Polar Vortex Aftermath

As I may have mentioned a time or fourteen, we had a long, hard winter up here in The Mitten. Bitter, lingering cold and a plethora of snow. While I may have spent much time wishing it would end, I did not really think about what it could be doing to the living things in our yard. We typically do not have winter fall out in the shrub, bush, tree department.

I fear we may have experienced some loss of life after the Polar Vortex Winter of 2014.

Honey planted these golden privet hedges within a year or two of moving here 15 years ago. Around 180 feet of loverly green, a dividing line between us and the field that runs along behind the first 5 houses in our subdivision.

Honey labored mightily to plant them. Our town is known for their rock hard, clay soil. When he rented the machine to prepare the soil, he stood out there for SO long wrestling with it that he finally asked me to bring him a step stool so he could sit and just let the thing grind away for minutes at a time before moving on to the next patch to be chewed up.

Once planted, it grew nicely everywhere except for this one area. We called it The Divot. He tried many things to encourage growth in this one small area and it finally filled in about two summers ago.

There we go, no divot!!!! It could actually be trimmed like it’s growing neighbors!


And then came The Polar Vortex. Guys, the hedge may be gone. I walked the length of the whole thing and I found only one small green proof of life.



It was especially lush at this end.


Not any more. It is usually sprouting greenery by now.


Honey took a branch in to our local nursery to get their opinion. She thinks there still could be some hope. She said everything is coming back really slow. Her advice was to wait, don’t fertilize and trim back the dead branches if it revives. We can do that. I’m pretty positive we are in no hurry to get on the task of ripping them all out anyway.

I’m not sure about this friend either.


Looking scary.


The only evidence of new growth is way at the bottom.


It seems like these guys should be on their way too, but nothing doing.


The Rose of Sharon’s could be renamed Sticks of Sharon.


Our weeping cherry in the front yard is starkly bare.


Some azalea and wiegelia in the back are nekkid, though the weeds are nice and green.


A couple of front yard hedges are yellow or orange-ish.


Even Concrete Katie took a hit.


Looks like we may have some work to do.

And then there is this guy. I hate this runty, diseased, spiky little mutant. He is out there greening up like nobody’s business.


Of course he is.



  1. Pam D said,

    April 28, 2014 at 9:17 AM

    I was feeling for you here, because our stuff seems as if it is still winter, rather than spring – until I got to the last part, which made me laugh too much to feel for you! (At our old house, I had a tree I intensely disliked, but could never seem to get rid of. I do understand there!)

  2. caprilis said,

    April 28, 2014 at 11:14 AM

    Be patient, I bet they’ll all recover.
    Sprinkle some Ironite around those yellowing shrubs.
    I think I would cut those privet down about halfway.
    I don’t think it’s possible to kill honeysuckle! I’ve TRIED! Cut off the brown stuff and that new growth will grow like wildfire!

  3. caprilis said,

    April 28, 2014 at 11:14 AM

    And PULL the weeds or kill them before they set seed and produce a million more!

  4. warrenp94 said,

    April 28, 2014 at 3:37 PM

    Blacktop…blacktop it all!

  5. Nan C said,

    May 2, 2014 at 9:15 AM

    What happened to Concrete Katie’s left paw?

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