It’s probably now obvious to everyone why Buffalo gardeners might not put too much effort into gardening for “winter interest.” Here, winter survival – or, more accurately, blizzard survival – is the thing (and not just for plants).
(Here’s some video of it: IMG_2066)
Events like what happened over Christmas here can be literally crushing for small trees and shrubs, particularly shallow-rooted varieties. Just a few big trees were affected, but the weight of the snow was too much for many arborvitae (yeah, big loss) and Japanese maples. Overall, however, snow’s damage is far outweighed by the insulating protection it can provide. If it would just stay put.
I prefer a nice white undulating landscape to a sear, brownish vista. Which, believe it or not, is what we have now; just a few dingy piles of snow remain. That will change.
I can safely say that no local gardener I know gives a damn about winter interest. We provide the vulnerable stuff with what protection we can and turn our attention indoors and to planning for the future.
I see images on Facebook of lush green basements under grow lights, packed with overwintering annuals and tropicals. People are starting to think about seeds. Myself, I’ve only six or so pots of bulbs left to bring up, though I’m not sure where to put them. If all goes well – and it looks good so far – I’ll have 75-100 hyacinths in bloom throughout the house, with 30 or so tulips coming on later.
We turn to our houseplants and overwintering garden plants. We retreat into our heads with schemes for the coming season. Maybe the fact that I can’t even see my garden most of the winter makes it easier to envision drastic changes or consider a few annual plantings that might get changed after one season.
Winter can be beautiful. Except when it decides to show us its ugly side.