Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Springtime Still

Technically, it's Summer. The Summer Solstice was the other day (June 20 or 21). I'm sure some of you in the U.S. are already experiencing summer temps. But not here in Colorado. We're still having Springtime weather. Violent springtime weather, in fact. And---like we always do in the West---we send that weather East. Across the Great Plains and all the way to the East Coast.

April started as a typical Colorado Spring. Beautiful warmer sunny days, temps in 60s, 70s. Then, we had a Spring snowstorm. Okay, so we've had those before. Not huge amounts, but wet and sloppy. Then, another. Two big ones. Actually, three, but I left for the East Coast on April 25th, so I missed the last one. When I arrived in Northern Virginia, it was beautiful weather, really warm (upper 80's, low 90's). For one day. . .then our Western Front rolled into town, and the temps dropped and the rains came.

By the time I returned to Colorado May 11th, we were back in normal Spring mode: temps in the low 80s with gorgeous sunny days and flowers blooming everywhere. Except the crab apples. Seems those spring snowstorms came just as the crab apples were budding and killed the buds. I can't remember the last time that happened in the 21 years I've been here, but the oldtimers can. Okay.....so everything else was budding and blooming. I went into flower mode and indulged myself in my favorite mid-May pastime: planting bright beautiful annuals in my front and back yards----in my gardens, in pots big and small all over the yard front and back, in my brick planters, and hanging all around the back patio. I love being surrounded by the gorgeous colors and the delicate blossoms.

My neighbors were doing the same, of course. All of us in "flower mode." And we got to enjoy the fruits of our labors for a couple of weeks. June came, and the weather changed back to April. Gone were the 80's and temps stayed for the first two weeks in the 60's & 70's. June sunshine was abundant as usual, but so too was the rain. Every afternoon, we continued the April and May spring schedule of afternoon thunderstorms. That's okay, I thought. I remembered several Junes like that when I first moved to Colorado in the late 80's.

Then, the storms turned more violent. Severe thunderstorms every afternoon, with tornadoes being sighted in eastern Colorado locales. Fort Collins is on the western side of the interstate and nestled beside the foothills, so we don't have tornadoes unless they touch down on the far eastern side of town beside the interstate where it's flatter. But the entire eastern side of Northern Colorado is fair game. Last year, a super cell tornado tore through the little town of Windsor just ten miles from FC. Tore through is an understatement. It had a wide and violent swath that devastated huge portions of the town.

So----it was a little concerning to see such violent thunderstorms every June afternoon. April is prime tornado season, but we were still having April weather this June. In fact, Fort Collins suffered its own share of devastation, but not from a tornado. Hail did it. A violent and brutal hailstorm hit the 2nd Sunday of June. I have never seen a hailstorm as violent as this one. It lasted nearly an hour and the hail was the size of large marbles. It came down so fast at some points and so heavy, that the entire landscape was covered with two inches of hail----covering streets, grass, concrete driveways, every surface. Incredible.

But the worst was the toll it took on all of the flowers and plants. Devastation. It not only shredded and decapitated every single bloom off the plants, it beat down all the plants to two inch high nubs, or less. It tore off the leaves. Even bushes had their leaves shredded. Vegetables fared no better. Beaten down. I'm hoping that all my puny, sad-looking little bare plants will continue to grow----their roots are still in the soil. But the gorgeous blossoms of June are gone. Maybe we'll have a few blossoms in July. Late July.

Funny thing. My roses came out. . .well, smelling like roses. No damage. None visible, at least. And all of my rose bushes are blooming. Bless their little floral hearts. At least I have my roses.

What's happening out your way, weather-wise?