Since this is our first winter in Peachtree City, we didn't know how
long some of our flowering shrubs would bloom, when the leaves on
deciduous plants would be colorful and then drop off, or when/if it would snow
or we'd get an ice storm.
When I lived in the Atlanta area from 1974-1999, it seemed like we'd
get a smattering of snow one year, then some ice the next -- and
that would be it, except for the rare storm we got in March, 1993.
During that 25-year span, I lived in Gwinnett and Hall Counties to
the north and east of the city proper. The elevation was about the same
as our new home in Fayette County but Peachtree City is farther south
and west of downtown.
Our new digs, nestled in snow this morning before
the sun came out
Does that make much difference in the weather, I've wondered?
Probably not much. The small difference in latitude is more than
offset by differences in elevation in the northern half of Georgia. There
is more difference in temperatures and weather patterns the farther north you
live outside the metro area because the elevation gradually increases in the
Appalachian foothills and mountains.
In this week's early and unusual winter storm, counties to the south and
east of I-85, including us, generally
fared much better than the counties to the west and north of the freeway.
I doubt that means the same thing happens with every storm.
Next time there's a bunch of ice, snow, rain, or a tornado we might get the brunt
of it here.
Same day, after the sun came out;
since the back of the house faces south,
I wasn't able to get a good shot
directly from the front with the sun so low.
Back of our house on Snow Day; Casey and Holly
loved the snow
(so did Cody, our elderly Labrador retriever who
isn't in this picture).
I've been taking pictures frequently of our back yard this year since
we've planted so much and are just getting things established in the
large mulched area where the previous owners took out 43 large trees
several years ago.
I like to have a visual record of what bloomed when, how well new
plants are growing, whether leaves on certain plants were pretty in the
fall, and so on.
Above and below: Our new little
Forest Pansy redbud tree has purple heart-shaped leaves
in the spring and summer that turn
a bright reddish-orange color in the fall.
After the snowstorm, the remaining leaves fell off.
After a rather warm autumn -- this year, at least, which may not be
"average" -- we still had a fair number of Drift rose, Encore
azalea, Chinese fringe (Lorapetalum), and hydrangea flowers, as well as
several potted plants, blooming on December 7, the day before this storm hit.
I brought two of the potted plants inside but left the pansies out.
They can survive low temperatures and snow during the winter in middle
and north Georgia.
I couldn't bring the shrubs inside, however. To my surprise, their blooms
also survived several nights of
below-freezing temperatures in late November and early December:
What a difference a couple of
days make! Drift roses, above, on Dec. 7.
Two of the Drift rose bushes on
Dec. 9, below. Some of the flowers did survive!
However, the snow that arrived on December 8-9 wasn't so kind to
the azalea and hydrangea flowers:
One of the Encore azaleas on Dec.
7, above; covered in snow on Dec. 9, below.
The azaleas will keep their green leaves all winter but the flowers
are kaput after the snow. Who knows how long they might have bloomed if
this storm hadn't occurred?
Hydrangeas lose their leaves in the winter in this area. Ours bloomed
until about a week ago. Since the storm, the leaves are brown and falling
Of the shrubs, only the Chinese fringe flowers
-- and the Yuletide camellia we planted a couple weeks ago --
survived the snow storm intact, with no apparent damage:
Above and below: Chinese
fringe flowers AKA Lorapetalum; see the little pink flowers?
Camellias are supposed to bloom in the fall and winter in the
South. I bought a good-sized one a couple weeks ago so we'd have some
color during the more bleak winter months.
As I was walking to the check-out counter to pay for it, the manager
at the local Pike's nursery store warned me to cover the buds on cold
nights to protect them from frost so they wouldn't fall off. The shrub
itself is supposed to survive temperatures down to 0-10°
F. but the buds are apparently more fragile.
I bought this particular shrub because it was loaded with
dozens of buds that would (hopefully) produce lots of deep pinkish-red flowers
soon. I was determined not to lose any buds.
The buds began slowly opening up a couple days after I planted it:
I covered the whole shrub with a sheet a few nights when it was predicted to get
below about 35°F., knowing that our temperatures
are sometimes lower than forecast. I took the sheet off each morning after it warmed
up a bit.
I knew we needed a different solution when snow was predicted --
maybe use some tomato stakes to hold the sheet off the branches so the
heavy snow on top wouldn't break the branches??
Jim had the bright idea to cover the camellia with our large blue trash bin on Thursday and
Friday nights before/during the snowstorm:
That definitely worked better than a sheet during the storm.
The buds and flowers were
all intact when we took off the trash bin after the sun came out on Saturday:
I've noticed since the snow melted that large, established camellias
in residents' yards along
the cart paths appear to still be blooming fine. Neither snow nor
temperatures in the 20s F. some nights have damaged them.
It's good to know how sturdy the shrubs are. Perhaps I won't have to
be so protective of ours after several years of growth. (They can get
8-10 feet high and wide.) I'd like to get one or two more camellias next year.
Bright colors, especially red, are so pretty against the white snow.
On my walk I was drawn to red leaves and berries with snow on them. These
are some of the berries on the large, established Nandina in our back yard:
That's one of the few mature shrubs or trees the previous owners left in the back yard.
It stands about eight feet tall but was bent over (not damaged) under the weight of the snow.
One more picture, this one of poor chilly Susie-the-Pot-Woman sitting on her
Brr. She probably won't be using that garden hoe for a while!
Next entry: photos of some of Mother Nature's other
"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil,
Cody, Casey, and Holly-pup
© 2017 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil