The storm caught many of us unaware. When the sun disappeared, I suspected it would be worse than the forecast and brought in firewood for the woodstove that had lain cold for the last month. A number of birds were foraging in my yard and garden when the first snowflakes blew in and they didn't seem to notice, until visibility decreased and the size of the flakes increased. They sought refuge quickly in unusual locations.
The plants were shocked too; most spring plants are adapted to sudden changes in temperature and they seem none the worse for wear a few days later. Snow and cold temperatures can slow their normal germination and growth, but isn't enough to kill them. The peas, lettuce, and radishes I planted a few weeks ago are still alive and doing well under their plastic hoops, but they haven't grown as quickly as I hoped given this recent week of cold temperatures.
I do wonder about new gardeners in our region who lost some plants in this recent weather mishap. Lowe's had a sale last week with tomatoes two for a dollar. Quite a bargain, unless freezing temperatures and snow hit right after planting. Even the supermarkets have flowers and herbs for sale. It's tempting to buy the pretty plants and put them in the ground on a warm day, without thinking.
Summer is coming with its hot days and abundant sun. We're nearly halfway through spring and the warm days and cool nights should happen soon. But our daily weather is still unpredictable.
It's beneficial for gardeners to experience extremes of weather in their gardens so they know what can happen. That's one reason experienced gardeners have much more success than newcomers. Pay attention to your conditions and keep a garden journal. When you're tempted to plant early, take a look at years past and remind yourself about the late spring snows in the Rocky Mountains.
I won't soon forget the snake in the shower or the bird on the rail. I didn't have anything planted that couldn't survive a snow because I've been through this before, though without the snake. I'm anxious for new plantings, but patience truly is a virtue when it comes to gardening. The season will start soon enough and when it does I'll be ready.