That Was Rough

We are on the fourth day of winter here and there’s even a dusting of snow on the ground to make it look serious.  People were finally zipping up their winter coats and by Friday most of the mountain lakes had ice extending from shore to shore.  Seeing winter weather here was half a relief until I looked at the ten day forecast and saw at least three days next week where the daytime high was over 50F(10C), so calm down.  Don’t pull out the ice fishing equipment just yet.

cold snowdrop

The snowdrops (Galanthus ‘Colossus’) are mostly wilted and flat in the cold.  That’s a good thing actually.

Based on the daily news reports I’m sure everyone was aware that cold weather was headed across much of the US this week.  I’m actually surprised there were no evacuation postings based on the way they were describing it, with dramatic windchill predictions, ‘record-breaking’, ‘life-threatening’ lows and all the dangers associated.  Maybe someone even named the cold front.  Cold front “Karl” is bearing down on the Northeast, buy your milk and bread (minus the egg$) now!!! before the brutal assault begins.

freeze protection spring bulbs

I did manage to bucket a few clumps and then threw fleece over this bed for good measure after ‘Mrs Macnamara’ and ‘Barnes’ flexed their previously damaged foliage and made me feel guilty about neglecting them last time. 

Today when I woke up we were down to -2F (-19C).  That’s about right in line with a normal winter low, even if this winter has been nothing close to normal.  I strolled around a little in the afternoon when the thermometer had risen to around 20F and things might not be too bad.  In spite of how advanced many of the sprouts were, two days of cold prior to the plunge allowed plants to get ready for the blast.  The witch hazel curled up and the snowdrops went limp.  Limp, sugar concentrated snowdrops don’t freeze as well and the wilted foliage doesn’t burst as easily from expanding ice crystals.  Tomorrow when spring arrives we will see what bounces back.  Hopefully most everything will since the coldest weather was just one night and things were somewhat ready for it.  Nature can be smart, probably smarter than an idiot teen who needs to be told to go back into the house and put on a coat before this car is going anywhere for goodness sakes it’s not even 8 degrees out…

freeze protection spring bulbs

It was so nice and sunny (yet cold) Thursday after work that I did go a little overboard with the freeze protection.  Cut evergreen boughs, buckets and fleece were doled out for the most precious and precocious of the snowdrops.

I really can’t blame the teen entirely.  His father is the one who planted all these European and Asian snowdrops and witch hazels, and thought a winter garden would be a good idea in a climate which welcomes brutal winters.  He’s not exactly the brightest either but let’s not dwell on that right now.

freeze protection spring bulbs

Even the regular golden winter aconites(Eranthis hiemalis) are thumbing their noses at this winter.  In another week they’ll be sprouting up everywhere with an enthusiasm better suited to March.

So in another moment of brightness I’m declaring the winter of ’22-’23 to be over.  February and March can be cold here but I’m giving up on winter, and next week everything is being uncovered and I’m starting the official spring cleanups regardless of historical averages.  I should be disturbed and cautious but that’s our world these days and I’m saying it’s time to plan for snowdrop season and make a few calls for this spring’s snowdropping adventures.  Giddyap I say and plan on making the best of the warmth!

8 comments on “That Was Rough

  1. Having grown up in Buffalo and lived in Wisconsin for decades, I have to say the weather guys made folks on the East Coast seem like wimps. We may not have seen these temps for a while, but they’re not unheard of. Glad to know Spring is arriving at your house. Tell it to come my way soon.

    • bittster says:

      Haha, we will see if my theory holds up and spring does arrive. It never has this early, but there’s a first for everything isn’t there?
      I think a bunch of East Coast people really are weather wimps… or maybe cold fronts are the only news people can agree on… but I remember a time when rear wheel drive and sand rather than salt were the norms, and folks just wore boots and a heavier coat instead of standing there in sneakers and a hoodie complaining about the weather.
      Maybe we all just need our weather drama. The south and midwest have their tornadoes and things like straight winds, the tropics have their hurricanes, without snow or blizzards I guess the Northeast has to create some kind of excitement to get through to April.
      I’ll send spring your way asap 😉

  2. Pauline says:

    You seem very well prepared for your freezing weather with all your protection for your lovely snowdrops. They should be able to cope as a lot of them come from areas round the Black Sea ( Crimea) where the temperatures get really low in the winter. It’s wonderful how they bounce back once the temperatures rise. I think we still have a bit more winter to cope with yet, I always feel as though February is our worst month, but then we sometimes have snow in March when it should be spring!

    • bittster says:

      I was on the fence between doing nothing for the early sprouts vs hauling out the covers and protection and for once I actually chose the more work-heavy option. It was still only about a half hour of activity, but with warmer weather on the horizon it seemed a shame to risk things.
      These sprouts are exceptionally early due to our mild winter, it will be a shock if we end up with a normal March and a foot or two of snow!

  3. Cathy says:

    A great attitude, and not only for gardening! I am tired of all the scare-mongering regarding the weather (and everything else). Every day we have apparently had a new record. Go out and enjoy the spring clean-up. (But do put a coat on! 😉)

  4. Lisa Rest says:

    I agree, the build-up to the weather is ridiculous – especially when a few sentences later you find out no records were broken. The sun shining, as far as I’m concerned, can make up for anything. It is somewhat amazing to me how aware we become of even the most incremental temperature fluctuations, but we’re nothing compared to the plants when they seem to have it all figured out.

  5. Eliza Waters says:

    Your 2nd paragraph made me laugh – thanks! I can’t watch weather reporters because they overhype things, get everyone riled up and half the time they are way off. Their sponsors love it. Great way to sell TP, batteries, snowblowers, generators and groceries.
    The temps here were within zone 5 guidelines, but those windchills were pretty brutal. Mt. Washington broke their previous record which is exciting for those guys crazy enough to spend winter up there in the stratosphere.
    I didn’t worry too much about the garden as there was a passable crusty covering on the ground. My rhodos may have wind burn, but they always regrow.
    It was the critters I gave the most thought to, the birds and mammal neighbors. We just followed a trail for about a half mile of what I believe was a coyote with bloody paws. It passed through this morning before the crust melted, so there was no impression, but the gait was too long for a fox. Being the owner of a Yorkie, I suspect you are not fond of coyotes, but they do us a great service by keeping the rodents down. Life is tough in the wild!

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