margaret to winter: please release me, let me go…

PLEASE RELEASE ME, LET ME GO, for I don’t love you any more.” That’s what I am singing to The Winter That Just Won’t Quit after the latest ice storm overnight Sunday into yesterday. Every bud, needle, twig, trunk, vine remains totally encased in ice. Even I, the 365-Day Gardener, have run out of patience with it. You?

  1. Rhonda says:

    I always love it when several garden bloggers all post about the same subject; this time, winter malaise. It’s good to know I’m not alone in my angst-y zone-envy and general funk over winter.
    Of course, the native Minnesotans just think I’m whining. I have started saying I am “snow tired”.

  2. Christine says:

    I am bouncing off the walls. I strapped on my snowshoes for a trudge around my tundra yesterday, looking for any tiny glimmer of life. I did spot a little silver fuzz peaking out of the pussy willow buds :-) But I’m afraid my recent discovery of this blog has revved up my engines.

  3. Bob Scherer says:

    I usually take an “out-of-sight, out-of-mind” approach to winter. If I can’t see my garden under all the snow, I just go about my snow sports & forget the garden. Now that the snow is receding enough to see my woody plants poking through, I take notice. What I’m seeing, I ain’t likin’ – not one bit! My $500 dwarf Japanese Maple, that I planted 3 years ago, has one of its leaders twisted & broken (unrepairable). That’s what I see. I think I know what I don’t see yet.
    A few years ago I was faced with a similar situation and ended up using stainless steel screws to repair numerous splits to dwarf Rhododendrons, conifers, J Maples, etc. Maybe those plants are now stronger with their “reinforcements”. Maybe I should “treat” susceptible plants before the snow season.
    BTW, I don’t know why I’m calling it snow. It may look like snow but it’s all ice now!

  4. Patricia says:

    As I look out my window I can see the beautiful Taconics of Vermont….snow covered, of course. And I am silently shouting “Uncle!!!”. My gardens are still snow covered but I know what’s under there will be beautiful once the snow is gone and the earth is warmed again. Until then I am starting plants inside, losing myself in beautiful garden books and hoping for a perfect growing season this year. Not so bad really…..

  5. Abby M. says:

    I saw some snowdrops yesterday and so I have some hope that this endless winter will actually end and spring will come. The ice I saw on the trees in a neighboring town this morning was really beautiful but I am so sick of winter I coud scream. I’ll try to just focus on starting seedlings instead …

  6. shira says:

    Even though I’m close by (6b, CT) we were thankfully spared the ice, and all the rain washed most of the snow away. I definitely have season fatigue – and am now scrambling to get all the should have in Feb. pruning done!

  7. Judy says:

    Reading all your comments makes me thankful I live in the northwest, even though our winter has been unusually harsh, nothing like what you are describing. But it is still not very inviting in my garden yet. I have almost exhausted the indoor winter tasks; rearranged the pantry, redesigned my office, resorted my linen closet and made many trips to drop off items at the thrift shop. The grandsons are coming this weekend though so I’m hoping we will plant potatoes and peas.

  8. Christine says:

    I feel your pain, Bob. Despite all my frantic snow-be-gone dances, I am scared silly to see what lurks below. It’s been a nasty winter, and I was a slacker last fall…lulled into complacently by that luxurious prolonged growing season. Consequently things were not properly tucked in for their long winter’s naps. Bad, bad, bad.

    Good luck with your plants! I hope your reinforcements did the job.

  9. TomW says:

    Just planted peas this weekend. Hang in there Easterners – before you know it you will be complaining that it is too hot and dry. Whereas we will be complaining in June that summer will never arrive.

  10. Terryk says:

    Hi Margaret,

    How did you manage to get that picture? You must have risked your life getting up the hills on your property. Hopefully it was right outside the door.

    I have my crocus, snowdrops and witch hazel just starting to bloom in Putnam Valley, NY so hang in there, soon you will get to see some of your early bloomers too (I hope!)

  11. Juanita says:

    Ack – cannot believe we’re just heading into it down here on the southern part of the planet! I can no longer deny the trees are turning from green to yellow, and Autumn leaves are falling down fast. *sigh*

  12. Loretta torraville says:

    coincidentally we had an ice storm here too last night and it looks like

    nuclear winter outside .we have not been able to asses all the damage

    yet but i do know my favorite quaking Aspen got broken off by more than

    a foot at the top.grrrrrrrrrrr

  13. Jim Leahy says:

    LET IT MELT, LET IT MELT, LET IT MELT (printed in the Concord Journal Feb 2011)

    Eleven years ago at about this time I wrote one of my first columns for the Concord Journal in which I related that every February, my wife Diane and I go to the corner of our yard to look for the first signs of spring: crocus tips breaking the ground. I think we will have to wait a little longer this year. Last February I photographed snowdrops blooming under the linden tree beyond our kitchen window. This winter I am photographing snowfalls.

    I found it hard to keep my spirits up last week. ‘Besieged’ would be the word that best described my state of mind on Tuesday and Wednesday, when yet another foot and more of snow invaded our streets and driveways and weighed heavy on our roofs.

    On Monday fear of roof collapses was making news: fears which were borne out in the succeeding days all across our state. On Tuesday it took six men and several pieces of equipment most of the day to clear the flat roof where I work atf Debra’s Natural Gourmet. By Thursday Diane and I were beginning to worry about our ranch roof at home. Long icicles hung from the eaves, thick ice dams coated the edge of the roof and several feet of snow pressed down on us from above. On Friday we had that shoveled also. Now we are embedded in snow.

    As I write now, it is 41 degrees outside, the sky is blue, wispy clouds are moving swiftly from west to east. Ice and snow are melting. I cannot see those crocus tips but somewhere three feet below the surface of this white world I know that they are there. Their roots were sent down in the fall, their stems pushed upward to wait for spring. Diane and I planted daffodils again in all the old familiar places.

    When all this snow does melt, it will give nature the long drink for which it so thirsted last summer when we suffered through the record heat and drought, which we at first thought welcome in early June after the record floods of April. So this, too, shall pass.

    Waiting for it to pass (anxious for it to pass, to be more truthful) I have found time for gratitude. After all, I am warm and safe here at my computer, and now, with a clean roof, the sense of siege has been lifted until I choose to worry about the potential for spring flooding.

    Last Saturday we visited Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston, a favorite place at any time of year. Thankfully, I remembered to take my camera with me. In addition to the orangerie and the newly-built limonaia, two greenhouses which house fruiting citrus trees, and bougainvillea, blooming camellias and lush tropical greens, we found a landscape full of winter color. Outside in the gardens red-twigged dogwoods, conifers with shades from bright yellows to deep forest greens, shiny brown exfoliating paperbark maple trees, flowering orange witch hazel and ripe red berries of hollies and viburnum provided a feast for our eyes as well as food for the wildlife that forages through these cold winter days. Beside the farmhouse tall golden sheaves of grass waved in the breeze around the cottage garden. Tracks in the snow bore witness to those visitors who found their sustenance here. Larger footprints bore witness to this visitor, who with digital camera captured brilliant images to bring home as a reminder that skies are not always grey, that winter has its own beauty.

    We may well have several more blasts of winter ahead of us, more occasions for worry and sore backs, cold winds in our faces and black ice underfoot. Winter storms may continue to race up from the Gulf of Mexico, but each day there is a little more light in the evening sky. Gradually the snow will recede from our house, we will be able to see over the snow banks in the driveway, our street will become a two lane road again, our mailbox will be more than a miniature white door in a wall of snow. It may be March or even April before we see the ground again. Vole tracks will snake across the lawn, where these tiny creatures have tunneled beneath the snow, and those crocus and daffodil tips will be ready to break into bloom. The days will fulfill the promise of rising average temperatures which will peak in July or August, and all this snow will become the water of life turned juice of soft green grass, sweet sap of maple and evanescent essence of daylilies.

    Jim Leahy

  14. Ginger Goolsby says:

    No snow and ice in East Tennessee and we hit 70 degrees one day last week; however, we also had torrential rains and flooding last week; more rain mixed with snow on Sunday; high winds; and now 100% chance of more rain tonight and tomorrow. We are water-logged to say the least – typical March weather I suppose. As they say – if you don’t like the weather here, hang around as it will soon change……..and maybe for the worse!

  15. kate swift says:

    I hear you, girl. I’m a few miles north of you and we just got our power back on!!! With a greenhouse full of little seedlings, It’s been pretty tense here on the farm. And STILL, the ice is hanging on the trees. If I wasn’t so sick of winter, I would be marveling at it’s beauty.

  16. Jayne says:

    I am sorry you’ve been hit so hard! We did not get that ice down here in Fairfield County, but my daily journal of 10 years vouches for March’s insistence on icy, snow days. We are all ready to come out of our hibernation but Mother Nature always says, “Not so fast!”!

  17. Kim says:

    There is spring in the air here in Litchfield CT, but we are scheduled for more snow tomorrow-ish. My horses are so tired of the winter, and I remember that last March we were riding outside by now! I don’t mean the forced marches up the dirt road praying no one spooks and slipes on the ice! My Buddha emerged from his frozen winter den several days ago and “cousin it” aka the beautiful Japanese Maple (apologies Margaret, I will secure cousin its correct name shortly) also has emerged. Hang in there friends, the days are getting longer and spring will emerge in all its glory. Soon (said she hopefully!)

  18. Deborah says:

    We got hard rain Sunday until flood was imminent, then 1/2 inch of ice, and then we were supposed to get 6 to 10 inches of snow Sunday night. We got 22 or 23 inches!!! So the ice is down there (on top of the old snow) but lots of snow on top of it all. I was supposed to drive the 5 hours to Philadelphia on Monday to meet my out-of-town husband and see the flower show, but couldn’t get out. Sob.

  19. DebsPeanutButter says:

    It’s impossible to imagine 20plus inches of snow out east (we’re in mudville here in Chicago) – but the melting snow has showcased a new disaster I’ve never had before – gophers! I saw your post regarding moles. Any advice on gophers. This guy looks like he’s doing a great job of aerating the soil but what a huge mess! I embarressed to say my son & his friends thought the dirt piles were deer poop piles – I really need to get that kid out in the country more!

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Jim (I was in Concord today!!!!) and Debs (GOPHERS!) and Kim (horses, who at least are not tunneling in your garden beds, right?, and Shira (nearby — you are so nearby!). Spring is coming, but not quietly. Trying to be patient….

  20. Fred says:

    I would like to bludgeon winter with shards of blazing hot summer until it’s left in a quivering pool of translucent frosty drippings!

  21. I’m still in the throes of finishing two winter projects and it’s a race to see if the garden will beckon before I get done finding e-mail addresses for all/most of my 200+ classmates so I can announce our 45 high school class reunion in August (whew!) and getting my memoir, “Maine, At Last” published on Kindle. I’m looking at some patches of bare earth and ice-free driveway already here in Downeast Maine, so it’s going to be a close finish…although I think we’re expecting a large-ish deposit of winter mix later this week, so I might still have a chance to move into spring in an orderly fashion with my winter “assignments” completed for once. We’ll see who wins on the 20th. ;-) BTW, Bob, in our old garden in NJ years ago we had a huge maple tree branch fall on a kousa dogwood splitting it nearly in half. In desperation, my partner Ralphie Boy wired the thing back together and the last time I was down there it was still going strong. There’s hope. Good luck.

  22. Dee says:

    I suppose you could all move down South; my peas are coming up and I’ve got a bit of salad makings that overwintered. You get a longer growing season, but in the midst of it, July and August, you get a period of pure h*ll, when it’s just too hot to go outside. Then, I’d join you all… (ya’ll? youse?)

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