– Posted in: Weather

The lilacs are flowering, the robins nesting, the roses budding, the orchids in the woods by the shop budding, –and it is snowing like mad. Another spring day brought to us by north Idaho. Keeps me on my toes ferrying tender plants in & out of the greenhouse–the canary bird and morning glory vines really resent freezing but if I don’t start them early I have to wait a very long time to see them flower briefly before the frost takes them.

It has been incredibly windy for several days now and if wind strengthens the stems of plants then mine should be able to lift weights soon.
The sun has just come out but there is another lead colored cloud bank looming into sight; it will be snowing again shortly. The tulips open & shut accordingly. I understand that it is to keep the pollen & seed receptacles dry & warm; I would like to see drawings of the mechanism that allows this muscle-like activity.

When it is this windy I cease digging for market; plants are just too water stressed to settle in well to their pots or new gardens. Even if I soak the beds thoroughly a few hours previous to digging, the foliage gets wrung out by the gale going on. So today I will focus on signage, watering and watering, and set out my thermos and wool socks for tomorrow’s market.

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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