by Leslie Cox; Monday; January 20, 2020

Well, if you live anywhere in BC…or many regions in other Canadian provinces…you will have had a devil of a time getting any garden chores done this last week because of all the snow and really cold temperatures. Nature of our far north winters!

Eranthis hyemalis emergingSo…you are off the hook on the Cardamine hirsuta weeding chore. And there is not much point in looking for any Eranthis hyemalis (winter aconite) poking up…not under the roughly 60 cm (24 in) accumulation of snow we have had since Jan. 15th here in Black Creek. Cannot even check on the goldfish as they are currently under a substantial ice cover.

This week is looking like it will be a catch up one on those indoor chores which I did not get to yet. I have not sorted through all of my seed inventory yet…checking dates and getting rid of old seed. Some that may be questionable…as in still reasonably viable for germination…I will set aside to do germination tests on.

Front garden under snow - Feb 2017With all the snow on the ground, I can squelch my guilt feelings and thoroughly enjoy perusing the seed catalogues which have been arriving in our mail box. Armed with pen, paper and a black marker I will make up my wish list for the garden this year.

I have not decided just yet whether I will sprout some yam tubers this year. We do not have any extra garden space so it means I will have to grow them on in a large pot. But I had better think quick as the time to sprout them is NOW. I do have a yam in the pantry…left over from the last batch of Curried Yam Bisque soup…so perhaps I’ll just go ahead and sprout it.

Garden shed - Snowstorm of Feb. 21-24, 2014Well…can’t get at any of the pruning chores yet but we have been religious about knocking the snow off our shrubs and trees. Now the rain has started to mix in with the snow, the weight on the branches can be catastrophic. We lost our lovely Hibiscus syriacus ‘Collie Mullens’ to this very disaster in the winter of 2016. We tried valiantly to save it by pulling the split branches back together and holding them with screws and tape, but to no avail. Not all of the branches were salvageable and further damage was incurred the very next winter with more heavy snow…in spite of wrapping the branches up together with heavy rope. A sad day in the garden indeed when we removed the hibiscus…as it had been grown from a cutting taken from our elderly neighbour’s shrub.

Overall, this is not a good week for garden chores until most of this snow disappears. But it is a good week for dreaming about what your garden will look like this spring and summer.  Make yourself a cup of tea and have fun making your plans, selecting your seeds and making a list of what new plant introductions you might like to fit into your landscape.

Rest up! Because as soon as the snow melts there is going to be a lot of work to do in the garden.

To check what chores you should have gotten through in the first two weeks of January, click on this link: