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The Benefits and Drawbacks of Snow in the Garden

By goldfinch4
February 7, 2012

There’s no doubt that snow can be beautiful and offer many benefits to gardens, but unfortunately it can also cause problems. Let’s take a look at how our landscapes can be affected by this frozen precipitation.

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Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
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valleylynn
Feb 6, 2012 7:06 PM CST
Chris, I really enjoyed your article about snow. I tend to take things at face value, therefore missing how important something like snow is to us.
Your article made me stop and think about just how wonderful snow can be. We get very little of it here in the Willamette Valley, it is sure wonderful when we do get some.

I have quite a problem with things being heaved from the ground with the freezing and thawing cycle and no snow cover. In fact I was outdoors today repairing plants that had been heaved up from the ground. Sad Thankfully it was the sempervivum and they are tough and seem to take it in stride.
Name: Mary
My little patch of paradise (Zone 7b)
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fiwit
Feb 6, 2012 7:47 PM CST
Other than moving to a warmer climate there isn’t anything we can do about the snow.



Sometimes even that doesn't do it. Hilarious! These pictures of my house/yard in the Atlanta GA area were taken in January 2011. I have to admit, it's the prettiest my yard has *ever* looked in the winter Whistling And my irises that year were phenomenal!


Thumb of 2012-02-07/fiwit/776962 Thumb of 2012-02-07/fiwit/6e6787 Thumb of 2012-02-07/fiwit/3ad76e
Northwest Georgia Daylily Society
I'm going to retire and live off of my savings. Not sure what I'll do that second week.
My yard marches to the beat of a bohemian drummer...
Name: Sandi
Austin, Tx (Zone 8b)
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Bubbles
Feb 6, 2012 9:39 PM CST
I love the snow when it can be enjoyed for a weekend, and then I can go home to warmer clime. We have never lived in an area that had predictable snow. I think I'm too old to enjoy that now. It is beautiful, though, I must admit.
One year in December our daughter was at Illinois State playing volleyball. We had non-refundable tickets to St. Thomas for winter break. I drove up there from Austin to pick her up and take her home for our trip. Her team won in conference playoffs and had to leave for Calif. for playoffs. My ticket to follow her team to California, on short notice, would have been nearly what tickets for three were for St Thomas. I drove on to my MIL's in upper IL to wait until DD's team was eliminated by Calif. girls. It snowed like I've never seen (growing up in the South). I got up early the next morning seeing the light coming through the window. It was probably 6 am, the view out the upstairs windows was nearly totally white with absolutely no sound. Snow was hanging from the telephone lines, banked against my car in the driveway, still coming down, and then I spotted this lone, bundled figure shoop, shooping snow off our driveway and around my car. It was a neighbor, doing what neighbors do for elderly neighbors, I assume.
I don't know how long I sat on the floor in front of the window, but I can tell you there's something magical about the snow, especially for those of us who don't get to experience it, except on those rare occasions when the stars align and our kid almost makes us have to rethink Christmas vacation. Just writing this transports me back to that morning. Absolute silence, total white-out, and incredible peace. I'd almost forgotten. I thank you.
Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
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Sharon
Feb 6, 2012 10:32 PM CST
That's so beautiful, Sandi.
I was right there with you.
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Name: Bob
Vernon N.J. (Zone 6a)
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NJBob
Feb 6, 2012 10:59 PM CST
Chris very good article. I have to admit I miss the snow this year ( except for the shoveling ). Without it the plants are not protected from the winds and it is showing this year. Another important thing is the meltdown from snow in the spring fills reservoirs and without much snow this year they are already talking of water problems next summer if we don't get more.
Name: Chris
Ripon, Wisconsin
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goldfinch4
Feb 7, 2012 1:41 AM CST
Lynn, my sempervivums are heaving out of the ground more than usual this year too.

Wow Mary, that's a lot of snow for Atlanta! But it is very pretty.

Great story Sandi. There is incredible peace and quiet after a big snow that is an experience unlike any other. Awesome that you were able to enjoy it.

Bob, that's going to be a concern in our part of the country too, although we did get quite a bit of rain this fall. It's always very windy where I live and I'm concerned about damage from the cold winds with not much snow cover also. What we do have is melting fast so I hope to be able to take a peek in my gardens soon.
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Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
Cherish today
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SongofJoy
Feb 7, 2012 5:04 AM CST
There is no other quiet like a snow quiet. Lovely pictures in this article, Chris. I never miss snow though. Too long in So. Cal, I guess. Shrug!
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
Name: Chris
Ripon, Wisconsin
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages Forum moderator Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Database Moderator
Seller of Garden Stuff I sent a postcard to Randy! Sempervivums Sedums Region: Wisconsin Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
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goldfinch4
Feb 7, 2012 6:10 AM CST
Thanks Tee. I think I'd miss the snow if we didn't get any, but I'd like it a lot better if it didn't snow on the roads! Hilarious!
Cubits Store: The Sempervivum Patch - plants, containers, accessories!
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Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
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plantladylin
Feb 7, 2012 7:30 AM CST
Chris: Loved your article with those beautiful photo's and information! Being a southern gal and living in the south my entire life, I'm not familiar with plants heaving from the ground and found that very interesting! Nature sure is amazing isn't it?

I remember a winter trip to Colorado years ago and I was enamored by the beauty of the snow covered landscape. My favorite time of day is sunrise, when it's quiet and peaceful ... just before the birds wake and begin their morning songs of a new day and I enjoyed the snowy sunrises in Colorado almost as much as I do sunrises on the beach here ... very serene and peaceful, a great time for reflection!

~ Eat, Sleep .... Play in the dirt ~
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
Cherish today
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar
Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Cat Lover Avid Green Pages Reviewer Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Birds
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SongofJoy
Feb 7, 2012 7:58 AM CST
goldfinch4 said:Thanks Tee. I think I'd miss the snow if we didn't get any, but I'd like it a lot better if it didn't snow on the roads! Hilarious!


No snow on roads ... that would be very good. Thumbs up Yes, you'd miss the snow. When I moved to CA I missed having the four distinct seasons, and after being on the West Coast for several decades I missed the mild ambient temperatures year around. Here I could completely do without tornado season. There's always something. Green Grin!
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
Name: Mary
My little patch of paradise (Zone 7b)
Gardening dilettante, that's me!
Plays in the sandbox Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Dog Lover Daylilies The WITWIT Badge
Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Bluebonnets Birds Region: Georgia Composter Garden Ideas: Master Level
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fiwit
Feb 7, 2012 8:02 AM CST
goldfinch4 said:
Wow Mary, that's a lot of snow for Atlanta! But it is very pretty.
.


I measured five inches in the level spots. I went to bed at 830 Sunday night to bare ground and no precip, and woke up at 515 Monday morning to 5 inches of snow. It was freezing rain that changed to snow that then changed back to freezing rain. The city was shut down for almost an entire week. Our greater metro area is 20 counties and 5million people. Atlanta has a grand total of FIFTEEN snow plows, and lots of overpasses on their highway system.

We also stayed below freezing that entire week, so the snow couldn't melt. I didn't need to go anywhere (I work from home, so I didn't even get to miss work), so I kept the bird feeders filled, scattered seed on top the snow for the ground feeders, and enjoyed the beauty. The good news is that it proved how well insulated my house is. I had no icicles hanging off my eaves, and the snow stayed on my roof until the temps got high enough to melt it. So no heat loss from my attic. Big Grin (the original owners of my house were from Cleveland OH and they insulated it VERY well)

This year? I saw a few flurries one day back in Nov or Dec, and that's been it. We've had lots of rain this winter to go with our warmer weather.
Northwest Georgia Daylily Society
I'm going to retire and live off of my savings. Not sure what I'll do that second week.
My yard marches to the beat of a bohemian drummer...
Name: Chris
Ripon, Wisconsin
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages Forum moderator Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Database Moderator
Seller of Garden Stuff I sent a postcard to Randy! Sempervivums Sedums Region: Wisconsin Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
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goldfinch4
Feb 7, 2012 8:12 AM CST
Thanks Lin. Sunrises on the beach would be a real treat right now but I'm glad you also got to experience some snow.

I agree Tee, there's always something. We get tornadoes here too.

Mary, I'm sure that snow did shut everything down for a week! Bet that was a real shock when you got up in the morning. Smiling A house being well insulated is good in any climate, but even better that someone else did it for you! Thumbs up
Cubits Store: The Sempervivum Patch - plants, containers, accessories!
Also stop by Timber Treasures and Garden Buddies on Cubits
Name: Sandi
Austin, Tx (Zone 8b)
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Bubbles
Feb 7, 2012 7:57 PM CST
Thanks Sharon, I think that's high praise coming from you and I appreciate it.
Chris, I'm so glad I read your tip!
Name: Margaret
Delta KY
I'm A Charley's Girl For Sure
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Mindy03
Feb 8, 2012 9:10 AM CST
Loved this article. I love snow which is in short supply here this winter.

My side yard taken on Christmas morning 2010


Thumb of 2012-02-08/Mindy03/7f5acb
Name: Chris
Ripon, Wisconsin
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages Forum moderator Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Database Moderator
Seller of Garden Stuff I sent a postcard to Randy! Sempervivums Sedums Region: Wisconsin Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
Image
goldfinch4
Feb 8, 2012 9:42 AM CST
What a beautiful picture! We're having a really mild winter this year too. Luckily that should make for an early spring - I hope. Thumbs up
Cubits Store: The Sempervivum Patch - plants, containers, accessories!
Also stop by Timber Treasures and Garden Buddies on Cubits
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Feb 8, 2012 9:52 AM CST
I love that photo Margaret. Thumbs up
Name: Sandi
Austin, Tx (Zone 8b)
Texas Gardening
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Master Gardener: Texas
Region: Texas Tropicals Plumerias Ferns Greenhouse Garden Art
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Bubbles
Feb 8, 2012 10:08 AM CST
I agree
Name: Mary
My little patch of paradise (Zone 7b)
Gardening dilettante, that's me!
Plays in the sandbox Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Dog Lover Daylilies The WITWIT Badge
Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Bluebonnets Birds Region: Georgia Composter Garden Ideas: Master Level
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fiwit
Feb 8, 2012 10:33 AM CST
valleylynn said:I love that photo Margaret. Thumbs up


I agree
Northwest Georgia Daylily Society
I'm going to retire and live off of my savings. Not sure what I'll do that second week.
My yard marches to the beat of a bohemian drummer...
Name: Margaret
Delta KY
I'm A Charley's Girl For Sure
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Beekeeper
Seed Starter Permaculture Region: Kentucky Garden Ideas: Master Level
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Mindy03
Feb 8, 2012 12:46 PM CST
Thanks Everyone. My husband takes all the snowy pictures. It's something he loves to take pictures of. I have others that I'm trying to find time to add to a database I have on Cubits but they are on his computer not mine.
Name: Vicki
North Carolina
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I sent a postcard to Randy! Region: United States of America
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vic
Feb 11, 2012 10:37 AM CST
Wonderful article Christine - thank you for all the great information and the lovely photo's!

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