January Thaw: A Video

– Posted in: FAQ, Weather

What happens when the snow melts in the middle of winter? I made a brief video to show you: Some roads and a few low bridges have flooded, forcing early school closings and rerouting traffic. A thaw in January is common, but rain doesn't always accompany it. Sometimes it is brilliantly sunny, inspiring snowball fights [...]

Why Is This Winter So Cold?

– Posted in: Weather

Yesterday, the low here was 8F (-13C). That's not too surprising. But Dee Nash of Red Dirt Ramblings told me her low that same day was 5F (-15C) in Oklahoma. Whoa! What's going on here? Check out Eric Berger's explanation in the Houston Chronicle. It turns out a lot of factors have contributed to the [...]

First Snow of 2009-2010

– Posted in: Weather

Last night it snowed. That, in itself, is not unusual for the second half of October. But normally we get flurries mixed with rain, and no accumulation. Yesterday a weather record for snow accumulation was broken. The official new record is 1.2 inches accumulation. The old record was "trace." And unofficial reports coming in tell [...]

April heat wave broke weather records

– Posted in: Weather

This just in from the National Weather Service: Record April heat has ended... Many daily and monthly high temperature records were broken from Saturday April 25th to Monday April 27th across the area. For the regional Airport daily records were broken for April 25th and the 27th. On April 25th a record high temperature of [...]

Why rain gauges break and plants heave

– Posted in: FAQ, Weather

It was a balmy 57F out today, a pleasant change from last week's snow, so I took a stroll around the garden to see what I could see. I saw the new growth of sedums at soil level, and I saw colchicums emerging from the earth, way too early as usual.I also saw the damage [...]

Snow is good for dormant plants

– Posted in: FAQ, Weather

"Finally, a decent snowfall." That's my first reaction as an ornamental gardener, thinking about the dormant plants. Snow is a great insulator and keeps the soil--and the roots of plants--warmer than if that same soil were exposed to the air. This is one reason why Ellen Hornig of Seneca Hill Perennials can grow many plants [...]

What is a cold climate?

– Posted in: FAQ

This photo was taken two days before the digital thermometer bottomed out in January 2005Quite a while ago, someone emailed me, asking what was a cold climate. I never did answer them, because I thought it was obvious. A cold climate is any climate too cold to grow the plants you really want to grow. [...]