Two nights ago Toronto was hit with an ice storm. Anything that didn’t move during the night was encased inside a thick, vitreous ice. Trees, bushes, leaves, grasses, clotheslines, metal structures, fences, birdhouses, empty planters… they were all turned into crystalline sculptures. I have never experienced this phenomenon as a gardener, and I am equally fascinated as I am worried about how this bodes for some of the plants in my garden.
A quick tour shows that most of the frozen plant parts are seedpods and stems that would have been cut back in the spring. I have no worries or concerns for those plants and even the bushes and trees are tough as nails. I assume they will be fine as long as they are given the chance to thaw slowly, and do not crack or break under the weight of the ice.
My real concerns lie with tender(ish) plants that prefer a drier winter such as lavender, salvias, and the woodier thymes (Portuguese Thyme (Thymus carnosus) and Citrus Thyme (Thymus x citriodorus)). I have several types of all three and would like them to live, especially since they are all going into their fourth spring and have only just reached their peak. They have become beautiful (and productive) little herbal bushes and I am not keen on the idea that I may need to start over again with teeny transplants.
I am also worrying my hands about the hardy cacti that live in the Dry Bed. Some have been in the ground for only 1 or 2 seasons and I have been very excited about the coming spring/summer show of colourful flowers. Others have been in my care for quite some time and there is a personal attachment. I would hate to lose them. Of course, there is always the chance that I won’t, but since I’ve never been through this with them, I don’t know what to expect.
As I said above, the curious gardener in me is excited about this event and the opportunity to observe first-hand how it will play out in the garden, but the plant lover in me is mentally steeling for the possibility of loss.
p.s. My focus here was on the garden, but we were lucky in that we did not suffer any damage due to fallen trees and wires. I am extremely grateful that we continue to have heat and power. Many others in Toronto still do not.