Weve certainly had our share of windstorms here in the Treasure Valley. I remember a few years ago, several trees in my neighborhood blew down. One tree fell on a house just a few doors down and a car was crushed by a tree a block away.
When I heard about the extensive damage caused by Hurricane Sandys 90-mile-per-hour winds, I wanted to know how the botanical gardens, as well as individual gardens, weathered the storm. With salty sea water, oil spills, sewage and much more mixed in with the torrential rains, the gardens will need a lot of TLC.
Ive never had the privilege of visiting the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx. Ive only seen photographs. You can find great photographs on the Internet. There must be thousands of trees on the 240 acres of the gardens.
Hurricane Sandy took out over 100 trees a small fraction of the total. But some of those losses were very old, rare trees or irreplaceable. Hundreds were damaged and will have to be pruned or may be so damaged theyll have to be removed.
There was a lot of damage to garden structures, too. The Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, the iconic glass house seen in movies, was spared and is already open along with non-damaged areas. Heavily damaged areas will open as they are cleaned up and restored and paths cleared.
The Brooklyn Botanic Garden lost about twenty trees, but many more were damaged.
Both gardens serve as repositories of historically significant and sometimes irreplaceable specimens. Both gardens will have free admission on weekdays until March 1, 2013.
Central Park was also affected. Initial reports counted 250 trees destroyed by the storm. The park remains closed until damaged trees area cleared.
New Jersey and Connecticut gardens were also affected.
Cleaning home gardens is dicey in older northeast neighborhoods with overhead power lines. While power has been out in many neighborhoods, gardeners cant be sure those downed lines are dead.
Trees are very heavy. Downed trees will have to be cut into many small pieces in order to be removed. With the ground so saturated with water, it will be hard to get equipment with any weight into gardens for cleanup work.
On a sad note, several of the deaths from Hurricane Sandy were caused by falling trees.
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