The next three weeks are typically when winter throws its worst at us. The average low dips down to around 18F (-7C) at night, and then climbs to 34F (1C) in the day, depending on all kinds of things of course, and the long nights and short days don’t set the garden up for much of anything. That’s a normal year. Besides all the other more obvious ups and downs, the weather last year was not normal, and in fact was one of our hottest years on record. 12 days in and 2021 isn’t looking to be the culture and climate shift everyone was hoping for. Actually it looks a lot more like December 37, 2020.
For a minute I’ll ignore the past and just enjoy this mild weather which draws these snowdrops up out of the ground. Most of what’s flowering now would be fall bloomers in a milder climate but here they usually dawdle enough that flowering happens in winter, which should be fun, but for many the weather is just too much and the flowers (and foliage) end up destroyed. Viva la global warming! These days I have snowdrops blooming all winter… until we get a plunge in February of course, and then even with buckets galore, things still look like someone named Winter trampled through the beds with some heavy cleated snow boots on.
I’ve been trying to find a perfect spot to make life easier on these little treasures. It’s worked in a few cases but some still aren’t happy regardless of where I have them growing. When the cold comes the flowers burn and the foliage dies back. Some struggle afterwards, some go to the light, but I do have one who just shrugs it off. ‘Three Ships’ (Galanthus plicatus ‘Three Ships’) has never shown a bit of damage in spite of ice and snow and cold. He’s never made it into bloom for Christmas, which is the trick he’s best known for, but he is a snowdrop who choses to grow and flower just as the weather is at it’s worst and for that holds place as one of my favorites.
For the first few years I assumed the cold would do this little nut in. What sane snowdrop would grow more as the temperatures dropped further? Tender shoots and sub zero weather should not mix, but one shoot became two, two became four, and rather than die, ‘Three Ships’ is becoming a clump.
So right now the snowdrops are loving it. It’s like winter in the North Carolina mountains, and although some more cold and snow would make for better skiing, I don’t mind mediocre skiing on Monday followed by snowdrops on Tuesday.
Be safe and have a great week!