FIRST CAME THE ICE STORM

And what year was that?  2004? 2005?  That was a difficult winter.

The ice storm continued for two nights, and my adolescent live oak tree about folded itself in half.  Living alone here then,  the damage was overwhelming.  I hauled and burned for weeks and FEMA picked up damage for months.  After they left, the county still picked up damage we all managed to haul to the road.

It was not until I figured out how to use some of the damage creatively that the work became easier to do.  In the pictures above, you can see that the gardens are circled by big oak branches.  I started doing that during the clean up.  And every year, I add more as the older wood disintegrates.   These pictures show just part of the gardens here.

The ice storm, or “Nature’s pruning” as some optimistic people call it, did a number on our woods.  Where the crowns of the trees had created a round and loopy line as they reached the sky, after the storm, it looked like Death Valley in an alternate universe.  There was no crown to speak of on any trees, and the tallest pines looked like Dr. Seuss designed them.  They had lost all their limbs save the very top ones, and those tops were round and poofy.

One thing this huge pruning did for our woods is that sun got into places it had not for a while.  It was maybe two years later that I noticed huge white flowers at the top of what I had thought to be bay trees.  Were they really magnolias?  This brings me around to my current topic, my new garden around the new bedroom addition.  Almost done with it now, and spending no money other than the 20 bucks spent on a pretty large Japanese maple,  I transplanted two magnolias from the woods to the new space yesterday.

Well I am confused between bay trees and magnolia trees.  Doing a little research, the names of these trees jump around in both varieties with a spectrum of hyphenated choices.  Google “magnolia” and you get a number of different names: swamp magnolia, swamp laurel, laurel magnolia, white bay, bay magnolia, sweetbay magnolia, loblolly- bay, holly-bay; it goes on and on.  It seems that both bay and magnolia have creamy white flowers.  Is anybody clear about these trees and their flowers?  Somebody is, but there is a lot of contradictory information on the net.

I also saw opposing opinions about whether deer like bay trees or magnolia trees.  It seems deer will eat the tender flowers of either, if hungry enough. Thinking that maybe I could deduce what we have here with the fact that deer do not eat what i know for sure to be a Little Gem Magnolia, this seems to be a specious task as well.

Above is one of my Little Gem Magnolias in a huge pot, during the ice storm and sometime after.  The tree is the perfect height for deer to eat it, but they do not.  Some entries on the web talk about deer not eating the trees, but rubbing up against them, which can do its own type of damage.  I see none of that here.

Back to the new garden.  Below, on the left with a shimmer,  is the first bay/magnolia transplanted yesterday.

And here is the second.

As one website advised, magnolias with their shallow root system like water that leaches from fallen leaves of their own.  So I raked up the fallen environment in the little magnolia (?) woods across the driveway, and imported them here.

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3 thoughts on “FIRST CAME THE ICE STORM

  1. Great method for helping a transplanted magnolia recover from the shock! Awesome use of links, too. The storm was in 2004 – my senior year of high school

  2. Lee, you help us do the mind/attitude shift to what beauty can come from storms with an artist’s imagination and your determination. Thanks! love, Madelyn in Chicago, another trip with Dad to Denver that went well

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