really? a may 9 snow on top of everything else this spring?

WE OLDER HUMAN TYPES sometimes kid that we are 29 (as in years old), but I’ll tell you what: 29 (as in F degrees) looks like shit on a garden in May. And yes, I said shit. I am old and I am cranky, and foot-tall Astilboides (above) and taller Actaea (aka Cimicifuga) and Rodgersia (below and bottom photos) are cranky, too.

As is the whole place, which was to be open for Garden Conservancy tours today if not for you-know-what, which canceled all that. Thank you for listening. I will shut up now.

Oh, maybe not before saying a P.S.–This is something I posted on Instagram first, where many other gardeners reacted in empathy because last night’s cold wave touched many areas both nearby me (I’m in the Hudson Valley of New York State) and far afield. Join me on Instagram.




Categorieswoo woo
  1. Irene says:

    Thanks for posting pics of rodgersia. Each spring my garden beds are a bit of a surprise because I don’t always remember what is planted there. This week I have been racking what is left of my brain to recall the name that plant that is just popping up in my front shade garden–ohhh: rodgersia.

    I do keep tags of the plants but wish I had been keeping a garden diary.

    Cheer up, Margaret, your garden will be beautiful and may surprise you.

    Wandered around in a nursery early this morning–big trees were blown over. My heart goes out to nursery owners–a tough tough season.

    We are fortunate to have gardens–about the only thing that calms me down.

  2. Sharon says:

    Southern Vermont: Saturday was a very weird weather day, it snowed a bit, then sun, then snow, then sun, then repeat, a few times sun and snow at the same time.

    The wind was constant, trees swaying and dancing.

    It was so windy that the flurries were coming horizontal, a horizontal stream across my living room window, made me laugh. Hope this is not the new normal as they say about the virus.

  3. Maria says:

    We dodged the snow here in SE PA but not the cold not quite freezing temps & wind chill…I am so weary of covering our hydrangeas in sheets every night..although I know they appreciate it as much as I like climbing into a warm bed on a freezing spring night! And I’ll forget about the misery when they bloom! On the plus side early spring bloomers that wilt on a 70 degree day are sticking around and are beautiful and bright. Yes thank heavens for our gardens and yes all will be (the new) well so hang on just a bit longer.

  4. Susan Gilmour says:

    I feel your pain, it is snowing here this morning up in Nova Scotia and about 2″ on the car. Yikes. My tulips will be toast, lucky for me they have been blooming for two weeks and I really got to enjoy them(the botanicals and kaufmannianas). The next batch are all in bud so I won’t take it too personally! Of course they never touched the daffadils! I’m sure all the perennials up will be OK. I did have a herd of deer go thru a few days ago and that was way worse. Don’t know how they missed my tulips but I quickly sprinkled cayenne pepper all over the gardens. They did a number on my daylilies and the biennial campanulas, they even ate down to the crowns of rudbeckias! They must have been starving! Gardening is such fun, isn’t it! Mother nature loves to test us! Have a great day!

    1. Donna Lane says:

      Margaret, I’m still chuckling at your naughty language. Actually, I had a good belly laugh thinking about the many times I’ve gone back over my gardening columns (The Addicted Gardener) to clean up my prose — especially when writing about the protections being stripped away from the EPA or some other topic I’m passionate about. I share your frustration but agree that no matter what Ma Nature throws at us, working in the garden is the one activity that is giving me peace and joy at this moment in time. Stay safe!

  5. Amy says:

    Perhaps this year we have to learn patience in a way we have never understood
    Perhaps this year we are being asked to slow down
    Perhaps this year we as gardeners are reminded no matter what we are simply caretakers and stewards
    Perhaps this year we are asked to observe and learn everything all over again
    To know what is most important —-simply to love every day enjoy every flower bid and weed as we don’t know what tomorrow brings in our life’s gardens

    1. Jamie says:

      So wise Amy and thank you for the gentle reminder of what is really important. Our attitude can change our perception.

  6. Augusta Kaiser says:

    Spent the better part of yesterday fighting the unrelenting bitter wind gusts, on my NYC 8th Fl., balcony, repeatedly recovering the big planter boxes filled with Wisteria, Glad bulbs, Strawberry plants.and lots of other sweet new growth. Not to mention all the other pots filled with tomato seedlings, herbs etc that are now sitting on my dining room table.
    Balcony gardening can be just as rigorous as gardening in the country.
    Hoping a weather reprieve will come to all of us soon!!!

  7. Lynn Cavo says:

    In honor of your closed Open Day, I fertilized my Chaerophylum hirsutum seen in your garden in 2012! A quietly interesting plant. Thank you for all you share and for spreading garden love.

  8. Nancy Jean says:

    Margaret, it snowed on us too, like it was December 1st, down in Northern Westchester county. I am so sorry about your plants and the whole ever- loving situation- I know that makes it harder to bear. Better days will come.

  9. Heather says:

    It wasn’t quite as shitty in NH. We got some rain, some now then sun and wind, and a little more snow.

  10. Victoria Shires says:

    Shit, shit and more shit! Writing from Blue Point, NY which is situated on the great south bay. I have been in the garden for weeks and yesterday, weather wise was the shittiest! High winds and snow squalls and freezing temps! Oh vey! Anyway, love your site! Keep calm and garden on!

  11. Joan says:

    Thank you for saying what we are all thinking! Wild wind, Snow flurries, and freezing cold are not the norm this time of year in Eastern PA. Mother Nature is trying to tell us something is wrong. The garden is my refuge and calming place during these turbulent times. Stay strong.

  12. Mary says:

    I moved a lot of my pots (geraniums, petunias, basil and dill now 1″ high etc.) to the front porch last night when I heard we might get a freeze even here in NC. My hydrangeas are just opening and thankfully seem OK. Fortunately all looks good in the very chilly early morning sunshine (nice Mother’s Day weather), and we only went down to 35F.
    How fickle the weather can be, how strange the world has become. How blessed I am to have a garden.
    Stay well – be safe. . . . . .and I’m hoping warmer temps. head your way soon Margaret.
    Mary –

  13. paul manhart says:

    my 30 foot or so 20+ year old Indian Horse Chestnut looks like crap after the 27 degree freeze Friday nite’ All of the leaves which were well started turned an ugly super dark green and are sadly drooping, with many already fallen to the ground! I wonder if anyone knows if it can recover from this and sprout a new 2nd set of leaves and still blossom?

  14. Leslee Downer says:

    I remember a mother’s day several years ago in our little town. It was a full on snowstorm.
    There were many years shed and much cursing. You are in good company. Thinking of you.

  15. Paula Lundquist says:

    Yup – shitty is good way to describe what happens to beautiful signs of spring when Mother Nature has other ideas. Here in Denver, CO, we got a mid-April heavy , wet snow and freeze that took the overnight temps down to 11! Tulips and daffs bent over and completely frozen, and my lovely Amsonia jonesii and Dicentra spectabilis were flattened blobs of yuck when things warmed up. Even some of my bone hardy-southwest native penstemons – angutifolius, jamesii, and pseudospectabilis were damaged. On top of that, a number of less established little gems that were just beginning to wake up were simply killed. I’ve come to accept (well, sort of, and not happily) that this is just going to happen to some degree each spring, and to rejoice in the things that aren’t ruined like the first blooming of a little Daphne cneorum.

  16. HAHAHA – thanks for liberating garden lingo especially after a highbrow segment on botanical Latin. Google says shit is stercore in Latin. A few flakes and seriously subfreezing temperatures in southeastern Wisconsin. Maybe it’s good that we’ve had cold cold and more cold earlier so that not as many plants have come up. Nevertheless a fair amount of drooping here too.

  17. Carole C says:

    I love the honesty and all the venting about this crazy spring we’re sharing! It’s so helpful to know that there are many of you that feel the same way I do! Why did I think I could collect and move all those “volunteers” that have started to grow in all the wrong places? I’m sure they’ll be there when spring decides it’s time to stay and gives us something to look forward to enjoying!

  18. Cathy Box says:

    Love you Margaret! We got 3” in Lakes region of NH on top of 1200 foot ridge, then the sun came out, then it snowed again, then it corn snowed then the sun came out and it started all over again! Plus 30 mph wind gusts too. Sometimes was a white out with horizontal snow… what month is this? Poor daff’s were buried in snow. Pretty saggy today, hope they perk up! Sat was the birdathon migrating bird count too… bet those guys wished they had stayed South a little while longer.

  19. Ginny says:

    This spring is surely taxing our tolerance! You brought back a memory of trying to add the word “shit” to my vocabulary as a 13 year old— and my dad’s reaction to it! You can well imagine, lol.
    I covered every budded-up bearded iris stem with a plastic bag from the newspaper and secured with a twist tie. Will never know if it was necessary or not, but I didn’t lose a one, yay! Thanks for a satisfying post!

  20. Jill Lieberman says:

    Dear Margaret,

    I continue to read your messages now from Pawleys Island, SC, where we now live…I could totally feel your frustration on May 9th…Not at all fair for your fabulous array of perennials and glorious landscape…But as gardeners we all try to have an optimistic spirit, especially when spring should be in the air…With our quarantine existence it is very easy to let some words slip out…and OMG! what would my mother be saying?

    Please be well and continue to find comfort and joy in your glorious landscape you call home.
    Thank you for making the time to share with all of us.
    Stay safe,

  21. cassiesue13 says:

    Thsnkyou one and all for your weather comments. we are in se michigan- gusty ,rainy- record low last night was 27. we just came in from covering rhubarb, perennials, hostas for the 4th night in a row. Love all the comments- we are all in this weather boat together. stay healthy!better weather will come!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.