So far this winter, my little corner of northeastern Pennsylvania has been blessed with several “near-misses” in the snow department, often lying on the fringes of a storm’s path. Last week, during the much-hyped Blizzard of 2015, the snowfall total in my driveway amounted to just over three inches. All of that changed yesterday, as a storm system that affected a large portion of the northern United States dumped a full foot (30 cm.) of fluffy snow on us. It was finally a storm worthy of the title!
Just the tops of the Dwarf Alberta Spruce trees peek above the top of the snow in the Terrace Garden this morning, and the only evidence of the boxwoods in front is a row of small, conical humps: The wind gusted fiercely for a few hours after the snow stopped, creating some interesting drifts and contours.
This is my back deck. You can barely see the outlines of the path I like to keep shoveled out to the compost bin:And this is our silly kitty, inaptly named Schroedinger, trapped by the snow under the porch steps. He was too impatient to wait for me to finish shoveling a path to the house for him, so he bravely jumped out and leapt from one of my bootprints to the other to reach the door!
Finally, here’s a shot of my front porch. In summer this is “Mom’s Hideaway“, but in the winter it is a haven from the snow and wind for a great variety of birds:This little Pine Siskin was disturbed not in the least by my presence out on the porch!
Unlike many people, I really don’t mind the snow, at least not in early February! A good snow cover protects deeply rooted plants by insulating the soil and keeping it from freezing too deeply. At a shallower level, it helps prevent frost heave during freeze and thaw cycles, so a plant’s roots stay below ground where they belong. Even a light blanket of snow keeps the surface of the garden and lawn from drying out, and deeper snow can protect the leaves of small evergreen shrubs from desiccation when harsh winds blow. Additionally, as snow slowly melts in the spring, it provides much-needed moisture to plants as they break out of dormancy and begin to grow again.
And of course, it cannot be denied, the snow does create a beautiful landscape in my backyard! (NB: I reserve the right to hold a completely different opinion of snow when it comes in late March or even April, as sometimes does happen here! To everything a season . . .)