The wind was ceaseless, blowing steadily with strong gusts for several days. The sound of it whooshing across the rippled ridges of the metal roof was disturbing, like we were out to sea on a raft without protection from the elements, even though we were nestled safely in the loving arms of the lazyboy and the laptop. Above: Snow in summer, Cerastium tomentosum framed by blue fescue, Festuca glauca in the knot garden.
It rattled the airlock stairwell entry to the garage, sneaking inside from the gap under the heavy double bay windowed garage door. The gap is stuffed with a styrofoam cylinder that was part of the packaging of electronic equipment, to help keep out the cold. It helps keep the garage a bit warmer, but the wind is cunning at finding openings through which to enter. Above: Baptisia australis, grown from seed collected here.
Looking outside from the warmth of the addition, the movement of the trees, shrubs and grasses was like a choreographed tribal dance with swaying, bowing and wild whirling of loose leaves. Small twigs and a few larger limbs came crashing down, breaking fragile stems that were top heavy with flower buds. But the taller lily stalks had been tied previously to recycled metal bits, a task worth the time and effort, a lesson learned from past heartbreaks. Above: Various lilies, one not tied properly at all, must fix.
When will it stop, I wondered. It was sucking the life force out of me, both by the relentlessness of it and the cold knife edge that made walking around the garden, a daily ritual performed several times every few hours, or minutes, uncomfortable, even wearing a winter coat with the hood up. Above: True English bluebell, Hyacinthoides non-scripta, from Old House Gardens.
But the wind can be a vehicle of saving grace as well as a torture device. When there is threat of killing frost to commercial farmers of edible crops, large fans or even sometimes helicopters will stir the air to help keep the cold moisture from alighting on the fruits and solidifying the juices of the cell structure within, ruining the produce. Above: Deciduous azlaea, Rhododendron ‘Mt. St. Helen’s, fronted by Eupatorium rugosum ‘Chocolate’ foliage.
In this season the so-call Blackberry Winter has come late, (click here to read about the winters of spring in the Southern Appalachian mountains.) The blackberry brambles can be seen in uncultivated areas, even along the highways and byways, covered in white single petal blooms, holding the promise of a heavy crop. But in the Fairegarden, there are less hardy flowers, Iris, peonies, Alliums, among many others that could be burned or turned to mush by too much cold. Above: Dutch iris, Iris hollandica ‘Bronze Beauty’.
Will these out of schedule blossoms survive? Will the orchids already placed on the copper mesh lined shelves tolerate the temperatures? Will the returning for the fourth year dahlia perish, along with the others planted last fall that were snatched up at clearance prices? Above: Dahlia ‘Gallery Cobra’, October 2011.
By Christina Rossetti (1830–1894)
Who has seen the wind?
Neither I nor you:
But when the leaves hang trembling,
The wind is passing through.
Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I:
But when the trees bow down their heads,
The wind is passing by.