29 January 2008

The Ice Queen's visit

Well, Her Cold Majesty the Ice Queen decided it wasn't Within Temptation to leave us alone, and she has paid us one heck of a visit. The temperature has hovered around freezing all day today, so that most of her handiwork has yet to disappear. And that's not necessarily a good thing. I always enjoy a bit of ice on plants, for a few hours or so, but it's now been more than 30 hours since the ice first started to form.

In the Valley, it's all melted. I wish I had taken my camera with me today when we went to the Valley, because you could see about halfway up the side of the mountain where the ice started on the trees. I did go up the road a ways this morning to have a look at the trees, and it's quite evident that there are going to be some very damaged trees come spring. Some of these have already broken off.

In our garden, the evergreens just shrugged their limbs, drooped down as they were with a mantle of ice, but are mostly unphased. The big spruces, especially, have seen far worse. In 1995, we had an ice storm that left the Valley encased in crystal for several days. And then there was the great ice storm of ten years ago, early January of 1998. THAT did a lot of damage, of course, and not just to trees. So it's all relative, isn't it?

My Harry Lauder walking stick (Corylus avellana 'Contorta') seems quite unphased by the ice, probably because his limbs are already twisty and flexible.

It wasn't until I was examining this photo of my 'Diane' hamamelis that I realized inside the ice you can see the starting of flower petals! EEEEPS! She's trying to flower and she's covered in ice?? It's her first winter in the garden, and now I want to go out with an electric blanket and warm her up. Okay, just kidding. But I want the ice OFF her!

Do you ever find that no matter HOW MANY photos you take, there's never the exact one you want? I've poked through hundreds of photos looking for a similar view of this part of the yard in summer. I know some of you will recognize the arbour, of course...

These are the birch trees behind the arbour. They're normally between 20-25 feet high, some maybe a little more. Not right now. Several are broken in the tops, necessitating some surgery or outright removal come spring. All of them are bowed down under the huge weight of ice.

And again, this isn't quite the angle I wanted, but you can see one of the young willows in the centre background. We planted these as little more than branches picked up from a broken willow, about seven years ago, and they're all about 15-20 feet tall now.

Well, they WERE...being willows, they may well spring back, but one is laying down in the horse's paddock, right over the fence (also flat). The other shrubs in the area are fine, the barberries and roses and Acer ginnala and Physocarpus opulifolius, etc are all fine, but the top is broken from a birch nearby too.

Well, let's look on the bright side of things. No one is hurt, there are no flooded roads like in some parts of our region, and as I said the Valley has mostly thawed; we will tomorrow, when the temperature is supposed to go up to 8 C. The power didn't go out, the Internet came back on last night after we got home, and January is nearly over. Which brings us one step closer to spring. And tulips. And other pleasures.

It'll all be okay.


  1. Ice encased plants are so beautiful, I especially like the Harry Lauder walking stick.

    We had a major ice storm when we lived in Memphis, TN, the damage and destruction was unbelievable. Many people were without power for weeks. It was quite frightening

  2. Eeeks is right! The Ice Queen decided to settle in for a spell. The photographs are beautiful, especially the H. Lauder Walking Stick and the Witch Hazel ones. I hope the Witch Hazel blooms okay in spite of the ice visitation.

    The tulip photograph was a welcome site this night.

  3. I really like the teasel in ice. What I wonder is how you got around outside with all the ice. I say that your wildflowers in winter photos really qualify.

  4. Hauntingly beautiful pictures. We've had some bad weather this evening. The wind is just howling out there. I wonder what it will be like in the morning?

    Stay warm!
    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  5. Hi Jodi - it is beautiful, but there's always some destruction when ice hits. Maybe the hamamelis buds are safer inside the crystal casing?

    We had a pretty bad ice storm last year with trees bowed to the ground... some bounced, some needed to be pruned - I hope yours can rebound!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  6. It just all looks so cold! Great pic of the Harry Lauder Walking Stick encased in ice.

  7. I love the teasel photo! All those little drops so perfectly frozen. The ice is destructive, that's for sure, but it really is beautiful in its own right. :)

  8. These willows 'under' ice look interesting - I remember a picture of yours published some posts before - previous arbor made by your husband - and behind it, the willows in similar winter landscape looked so majestic...

  9. Aren't most trees and shrubs able to set a second set of buds in case of emergency? We have larvae in Sweden that encases trees completely in webs (it really looks like something out of a scary movie), chewing away on the leaves. A few weeks after the attack the trees have usually grown new leaves and looks completely healthy. Unfortunately I can't remember the name of the tree (maples or aspens I think) nor the larvae :-S

  10. Beautifull pictures.We don't have such low temperatures arround here (not that I'm complaining ;-) ), so for me these pictures are always wonderfull

  11. What a wonderful post for Wildflowers in the winter. Your pictures are beautiful. As I write this, I see that your actual WIW post is below.

  12. Scary is the word that comes to mind for all the ice. Do you get used to it after a while or is it always jarring? How do you drive, or were you walking? Chains on the tires? Your poor Diane, I was looking at the one here yesterday, we only have one cluster of buds, no showing of any color yet though.

  13. The photos are hauntingly similar to mine from the storm of '98. If only the ice didn't cause so much damage I'd be wishing for more. Hope your trees and shrubs didn't suffer too much.

  14. Beautiful photographs, as always. Lovely post, really capturing the quality or personality of your area. Here in Florida we're on a completely different planet. I often think I would prefer real seasons, but it's a trade-off isn't it?

  15. The ice is a blessing - as it protects the plant from the freezing drying cold.

    beautiful pictures

  16. I love ice storm photos and yours are great. The Corylus avellana especially.

  17. Jodie, Love your site.....did you paint the flowers on the on the border? And the icy photo of the contorted filbert was gorgeous.

  18. You need a giant, industrial blowdryer with a really long extension cord...

  19. Hi Jodi,
    I noticed you visited my blog today and left a comment, thank you! The funny thing is I found your blog today as well and enjoyed it tremendously. I have to hand it to you for celebrating the beauty of the winter garden eventhough you long for the return of Spring! I'll be back!


  20. Very nice Jodi, Your Diane with the ice is so beautiful, I'm so glad that it's the 31st tomorrow I do not like January.

  21. Stunning pictures Jodi .. I wish I wasn't such a coward about the bad weather and go out to get some pictures like yours !
    The teasel is what really got me .. perfectly frozen in time !
    I think we will all be glad to have January over with .. these mini ice storms are scary .. it leaves you thinking about the BIG one coming ?
    PS .. we were on the roads today and it was in "white out" conditions at times .. I think I put the brake on too much on the passenger side .. poor hubby's truck ! haha

  22. They are such pretty photos! Stay warm it is bound to be spring sooner or later!

  23. Pretty pics, despite the potential destructiveness of the ice. It does remind me of the ice storm we had last year, as Annie mentioned.

    Love that HL walking stick!

  24. You know, I miss ice. Your images are quite beautiful - and when I lived in Michigan, I remember waking up to find the whole world covered in ice. Now, here in the south - that doesn't happen, and while I'm sure you are craving a bit of spring, the ice is surely beautiful. Some of us silly southerners miss it.

  25. The ice makes things look so eerie and other-worldly, doesn't it? I am sending warm thoughts you way. Can you feel them? ;)

    Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage

  26. Hi again, Jodi :-)

    Thanks for sharing these photos. I have to say love to see garden plants photographed outside their 'pretty in bloom' state :-)

    Your first photo above really caught my attention this time - teasel is it? Do you get birds trying to eat the seeds from it? Goldfinches love teasel here.

    The Ice Queen is trying to kick up a party here too with icy winds - what a busy girl she is! We have snow expected later today and tomorrow with frosts predicted over the weekend.

    I hope all your plants and garden birds survive her visit without any loses :-D

  27. So that's where she has got to! Don't worry about the Hamamelis buds, over here fruit growers spray their trees with water if frost threatens. The water freezes and keeps the blossom safe. If the blossom is hit by direct frost it shrivels and dies and that means no fruit, of course.

    But oh your poor trees! I hope they will be allright and won't suffer all that much damage. :-(

    BTW I'm going to visit the Ice Queen next month as I will be attending a concert by Within Temptation then. :-)

  28. I'm late to the party - still struggling with sickness - ick! BUT, I'm CRAZY about your ice photos, Jodi. We rarely get ice here yet I love the magic it lends to ordinary subjects, and the light that radiates within. Aaah, thank you for sharing these with us! Winter has its own unique beauty.

  29. the ice is truly unfortunate yet I can't help but admire the beauty it creates, as many of your photographs demonstrate.

    Alberta Postcards
    Diane's Flickr photos

  30. Stunning photos, Jodi. Absolutely beautiful but frightening, too. The ice does so much damage.

    We're bracing for a storm here too. If I keep my wits about me, I'll take photos, but I don't think I'm in your league.

    Stay warm!


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