Friday, April 18, 2008

Tremors in the Night

I was awakened at 6:30 this morning by the ringing of the phone. My husband had kissed me goodbye and left for work a few minutes earlier, and I had rolled over thinking I'd get a few extra minutes of sleep before having to get up. I thought it was he calling, but instead it was his cousin who lives in Tennessee.

"Hello, Rose, it's Diane."
Oh dear, I thought, his great-aunt is not well. But thankfully, that was not the case, as she continued, "Are you ok?"
"OK? Sure, we're ok." By now I was puzzled.
"Well, I heard about the earthquake you had and wanted to make sure you were ok."
""Earthquake? What earthquake??"

Well, you get the idea. By then I was completely awake and turned on the radio. Apparently, we DID have an earthquake last night, but I slept through it! My daughter told me it awakened her because her bed was shaking. According to news reports, we had a 5.2 earthquake, centered about 140 miles south of us, with shock waves felt as far as Chicago, Indianapolis, and Cincinnati. No reports of serious damage have been made yet, thank God. I hope that everyone else who may have been even closer to the epicenter is also all right.

I decided to take my cup of tea and go outside and survey the area. I certainly didn't see any signs of an earthquake. To my surprise, though, I did notice that my clematis is budding. I have been checking it fairly often, because I know it needs to be cut back, but it must have greened up overnight!

I could use some help here. I planted the clematis two years ago, so I didn't cut it back at all last year. A single vine curled all around this trellis last summer, and it did have a few blooms. I know that you are supposed to cut it back in the spring to help it become fuller, but I am afraid to. I believe it is a Group III; at any rate, recommendations I've found say to cut it back in March or early spring to about a foot high. Do you think it is too late to prune it? Or too soon?

If there are any clematis growers out there who can give me some advice, I'd appreciate it. If I don't get any suggestions by early next week, I may get brave and cut it back anyway.


  1. Rose, I was up and felt it! At first I thought it was a strong gust of wind or thunder really close that shook the house. I grabbed my laptop to see what the weather was doing and felt a second shake. Then I knew! Kind of scary.

    On your clematis..there are 3 types: one you trim late fall. one early spring, and one you do nothing to. I think type 3 is the one you do nothing to, but call Prairie Gardens and they can tell you for sure.

  2. Earthquake.....we had one here in the winter, didn't affect us. A lot of damage was done in other areas though. Chimneys stacks falling etc. Bit frightening.

    Clematis....I grow all types here. When does yours flower Beckie?
    From the photograph it looks like one that should have been cut back in March. I find that clematis are fairly tolerant of a later cut. If u decide to risk it, give it a good spadeful of manure or a good feed. They are hungry beasts. I feed all my clematis once a week in the growing season.
    I bet it has large flowers???
    Hope you find out at Prarie Gardens.

  3. Thats odd because I dreamt I felt and earth quake last night. Not sure it go as far as the UK though!
    However glad all is well with you.

  4. Beckie, Meg said she woke up because her bed was shaking. If I felt anything, I probably thought it was hubby snoring!
    I'll check on the clematis; it may not be a group III. I have a good article about them, and when I read it, I remember telling myself to prune it in March.

    Cheryl, Apparently, little damage occurred here, even nearer the epicenter, so we are very fortunate.
    Thanks for the info on the clematis, especially about feeding it. I bought it on sale and don't even remember its name. I was so excited when I had the first blooms on it last year--large lavender ones.

    Suburbia, We had another earthquake about 20 years ago--also not bad. But at the time I found out that we are on a large fault which someday, according to geologists, could produce a large earthquake. We Midwesterners, though, live more in fear of tornadoes.

  5. That would be me too, sleeping through an earthquake. A large tree fell down across the road outside my bedroom window in a storm and I slept through it.

  6. Rose, I live in the south suburbs of Chicago. I slept right through the earthquake, but it woke up DH. He said it felt like a train derailment. The tracks are several blocks from our house.


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