How Hardy Souls Wait for Spring

This post was originally published on this site

It only took two mild Februaries to seduce this cold climate gardener into thinking an early spring was the new normal–even when last February’s mildness turned into three feet of snow in mid-March, and the February before that (winter of 2015-2016) segued into an April where the temperature dropped to -3°F (-19°C) one night, decimating my Japanese maple and four hardy yews. All I seem to remember is snowdrops blooming in February and the soil thawed so deeply that I was dividing perennials in March.

gardening March 27 2016

It’s easier to remember that I was dividing perennials on March 27th than to remember it was followed by sub-zero temperatures the following week.

So when the end of this February was mild enough that I could weed out the grass from the snowdrops around the wellhead, of course I expected it to thaw even further in March.

snowdrops around wellhead

If I can pull the grass out from the edges, surely spring is on the way?

17 inches of snow

I couldn’t have been more mistaken. We got 17 inches of snow the first week of March.

March 12 septic tank

And every time the snow melted off from over the septic tank, we got another several inches of snow.

It’s demoralizing.

But cold climate gardeners are hardy souls, resilient in the face of adversity and prepared for setbacks before winter is gone for good.

snowdrops in vase

When I heard the big storm was coming, I picked these snowdrops for the house.

They are ‘S. Arnott,’ which is known for its fragrance–and early bloom.

forced hyacinths

I also fortified myself with forced hyacinths.

These came from Aldi’s, and each bulb had two blooms. Of course I will save the vases to force with some bulbs of my own next winter.

sweet nymph amaryllis

‘Sweet Nymph’ amaryllis obliged me by opening up four blossoms, one after the other.

I can’t say enough good things about these ‘Nymph’ amaryllis that Longfield Gardens sent me a few years ago. This amaryllis had just bloomed in December, and it’s now sent up another flower stalk–with four flowers–in March. I didn’t even fertilize it in between. And my other two ‘Nymphs’ also have flower stalks emerging.

Mama and baby orchid

The big orchid is from a few years ago, and the miniature orchid arrived on Valentine’s Day.

They almost look like mama orchid and baby orchid, don’t they? The miniature orchid didn’t seem to hold onto its flowers for very long. I don’t know if that’s typical for the wee ones, or if it didn’t like the change of scenery.


And my clivia continues to put on a show.

Meanwhile, I check the ten-day forecast every day for signs of a warming trend, and I’ve been getting out in the sunshine wearing snowshoes. I cling to the thought that spring flowers grow under the snow, even as I scan the horizon for the first sign of spring. And guess what? The snow is melted off the septic tank once again!

Inspired by the words of Elizabeth Lawrence, “We can have flowers nearly every month of the year,” Carol of May Dreams Gardens started Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. On the 15th of every month, garden bloggers from all over the world publish what is currently blooming in their gardens. Check it out at May Dreams Gardens.

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