Aprilish Snow Precedes Cold Snap

A couple of people I chatted with on Friday used the “s” word when mentioning this weekend’s weather. My response was “Bite your tongue!” After all, our April snowstorm isn’t due for another week or two.

I was wrong. It snowed yesterday, looking very much like an April snow. It stopped before 10 a.m. It was the sort of snow shower that causes weather people to say “It will stick to the lawns, but not to the sidewalks.” (They do still warn you to be careful driving across bridges and overpasses.)

Snow-capped witch hazel flowers. Photographed on March 26, 2022.

By noon yesterday, the snow was all gone. By mid-afternoon the wind kicked up, and the temperature dropped. It’s not going to reach freezing today, but it may tomorrow. Maybe. The witch hazel has been in bloom over a month, so the flowers are starting to fade a little—compare this one with new witch hazel flowers—but they are still going. This cold snap won’t affect them.

The key for gardeners is that the temperature overnight last night was in the lower 20s, and that for the next two nights it will drop into the mid-teens. The week promises to be a roller coaster. Unsurprisingly, there were juncos bee-bopping around under the feeder this morning, and the house finches, morning doves, and robins were stuffing themselves—as were the chipmunks.

Worse, the rabbits broke their truce on the early bulbs. They ate the dwarf irises! Earlier in the week, the dwarf irises started popping open.

The dwarf irises started opening Monday. Photographed on March 21, 2022 with an iPad.

Unfortunately, I did not get pictures the rest of the week. The irises opened. They were very pretty. And apparently tasty. The flowers must be tastier than the leaves, although in previous years, the rabbits have been hungry enough to mow the dwarf irises before they bloomed.

The dwarf iris flowers were devoured by the rabbits Friday night or Saturday morning. Photographed on March 26, 2022.

The crocuses are goners. Rabbits love crocuses, and they started mowing before this cold snap. I cannot even tell you what color these would have been.

Crocuses are delicious if you are a rabbit. Photographed on March 21, 2022.

On the other hand, the snowdrops were sampled briefly, but left alone, and the rabbits have managed to keep their teeth off the scilla, which will be completely unfazed by this weather.

Scilla erupt in bud. Photographed on March 21, 2022.

The daffodils are up, and on the south side of the house, in full bud. They will probably be fine, too. Neither frost nor rabbits will bother them.

While the hardy plants will be more or less unperturbed by the weather, this is a rough time of year for marginally hardy plants. There are hungry critters and whipsawing temperatures. The rabbits got hungry and stripped some bark on my fig tree; I suspect they were not delighted, since they only sampled. Other shrubs have worse damage. The fig has been been unwrapped for two weeks. If it’s unwrapped too early, it may die back to the ground from the cold. If it’s wrapped too long, it may get warm and damp enough that the tips may mold, and it has to be cut back anyway. I’ll write more about how figs spring back in the spring soon.