Tuesday, February 13, 2007


I took this photo of milkweed seeds (above), & the Queen Anne's lace (below) just after Christmas '06, when the temperatures started to drop and we had our first real snows.

I am chuckling a bit now, looking at all the snow we finally received, to recall hauling home the Christmas tree and evergreen boughs I had cut in the woods north of the house, fighting my way home in the gathering dusk against a wet, rainy, cold wind from the west. No snow then; I was miserably cold, but stubborn. I was under a time-crunch and determined to get that tree and the boughs home...

Well, it's not news anymore, but we've had a fair bit of lovely snow fall over the last week or two. Most gardeners I know are glad for it. I picture the snow gently insulating the plants, like a blanket tucked in to keep out the bitter winter winds. Like many gardeners, I'm also wondering how the plants will be affected by the prolongation of a warm, wet fall, or if the length of daylight hours is the more influential trigger.

Some people have commented to me in some amazement that their tulips, daffodils, or some other spring flowering bulbs put on several inches of growth last fall, worrying that the warm fall had mixed up the bulbs' internal clocks in some way. In my experience, many bulbs do start putting up some green again in the fall. After the leaves brown up and die back in the spring or early summer, the bulbs seem to have a little snooze through the heat of summer. Leaves often reappear in the fall and don't seem to be hurt one bit by the snow and cold. I imagine if the growth is very extensive, and the leaves get no protection from the cold, they may get some frost damage. I've just never seen it happen, is all.

Sometimes, I have managed to lay a bit of mulch around the gardens and I know that helps keep the bulbs from being heaved out of the ground during the erratic weather of spring: thaw/freeze/thaw. Most times, my bulbs fend for themselves pretty well.

Meanwhile, there is hype, anxiety and more hype on the news about a big winter storm coming our way,the warm air coming up the Ohio valley meeting the cold Arctic air over our heads here. This is perhaps because most of my news comes from Toronto where they have thus far escaped most of the snow we have already had up here in the Kawarthas. This storm is expected to hit the Toronto area this time. Those of use who don't live in Toronto like to joke that Torontonians are a pretty helpless bunch -- if they get a bit of snow, they call in the Canadian armed forces to dig them out!

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Blogger Annie in Austin said...

The milkweed photo is beautiful, Kati, and I love the way the Queen Anne's lace is cupped to hold the snow. How well I remember that frantic feeling in Illinois if the temperature slide began with bare ground. Sometimes it seemed as if that scouring wind came on purpose just to blow the mulch and leaves off the most vulnerable perennials. I'm glad you have your snow cover!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

8:33 p.m.  
Blogger Blackswamp_Girl said...

What gorgeous pictures, Kati! You captured those low slanting winter sun rays beautifully.

I think you sent a little ray of sunshine my way this morning... somehow. One of my last remaining asclepias pods had burst open this morning, with its white fluff hanging out in the sunshine and breeze. I noticed it while I was out shoveling. :)

6:34 p.m.  

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