This January afternoon was not supposed to be snowy, but temperatures were a bit chillier than expected, and what was forecast to be light rain turned to a late afternoon wet snow. Fortunately, it didn’t amount to much, though when I pulled into my snow covered driveway this evening I could hear the kids next door whooping it up on their sleds.
Tomorrow is forecast to be in the fifties. The snow will disappear quickly, and if the sun pops out the buds of witch hazels (Hamamelis vernalis, above), hellebores, and daphnes will further progress into bloom. I hear frequent expressions that this weather is odd, but really it’s not. The unusual winter weather for the mid Atlantic region is when temperatures turn cold, and stay that way.
If a person requires evidence that early growth of daffodils and scattered blooming snowdrops will not be injured by the remainder of winter’s cold, last week should help relieve those doubts. Temperatures plunged from a few glorious days in the mid-sixties to the low teens two days later, and I’ve seen no signs that blooms (Mahonia x media ‘Winter Sun’, above) or new growth of bulbs have been damaged.
I’m hoping that there is no repeat of the heavy snows from the past two years that inflicted severe damage to the garden, but the winter is not half over so plenty of time remains for disaster to strike. I’ve taken no precautions to protect plants, and in most years I expect no preventative actions are required.
This evening the temperature is hovering just above freezing, and I can hear the melting snow draining into the gutters off the roof. In the morning some snow will remain, but by early afternoon it will be all but forgotten.