Let it Snow!

The wintry landscape in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

The wintry landscape ( photo by: Kathy Diemer)

“What I feel has come and gone before, No need to talk it out, We know what it’s all about, Hangin’ around, Nothing to do but frown, Rainy Days and Mondays always get me down.”  When Karen Carpenter sang that song in 1971, many of us could relate.  But for me, rainy days in winter-no matter the day-are the ultimate bummer.  Unlike in spring, when rains are much appreciated by our gardens and surrounding forests, winter rains often run off the frozen ground leaving nothing but a dreary, muddy mess.  Not only is snow a beautiful accompaniment to the winter landscape, but it offers many benefits as well.

A red cardinal stands out on snow covered branches in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

A red cardinal stands out on snow covered branches (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

For starters, snow cover can serve as an insulation that helps maintain ground temperatures, protecting both trees and shrubs from root damage caused by dramatically fluctuating temperatures, and perennials and bulbs from freezing and thawing.  Without adequate snow cover, milder temperatures can lead to soil heaving and root exposure.  Snow also helps to preserve soil moisture, which prevents stress to plants during dry spring seasons.  Even dormant plants continue to lose moisture during the winter, and evergreens are especially susceptible to injury from lack of snow fall.

Twig dogwoods shimmer against the winter snow in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Twig dogwoods shimmer against the winter snow (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

Snow enhances our landscape by taking each individual tree and shrub, and transforming the otherwise mundane brown and burnished red limbs into vibrant chestnut and brilliant auburn displays.  Glowing ornamental grasses, dazzling cherry and amber twig dogwoods, evergreens in an array of emerald green to golden honey, all there for your visual pleasure.  And all magnified in their beauty with a simple sprinkling of white wonder dust.

Foot prints in the snow in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Foot prints of an elusive heron (photo by Kathy Diemer)

Snow also allows us to witness the secret visitors to our yards; the ones our dogs try to tell us about, but without evidence, we refuse to acknowledge. Mysterious prints in the snow give validity to what our four legged friends have known all along-that there are numerous unknown trespassers traveling through our property all the time . . . and we never see them.  Some prints intersect, causing you to wonder if they met along the way.  Some prints are deep, indicating a more substantially sized critter, while others barely brush the snow’s surface. And all allow us some insight into the amazing goings-on right in our own back yard.

Snow enhances the winter landscape in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Snow enhances the winter landscape (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

Yet, there are a few drawbacks to snow as well. Heavy snow can damage trees and shrubs as the weight accumulates on branches, making the difficult task of carefully removing snow as frequently as possible an absolute necessity to preserving the well being of your landscape.  The other drawback is varmints, specifically voles, which are protected from predators when there is a deep blanket of snow cover.  These pests will gnaw on tender bark at the base of young tree trunks and the stems of shrubs, and thanks to the warmer soil, will also tunnel on the surface of lawns, resulting in unsightly trails when the snows melt in spring.

Ultimately, snow is a great replenisher, restoring our water supply by slowly percolating through the soil and refilling our aquifers.  It beautifies the winter landscape while providing protection to all that dwell there.  Hopefully, Mother Nature will see fit to sprinkle our landscapes with more beneficial snowflakes in the weeks to come.  So, don your snowsuits, dust off your sleds and prepare to be wowed!

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