Photo by Jessica Walliser
I’m beginning to think we will have snow on the ground until the end of March! I can’t remember the last winter here in Western Pennsylvania that we’ve had such consistent snow cover, though it’s good for all those perennials I planted very late in the season.
They’re prone to heaving with all the freeze-thaw cycles we usually have around here during the winter. Hopefully this year they’ll stay nestled in the ground with no heaving and root freeze to speak of. Only time will tell.
There are very few perennials left standing in my gardens; the rest have toppled under the weight of all the snow. The buddlea is still upright and the branches are covered in peanut butter-birdseed-pinecone birdfeeders made by my son. The tri-lobed coreopsis is standing tall and my ornamental grasses continue to look quite nice.
Looking out my living room window, I can see the tops of my hellebores and some of my Echinacea seed heads. Not much else is sticking above the snow. I guess it’s a lean year for all the birds around here. I’ve been trying my best to keep the feeders and suet cages full.
The deer have been frequent visitors throughout the winter thus far (surprise, surprise…). I’ve covered the boxwood and hollies with netting (lesson learned last season on that one!). There’s a cage around the pink buckeye tree that was a gift from some treasured friends at the local Horticultural Society and I even covered my redbud tree just incase the deer decided to have a little taste of something new. Better safe than sorry.
What I haven’t protected from the deer, and it appears that I probably should have, is my oakleaf hydrangea. It’s one of my favorite flowering shrubs for its 4-season interest (oak-like foliage, white conical flowers, glorious autumn foliage, and interesting bark and form). The deer have nipped off the ends of all the branches and I suspect they’ll go even further during February if all this snow sticks around. Perhaps a trek in the snow with some more netting is in order for the coming days.