Monday, February 3, 2014

Real Winter - Good and Bad

Ah, winter -- real winter, which has been uncommon in the last few years.  I read an article in which a climate scientist  said he was glad we were having a real winter so that people didn't forget what that's like.  So let's see, what's good about it?

Well, the snow is pretty.  I love to look out on the yard and see big swaths of undisturbed snowy blanket on the yard.  And of course, the trees, particularly evergreens, look so nice with a dusting of snow.

Snow is actually a good insulator for outdoor plants.  Which brings us to the bad side of this winter -- the frigid temperatures.  During the first really cold snap, my totally dead car battery had to be replaced.  That wasn't too bad.  Below zero temperatures are hard on plants.

During a warm spell, I checked my outside rosemarys.  Not too encouraging.  My large, three-year-old plant in the 4-square garden looks dead.  The "Paris" variety, supposed to be more winter hardy, looks dead.  I'll give them a chance to come around this spring, but I'm not holding out much hope.  Last spring, someone asked for the rosemary guaranteed to survive the winter.  I laughed -- I've never read and source that calls any variety of rosemary to be definitely hardy here in zone 6.  I always tell customer that I believe it depends more on the winter than the type of rosemary.  Winters like this, with sub-zero temperatures and drying winds, really lessen the chances of any rosemary surviving outside.

Even on the worst winter days, I can check on my little seedlings and realize that spring is coming.  Right now, it's just a few flats of pansies and early perennials, but it's enough to see little green plants pojing through the soil.  The tiny lavender seedlings even have the wonderful scent we associate with large plants.  I'll be starting seeds every week this month and starting to fill pots.  Then I feel like spring is right around the corner!

Lucy likes to play in the snow -- particularly chasing snowballs.  It also seems like animal smells are better in the cold and snow.  Some mornings, she just takes off to run in the back corner and smell what was in the yard.  On the really cold days, she's more content to stay snuggled up inside - who can blame her!