When I left the house this morning, I was without hat, gloves or coat at last … well, how crazy is this Michigan weather when I shivered two days ago in my heavy Winter duds? Yesterday we set a record for heat when we reached 87 degrees. I turned on the A/C at 6:30 p.m. when the thermostat read 81 degrees in the house and it was hot and stifling. Well, I thought the weather just got too hot, too fast and it’s not really my cup of tea, despite my protestations all Winter long that I would not whine when the heat finally settled in. Just a few days ago the weather folks reminded us to protect our tender plants if they were already in the ground as there was a frost warning overnight. This morning when I left for my walk it was 72 degrees already. This weather syndrome, which us Michiganders joke about, saying “if you don’t like the weather in Michigan, wait five minutes” certainly has been true this week. As I write this post, the threat of severe weather looms from thunderstorms, which, in part, are bubbling up from the extreme heat.
While I was walking this morning I was ruminating about my beautiful roses pictured above. A quick trip to the backyard before I left on my walk once again left me reeling over the damage the Polar Vortex events and brutal Winter inflicted on my long-established plants. Most distressing is my row of Knockout Roses which appear to have bitten the dust – there is no sign of life in their brittle stems as far as I can tell. They were hardy when I put the garden to bed in the Fall. This picture above was taken in early Summer, because in general, by Fall, the rosebushes usually have spread and grown up to the fence top having bloomed profusely all season. It appears I have lost two additional smaller shrub rosebushes which were planted in the mid-80s. There is no sign of life in my long-established Nelly Moser Clematis, just dead and tangled stems hanging on the trellis where its many tendrils always hung on as it climbed up to the sky for the past ten years. I feel just sick after taking stock of the backyard gardens, but out front, my large holly bush is likewise brown and brittle and similarly planted in 1985. I hope that the malady is just the cool Spring and there might be some hope yet, but it does not look very promising for any of these plants or bushes right now. I fear stopping to smell the roses along the way just got a little more difficult, if not an impossible task … at my house anyway.