Day One – The Day of Snowlloween – Saturday; Oct 29th
Under cold gray skies, I hurriedly worked on cutting down the tall upright stalks of my cannas and removing the flopped foliage of elephant ears, then dug out damp soil balls from the large containers to get to the rhizomes and tubers for storage. My gloved hands got cold fast as I recorded my first quick how-to video of the tools and materials used so I could post the process on my blog for my container gardening clients.
All the while, the calm quiet air was a bit eerie. Sensing this snowstorm was on the way, I began to regret putting off this chore. We experienced nice warm days this year in October which resulted in busier work activity for me compared to July. Clients were still calling to request landscape designs as the delightful days kept them inspired, and I was really enjoying installing festive Halloween and fall décor in containers at store front businesses.
Even our deciduous trees seemed to be late at doing their yearly leaf drop. Not yet experiencing the true cool onset of fall, many were slow to cut off the flow of nutrients to their leaves in preparation for winter. The chlorophyll green pigments of leaves, responsible for absorbing sunlight for photosynthesis, had yet to reveal the underlying orange, red and yellow colors of autumn. And suddenly, today, the crisp autumn air of the past month was feeling like the beginning of a fast approaching winter day.
Just as predicted, the snowflakes arrived exactly at noon time. They transitioned to cotton ball sized clumps fast and clung onto the leaves of trees while blanketing the ground. Within the hour, the leader tips of my river birch and dawn redwood trees began to slowly arch to the ground from the weight. I decided it would be best to gently shake off the snow from these two favorite trees every hour, and hopefully prevent any cracking or breakage.
Louise, my sister, was doing the same. She called before the power went out for both of us to say she was shaking her newly planted magnolia tree. She was concerned. It was a highly sought magnolia she had installed in September to replace a mature, majestic magnolia sadly lost by the effects of our August tropical storm.
I remembered my statement to her when she searched sources for just the right one only two month ago. “Remember, Mother Nature has a mind of her own,” I said, as she pondered her new investment. We vowed to continue shaking our cherished trees until nightfall. This would give them some help.
Later that evening, with power out since late afternoon, my husband and I peeked out into the darkness to barely see a big split in a maple tree limb leaning towards our pool in the backyard. It was only a matter of time before it would peel away and crash.
In the woodlands surrounding us was only the sound show of cracks, booms, and bangs to be heard throughout the night. We could only hope for the best and prayed for the safety of others before heading to bed.
It was not a restful evening. Snowlloween was planning to stay awhile.
To Be Continued…