After a relatively mild winter (except for the Boxing Day debacle that brought a mix of snow and rain), Chester has received its first real snow. Despite today’s above-freezing temperatures, yesterday’s storm brought enough snow to lay down a 10-centimeter white blanket on the fields.
On close inspection of shrubbery, however, it appears that cold temperatures and high winds weren’t enough to deter the deer from their evening’s browse. The growing tips of this azalea, with flower buds that promised brilliant flame-coloured blossoms in spring, have been bitten off overnight.
It’s not hard to pin the blame on the culprit – or culprits. Deer tracks are clearly evident in the new-fallen snow. The hoof prints crisscross the garden, forming circles around holly bushes and ornamental crab apple trees, and passing over a perennial bed to the stripped-bare branches of several euonymous shrubs.
Fortunately, although buds on the lower branches of every shrub in the garden have been targeted, the animals were unable to reach the higher branches of several rhododendrons, whose buds and leathery leaves glisten under the melting snow.
Although there are no meetings of the Chester Garden Club scheduled for January, members of the host committee are busy working on preparations for the NSAGC Convention to be held on June 3rd and 4th at nearby Atlantica Hotel & Marina Oak Island. A copy of the convention program and a registration form can be yours by clicking on the link at the upper right-hand side of this blog. As an incentive to gardeners interested in attending the convention, early bird registrants will be eligible for a draw in which the winner will be reimbursed the cost of the convention registration fee. To be eligible for the draw, completed forms must be received by March 31st.