Sunday, August 26, 2012

Why I hate hurricanes

Why I hate hurricanes

My Mahogany tree ripped to shreds and defoliated after Wilma.

Anytime there is a hurricane brewing in the ocean the weather forecasters predict doom and demise.  The television reporters show terrible damage of previous storms, days before the storm is anywhere near Florida.  Reporters stand with a wet slicker near a swaying palm tree (they always sway) and dramatically scream into the microphone while someone off camera throws a bucket of water in their face.  By the time the storm is near, the local grocery stores are stripped bare of bread, water, peanut butter and every sort of canned food available.  You are popping Xanax like jellybeans.
Meanwhile all the patio chairs, tables, end tables, garden whimsy, has been moved to the living room.  The house looks like an outdoor furniture store.  All the valuable orchids, rare potted plants are also in the living room, so it looks like a nursery.

My Tabebuia tree killed by the viscous hurricane Wilma. 

View from my Florida room of the back garden.
The hurricane shutters are up so the inside of the house is dark, even in the daytime.  You sit and wait, sit and wait.  Hopefully the power will remain on for a while.  Thomas Edison invented electricity over one hundred years ago and the wood pole and wire system he invented has not changed.  A new 25 year old community called Weston has electric underground and never loses power.  Here in Fort Lauderdale the lights flicker on and off all day long and with the slightest gust of wind, the lights go out.  We were without power 16 days with Wilma.  Grocery stores closed.  No gas at the pumps.  There were nightly curfews.  No traffic lights.  If a policeman saw you driving, he would stop you and ask where you were going.
My backyard after the hurricane, with piles six feet high of plant debris. 
These photos remained in an envelope for 7 years since Wilma, I could not bear to look at the devastated garden.  It was like losing a close friend.  Everything was destroyed.  The huge eighty year old mahogany tree was mangled beyond recognition.  The branches fell on my roof and the neighbors as well.  Branches fell to the ground like a can of pickup sticks.  It took a crew of five men all day to chain saw through the mess and carry all the branches away.  All the delicate tropical plants were sun burned to death without the tree canopy, smashed to death, or dried out since we had no rain and the sprinkler system could not run without electricity. Trees in the front yard were fallen down every which way.

A large percentage of the neighborhood tree canopy was destroyed. 
 A neighbor’s Ficus fell down into the roadway, blocking traffic in both directions.  The road remained closed for days.
Tree blocked the entire street for days.  No cars were able to pass. 

Mad, sad, grumpy gardener. 
My parents are evacuated from their condominium every storm as well and they stay with me.  
No comment.  They read my blog.  Just kidding Mom and Dad!

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  1. This is a well-written and illustrated account.
    I'm so sorry for your loss during/after Hurricane Wilma. I know how you feel.
    My garden had a devastating event on July 4, 2012. Golfball sized hail for amost half an hour, with windy rainy storm. Never saw anything like it in my life.
    My Herb gardens were so sad, just now recovered.
    Sure hope Isaac doesn't hurt your gardens like that.
    Best wishes & prayers.

    1. Thank you Joanie. What happened to you must have been scary as well. Did the hail break any windows?

  2. Robert- I can't believe the devastation. Was this before I visited your home?

    1. Yes Shirley, this was 7 years ago. My garden looks much different even since you were here, always evolving. When are you coming back? :)

  3. I just saw your post on FB. I'm so terribly sorry--what a heartbreaking mess. I know we all need to be grateful for friends' and family's safety after a disaster, but it still doesn't make it any easier to lose such a beautiful garden. Hoping the storm misses your home...stay safe.

  4. Your description made me feel for you, and feel like I had been there with you. I sure hope the current storm isn't destructive. I enjoy your posts on Facebook.

  5. Thank you Debra. Before every storm, it takes several hours to prepare, so you never know. This one brought minor damage and flooding to areas. We were lucky.