What's under that late-spring snowy blanket outdoors? You may be surprised to find that plants are still blooming – even in Iowa.
Courtesy of Craig Summer Black
One of the quirks of nature in my ’hood – in Iowa – is that because we do not have reliable snow cover, so many plants that are winter-hardy much north of here go belly-up by spring – this despite our warmer (relatively) weather.
We also have severely nasty winter winds (did you know the word “blizzard” was coined in Iowa?), and many worthwhile plants just can’t take this double whammy.
Variegated Hakone grass and most large-leaved evergreens are not reliably hardy here. It really galls me to see them doing just fine, thank you, up in Minneapolis. Hardly seems fair.
But this winter was different. Although it got kind of a late start, once it arrived, it really started piling on. We normally get about 33 inches of snow per season. We’ve got more than twice that by now – 68 inches and counting. No, the snow season is not yet over.
The good news: This deep, white blanket has coddled the landscape. And as the snow cover rapidly recedes, I find surprises – such as that nifty candytuft of mine continuing to bloom its fool head off. [See first photo above.]
Yes, it was flowering all along under the snow. And continues to do so.
Another weirdity: A scattering of lettuce has overwintered in the vegetable garden. [See Photo No. 2 above.] There’s not a lot of it, but there is enough to snip for dinner greens.
Now the bad news: Normally, early spring is the only time of year that my acreage is weedless. Not this year. The same snow cover that protected the perennials has spared the many, many weeds. Not fair.