Tag Archives: snow

Is Anything Blooming at Glen Villa?

March 19th, 2016 | 4 Comments »

After more than a month, I’m heading north in a few days, returning to my garden in Quebec.

It’s been a strange winter… the winter that wasn’t, someone called it. So I don’t know what I’ll find in the garden when I finally arrive. I’ve heard that in the Eastern Townships, my part of Quebec, the ice on the lake is breaking up and has almost melted. If so, it is earlier than last year.


I took this photo in mid-April last year.
I took this photo last year on April 17 when water levels from melting ice were high. Floating on the water are two wooden section of deck that in summer are on the beach. Under water you can see part of the dock.


I also hear that all the snow is gone. If that’s true, the ground will be bare and brown and not attractive at all. But will the crocus be blooming?


Crocus on the lawn at Glen Villa, April 2015.
Crocus on the lawn at Glen Villa, April 23, 2015.


Or the snowdrops?


These snowdrops were blooming on March 23 in 2012. We're scheduled to arrive in Quebec that day.
These snowdrops were blooming on March 23 in 2012. We’re scheduled to arrive home that day.


Even checking with friends and family, it’s hard to know what we’ll find when we get home — bare ground or an unexpected dump of the white stuff. Last year, on our way north from South Carolina, we ran into a big snowstorm around Washington D.C. As we drove farther north the temperatures rose, allowing us to hope that we had escaped the worst of the winter.

Not so. Our first weekend at home looked more like January than mid-March.


This was the view over the Big Lawn on March 15, 2015.
This was the view over the Big Lawn on March 15, 2015. Could the Ides of March have been responsible?


The previous year conditions were just as bad — or just as good, if you are a skier. Even at the end of the month, snow was piled high.


The path to the garage was lined with snowbanks on March 23, 2014.
The path to the garage was lined with snowbanks two years ago, on March 23, 2014.


But weather changes from year to year. In contrast to the photo above, check out the one below, taken on the same day four years earlier. On March 23 in 2010 the ground was bare, with no snow in sight. In fact, the grass was starting to green up around what is now the Gravel Garden, even if the clumps of fescue (Festuca glauca) in the Gravel-Garden-to-be looked dead. (As indeed they were.)


On March 21, 2010
I don’t know if the fescue died because of winter conditions or because I divided and transplanted it too late the previous year. I think I was the assassin.


By early April that same year the daffodils on the berm were blooming.


I took this photo of daffodils in bloom on the berm above The Skating Pond on April 4, 2010. I'm surprised to see how many were blooming.
I took this photo of daffodils on the berm on April 4, 2010. I’m surprised to see how many daffodils were blooming then. Because the varieties are mixed, blooms on the berm continue for almost six weeks.


It’s not likely that daffodils will be blooming when I get home this year, even with the warmer weather, but I could be happily surprised. I know I’d rather see flowers than snow. But one thing is certain. If snow is lingering in shady corners, the sign that the owner of our local grocery store puts up will be there: All in favour of spring? Raise your hands.


Gloves lost over the winter are there for the taking. I'd rather take the tulips, even if they are made of wood.
Gloves lost over the winter are there for the taking. I’d rather take the tulips, even if they are made of wood.


What’s happening in your garden? Are the daffodils and other spring bulbs blooming yet or are they almost gone?


Winter Wonderland

January 3rd, 2016 | 11 Comments »
Winter arrived a few days ago. It was later than usual but it came with impressive intensity. Winds blew, snow fell. And now, all around us, are winter's wonders. [caption id="attachment_3347" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] Spruce trees are particularly appealing after a winter snowstorm.[/caption]   I'm not sure how much snow has fallen, but judging from the snow peaked on top of the Chinese pot, 10 inches/25.5 cms would be a reasonable guess.   [caption id="attachment_3348" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] The children cavorting on the side of Chinese pot seem to be playing in the


Winter Interest

January 20th, 2015 | 9 Comments »
When I first began gardening,, I thought that Quebec's winter landscape could offer nothing of interest. Now I realize that I only needed to train my eye to see things differently. Instead of looking to plants for interest, I needed to look for patterns and details. Details like the sun-sparkled fuzz of snow that coated a clump of grass beside the driveway.   [caption id="attachment_1695" align="aligncenter" width="850"] Ordinary grasses are transformed into tiny sculptures when first coated with snow and ice.[/caption]   Patterns like the wavy black line drawn by the not-yet-frozen stream as


Winter is Here!

December 17th, 2014 | 2 Comments »
Snow came early this year -- our first snowfall was in the middle of November. [caption id="attachment_1533" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] A light snow dusted rocks by the driveway in the year's first snowfall.[/caption]   The light snow added glamour to slightly tattered bergenia leaves. Sunlight shining through exposed the veins and highlighted the range of colours.   [caption id="attachment_1534" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] Even a thick leaf can look transparent when the sun is at the right angle.[/caption]   The snow didn't last, thank goodness. In fact, we had a few days of almost warm


A winter song for a winter garden

March 3rd, 2014 | 6 Comments »
I read a fair number of blogs related to gardens and landscape design. Recently, many of these have been full of glee about the approach of spring. They've showcased crocus peeping above ground and shown snowdrops in profusion. Phooey. Where I live, winter is still here and the only garden I see is snow.  (Cue Gilles Vigneault: "Mon pays, c'est ne pas un pays, c'est l'hiver. Mon jardin c'est ne pas un jardin, c'est la plaine...." If you don't know the song, google it here. And wait till Gilles begins


A study in black and white, bowed and broken

December 30th, 2013 | 10 Comments »
After several more days of snow, our landscape is a study in black, white, and grey... Birch trees on the hillside: an arrangement in grey and black, minus Whistler's mother. with the occasional touch of green... Spruce trees in the lower field and yellow. A touch of yellow on a broken ash tree. So many trees are bowed... Oak, maple, ash and spruce lean dangerously over the driveway. or broken. That stump used to be the bottom of a Schubert cherry tree. The linden, a perfectly formed Platonic idea of


The dangerous beauty of ice

December 26th, 2013 | 8 Comments »
For the first time since I started writing this blog, a post is late, and by several days. Oh, well, it's the holidays, you may think. But no, for almost a year now, I've managed a timely entry despite holidays, vacations and intense pressures to come away from the computer and enjoy myself. So it's not Christmas that has delayed things, it's the weather. Until yesterday morning, December 25, we had no power. For 72 hours, Glen Villa was dark unless the sun was shining. We had no internet, so no


Snow: can this be May?

May 27th, 2013 | 2 Comments »
Folk wisdom in Canada says that it is safe to plant tender annuals after May 24. Why that date? Because it's Queen Victoria's birthday. (Don't ask, it makes no sense....) Generally, this is a safe guideline. But day before yesterday, on May 25, it snowed. It was cold -- almost freezing, in fact. And we lost power for 16 hours. Not fun. Snow on the windshield: unbelievable! Yup, it's May 25. In the garden, Daphne 'Carol Mackie' was in bloom. The photo below isn't great. I'm including it because of