Tuesday, April 10

The Great Melt, Part Deux

There is some cautiously optimistic news out of snowy Cleveland. According to The Plain Dealer, Northeast Ohio's fruit farmers should be okay in spite of the late cold and snow. Most local apple and peach trees (we can grow peaches here?!) have not yet flowered. Early crabapples and all magnolia flowers are considered goners, but as those are not really "crop" trees I wouldn't call their loss devastating. Just a bummer for those who planted and love them.

I've been reading some interesting comments on other garden blogs and forums about this cold snap. Yes, people in my zone take a chance with late cold snaps when they plant any sort of spring-flowering fruit tree... but does that really mean that we should not do so?

If we get apples and cherries and other fruit at least 9 years out of every 10, shouldn't we be happy about those 9 good years instead of letting the 1 bad year shut us down entirely? I may not take those odds if I was depending on fruit farming as my livelihood, but I gladly accept them as a home gardener.

The snow is starting to melt here but I still have over a foot in many places in the yard. You can now see my sedum alboroseum 'Mediovariegatum' emerging from the top of one of my chimney tile planters. They and the rest of my perennials will be fine--as Annie and others noted on my original snow post, the snow has insulated and protected them.

Where the amount of snow we received might cause trouble is in my front garden. It was a very heavy snow, and came in quantity, so it might have caused my spring bulb stems to snap. The second picture shows fritillary foliage and a rosette of salvia lyrata leaves on the edge of the front bed, newly uncovered by the receding snow bank.

I'm not sure whether the frits will bounce back and stand upright again, or what I will find when the tulips reemerge from the front snowbank. But I do know that whatever small setbacks occur in my yard, I will not complain. As Don so eloquently stated in his "Elegy For A Garden" post: "But our garden is a trifle... a pleasant hobby; I reserve my sorrow for those who try to make their living by growing; especially the orchardists and produce growers." And with the wacky "spring" that we've been having, I'm afraid that those folks may not be out of the woods just yet--even in Cleveland.


Ottawa Gardener said...

Wow for once, I feel like the weather ain't half bad up here. At least it's been consistently crummy. Though we are supposed to get some see-saw frost and double digits over the next two weeks.

kris said...

Hi Kim - I'm a new blogger who has been slowly checking out garden blogs. I've enjoyed reading through yours and will be coming back to visit often. I live in a suburb of Minneapolis (zone 4), and our neighbor has a peach tree. It has fairly small, but very tasty peaches late summer/early fall. The blossoms make the tree worthwhile even if it didn't produce fruit - beautiful.

A wildlife gardener said...

I think the snow will protect the plants in these two pictures and act like a blanket.

Anonymous said...

I do hope it's true. I can't imagine a summer without local peaches and cherries, or fall without apples and pears...and to think of the gamble those growers take, well, makes me want to buy every last piece of fruit from them!

I was amazed yesterday to see how well my bulbs bounced back. Frankly, shocked. Will be fun to see if any of the seeds I put in the weekend before the snow will come up.

Yolanda Elizabet Heuzen said...

Excellent post Kim, I couldn't agree more!

Anonymous said...

The real bummer for fruit crops is the late frost during flowering. The same lake that supplied the moisture for all that snow will also hopefully moderate the cold air when flowering begins in earnest.

Ki said...

It seems the snow was great for protecting your plants. We didn't have any and a lot of our plants have frost burn and the flowers are brown and wilted from the cold drying winds.

Kristin Ohlson said...

Yes, we can grow peaches in Cleveland! I don't, but my friends who have peach trees are often overwhelmed by their bounty. Think giving them away by the armload.

My tree peony seems, amazingly, to have survived.

Annie in Austin said...

Your words sound very wise, Kim:
I may not take those odds if I was depending on fruit farming as my livelihood, but I gladly accept them as a home gardener.

As I told Genie, people buy lottery tickets, don't they? Well you get better odds with chlorophyll... even if the harvest comes in only once every few years.

[But I still hope your bulbs are okay under the snow.]

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Kylee Baumle said...


Yes, we CAN grow peaches! We planted a Dwarf Elberta peach tree last spring. It had eight little peaches on it when it finished blooming, but we got two weeks of wet, cold weather right after that, and seven fell off. The remaining peach hung on until it ripened and I enjoyed it immensely. :-)

It doesn't have any blossoms yet this spring, so I'm thinking it should be okay. Or not...maybe no blossoms is a bad sign. (Don't think so, though.)

Unknown said...

ottawa gardener, I love the way you're protecting your brassicas from that see-sawing with the pop bottle cloches!

kris, nice to "meet" you! I only had time to visit your blog briefly (taxes to do tonight, ugh) but I really enjoyed your posts and can't wait to visit again. (Peaches grow in MN, too?!!)

Wildlife Gardener, I'm hoping you're right. Like I said, I'm mostly just worried about the weight damage at this point.

Kelly, I so know what you mean about wanting to buy every piece of fruit they have to offer! :) Good to know your bulbs bounced back... I'm still hoping.

yolanda elizabet, thank you for stopping by!

Craig, you are right about that. My apples and cherries were starting to leaf out, but there were not really any flowerbuds. I have noticed clusters of flowers on the sidewalk from the early-flowering crabapples, though. It may be a rather colorless spring around here.

Ki, I know... I was so happy to hear that you had three magnolias get through that, though! :)

K-Oh, I'm glad to hear that your tree peony is okay. If your neighbor grows peaches, I'm definitely going to give it a try myself. (And I wish I was around when they're giving away armfuls!)

Annie, what a great point about the lottery! I'm using that next time someone asks me why I'm planting Aztec lilies that are hardy to Zone 7 or trying to overwinter my rosemary. (I'll follow that up with: "And if you don't play, you can't win!")

Kylee, you grow peaches, too? That's three people in my zone or colder who grow them or know someone who does. Sheesh... I can't believe I never realized they were able to be grown here at all!

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your and Annie's betting language. You're right--you can't win if you don't play. And odds are you'll have fun no matter what. What does Henry Mitchell say about our lot? We need grit.

I'll try to remember that when Austin's summer comes nosing around next month and settles in like a bad roommate. Remind me if I forget. ;-)

meresy_g said...

Everything here has been okay, but my peach trees are starting to bloom and they are forecasting snow on Sunday into Monday.....sheesh. And I haven't pulled the mulch back on the strawberries yet cause we just can't seem to get beyond freezing at night. Some crazy spring so far.

lisa said...

I'm glad your snow is melting...ours is supposed to begin melting tomorrow, after it finishes falling tonight! Hopefully soon we can all "get growing"!

Unknown said...

pam/digging, your reference to Henry Mitchell made me smile. I promise to try to put a smile on your face when the ungodly heat of Texas summer comes to visit you in a few months, too. :)

meresy_g, this weekend's forecast really isn't very nice, is it? It looks like Tuesday our spring luck might change. I'm keeping my fingers crossed...

lisa, I couldn't believe all of your pictures, either. It definitely will be nice to see spring arrive so we can all "get growing!"

Kati said...

As ottawa gardener said, the weather is about par for what it usually is, considering that I've seen snow here in June. But still, one does long for some relief, even though that storm only brought us a mere cm or two. Only my crocus blooms were tall enough to knocked down by the snow.

Annie in Austin said...

Kim, I am totally swiping the "If you don't play you can't win tagline." I could use a snappy comeback for people who live overly safe gardening lives.


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