Sunday, November 21, 2010

Preparing for a Harsh Winter

On Friday night, it started snowing, and by midnight, everything was blanketed in white.  This is VERY early for the Vancouver BC area.  My daughter snapped this photo Saturday morning of our wooden bench on the back deck (which I've since pulled closer to the house, to avoid further snow and rain):
Wooden bench in snow
It had been a long week, so I didn't get up early enough on Saturday to get a nice photo, only this one after the snow was already starting to melt, and fall off the branches:
Snowy garden scene
Note the small banana tree on the bottom left.  My landscaper gave this to me (an offshoot of his tree) only a couple of weeks ago.  So hopefully it will settle in and survive this winter, which is predicted to be a particularly harsh one.  Here is it before the cold hit it:
Banana tree
Yesterday I was able to take advantage of the clear weather to provide it with some winter protection.  I have wrapped it in straw, held in place by a roll of chicken wire, which is held in place by a few small posts, and wrapped in twine.  Then I covered it with a clear plastic bag, also tied with twine.  Fortunately, both the chicken wire and plastic bag were just tall enough.  Hopefully it will give the banana a head start in Spring, so it doesn't die right back to the ground.

I was worried that it might look like an eyesore, but I think it actually looks pretty good.  Maybe with a bit of decorating, this little column of plastic-wrapped straw will look like a small snowman:
Banana tree wrapped in straw for the winter
Today I also removed the hoses from the 3 outdoor hose bibs, and put away the hose reels and sprinklers.  I unplugged and covered the transformer for my low voltage lights, and wrapped the glass fixtures in bubble wrap.  I also removed the solar light fixtures from the front yard, leaving only the stake and aluminum tubes in place so it will be really easy to replace the fixtures in Spring (I'm not sure if I should leave them there, or also remove them - any advice?).

Yesterday I noticed a small dead bird, partly covered in snow, in the bottom of our outside stairwell.  Today when I went to remove it, I found it already gone.  A crow or other scavenger must have found it and done the job for me.  So today I am thankful for scavengers, who tidy up for us.

I have cut the gunnera leaves, and piled them over the crown, to protect it for winter.  This method has worked for me in previous years, and this year I had a lot of leaves and very large ones, so hopefully that will be enough.  I cut some of the flowered ends of my beautiful big floppy butterfly bush next to the front driveway, since the wet snow was weighing it down too much, and I was afraid that more wet snow would break too many branches.  I also trimmed back some hydrangea branches which we already breaking under the weight of the snow.  Normally I would wait until Spring, but again, it is better to cut back than to wait until they break.  I could do some more trimming and clean up, but I think there is nothing really critical remaining to be done.

I think I've now ready for winter.  At least in the garden.  Driving may be a different story.


Jen said...

Snow=Pretty to look at and that's it. ha

Dorothy said...

Oooooh! How nice to have that much snow already! It looks so pretty! We hardly every get any here in the deep south. Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving!

Mac said...

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