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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

With a Sudden Gust...

stems
...this is all that remains of my once-proud Joe Pye Weed (Eutrochium).

I'll be the first to admit, Portland has some of the mildest weather around. Even though we get ample rain, it generally falls in gentle showers, often, as more of a "mist" than actual rain. This spring, however, in continuation of "Weird Weather 2012", we've actually had a few real storms. Okay, I admit, still nothing quite like those storms in the midwest, where it almost felt like the end of the world, but still...REAL for Portland.

Eutrochium pre storm
Last weekend, we had what was probably the biggest storm I've seen since moving here several years ago. Amazing, except for the large Persicaria 'Red Dragon' in the front yard, nothing seemed to take any damage. Here you can see the garden last weekend...notice the large Joe Pye Weed (right between the porch pillar and the Miscanthus). In the past, I've always had to stake it with a network of twine and rebar in July, just as it starts to bloom...at which point it is well over 8' tall. In this photo, it has just passed 6'.

broken
Well...we apparently had a doozy of a storm last night...and this is what I woke up to. every stem (well, except for maybe half a dozen of them) were snapped at about 1' from the ground. ARGH! I'm guessing the rain-heavy stems were hit by an sudden, strong gust of wind that just bent them.

broken 2
Another view...these are the few stems that aren't broken...waaaaahhhhh! Of course, I had just planted a few Astrantia behind the Joy Pye Weed, since few other plants can deal with the shade it casts...and the EXTREMELY heavy clay in that area. OH well...I guess they'll be getting a little more sun now.

cutting
Of course, you, my fellow gardeners, understand the utter rage and frustration this brings on. I admit, I may have just started pulling the stems out by hand (venting), but did finally admit I was being childish and cut the rest back. Here's the result..."les sigh".

sprouts
The only positive thing is that there are quite a few sprouts at the base of the plant. Guess what, little guys, this year, you get to grow! I left the 6 or 7 stems that weren't broken standing, but now think I'll probably cut them back too, might as well start with a fresh slate. Plus, I think if they are left standing, the plant won't be as inclined to regrow.

after
Here's the "After" shot. Poor little Joe Pye...he was so very handsome :-( Luckily, the plants that it collapsed onto weren't damaged to badly. One of my Echinops had it's top broken off...but there are plenty of those, the Astrantias were a little battered, but they'll recover. Sadly, my Shredded Umbrella was broken pretty much clean to the ground...I'll have to wait and see if it recovers.
Eutrochium pre storm
arghh
Another before/after shot...oh well...at hopefully it will re-grow quickly. It's amazing how exposed our front walk feels without it now. Ok, the pity-party is over...onward and upward, right?

25 comments:

  1. Oh, so sad! My peonies are hosed but other than that my yard seemed to fare okay. Joe Pye will rebound quickly, right?

    Your tags for this post made me giggle. :)

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  2. Oh that is so sad. We work so hard and then have something like this happen. I had my Coreopsis Sunray falling also. Of course as my flowering shrubs get a little bigger I won't have to worry about that anymore. Getting harder as I get older and figure the shrubs will be easier. Things still look really lovely even with that happening though because you have everything so nice and lush.

    Cher Sunray Gardens

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  3. Hi Scott,

    I think we've all experienced similar, whether it be due to the weather or a pest such as a slug or snail!
    It'll be OK though, after all it's around the time of the famous 'chealsea chop' so I think you'll still have blooms later in the season :)

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  4. I'm wondering if that was the same storm that I heard about from my son in Portland-- thunder and lightning and the streets full of water. He almost drowned walking home from dinner out! Oh Scott we live in a time of interesting weather... But certainly your friend Joe will grow back with all those little stems already coming.

    What a charming house you have!

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  5. Yikes! Sorry about that. I'm pulling for those little Joe Pye shoots! I would think they'd have a good chance of recovery even though it will take a little time. Your garden, overall, though still looks very healthy and lush!

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  6. Weather related garden tragedies are the worst because there really isn't anything you can do about them. That is one of the reasons I was thrilled to move to California from the east coast because I don't have to worry about freak thunderstorms leveling the garden in summer. Now gale force winds are another story. But so far my garden seems to be holding out. Most of my plants are tough and fairly low growing and now that I know what to expect I'll always plant with wind in mind.

    Hopefully your Eupatorium comes back better than ever. Have you read any of Tracy DiSabato-Aust's books on garden maintenance? She often talks about cutting things back hard so they grow back more compact and sturdier. Maybe that will be the result for you.

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  7. We've had a very stormy two weeks and I always worry about the damage on the garden. As frustrating as the losses are, eupatorium grows quickly and should rebound sooner rather than later. Your garden still looks great, even with the missing Joe Pye. :o)

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  8. The rain last night managed to topple the second Echium tower in the front garden, only the super tall one in the back remains now. It was heart-wrenching to look out this morning and see it laying on the ground, across several other plants. So when I say that I share your frustration I really really do!

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  9. Eutrochium (I still call it Eupatorium, though, I'm old fashioned) has the tendency of growing a little too much (8 feet are too much!) for my taste but they are like children to me, I don't have the courage of chopping them... This storm might have give you a favour doing the chop for you... Wait and see, this is such a tough plant and soon you'll have your pillar buried under foliage again! ;)

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  10. After the initial disappointment (and maybe rage), it's an inspiring story--how gardens recover, even teach us some lessons.

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  11. Mother Nature can be pretty violent. Poor Joe! I know it will recover well.

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  12. I completely understand your frustration. But at least it isn't dead. I bet it will even still bloom this year, just later and shorter. Hey, you may even find you like it later and shorter, and decide to give it a pruning every year. No? Eh, maybe not. We have had some wild winds and rain here too this spring.

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  13. Two facts about Eupatorium that I have learned from growing it are 1] This plant needs a very wide berth to strut its stuff and 2] it is sun sensitive. If it doesn't get a southern or western exposure, it's stalks will spread out almost horizontally to kneel towards the sun. That posture makes it more susceptible to damage by storms.

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  14. I know it hurts to lose such a nice plant, but I bet it will totally recover. The rest of your front garden looks like it rebounded nicely.

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  15. Fear not Scott, I cut my Eupatoriam in half at least once in spring , and ususally snip here and there on it throughout the season, lest it overwhelm everything in it's vicinity. Yours will come roaring back in no time.

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  16. My Joe Pyes survived okay but my 'Red Dragon' went limp. I just left it and it's twining through other plants. I guess it doesn't really bother me. All in all, I'd say your front garden still looks fabulous and at least your Signature Plant--Astrantia (Do you like how I took that upon myself?) didn't suffer.

    Maybe if I'm smart (which is doubtful) I'll learn from you and get my Joe Pyes supported before the next storm. I'll let you know.

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  17. On the plus side, your garden still looks amazing and no one would notice a missing plant if you didn't tell them something was missing.

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  18. too bad - it is disappointing when you have high hopes for something and then you lose it - makes you mad and sad at the same time.

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  19. I bet Joe Pye bounces back - anything that grows that much in a year is pretty tough. We had a wet basement due to a plugged downspout while we were away but I feel very lucky the garden was unscathed from the storm. Since I just spent the past week schlepping wet carpet and soaked foam padding up and out to a dumpster, gardening gets my vote, even if it means recovering from a sad event.

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  20. This is a great posting It’s exactly what I was looking for. I like your article.

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  21. Hope they reflush for you. The weird weather continues in many parts including where we are!

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  22. Thanks for still allowing anonymous comments. The internet is apparently chockfull of baddies, but I still despise having to share my stats simply to comment.

    Anyway, I LOVE your blog. I enjoy reading it and the pictures are lovely. You make Portland look lush, lovely and magical. The camera is pretty nice. Um...well...I have a big garden, but it is not quite as yummy as yours.

    I also have a Joe Pye near my pond, and it flops. Actually a lot of my plants flop, but not many are as tall. Pls keep the posts coming...I was brave enough to plant a few grasses last year.

    After seeing a friend fight with miscanthus, I developed a fear of grasses LOL...but you appear to employ the grasses you have so well. I enjoy reading every thing you write. And especially looking at the photographs.

    Hopefully all the garden stuff is going to be more positive in the future. BTW do you have ferns? If I lived in Portland, my yard would look like Jurassic park. Pls keep the entries coming.

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  23. Gode billeder.
    Hvor har du dog en smuk have trods alt.
    Glæd dig over det.
    Tak for kigget.
    Ha´ en god dag.

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  24. This strange weather really does keep us on our toes. So sorry about your 'crop failure on the back 40'. What you may find out is that this lovely plant enjoys a good whack - many folks cut it back by 1/3 when it's hip high to make it bush out. You may have discovered that you prefer this Eupa-T in its more diminutive form.
    Barbarapc

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  25. Very good article. Congratulations.

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