So much for keeping to a regular schedule of blog posts this year. January was off to a good start, but then it got cold and snowy, and I don’t do well when cold and snow separate me from my plants… unless of course it’s to hit a tropical beach or indulgent ski resort… but we all know how that’s been going this year.
Biscuit the Yorkie loves the snow, especially when the foot or so of compacted old snow is covered with a couple inches of delicious new snow.
So February has been a nothing month. Nothing much gets done, there’s not much moving (other than for food), and no one seems to care. We just watch the snow storms roll through and vaguely consider the damage that heaps of snow and ice are doing to the roof, and wonder just how big an icicle needs to be before it rips the gutter off.
Ice dams edge the entire roof. Snow is piled high, it gets wet as the up-roof sections melt a bit, and then freezes to form a solid 10 inch wall of ice atop the gutter. Of course with the gutter blocked the next melt will just run off the edge forming (in this case tiny) icicles.
Sunday actually lived up to its name, with a clear sky and almost above freezing temperatures I made my first trek into the yard in about three weeks. There really wasn’t anything to see (anything good that is) but I did dig out one of buckets covering snowdrops and was thrilled to see them also enjoying the bright change in weather.
Galanthus ‘Three Ships’ still looking great, assuming I’m willing to trudge out and dig her up each time I visit.
Although many will complain about the snow, you won’t hear me gripe about it until March when we get hit by some nasty blizzard or Nor’easter which crushes all the new sprouts and ruins all the earliest spring flowers. Fortunately this year, in spite of a warm January, most everything was still far enough back that all this cold has done is make it wait. When it melts I expect a grand explosion of spring, and that’s always exciting.
A foot or two of compacted snow isn’t all good things. The rabbits can’t get to their food and end up eating just about anything which makes it above the snow line.
Maybe that spring explosion will be enough to save the leafless hollies and camellias, and skeletal spruces which I just bought and planted… thinking they would be just fine and out of reach in the raised beds of the potager… I fenced a bunch of things back in December, but in the past these have been safe, so obviously why would I over do it?
Even with all the clamor over snow and bitter cold and an arctic vortex or two, reality says this winter is still warmer than average, with only seven or eight nights actually below average, and not by much. Even the most impaired statistician will tell you that for an average to be average about half the temps will be above and half below… give or take a few extremes… and we are far from that even if it sure seems like a winter out of the ‘olden’ days.
A quick flashback to my garden journals of the ’80s tells me that we are actually about right in line with the spring of ’87. That might sound reassuring, but these are actually from when I lived on Long Island, which is now considered a balmy zone 7, so… we are actually way ahead.
Reading a thermometer and checking a weather report really only take at most five minutes, so it’s been a struggle to fill the rest of the weekend with nothingness. Even the winter garden is boring me so in a valiant attempt to beat the stupor I checked up on any drip irrigation fittings I might need. Yes I need to order more, maybe 100 1/2 gph emitters will be enough for all the caladium bulbs I ordered. Yes, I need to pot them up individually so that I can separate all the colors and then arrange them and rearrange them through the summer. Yes, I know that’s excessive.
Drip irrigation fittings and parts. For all of ten minutes I considered a post on the subject, but then… the stupor again descended.
One thing I have managed this winter is reading. Three new books top the pile, and they’re all excellent. ‘Some Snowdrops’ is a beautiful dreambook of how I imagine snowdrop season will be like, ‘A Year at Brandywine Cottage’ gets me excited about every plant and every season (and unfortunately every recipe has me wandering into the kitchen hungry), and ‘Colchicum’ has me doubting every label in my little colchicum bed.
Winter reading for the gardener.
A little wandering, a little dreaming, a little reading, that’s actually a pretty banner weekend (or more honestly, month) for me. Even in mid February the sun already seems March strong, and I don’t think I’m the only one thinking that. The best thing I noticed on Sunday was that birdsong is back, and in spite of the snow, birds were vociferously carving up the neighborhood into new territories for spring.
… until Monday, and another six inches of snow…
So it’s not spring yet, but things are looking up. Tomorrow will be warm, Thursday will be warmer. It will take a while for the snow and ice to melt, so I’ve got a few more days to be lazy, but the next few days look promising!
Snow can wear you out.
Have a great week!