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Superstorm Sandy here in Pennsylvania

Hurricane Sandy pictures, from The Guardian
First it was Hurricane Sandy, then it was the Frankenstorm and now it’s Superstorm Sandy. For many people in New York, New Jersey and in particular it was - and indeed still is - unimaginably horrific.

Here in north east Pennsylvania we got off lightly; we were without electricity, heat, water and internet for almost exactly four days until yesterday afternoon and with highly unpredictable phone service for most of that time. A 50ft maple fell across our driveway, taller hemlocks fell nearby on one side, even taller oaks and maples on the other. One went right through our neighbor’s shed; but our houses were spared. Strangely, in spite of those ferocious winds, there are still golden leaves on our Asian witch hazel and bright yellow leaves on our Hydrangea arborescens ‘White Dome’.

I’m not going to show you pictures of our fallen trees – it’s nothing compared to what some people have suffered. On The Guardian’s website you can see pictures of the storm damage and pictures of the aftermath.

Local radio service was knocked out by the storm, so we only had radio service from New York 80 miles away, which was the opposite of what Brits would expect: public radio news was embarrassingly bad, commercial radio was good. But all was New York news. For four days there was no way to get any local information at all. So… We piled logs on the open fire, cooked food from our steadily thawing freezer on the grill, fried eggs out there too – and read by daylight, flashlight and candlelight.

DirrTreesShrubs9780881929010lSo I was able to actually read Dirr’s Encyclopedia of Trees & Shrubs by Michael Dirr, all 950 pages of it, rather than look things up in it. OK, I didn’t read every single page but I read quite a lot of it. A proper review will come in a week or two but being an easy read, and opinionated and packed with information and very well illustrated is a winning combination for American gardeners. I wonder how it compares with the new Timber Press Encyclopedia of Flowering Shrubs by Jim Gardiner, a British expert. When Jim Gardiner’s book arrives, I’ll be able to tell you. I’ll try to sit down and read that too – without the need for another storm.


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I hope your Sandy travails are short lived.
We've lost power for 4-5 days and coped reasonably well.

Dirr's Ency of Trees and Shrubs is delightful to read though you're way ahead of me in number of pages read so far.

Julie Hollobone

Glad to hear you have survived the storm, we at The Garden were concerned when we didn't hear from you. Please get in touch when you can


Glad to hear you survived. It's lovely when the community come together to help each other when things like natural disasters strike. I hope something is being sorted out for all of you! Stay safe.

Graham Rice

Thanks everyone, more or less back to normal now although the cable that brings internet is still snaking across the ground. And my back is aching from all the tree work.

Wholesale Native Plants

I feel sorry for the people who had suffered from the Hurricane Sandy..I hope you will back to your normal life now.

Big Tree Liverpool

Hi mate, really glad to have stumbled across this really interesting site. I do hope you had a log burner for the power cuts! Best regards Gary Smith.

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