Pied Beauty

Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)

Glory be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:

Praise him.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Thawing Out, Temporarily

This week finds us recovering from another spell of wintry weather, this time complete with ice and 4 nights in a row of temperatures in the 20s.  Now, I know those of you who live north of here might find that a bit amusing, but it's not funny to us.  I know I get positively affronted when we have to put up with so much cold. 
No more, please!
We have another cold snap predicted for late this week, so in the interim, some thoughts on the weather.

Yucky.  Okay to cut back.
First, on cutting back.  I swear, the temperatures were still below freezing when people began to write to the newspapers and call the radio lines asking, "Is it too early to cut back the freeze damage?"  I'm not sure what drives this winter sense of industry.  Are they just antsy to get back outside?  Or can they simply not abide the brown foliage for one minute longer?  Anyway, my rule of thumb is as follows.  If the freeze has left your plants mushy, squishy and yucky, cut it back as soon as you can stand it.  I can't stand it.  I'm waiting around hoping they'll dry out before I have to clean up.  I hate that squishy feeling.  On the other hand, I don't intend to prune back woody plants until I'm sure we've had the last freeze.  And who knows when that will be?  The Chief Engineer and I usually bet on the last freeze date.  There have been years he didn't want to pay until May!

Woody.  Wait til freeze danger is past.
One last thing.  I noticed the dwarf oleanders planted around here are damaged (again) by the cold.  Last year, they froze to the ground, and today they look like someone blasted them with a high-test hair dryer.  I'm reminded that when I was a girl, people simply did not grow oleanders this far inland.  You had to drive 50 miles or so, out to the coast, to see them.  And I understand they all froze to death in the late 1970s there, too.  For the past 20 years or so, we've enjoyed relatively warm winters here.  I'm wondering if we're entering a time of cooler winters.  And if so, what's going to happen to all those palm trees, oleanders, ixora, and other semi-hardy shrubs?

No jokes about global warming, now!


  1. Right there with you on the cold, stinks no matter where you are. Warmth cannot come soon enough this year.

  2. And here we go again ... &@!#_($@#!!!! I was in New York City the last weekend in January and I was much more comfortable in their cold weather than I am ours. The drier air makes a tremendous difference!