in our garden encased with around a quarter inch of ice.

    Oddly enough, with this storm, the roads remained clear. Of course, that was generally until overburdened trees cracked and split under the tremendous weight of the ice. If you’ve ever lived in the southeastern part of the United States, you know there’s pretty much nothing homeowners fear more than the two little words “ice storm.” Well, maybe the cry “power’s out” when the temperatures outside are below freezing (or above 95, in the summer) is truly our biggest fear. But, “ice storm” is a pretty close second.

    The sound of tree limbs cracking echos for what seems like miles. It’s a sound unlike anything else. It’s a hollow, echo of a sound that is unmistakable. A new neighbor mentioned having never heard anything like it and admitted to being scared to death. The sharp crack is followed by a unique, almost musical, tinkling sound that’s made by all of the ice that cascades down from the broken limb and anything it hits on the way down.

    And yet, among the devastation that these ice storms leave behind, there are those quiet moments where there’s virtually no sound. The sun tries to peak between the clouds and the ice can sparkle like everything is coated in diamonds. The light wasn’t quite right in this photo to capture the sparkle, but it does show how very beautiful the world becomes when it is encased in ice. Thankfully, the ice is fleeting and usually melts within a day or two. And, luckily, with this storm our garden suffered only limited damage.

    Hopefully, our grand old lady, won’t suffer any lasting effects and will return to putting on her glorious shows of color in the coming months.

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