We all seemed to have more or less survived this year's first snow storm, though it pains me to use the word storm when describing the weather conditions we had Monday. Yes, we did have snow, a jaw dropping 2"+, and we even had some significant wind. But seriously, snowmagedon? SNOMG? Let's bring it down a couple of notches, people.
I was fortunate to have crammed in the last of my fall work last week in preparation for what might be, what in fact did happen: snow and ice that brought the city to a standstill and set an end, for now at least, to gardening. But what of the rest of the people in this region who aren't able to work from home or who are foolhardy enough to venture away from home without chains? Forget chains, even if you had a snow mobile, the combination of wet roads all day and then a rapid dropping of temperatures well below freezing in the evening made for iced over roads, not just overpasses and bridges. We all saw the videos of cars and buses sliding down hills and bouncing off of telephone poles and other cars like over-sized pin-balls. I admit to contributing to the frenzied flake following but my love of the white stuff stops when it means it takes my partner 3 hours to get home. We live 20 minutes away from his work, 45-50 minutes by bus.
In any event, the drama is all but over, the roads in our neighborhood are bare and we are looking forward to loading in to the car tomorrow to head up to our friends George and Sam for a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner with family and friends. If there is one place that I can look to as an antidote to all of the hyperbole surrounding the snow and ice, it is the garden. Plants aren't freaking out because of the snow, and the cold; many of them are just now coming into their own.
In a way, I have been looking forward to the snow to see how the garden beds would look covered in a white blanket and to see how some of the marginally hardy plants would fair. I was flabbergasted to see our Maidenhair Fern (Adiatum pedatum) was unscathed, it's jet black, thin, rigid stems stood out starkly against the white snow. The foliage, which I expected to be shriveled and as black as the stems, were just fine. I was shocked, not because it isn't cold hardy, it is, but because it has such delicate, lacy foliage - it should have been bitten back by the cold before any of the other plants. Now, I do have it tucked up at the base of our Pittosporum tenuifolium, which looked a bit more peaky than the more delicate looking fern. Being so close to and slightly under the base of the Pittosporum undoubtedly gave the fern just enough protection to keep it from being frost bitten.
Not to be out-shown by the miraculous maidenhair fern, our newly planted 'Charity' Mahonia (Mahonia x media 'Charity') is looking rather stoic and unperturbed by the extreme cold and snow.
I'll just have to remind myself that, if the hummingbirds and garden plants can handle a little snow, maybe I can too.