An Unwanted Encore

It seemed as if winter was finally leaving us. The weather turned mild, and the snow was melting at a steady pace. Then a colleague at work sent me this.

snow prediction

Yes, apparently we are expecting up to 16″ of snow by tomorrow night. It’s still well above freezing as I write this, so I’m hoping that much of this precipitation will actually take the form of rain rather than snow.

Recently I compared the tediously slow progress of this year’s spring to Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow. Now I am put in mind of a performer who keeps returning to the stage for extra encores, even as the audience just wants to put on their coats and go home.

This weather does make me wonder about all the early spring bulbs that would normally be up by now, the snowdrops and crocus. Are they still asleep under the snow, or have they emerged from the frozen soil only to find themselves smothered by a snowy blanket?

Then there are the perennials and bulbs I planted last fall. I shudder to think what may have become of them: tulips, lilies, squill, bluebells, hellebores, goatsbeard, etc.

robin in winter

And what of the robins and other birds and critters? Judy took this picture of an American Robin on Sunday morning. To my mind it looks distinctly irritated. Perhaps it is wondering how it’s supposed to hunt worms through all the snow and ice. Actually, some American robins do stay in this area through the winter, but I rarely see them in the garden until the weather warms.

As for rabbits, no doubt they are thinking of chewing the bark off of trees that had seemed unappetizing until now. That’s a thought that will keep me up at night.

Has winter given its final bow in your neighborhood, or does it continue to give unwanted encores?

54 Comments on “An Unwanted Encore

  1. Just drove home in the start of this and it wasn’t fun! Boo for the encore! And i was out wrapping some of my Blackhawks because mr bunny was munching! Hope we don’t get this full amount!!!!

  2. I really hope for you that it will come mostly as rain. Spring will be late for you, and maybe be very short before the summer arrives. Good thing that you keep feeding the poor birds. No need to make nests at the moment.

  3. Here most of the birds are nesting and the House Martins have arrived which is a distinct sign of spring as they migrate from Africa. The only thing keeping me worried are the cold winds and night temperatures approaching 0°C. Keep warm and keep feedingthe birds, Jason.

  4. Oh how utterly miserable, keep warm. Could the snow insulate your new plants, lets hope so and that not to much is lost. Its due to be 14c here today (57f) Its hard to imagine your current temperatures.

  5. You are wondering how your bulbs and birds are managing with an apparently endless winter. I’m wondering how you people are managing, especially gardeners. I think gardeners should have a special dispensation from winter.
    I’m sure your bulbs will be fine and they will come out all at once in a hurry.And ours will all be finished.

  6. Here in southwestern CT we still have several inches of snow on the ground. I saw my first robin last week but winter just does not seem to want to give up. We’re expecting rain, rather than your snow, so hopefully the robins will have some open ground to forage in soon. Good luck with the snow.

    • There was just an online article in the Chicago Tribune with pictures of ducks dying because the water is completely frozen. Sad!

  7. As the crow flies we are not that far from you. It is now snowing but the forecast is for a sunny day tomorrow. As for the bulbs, I don’t think you have to worry. As a child I lived in a zone 3 area and all the bulbs came up, although late.

  8. I saw the weather forecast for Chicago and thought of you. My condolences. It was freezing late last week, then 70 and 78 Monday and Tuesday. Today we’re expecting a cold front – meaning 40-something tomorrow. That’s what they call a cold front here.

  9. We are finally getting some spring-like weather here in the PNW. The torrential rain has beat a retreat for the next couple of days, and I am scurrying to get out there and cut back and tidy stuff. But the rain will return. So sorry you are getting more snow. I do not miss it.

  10. Will winter never end?
    When I lived way up north the bulbs just waited until conditions were right. I am guessing yours will be fine. i feel pretty bad for all the migrant critters though. It seems like every year for the past ten things were coming up earlier rather than later … i don’t know how migrants manage to be so flexible.

    • There was a very sad article in the Chicago Tribune about ducks dying because there was no open water where they could get food.

  11. It’s ba-a–a-ack! My opinion (hope) is the snowy blanket that has persisted all winter long has protected whatever is in the ground. What is above ground is another matter, especially considering how frigid the temps have been this winter. Hope springs eternal!

  12. Spring seems to have arrived here, but the nights are still cold. Hope you don’t get more snow, and that this will be the last of your winter. Those poor birds must be so happy when they see your feeders full of goodies!

  13. Oh no….how hideous!! Like you I feel for the wildlife, snow will hit them hard, especially prolonged snow. I’m so glad you feed the birds, they need a friend right now. I have my fingers crossed that you get rain and that all you plants are lying dormant and will thrive in the warmer weather.xxx

  14. I’ve just returned from holiday to find Spring has arrived here on the south coast – the bulbs are out in force and the Magnolia tree in the garden is coming to life! I hope the snow doesn’t linger

  15. Not too far north of here they might see 2 feet before it’s over. We were supposed to get a foot or more but luckily the storm jogged north a bit and all we’ve had is rain.
    I wouldn’t worry too much about the bulbs. Nature usually knows what she is doing.

  16. Only an inch or two expected here. Normally that would make me happy but the weekend’s warm weather uncovered the snowdrops, brought them into bloom, and has now got them all unprepared for lows of 9F with no snow cover protecting them. I thought for sure things would doze for a little longer and be safe from cold snaps but no, they’re as anxious to get going as I am!

    • Snowdrops are supposed to be pretty resistant to cold (hence the name), but I hope they’re ok. I do remember some years the snowdrops seemed burned by frost.

  17. Jason, I’m starting to think of this as the winter that refused to leave. Usually I prune my clematis and set up deer netting around the serenity garden during my spring break in Maine — but not this year, with an 18″ snowpack still on the ground and another foot expected on top of that before this storm is done.

  18. Yeah, weird. We had a high of 57 on Monday, and then cold again today. But we lucked out–we only received a dusting from this most recent storm. I think you’ve had more snow this winter than Madison, which is … unusual. Hang in there! The rabbits did a number on my Dwarf Lilacs again. But most of our snow has melted, and I’m starting to see Crocuses! The forecast is for “normal” March weather for the next 10 days. I’ll take that!

  19. Hope you get some relief soon. We had a few very nice days but now it’s freezing again. Lots more robins around recently.

  20. I better not tell you about my flowering paradise here, Jason. We’re having dinner outside and even use the garden shower. Your plants will be well protected under the snow. Just be patient and keep warm!

  21. Yes, I’m one of the ones that wants to put on my coat and leave…I don’t want any more encores but winter just keeps on coming…more snow today. Nine deer were in our orchard knee deep in snow munching on the bark and forming buds of our apple trees. I hate to see the damage to the trees but I also feel for the deer who are struggling just to live through this harsh winter.

    • We don’t have deer but we do have rabbits, which can also do a fair amount of damage. Supposed to be warm tomorrow, though.

  22. You’ve had simply terrible weather there! I do hope it all turns around by the weekend. At the same time, I hope the melt isn’t too rapid…you don’t need flooding. We’re a little worried about the snowpack in the mountains here – it won’t melt for another couple of months, but we’re all on pins and needles because of the devastation last year. There is a city south of us that is currently under a boil-water advisory and a state of emergency because of flooding.

  23. This is just wrong! It’s definitely time to move! Have you considered the beautiful Pacific Northwest? We don’t really have winter here but do occasionally get a little snow to keep the transplants from getting homesick.

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