The Winters Tail

That nasty Discontented Winter has created some gaps in the gardens.  Big gaps. It’s icy tail flicked across the gardens and sent killing shivers down the spines of trees and vines.

The peach tree and a couple of a little apple trees -Dead. Also a big apple tree and a pear –  Dead. Sopsta’s bright yellow magnolia only has three blooms but is coming along, though Donna’s magnolia is doing exceptionally well. Not dead. dead-grapes-040

and all the roses have dead canes but most are growing back from the base which is often a rootstock (but I quite like the wild rootstock varieties) .There is worse news though. dead-grapes-022

The Ladybird Wine grapes (Vidal Blanc) are showing no signs of anything at all.  All the canes are dead. Misery. Could there be No More Wine!? Horrors!   Even my table grapes are showing no signs of life. Only one remains alive.  How can I drink wine without grapes! (rhetorical question – no question mark). Of course I will plant more vines on the new trellises but they take four years to mature, I have learnt way too much about wine making to stop now.  But.. sigh… I will keep checking for signs of life.. but so far – Dead. A bitter blow.

Can you see Tima on the other side of her gate, waiting for me to surface?dead-grapes-035

She really does look like a puff fish when she lies down. Wait here is another angle.


Well, that is not a very flattering angle either. She looks more like a piebald blob that someone forgot to wipe up.  She is such a good piggie and she loves all people and all animals. All the visitors get some Tima loving.

I hope you all have a lovely day.

You can put in requests you know. If you miss your favourites.. let me know! My days are full of gardening now and mowing and watering and all that lovely summery stuff!

Daisy’s milk was clear yesterday. Excellent.  Hopefully that lasts a little while.

Your friend on the farm


52 Comments on “The Winters Tail

  1. That reminds me, time to wrap the softies in the garden – Jack Frost due here any day now 😦 Maybe the sap will still rise in the vines once you warm up a bit more? Laura

  2. Don’t give up yet on the apparently-dead plants, Celie! Here is the Washington DC suburbs (zone 7) my 15-year-old fig looks dead, as do my Reliance table grapes, but friends at the National Arboretum say to wait at least until the end of June before even cutting them back.


    • Righto Lynn, I have not cut anything back yet, and that is good news, I shall wait until then. Good tip. Thank you.. c

  3. same here. my 15 year old wisteria….gone! all of my climbing roses of the same age….done for. lavender…dead. beautyberries…toast! lots of my holly and ivy took a hit but i am waiting before i cut it back. my grapes are finally just putting out buds after looking deader than door nails so there is hope. my weeds, on the other hand, are doing better than ever!

    • Oh NO! your wisteria, that is terrible news. But I must wait a bit longer by the sounds of it, before we do anything.. This winter took many of us into a different zone though, we are Zone 5, are you a 6?.. c

      • we are in zone 5 here too. i am not sure i am sad about the wisteria. i had 3 large plantings of it and it was getting scary. it twists around everything and was splitting wood on my pergola. so, mother nature took care of it! i am sad about my ‘new dawn’ climbing roses but i will just replant them. it will take about 4 years for them to fill in. they were growing over my potting shed and doing damage to the shingles so now i can clean that up. so, in general i am looking at it as a good thing. i hope your grapes come back. that is a tough one!

        • I love wisteria but you are right, I was in an old house once where it was tearing the walls apart, but OH it was beautiful. and the scent!

  4. Oh Celi! Being the nature lover that I am tears are there for trees and shrubs lost: loving care wrecked by a brutal winter. You can see some regrowing: you know judicious pruning and feeding and watering will bring them back to life. But I do feel for those wine grapes . . . just believe that the glass is half full and not half empty and begin again . . . all my love and hugs and enjoy the three warm days coming up over the weekend [yes, I do check you weather with mine 😀 !!]

  5. Wait a bit longer before you take down the mature trees – they can surprise you. So sorry to hear about the grapes! Most of my thyme is dead, but at least that’s easily replaced…
    Enjoy the warm…as Tima obviously is 🙂

  6. Yep I join all the gardeners out there that are sighing “oh no’ as they look at what the winter killed. Lost my Gardenia, a red tip holly, Rosemary bush, Butterfly bush, Sage, and a lot of other things that still might come back, but not looking promising!. One would like to think that the past winter was a one-off, but I have a suspicion that it is a sign of things to come. Therefore being careful to plant real hardy stuff from now on and will be covering a lot of things come Autumn.
    Hugs, Lyn

    • I have done a wee study on these bad winters, (in the midwest) there were two others the early 60’s and the late 70’s (I was here for one of those too) that caught my eye as both times it was two bad years in a row, so maybe we should not rush replant the borderline species.. c

      • I had an older farmer in here a while back. He had read that because of changes that have happened in the atmosphere that our winters would be more like the one we just had! UGH! I think I will retire and never leave the house if that happens! 🙂 OR rent a room at the Coupe! By the way…do you still need my silly menopause stories?

        • absolutely yes connie, we cut off this weekend, so if you can get your story in by then I would be delighted!.. c

  7. Oh that Old Man Winter can be a bitter old curmudgeon! Taking your grapes and fruit trees! We have the same issue here -> much of our native grasses died over the winter and are showing no signs of coming back. Our little acre is sewn with all native grasses and we let it grow wild and free. Mow it once a year in the fall. Weeds are always an issue, as is the dreaded St Augustine grass the neighbor planted! I CURSE that grass constantly…. Who wants a grass with runners that TRIP you anyway? Mean grass. 🙂

    • I think my mother in law has the same grass, she is always saying “My grass is so long my toes get tangled up in it!” We have big gaps in the fields too, I was wondering if the winter hit some of the grasses. the alfalfa and clovers have come back nicely though.. c

  8. aaww – my Tima!! I love Tima. Reminds me of someone… can’t put my snout on it…. oh yeah ME. Snorts. XOXO – Bacon

  9. As sad as I am about your trees.plants and vines I am also grateful that, as yet, mankind is not able to control the weather.That would indeed be a disaster. With luck maybe some will still survive and God,s will

  10. Don’t mourn your grapevines too soon. They survive hard, hard frosts and snow in Europe and come back again and again. They can be pruned after all danger of frost is past. With luck, you’ll see buds again. We don’t want your hard won skills going to waste! Please can I see more of Godot and Tima – she has gorgeous eyelashes, even if they need a touch of mascara!

    • OK kate, I am up there every day, and they are getting used to me. i will take the camera.. c

  11. Winter of ’14 was brutal. I am so hoping that your plants/trees are very slow in waking up with the cold spring. Crossing fingers here!

  12. I love the way animals can stretch out snd sleep no matter where they are. I must be doing things wrong. Maybe I should swap my comfy bed for the uneven ground outside!

    • I hear you, I so envy most of my animals, even my horse stretches flat out and snores and I can’t get a full night’s sleep in a select number bed! I follow all the instructions too, no lights, cool temps. etc.

  13. Sorry about your gaps, specially the grape vines. Perhaps if you get a properly warm sunny spell of weather they will shoot from the souche (I don’t know the English word for the rootstock)? The peach also may regenerate – ours did at a previous garden. That magnolia is magnificent – there are a lot around here, but they were finished some time ago, so it’s good to see yours! Love, Vx

  14. I know we had nothing like your terrible winter here in Texas, but it was much colder than usual and the cold snaps were more lengthy. Usually my roses are blooming again by mid March, but this year, it wasn’t until mid April. I put out tomatoes and bell peppers in mid March and watered like I always do, everyday. The leaves started turning yellow and I was confused until I realized that I was over watering. The heat just hasn’t come to stay yet like it usually does and the plants just don’t need as much water yet. Not that I’m complaining about the lack of crazy heat. I thought I lost some plants, but I see tiny little buds coming up from the ground, so maybe there is hope yet.

    Happy Gardening! (better keep the peahens in tho….to avoid the wrath of John..ha)

  15. This winter was hard on all – plants, animals and people alike. I’m so sorry to hear you lost so many plants as a result.

    My Weeping Peach tree took much longer than normal to begin blooming this year and doesn’t have nearly as many blossoms as in years past. One of my lilac trees has only one lilac. The Forsythia had much fewer yellow blossoms and my pampas grass, transplanted last spring, is just now showing some signs of life. Of course being in a town, even a small town of 1300 like the one I live in, provides more protection than living out in the open.

  16. What trees winter didn’t kill, the neighborhood bucks made rubs on during the rut. A few of my fruit trees are still alive but without bark. I lost a lot of plants this year too, Celi. It’s disappointing but we plant again and move on. That’s what we do! That is rather dreadful news about your grapes though… whatever will you do without your medicinal concoction? Gads!

    Tima is such a cutie patootie! I’m glad all of the farm critters are doing well. Spring is very welcome… we revel in it! Ok, so out I go to do more planting in my garden. Have a happy day, dear Celi.

  17. A sure way to tell if a plant is dead or alive is to gentle scrap the stem. If it shows green it is a live. Start as low and work up. You need to get below the brark My oldest plum tree was very late to start but it now has 25 plums on it. These are the first it has ever had—I think it heard me say that if it did not produce this year it was out of the yard.

    • Yes, i did that.. dead. It is a good trick that one, but no, these are snapping brown dry.. dead.. c

  18. That’s terrible news about the vines!
    I have wondered if Tima gets on with Sheila and Poppy and how are the 3 plonkers doing together?

  19. Don’t cut yet! (as everyone says) Even here, vines have been slow to stick their heads up – a long cool spring. Things are only now beginning to shoot up from bases – and some vines still show green if a bit of bark is scraped (my dad always check for life that way). Hard to sit on hand when the urge to neaten up the garden immediately is so strong…trying to wait a bit ( and I’m much more south than you are)

  20. Good morning! My grapevines have just now started to leaf, so don’t give up hope yet. Did you do a fingernail test on the woody stem? Can you see any green below the bark, or is it brown and dried under there?

  21. We lost a rose of Sharon and some hydrangeas. All of the herbs are toast, too. My rosemary is dead as a doornail. I am sorry for your grapes!

    • Rose of Sharon can be really slow. Don’t be hasty in writing it off after a nasty winter.

  22. I learned years ago that I needed to plant only trees and things that survive this climate by looking around the old plants around this area. So…no hybrid roses, but wild roses only. No wisteria, but clematis is OK. Peonies and lilacs. No grapes. It is not so much the cold (-25F) but when it hits. (sigh). I am sorry you lost your beautiful grapes…but don’t give up on them yet. They might still surprise you….talk to them. Tima is such a doll! You did a good thing there, Celi

  23. We can put in requests? Wonderful! I’m amazed at Boo Nanny’s maternal instincts. How have the relationships with the sweet kittie and sweet lambie-pie evolved? Thank you for such a great farm and a great blog about a farm!

    • Unless marmie wanders out into the field they don’t see much of each other lately, though i did see Tima and the cat leaning into each other the other day! c

  24. I’m quite amazed anything survived the winter there. Hopefully as is the consensus, a few more weeks, or so, of warmth may make a difference to some of the plants. Fingers crossed for the wine grapes. Weather reports indicate change also, to El Nino, i.e. drier conditions and possibly more extreme. I guess that is what weather does… ‘changeable as the weather’ but the extremes are of concern.

  25. You know, I miss things about the mainland and winter, believe it or not. Still, I absolutely love growing flowers and veggies and fruits in a year-round climate. Lots of maintenance (mulching, some weeding), but it’s a rewarding experience.

  26. Oh, that’s so sad about your grapes, I reckon you are due for a decade of good winters now. Elder flower wine? Cowslip wine? Magnolia wine? or maybe you’ll have to turn to cider.

  27. So hard to lose mature trees and vines. We all lose something sometimes, as you well know, between the chicken-killing minks and the winter’s work.

  28. Oh Celi I hope your trees and shrubs and plants survive. I agree with everyone don’t give up yet, they can surprise you. My bamboo garden has been decimated by the awful storms we had in the Uk earlier this year (too much sea salt in the air) and they look awful. Am keeping my fingers crossed. Love your pictures and the write ups, they make me smile and laugh. Love little Tima, she is so cute. Please can we see more of Marcel? Just love Marcel. Have a lovely day.

  29. I would probably be ok with the losing of a few things except the grapes…No grapes, no wine…no, we cannot have that! And I certainly couldn’t wait 4 yrs. So yes, I would be making wine out of something else, like someone mentioned 🙂 Don’t worry C….I bet they’ll come back…they’re just late bloomers this year! And yes, can we please see more of Marcel? Oh and Tima too! And Big Dog…we haven’t seen much of that ole guy lately.

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