By now, a good week plus later, the snow has receded to just the shady areas and the piles where snow was pushed aside. Just this morning, I heard of the chance of snow on New Year's Eve to New Year's Day. No matter. Having made it through 'the big one', the rest will seem small potatoes.
Not that I've really ventured forth, but I have had a bit of a chance to see what the Big Snow has left.
As far as I know, this is the most devastating garden damage. Pretty sad, huh. This was Waterfall, a Japanese Maple. It had the unfortunate luck, as it turns out, to reside in the shady bed right beside the front door. On the one hand, this is a protected area and, as mentioned, shady, so nice for a young tree like this...was. On the other, unbeknownst to me, (or un-thought-of) the snow staying in this area got quite heavy (obviously). When I look at it now, I clearly can see that the piles are rather icy not soft and powdery. Who knew?
This picture shows it from a bit further back. You can see snow receding (but not quick enough). The daphne to the right appears to have only suffered slight damage (it's getting large, so what it lost will not be missed). The gardenia (Chuck Hayes) on the other corner lost only some branches off the back. Being on the corner, the snow quickly receded from it. There's also another gardenia, smallish, pretty much still covered in snow (Kleims). Time will tell whether the icy snow snapped all of its branches. They are flattened over (and covered by snow) the hardy cyclamen right now.
The lesson here...for those of us who get infrequent heavy snows....is that snow turns icy which gets much heavier than snow alone. Therefore, even though it still looks rather snow-like, it will break branches on things unaccustomed to such weight. I shall have to remember this for when we get another one of these...in another...what 10, 20, 30, years from now. This may have even been a record snowfall for us.
I have a tea olive in the backyard (holly leaf osmanthus) which is quite hardy. I remember a year or two ago when snow laid all of its branches flat on the ground. It melted rather quickly and uprighted itself without any intervention on my part. I'm afraid that rather spoiled me. I had the idea these things handled issues without my intervention. Silly me. Oh well.
In case there is any question in your mind, Waterfall is gone. Most Japanese Maples are grafted, as is this one. However, as a gardener, one knows that losses can occur. As a rather seasoned gardener in a small yard, one goes with the flow...what will be, will be. I will ponder whether I want to put another one in there or try something else. I do tend to crowd things, so once it is removed, the hellebores will probably give a great sigh of relief and keep spreading out...
.....with all that snow and cold weather, some animals knew just how to wait it out...