You can’t board up your plants, so do this instead.
Listening to former colleague Sean Kelly describe his ordeal fleeing Hurricane Irma from south Florida on NPR yesterday, I was sitting here pretty smug in north-central Alabama knowing I won’t have to abandon my house. But as I check the various weather models of the storm’s “expected” track, it dawned on me that these computer algorithms still can’t tell where the heck Irma will end up. Will it run up the East Coast? Will it pound the Florida peninsula, veer left to Atlanta, and then hit Nashville?
Nobody knows, not even the Grump (and this is a first, let me assure you). While I can’t help those who have already evacuated and others whose homes face major flooding and wind damage, I do have a few suggestions for those of you not in the bull’s-eye to mitigate damage to your gardens.
Examine large trees and shrubs close to your house.
It’s probably too late to cut down dead ones, but you can still prune off limbs that bare likely to whip against your windows and walls.
Move lightweight containers, like faux terracotta and concrete, to a low spot in the yard.
Place them against a wall, if possible, to keep them from toppling in the wind. Put hanging baskets on the ground or take them indoors.
Take down bird feeders.
Birds won’t visit when it’s blowing 60 MPH.
Place the basins of birdbaths on the ground.
If you can, that is. You don’t want them blowing off.
Take care of your gnomies!
Bring all gnomes inside. You really don’t want to see TV footage of your favorite garden gnome found buried under rubble in an adjacent state.
Clean your gutters.
If water fills an obstructed gutter, it will likely back up under the roof shingles and run down the insides of your walls. Fun!
Check your downspouts, especially if you have a basement.
Make sure they direct water down and away from your foundation. Attach lengths of cheap, corrugated, plastic pipe to the ends of the downspouts if necessary.
Worried about water seeping under garage and basement doors?
Lay down bags of mulch outside of the doors. Bags of mulch are larger and cheaper than sand, do just as good a job of redirecting water, and you can use the mulch in your garden later.
Get a fresh tank of propane for your gas grill.
Gas grills don’t need electricity to cook.
Don’t park your car near big trees.
It’s safer inside the garage or out in the open than it is where trees can fall and smash it.
WATCH: 10 Essential Things to do Before a Hurricane
Don’t forget the beer and wine.
Many evacuees report grocery stores completely emptied of bottled water, but awash in beer and wine. This makes no sense. Beer, wine, and liquor are guaranteed to be sterile. Best of all, when you’re huddled in the basement with things unknown crashing all around, nothing takes the edge off better than a tropical IPA or a silky Pinot Noir.