Brr! Revisited

– Posted in: Weather
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A perfect example of mountain weather: last week it snowed most of the day on Saturday, freezing us thoroughly at the Farmers’ Market–and yesterday it was over 90F –parboiling us at the market. Last night we had a hellacious thunderstorm with hail & winds that knocked down trees. At least I won’t have to water the gardens for a few days! Weeding, though, is another matter and I currently refuse to have anyone else on the property out of shame. The taste of the rain must have been great because everything leapt overnight. This included the grass & annual weeds, sad to say.
I love the term ‘Triage Weeding’ and have two things to add: ‘Gross’ & ‘Fine’ weeding (getting the big monsters all first as you recommend, Kathy, then going back later to do the weeding requiring care/thinking/nimble fingers/no gloves)–and tractor weeding, which involves the use of the bucket on the front of the tractor as a very large scuffle hoe. (Not me, actually, a friend with a tree nursery…)

For an in-depth look at the vagaries of the local weather, look at this graph of data for my home town: Cumulative Extremes : there are some temperature mood swings for you! and this one is even more telling: the precipitation summary for 1907-2003.
Note the column for snow accumulation. And I am here to tell you that there are many times when there was indeed snow in June & July in many parts of the county, not just at the peaks. Add that to the cloudiness factor (our average chance of sunny days is less than 6 out of 10–here is data for Spokane which is a good chunk sunnier than we are, being on the edge of the central Washington desert–note that both Boise & Pocatello, which people move to from here for the sun, are at about 55% chance of sunny days): no wonder both plants & gardeners here are often confused!

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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