At last – snow
You might think that snow is a gardener’s worst nightmare, and yes, if it arrives in April when you’ve got thousands of small seedlings on the go, then it’s pretty much devastation wherever you look. However, get it in winter, when it’s actually expected, and snow can be pretty good for the garden.
I love snow. I love awaking and realising that the light streaming through the curtains is different, that is must have snowed overnight. I love looking out the window and seeing the little bird feet and cat paw prints in the fine white power that’s coating every surface. Taking the dog for a walk is a delight, and there’s nothing like curling up with a seed catalogue when there’s snow on the ground to become inspired.
Benefits for the garden
For gardeners there are other benefits too, aside from the real excuse to enjoy vast quantities of hot tea and warm freshly made bread buns. Firstly, a cold spell sends plants into a real dormant phase. You’ll often discover that many plants, including wisteria, lilacs and even roses will produce a really show-stopping cascade of flowers in the spring when winter weather’s been particularly harsh. Rather than attempting some lacklustre growth through the colder parts of the years, plants are sent into real dormancy and shut down. At the first sign of warmer climes they burst into life with vibrancy.
Snow on the ground is also great help when it comes to pests. Harsh winters will result in fewer pests having survived, enabling plants to thrive with even more ferocity. It takes a while for those aphid and mollusc armies to build their numbers after a harsh winter, and it allows us gardeners to get a head start on protecting our plants. 2012 was a horrendous year for growing, and vast amounts of rain have sent the slug and snail populations soaring. You might think you’ve collected and killed all those critters in your garden, but think of all the eggs waiting to hatch. With any luck, frosts and snow will kill some of these off, giving us a slightly better gardening start to 2013.
Invasion of the weeds
But heavy snowfall also offers the chance to take action on those weeds too. Like the gorgeous plants we want to have in our gardens, weeds become stunted by the snowfall and unable to grow. You might not be able to dig out those pesky invaders whilst the ground’s frozen, but as thawing comes, it’s the ideal time to rid the garden of those frozen weeds. A major weed problem that’s currently streaming across the UK is the invasion of Japanese knotweed. This has to be dealt with as soon as it appears because it will soon start to invade your garden, and even your home, if not dealt with. With snow on the ground and a slight lull in the horticulturists season, it’s the perfect time to look up TP Knotweed and prepare for the war against invasion.
It’s true that many plants have to be protected from frost and snow damage, and you should take adequate care to ensure fragile plants survive. But, snow can be a good thing, and it can push your garden to be even more spectacular in the coming year.