The Plant that Keeps on Giving
We have just had the first snowfall of the year and where I am, we have had a fair bit. Approximately 10-12 cms. I am feeling pretty smug as I am benefiting from an unexpected day off. What joy! It’s the unexpected ones that are the best and bring the most pleasure in my opinion as you have absolutely no commitments to keep. The day is completely yours. Just as long as you don’t really want to go too far that is, as it is snowing heavily and it is bitterly cold. Plus the car is stuck behind a 50cm snow bank on account of the swirling vortex of wind that seems to regularly occur in our driveway. The same swirling vortex of wind that is kind enough to deposit litter, leaves and the occasional garden recycling bag into our corner of the close. I am convinced that it is only a matter of time before we end up with someone’s washing off their line such is the strength of the wind at times.
After the initial euphoria of my unexpected snow day wears off, my thoughts turn to the garden.... That and how long the cat can actually go without emptying its bladder as apparently snow is absolutely terrifying. Almost 36 hours, as it turns out.... Not sure if there is a world record and whether it has just been broken.
Whilst the garden looks beautiful under a covering of snow, I fear for all those plants that have been keen to get going in the recent milder weather. I finally managed to get my act together 2 weeks ago to do the very necessary winter clear up of all the dead leaves and foliage. Much later than I should have done but frankly some plants just took such a long time to die back – I had gladioli still trying to strut their stuff in November. They had only been planted this season so they were new to the game so I guess they can be forgiven for not knowing what they were doing.
During the winter clear up – something I dread doing for some reason despite getting so much satisfaction from it afterwards – I had noticed so much new growth. So many plants were rallying after the winter. Including my much coveted and prized Star Magnolia shrub which I bought just at the end of its flowering season last year so I have yet to see it in its full flowering glory. At this point, panic starts to set in. What if it gets damaged in some way and doesn’t flower as a result? I love a magnolia, don’t get me wrong. When they bloom, they are magnificent but without wanting to sound too rude.... they are not really up to much for the rest of the year are they...? In fact they are positively plain and very much blend into the background. To miss it flowering would be very sad.
I start to think about what else may be affected. I am pretty sure the daffs which have been making such good progress will be ok. They are old hands at this. Ditto the hellebores. Anything that goes by the name of winter rose should know a thing or two about winter conditions. I personally think that hellebores are the gift that just keeps on giving. They provide such welcome relief from the dull of winter with their prolonged flowering season and then they have attractive dark green foliage in the summer. Sadly my most magnificent example is not visible from the house. I may have to consider moving it. I am fairly confident that the pansies I have in pots and hanging baskets will not have come through it completely unscathed but I never cease to be amazed at their ability to bounce back from near death – either by freezing or water deprivation. Plucky little things that they are.
Only time and a thaw will tell what damage, if any, has been inflicted on any unsuspecting plant that has jumped the gun on spring.... And while the snow has now gone, thanks to much milder weather and rain, I won’t actually see the garden in daylight for another 2 days... such is the problem with the shorter daylight hours at this time of year...
With much love
The Lazy Gardener
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