Colchicum in suspended animation

– Posted in: Colchicums
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It’s not that the temperature is that much different–it is that we have sudden huge thaws that uncover what is beneath the snow. The little Colchicum flowered under the snow as the ground hadn’t frozen when the snow came and it was good & warm under there–and there is quite a bit of light through the snow for the first foot or so. The bloom was uncovered because of the thaw, and the fact that it is in a raised bed which tilts sunward. I hadn’t realized how much difference raised beds (and angle) made until this winter. I plan to experiment more with this as I construct a new alpine bed this summer.

The roller coaster type weather here is because we get both Arctic flow and warmer, wetter Pacific flow in from the coast–which one at what time depending upon the whim of the jet stream. This makes for confusing gardening. Sudden drops or rises in temperature of 30-50 degrees are not uncommon. You never really know what the weather will bring: the only month I rely on not having frost is July and that isn’t always safe either. Snow usually waits till Halloween and is gone by the end of March but it keeps reappearing in April & May, for fun I expect.

The Red-winged Blackbirds are back today, and Ravens, so rain is coming.

About the Author

USDA Hardiness Zone: 4b/5aLocation: rural; just south of British Columbia/Idaho borderGeographic type: foot of Black & Clifty Mountains (foothills of Rockies–the Wet Columbia Mountains in BC climate- speak)Soil type:acid sand (glacial lake bed)/coniferous forestExperience level: intermediate/professionalParticular interests: fragrant & edible plants, hardy bulbs, cottage gardening, alpines, peonies, penstemons & other blue flowers, primulas, antique & species roses & iris; nocturnal flowers Also: owner of Paradise Gardens Rare Plant Nursery

Now, the digging and dividing of perennials, the general autumn cleanup and the planting of spring bulbs are all an act of faith. One carries on before the altar of delayed gratification, until the ground freezes and you can’t do any more other than refill the bird feeder and gaze through the window, waiting for the snow. . . . Meanwhile, it helps to think of yourself as a pear tree or a tulip. You will blossom spectacularly in the spring, but only after the required period of chilling.

~Adrian Higgins in The Washington Post, November 6, 2013

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Joe February 14, 2003, 5:50 pm

Hi, I just found this blog and wanted to tell you how great I think it is. I live and garden in chilly NY. I really enjoyed your writing, will be back often !