Yesterday it snowed. We were simply astounded. For years, I have been saying it never snows here and until yesterday, it never had – not in Mark’s memory or indeed in the time of his late father so that has 100 years covered. A little of it even settled on the ground, albeit for a couple of hours only. Mark was so excited he rushed out to make a snowman. A friend scoffed at the photo on Facebook, saying it is the smallest snowman she has ever seen (he did not have a lot of snow to work with!) but at least it fits in the deep freeze and Sydney-based daughter thought we could bring it out at Christmas.
Today it is just very cold. We think there must have been some overnight snow, judging by the white dusting on the roof tiles but on the ground, it is more about ice and frost. More snow is possible, according to the forecast. There will be damage in the garden – none of our material is hardened off to very cold temperatures but at this stage it does not look devastating. The same can not be said about the nursery remnants we still have. Most of it is under shade cloth but that has not been enough protection for the vireya rhododendrons (badly hit by the severe frost last week and no doubt even sadder after the last two days). We are philosophical – we used to produce about 4000 vireyas at a time for sale – which meant up to 10 000 plants of various ages and stages on the floor of the nursery. There are maybe 100 now which look burned and crispy. The palms are also deeply unhappy with the conditions. Mark’s precious large Caryota (fishtail palms), the Dypsis baronii and many others show damage, but should not be fatally chilled.
So much for global warming. I think we already knew it meant more extreme weather events rather than rising temperatures! The novelty of a winter chill and a one-off event of snow may wear off very quickly indeed.