A narrow road runs between these evergreens but you wouldn't know it from this photo.

This is spring?

According to the official calendar, spring arrived four days ago. Yet two days ago we received the largest dump of snow we’ve had all year — 40 centimeters, or almost 16 inches.

A late winter snowstorm is not unusual in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, where my garden Glen Villa is located. Snow tires are required in Quebec during winter; this year they could be removed legally after March 15. Pity anyone who did that — the big dump came a full week later. Driving during the storm was perilous, even for a population that is accustomed to dealing with, and well equipped to handle, the conditions.

 

A narrow road runs between these evergreens but you wouldn't know it from this photo.
A narrow road runs between these evergreens but you wouldn’t know it from this photo.

 

When snow falls in the late winter or early spring it often melts quickly, but this time, with so much snow, the piles will hang around for a while. And while they do, the accumulated snow is beautiful to behold. Some snow is light and fluffy. This snow was heavy, weighing down the branches of the hawthorn trees beside our drive.

 

I think the branches will recover once the snow melts. But more fragile branches would break from the weight of the snow.
I think the branches will spring back once the snow melts. But more fragile branches will break from this much weight.

 

Hillsides turned white as the wet snow clung to the branches of trees.

 

It's difficult to show how white everything looks after a heavy snowfall like this one.
It’s difficult to show how white everything looks after a heavy snowfall like this one.

 

Bare branches that normally are black turned white, coated with wet snow.

 

Branches are white against a brilliant blue sky.
Branches outlined against a brilliant blue sky sparkle as the snow begins to melt.

 

The straight lines of the crabapple allée stood out starkly against the snow-covered field.

 

The crabapple allée, part of Timelines, a 3 km trail at Glen Villa that explores ideas about time, identity and our relationship to the land.
Someone was snowshoeing along the crabapple allée. This area is part of Timelines, a 3 km trail at Glen Villa that explores ideas about time, identity and our relationship to the land.

 

In the plantation, where straight lines order you to follow a single path, an old cherry tree twisted and turned, almost as if it were shivering in the cold.

 

The old cherry tree is named in honour of the Quebec artist Melvin Charney whose photographs perfectly captured the contrast between naturally straight and artificially distorted trees.
The old cherry tree is named in honour of the Quebec artist Melvin Charney whose works of art perfectly capture the contrast between naturally straight and artificially distorted trees.

 

I can’t help but envy those whose gardens are now bright with colour — daffodils and tulips, muscari and anemones. But those of us who garden in cold climates know we just have to wait. The colours will arrive. Eventually.

 

  • Lisa Wagner

    That looks like a lot of snow, still. My hubbie is now planning to head to Quebec in early May with our 10 year old Golden Retriever (who suffers from separation anxiety AND he’s getting to be an old boy), instead of traveling to Ireland on our arranged HomeExchange for the first two weeks in May (I’m still going). He may not be gardening as soon as he thinks.

    • siteandinsight

      Gardening in early May? I have my doubts. Lots of clean-up then more likely. But let’s keep fingers crossed that I’m wrong. Enjoy Ireland, Lisa.

      • Lisa Wagner

        Thanks, I’m sure I’ll enjoy Ireland. I’m also quite sure that LOTS of clean-up will be what my husband will be doing in May, since we weren’t there in late summer and fall!

  • What’s happening for April Fool’s?

    • siteandinsight

      Came early this year.

  • It does get tiresome waiting. That’s why the tagline of my blog mentions hardy souls–if you’re going to live and thrive in a cold climate, you need some emotional resiliency, an ability to endure delayed gratification. And I think it was a tad easier to endure before the internet thrust so many images of blooming gardens in our faces, right when we’re most vulnerable.

    • siteandinsight

      I agree, Kathy. Seeing all those images of gardens in full bloom makes me envious. But then I hate summer heat and wouldn’t want to live where temperatures combine with humidity to make life uncomfortable. So it’s a balance… and I’m happy to be on the cold side of the scale.

  • Pam/Digging

    How very beautiful — and, I imagine, how very frustrating. I grew up in upstate South Carolina, where we didn’t get much snow, but when we did it often seemed to fall in April, when our weeping cherry was in full bloom. I have many pics of the drooping branches laden with flowers and snow. penick.net

    • siteandinsight

      It is beautiful, particularly on a day like today when the sky is such a brilliant blue. Snow is melting, thank goodness.

  • So pretty, but not very spring-like. I see this was 5 days ago, I hope things have melted a bit.

    • siteandinsight

      An April Fool’s joke — more snow! But the sun is out now and I’m hoping the inch or two that fell will melt quickly.