Like delicate lace work, the snow adorned the trees and lay draped across the ground like a crisp white sheet.  Nature seemed quieted and comforted, no longer directly exposed to January’s elements.

Snow, for many, is merely a nuisance.  Although the aesthetics are undeniable, the beauty, for most, does not outweigh the hassle.  Snow is very much a four letter word for the majority, but nature, specifically flora, views the snow entirely differently.  Snow, in fact, can be a lifesaver in Winter.

Snow, as you may know, is an insulator, and helps warm and maintain soil temperatures.  Because the heart and majority of any plant or tree lies below the surface, the warmer soil temps aid in the plants’ survival.  The same insulating properties help protect perennials, bulbs, and groundcover from the potentially damaging effects of the freeze-thaw cycle.  Without the presence of snow, coupled with milder temps and sunny days, the soil’s surface can temporarily warm, leading to soil heaving, which can injure roots and dehydrate plants.

Additionally, snow provides much-needed moisture for the plants’ root systems.  Snow also acts as a barrier to drying winds, like an anti-dessicant, thus mitigating water loss.  Snow can also help reduce soil erosion from cold, drying winds.  Think of it as nature’s blanket.  Your garden does!

Snow also highlights the beauty of structure and form, from trees to perennials to ornamental grasses.  It can be as beneficial as it is stunning.

Plant of the Week

Photos courtesy of Midwest Groundcovers

Hardy Candytuft

Charming perennial often used as a groundcover, in borders or rock gardens.  Large clusters of beautiful white flowers bloom from mid to late Spring amongst narrow, evergreen foliage.  Flowers from a lovely, pure white carpet.  Prefers full sun and dry soil.  Grows 8-12″ tall and 18-24″ wide.  Deer resistant.  Drought tolerant.

“Winter is the king of showmen,

Turning tree stumps into snowmen,

And houses into birthday cakes,

And spreading sugar over lakes.

Smooth and clean and frosty white,

The world looks good enough to bite.

That’s the season to be young,

Catching snowflakes on your tongue…”

-Ogden Nash

Warm wishes,

Kim Sweeney