Surprise Snow Storm hits Pacific Northwest: Gardeners Freak Out

Surprise Snow Storm hits Pacific Northwest: Gardeners Freak Out

You may have heard that we got an unusual bit of snow here in the Pacific Northwest. This is a rare event, and many of us have no idea what to expect in the aftermath. There are a couple opinion camps on snow itself. Those who abhor it–they’ve often moved here from snowier climes. And those who love it–generally natives who have suffered a lifetime of snow deprivation. Is it odd that I find consolation in having done so little to protect my plants? Do other gardeners do this? Oh, sure, I piled leaves around a few of the most vulnerable–and after the initial cold forecast–but before the snow, I tossed frost cloths over a three luscious looking Echiums. This time, I even took an extra step of weighting the bottom with bricks. I suppose this could have helped if it had only been a night or two of frost. Right? When it comes to garden prep for winter, I follow a regular regime. Step 1, Denial: it’s probably going to be a zone 9 winter. Step 2, after a few cool nights with warning weather forecasts, I move several potted plants to the basement. Step 3, I wait until it’s really cold and the wind is howling, then I wring my hands and pull my own tail for a bit. Step 4, I dig out frost cloths, and then when I manage to get them outdoors, fail to secure them adequately–because my teeth are chattering to the rhythm of the wind. I know: I’m a big baby–just like Johnny Cammareri. Plus, usually when “they” predict snow around these parts, it’s a big disappointment, especially for those like Megan & me, who keep our noses...
Snow Day

Snow Day

Controversy! Some of us at plant lust and friends love snow, and others hate it. I’m in the minority on the love-it side. Snow makes my heart happy. We only see it every few years in Portland, and it’s usually fleeting. I watch the winter weather forecast eagerly, looking for signs of hope. Most of the time, snowflake forecasts are fools gold. Even though I pray for snow, I understand the heartbreak when those of us pushing the limits of our planting zones have our hopes for mild winters dashed. I know a wintery day brings some people down the same way a 100 degree day sinks my heart. But the universe is indifferent to our suffering, all we get to do is watch. This weekend’s snow was followed by freezing rain. I know. Even less popular than snow. Some of the plants may not survive their ice bath. But boy was were they pretty. Opuntia NOID, shared by another Portland Gardener with a large mature plant. Hope that means it’s hardy. Opuntia humifusa should be just fine. Hardy to zone 4, and a real trooper, having survived a mad vandal ripping it to pieces one year in the heat of summer, and an over-crowded, over-shaded situation the next. This Agave NOID might be toast. It spent cold nights indoors in previous years. Such thick snow and ice for this poor thing. Maybe the squid agave will make it? Zone 8b. A girl can hope. Chief Joseph Pine shouldn’t be phased. The ice just magnified the gold needles. I really love this plant. The Fatshedera flowers looked like miniature...