Snow has covered the garden since early December and temperatures have been persistently low. Complaining about -2° Celsius makes us Vancouverites sound like wimps (and I can hear the Albertans snicker), but so be it. This is definitely not typical weather for this part of the world and the plants are suffering. Never mind the people.
We were careful to shake off the hedges, shrubs and branches after the first few snow falls, but we were away during the last one and by the time we got home everything froze. The hemlocks and the cypress sustained the most damage, with branches weighted down to the ground. Many of the bay laurel and boxwood branches snapped right off. I worry about the lavender and rosemary; the last time we had a cold winter, our rosemary died as did the entire line of lavender plants at the front of our property.
The upside of this weather was that for the last several weeks, the skies have mostly been clear and sunny. Over the last month I’ve spent a lot of time walking outside enjoying the changed landscape. We have been trying to tie up some bent branches and have cut off others. Since everything is frozen, the only other things I’ve really done is taken down the birdhouses which I am going to clean out before putting them back in the tress. I’ve also been cutting branches of forsythia to bloom indoors. The Man has been feeding the birds regularly, including the hummingbirds.
Although we enjoyed fresh kale fairly regularly throughout the fall, our last harvest was on New Years Day. The leaves were starting to get sparse and during the last cold snap, those remaining froze solid and are now limp and unappetizing. Despite what everyone says, I haven’t noticed that kale tastes sweeter after a frost. Our garden has given us herbs all winter including bay leaves, thyme, sage and rosemary, and we only ran out of garlic last week. Although the new garlic and the fava beans are already planted and sprouted in the fall, the beds are still covered with frozen snow, so I hope that the plants are well protected.
The forecast for the next week is for warmer temperatures (6-9 degrees above zero) and rain, so the Big Freeze may finally be over.