How Hurricane Isabel Changed our Garden

As I write this on Thursday, August 25th, 2008. Hurricane Irene is bearing down on us. Her eye is expected to pass to the east of us, and so we do not anticipate the high winds, high waters, or heavy damage that might occur if Irene’s eye

Our backyard after Isabel swept through

were to roll over us. Instead, we are hoping for soaking rains to combat a droughty summer. Of course, this rosy picture could all change with a whim of the wind.

The forecasts and warnings bring back memories of a mischievous lady whose name also begins with the letter I, who rolled over us in September, 2003. She passed to the west of us, inland, and caught us in the wall of her eye.

Hurricane Isabel was one of the most violent hurricanes to hit eastern North Carolina. It took months, in some cases, years to recover from its

These pines did less damage than first suspected, thanks to timely blocking by an old crabapple

devastating blows. Our home was battered by several trees, but we were fortunate that damages were manageable (not necessarily so with friends and neighbors). Our garden, on the other hand, which we thought was finally coming along after 15 years, was devastated.

And so began a rebirth. Here, on several pages, we will chronicle our efforts to make sense of Isabel’s mischief, which, eight years later, still continues. We will record the challenges, joys, and yes, adventures that we experienced, two gardeners in the woodlands of North Carolina recreating a

A tamer front yard today

garden, not as it had been, for that garden was lost forever, but in new and unexpected ways. It was a winding journey, a mixed-up journey of anticipation, high hopes, discovery, disappointment, and delight, and always a surprise in the garden.

You can follow our footsteps by hovering over Isabel’s Story and clicking on the entries below. We’ll be adding new pages at intervals to bring you up to date on Isabel’s shenanigans.

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