Still very dry and breezy, but the violent Santa Ana winds have subsided. The Huntington Garden remains closed pending cleanup of fallen trees, and parts of Pasadena are still without power. The Los Angeles Times this morning has a photo gallery up of the aftermath of the 140 mph winds, including this:
I shut the door on the office Wednesday night and walked through a quiet garden into the house about 7 p.m. Marty followed me in a few minutes later and mentioned how windy it was. Wind? Are you kidding? What wind? A self-imposed news blackout is a common response here after an extended holiday like Thanksgiving, so I wasn’t keeping up on weather forecasts. (Will it rain or won’t it, is what I need to know.) I checked the back garden again, and sure enough, without any noticeable buildup, a strong howling wind was scrubbing the house, shaking the trees. French mystery writer Georges Simenon’s Inspector Maigret, played by Michael Gambon in an old BBC production, was a thorough distraction until bedtime, and I didn’t give the wind another thought until the next morning, when co-workers traded stories of sleepless nights, hysterical pets, power outages, trees fallen over parked cars, nightmare commute times due to debris in the roads. Though Ein & I slept through the night, Marty was up, pacing our creaky wooden bungalow out of habit, just as he paces the boats he’s captained through storms. He said the rattling windows and wind chimes kept him up. Too much turkey pot pie might have had something to do with it too.
All three trees in the back garden are accounted for: the tropical Euphorbia cotinifolia, summer bedding in colder climates, a brittle tree here best grown with several trunks to prevent a single trunk snapping in two, the smoke tree Cotinus ‘Grace,’ recently limbed up to reduce sail for just such windstorms, and the Chinese fringe tree, Chionanthus retusus, sheltered on the east side of the house, still holding on to most of its leaves.
Unfortunately, windstorms like this past week’s often indelibly link trees with disaster in the public’s mind. The Illinois-based website “Trees Are Good” offers some calming advice entitled “First Aid Procedures For Trees; Post-Storm Damages and Treatment.”