Snowed in

by James Alexander-Sinclair

...everything looks all white and clean and beautiful and the garden has no visible imperfections.

Tree in snow-covered fieldFor many, many years I have owned Land Rovers. Originally they were proper rufty-tufty ones with open backs and with only slightly more home comforts than a cell in Guantanamo Bay. Latterly I've had a series of Discoveries, when I needed more comfort and less space for carrying bags of cement. Last week I sold the most recent Land Rover in order to trade it in for a less thirsty vehicle.

Big mistake. Two days later it started snowing and, at the time of writing, we're under about six inches of the stuff. We live 400 metres down a farm track, which is usually blissfully peaceful, except when you want to get out and find your way barred by mounds of white stuff. I know that almost every newspaper and television channel has written about nothing but snow for the past week, but I feel that the opportunity is so rare that I have to say my bit (even though anybody dropping by from Canada or, indeed, Yakutsk will wonder what the fuss is all about).

On one level snow is wonderful: everything looks all white and clean and beautiful and the garden has no visible imperfections. On the other hand it can be jolly inconvenient and I think I'm just a little bit bored of being snowed in: I wonder how long until we get cabin fever and start hallucinating? Or eating our shoes like Charlie Chaplin in The Gold Rush?

My highlights of the snowy weather:

Bleakness: I love an undisturbed field.

Beech trees: because they have such smooth bark the snow tends to slip off leaving them as lizard green contrast to the rest of the snowy woodland. (The oaks have much gnarlier bark that holds the snow better.)

Fences: who would have thought that something so dull could be so charming?

Walnut tree: this particular tree looks so spectacular with the snow hanging onto the tops of the branches

Evergreen hedges: like cream-topped puddings

Dogs: in spite of the way that snow bobbles on their fur. This is a Tibetan terrier called Iris. She knows she is beautiful.

Icicles: in this case it helps to have a leaky gutter!

Viburnum x bodnantense: still flowering.

(PS It's beginning to thaw  it may well be that, by the time you read this, it will all be a slushy memory).

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Talkback: Snowed in
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Gardeners' World Web User 10/02/2009 at 15:42

Hi my girls and i are coming to michigan this weekend, and the area we are visting is Ann Arbor, and i was told the snow has pretty much melted, do you know where i can go to take my girls sledding, an area where they can play in the snow. they've never seen snow.

Gardeners' World Web User 11/02/2009 at 15:00

I'm afraid that I am a bit short of current info on the Michigan snow situation. The weather forecast tends to stop in Wales. However, there is a site here that might help.

Gardeners' World Web User 12/02/2009 at 17:06

Luckily I'm off work today because although the gardeners world weather forecast says dry for us today it as been snowing continuosly all day, it is now a few inches and the sky's still full.I'm hopeing for a miricle to have happened by morning otherwise work will be interesting tomorow.I keep thinking about the daffs and snow drops that are up now and nowhere to be seen. Roll on summer.

Gardeners' World Web User 13/02/2009 at 15:41

Great news this bad weather, as we have such warm winters in the past ten years or more and we need the cold to kill bugs of our bodies and plants. We have not had it as bad as 91 as we had two weeks of ice on the grown and snow to foot here in south essex. we have had snow fall last night but it was wet snow and melted quick today. I feel sorry for my insectivorous plants as this year they will be less for them trap and eat, with all the bad weather. I have taken a few photo's of my insectivorous plants in snow and put them on my site I see the bulbs are coming up again weeks before they should from the past and hope this does damage them.

Gardeners' World Web User 13/02/2009 at 18:01

Surrey was beautifully covered in snow and I must addmit that I was longing for it to go away, where as my brother who lives in Lowerstoft was longing for snow and had none then last night it began to fall so he was whooping with joy only to find this morning it had all melted away.

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