Gardening Magazine

Snow Gardening

By Tuckshopgardener @tuckshopgardenr
Sometimes you are given gifts which you like, but are not sure you will ever find a use for.  Such was my feeling when I was handed a pair of furry boot toppers by my mother-in-law at Christmas.  Any doubts about their usefulness have now been banished and they have proved effective snow excluders atop my walking boots for the past week.  Very useful for sledging and snow digging.
Snow gardeningSnow gardening
Armed with my spade and sweeping brush, I have just come in from clearing snow from shrubs - just as well I know my garden like the back of my hand so I can identify the lumpy forms of baby ones hidden in the thick snow.  My hydrangea heads have stood well through the winter, but this morning resembled heavy white footballs and threatened imminent snappage to their meagre branches. As I pinged the snow off, you could almost hear the plant sigh with relief as it boinged back into a more upright position.
As for the cold frame, it has taken on a whole new meaning:
Snow gardening
It looks more like a cool box for a massive party than a nurturing place for plants.  However, hollyhocks, ammi majus and sweet peas still lurk comfortably within.  I know because I cleared the snow off the top and checked up on them.  I suppose the snow provides insulation against the cold and protects them slightly. I'm so impressed by the durability of these little annuals though, I think they deserve pride of place in the garden come March - maybe I should make a 'snow heroes' border?  I don't think any of their outdoor-sown contemporaries will emerge to keep them company. Indeed, as far as I can see, outdoor September sowings were a complete washout.  This year I'm tempted to stick to autumn sowing only under cover, or perhaps I should experiment with sowing earlier in September than I did in 2012.  Mind you, last year was such a growing disaster that I probably shouldn't use it as a yardstick for judging the efficacy of sowing times.

Snow jobs for now

Clear the glass of the greenhouse and the cold frame to allow more of winter's limited light to penetrate - do your plants a favour and get sweeping (or digging, depending on how much snowfall you got!).
Unburden your shrubs and woody plants, like rosemary and lavender, of snow to stop the branches snapping.
Make hot chocolate with marshmallows as a reward to yourself.
Snow gardening

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