You should have known it. In the days leading up to the blizzard, there was a lot of excitement around the bird house. The food stocks could hardly be replenished as quickly as tits, nuthatches and woodpeckers fought over it. What was going on? The birdbirds have the best life at the edge of the forest. In addition to the catering service in the garden, there are plenty of beechnuts. And the lovely autumn with the richly blooming roses should be followed by a mild winter, according to the weather service forecast.
What came next would fill a page-long damage report. But what natural hazard insurance is there for roses, lilacs and ornamental garden greenery in general? How much compensation is snow breakage in an old treetop worth? And which other party can be prosecuted if the five-meter-high cypress trees are at an angle like lampposts after a rear-end collision?
The fact that the house-high bamboo lies flat on the ground is another one of his clown acts. What else can you expect from a moving dune with rhizome movements that only simulates solid bushes, but botanically belongs to the sweet grasses? After all, the privacy screen is green all year round and will grow new shoots faster than the tattered pines with their old, sprawling branches.
There hasn’t been this much snow in 24 hours for 60 years. But who says it will take another 60 years until the next flake disaster? The gardener’s soul had come to terms with strong winds, drought or constant rain: everything was somehow organic – and such a natural spectacle is also spectacular. But the previous weather extremes were probably only one side of the climate coin.
Truly winterizing your garden is something different. We know this from the mountains, where 50 centimeters of fresh snow is nothing unusual. How did we grin in high alpine villages at the thick wooden stamps with which every bush is surrounded in autumn. A bit exaggerated, right? You keep thinking that until you spend half a day shoveling wet snow from the roof terrace and hitting bamboo etc. with it.
As luck would have it, the rock roses were framed with wood in time, like a Munich sandstone fountain. After the snow roller it would have been too late. Also because the straw mats, which are not only suitable as a cover but also as an apron for the standard roses, were no longer available for purchase: they were out of stock, as were firewood and road salt. Rather by chance, the roses and some trees had been roughly cut back. If everything had still had time until the real snow came at the beginning of the new year – at least most of the time.
For lavender, sage and other southern herbs, the avalanche of flakes may not have been so bad after all. The thick layer of down mitigated the sudden shock freezing at minus 13 degrees. However, only next spring will show what is left under the snow load. Until then there is time to put together long fence posts to form tripods for the bushes and tie the tall grasses really tightly or cut them into a hedgehog hairstyle. When the roses bloom again next November and the sun shines, it will all look like a smile. But that’s the least of the problems.