March Madness

It’s not that a March snowstorm is unusual for Chicago. Chicagoans may react to snow even in April with just a weary shrug. It’s just that the preceding February was so warm that people were walking around in shorts, for crying out loud. I am not making that up.

Container Tulips yesterday

As you may recall, it was so warm that I had to uncover my container tulips. I felt guilty because they had been left smothered in leaves while they were suffering for want of light.

Then, just about a week after I uncovered them – bam! Freezing weather, going as low as 13 degrees F (-11 C). The picture above was taken on Sunday. Despite the cold, most of the container Tulips seem to be doing OK – though there was some rather limp foliage.

march snow 3

Then this morning, after several days of below freezing temperatures, the garden and I wake up to a 6″ layer of snow. And several inches more may arrive through tomorrow.

march snow 2

Mother Nature isn’t playing fair. She robs us of our weather stoicism with a February that feels more like May. She lures the plants out of their winter snooze with balmy temperatures. Then in March she blasts us with frigid air and whacks us with great big snowballs.

march snow 1

Although if we’re going to have a hard freeze, it’s better for the plants to have an insulating layer of snow. How much damage has been done to tender buds will be seen when the weather warms again.

I don’t expect perfect weather, I just want is a little consistency. Is that too much to ask for?

Apparently it is.


67 Comments on “March Madness

  1. Luckily, I’m in sunny southern California escaping it all. (But in the middle of a nine day work marathon.) Could you please get the weather back to sanity before I return?

  2. Global warming was a misnomer, Undependable and strangeness is what it’s all about. Yes, the climate is warming but that doesn’t mean warmer weather all the time; the patterns have all changed.

    • I think that’s why we’re supposed to say “climate change” instead of global warming. I’ve also heard the phrase “global weirding”.

  3. This is nothing. I remember we had a blizzard one Easter–the people we had invited couldn’t get to our house. You seem to have got more snow than we did–ours was melted by yesterday afternoon and so far tonight it’s not snowing heavily.

  4. I cannot imagine such cold weather & I’m full of admiration for you all… As far as tulips go … They are probably much better tucked under the snow that being in Australia where they could be dug up & half eaten by Aussie parrots!

  5. I don’t think think is Mother Nature’s handiwork but something more insidious having its way with her.

  6. I heard that Chicago is getting weather…bitter cold and snow. We are getting a nor’easter here in Maine as well. An unusually warm February and then back to a deep freeze ( not typical here in Maine, where winter usually behaves like winter) always makes us anxious for the plants. Of course, having an entire nursery of plants to worry about ( during times of erratic weather) is like running an orphanage without enough food. Stressful! But you are right – if the temps remain low, better to have a blanket of insulation. Stay warm!

  7. March Madness has arrived here too. It is crazy. Actually February was the craziest. Our area probably won’t have any peaches this year. Sad to say and who know what else will be affected. This winter/spring will be one for the books. Our little dash of snow was nothing compared to this. Hang in there. Spring will arrive.

  8. Your tulips will be nice and safe under their blanket of snow. Weather seems to be more extreme these days. Whatever it is, hopefully plants and gardeners will continue to cope with whatever is thrown at us.

  9. Yes, apparently it is. We have a Nor’easter blowing our way. Well over a foot of snow is predicted. March in Maine, and March marches on. Fortunately, or unfortunately, we didn’t have any warm February weather to lull us into thinking spring was right around the corner.

  10. Jason, I feel your pain – we’ve had the same disturbing weather patterns here. Snow is better along with the cold since it insulates, but thanks to the recent weather pivot from mild to bitter, all of my gold forsythia blooms are suddenly brown and the roses that were starting to leaf out (against my advice) are looking unwell. We are under a snow storm watch but it may miss us in this part of W. PA; I would rather have the snow – white mulch is good for the garden.

  11. Could be worse. Here, the forecast is for 25 degrees tonight and tomorrow night, then 28 on Thursday, and the Japanese maples have already leafed out and hostas and many other herbaceous perennials are peeking above the soil. It’s a disaster in the making.

  12. It’s been madness here near Boston too. Already some of the daffodils that were in bud got hit. We are all hoping the fruit trees were okay and didn’t bud out too much during our warm spell. Last year there weren’t any peaches or plums for miles around due to unusually warm weather followed by a late freeze. I feel bad for the farmers!

  13. We’ve had pretty consistent rain, rain, and more rain with temperatures 10 – 15 degrees lower than normal. Sorry Ma Nature is having mood swings in your area. She’s pretty much crying all the time here and is always chilly. Do you suppose Prozac would help?

  14. Remember what Aldous Huxley said: “Consistency is contrary to nature, contrary to life. The only completely consistent people are the dead.”

  15. Our snow cover had completely disappeared when we stated getting really cold temps again. I had lots of things poking up and some things in bloom. I suppose I could have used plastic pots to cover things but I didn’t. So now we also have snow again and this morning the temp was 9 degrees when I got up and a similar low is predicted the next couple of nights. Ugh, really hard to know.

    • About the same here now. We got down to around 14 at the worst points. As far as I can tell there wasn’t a lot of damage.

  16. Goodness, your weather sounds crazy! Shorts in February and deep snow in March, the poor garden must be confused to say the least. I hope those tulips survive, hopefully the snow will keep them warm. Climate change is affecting the entire world now…..hopefully we’ll all adapt!xxx

  17. I think we were lucky this year, with a bitter cold December and January it now seems to be warming up very very slowly, which is ideal for the garden. I hope your tulips haven’t suffered too much. Stay warm!

  18. I was glad that most of my garden still had snow cover when that blast of arctic air hit. Even so, I had crocuses up with foliage and buds near the foundation of the house where the snow had melted. Everything is covered back up again with today’s March blizzard. We’ll see next month whether the exposed crocuses suffered.

  19. Snow or not, you live on a beautiful street. I love all of the brick houses and trees. I lived in Minneapolis for over 20 years, and now I live in Boise. This winter was our most brutal here in 20 years. I feel your pain.

  20. While I realize Texas weather is mild compared with yours, last Saturday it was 84 degrees at 3:30 pm. I had to roll down the car windows. Last night it got down to 38 degrees. I hope your tulips and your other plants for that matter are okay. Wonder if this craziness is the new normal? Maybe Mother Nature is still pissed:

  21. Yes, consistency would be nice, but it seems harder to come by as the years pass. You guys got socked more than us. We ended up with only about 4 inches. My Daffodils, which were just about to bloom, do not look happy. The Hellebores are covered. They didn’t look happy either. Next week looks better.

  22. I hope your plants are snug and warm under their snow cover! After a very mild winter here in Alabama, we are expecting our coldest temps tonight and tomorrow night – mid 20s. But no snow! Many shrubs are in full bloom and trees are leafing out. Within a few days we will be in mid 70’s. Unfortunately, crazy see-saw weather this time of year is typical here. Plants have to be tough. Spring usually arrives by March, but we never know. Our greatest snowfall ever was in March, and we once had an April ice-storm that shut everything down.

  23. Fingers crossed the weather settles down for you soon and you can get out into the garden and tend your tulips!

  24. I’ve watched on TV, Jason the snowfall in Chicago, brrr. Poor your tulips, although they might been alive because this cold won’t be long time. We have snow till now, it’s not cold +5 C, it melts time to time.
    I do hope warm spring comes soon in your place.

  25. Oh, consistency – that’s something that is in short supply where the weather is concerned. Like you, we’ve had sub zero temps lately after a long mild spell – and I’m hoping my plants are resilient enough to shrug all this off.

  26. Ouch! The weather has taken us on a real roller coaster ride everywhere. March has been cold and very wet here, but at least has not thrown snow at us, yet.

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