Photos courtesy of Craig Summers Black.
Yes, I live in Madison County – bridge country – home to rolling hills and busloads of tourists.
I left northern California, where Clint Eastwood was a local mayor, and fled those hordes of tourists who were unprepared for San Francisco’s arctic blasts in July. At that time, the fairly dreadful penny novel was being filmed down the road on its way to becoming a fairly mediocre movie, and Clint and the tourists followed me to Iowa. Sigh …
Things are quieter now, finally. About the biggest doin’s hereabouts are an annual bike ride that curves through our pastoral hillsides. No, Iowa is not all flat. Just my yard.
I’m surrounded, as you can see in the photo above, by cropland – alternately corn and beans, as the locals call soybeans. With nary a ripple or fold in the landscape, during winter the wind comes zooming through, scouring the ground of any snow cover.
Which makes it tough on my garden. Very tough. Large-leaved evergreens such as Japanese andromeda (), rhododendron, and holly – all pretty much guaranteed (in theory) to survive this USDA Zone 5 region – usually turn up their toes about February.
I planted a windbreak of five kinds of evergreens (to deter blight, disease, and assorted nastiness from slashing through a monoculture) on the north and west sides of my 8-ish acres to try to lessen this factor. As you can see in the photos, they are three rows deep.
I planted this blockade in one weekend, a total of about 200 trees. It sounds like a huge undertaking, but really, not so much. I remember buying a dozen concolor firs that were potted in an egg carton. Most of the rest of the trees I got at a bit of a discount from the county, which helps folks like me that try to counter dust bowl conditions.