Thursday, April 12, 2012

Winter in spring

For the last six months I’ve been collecting a variety of plants for my in-laws who live in the mountains of Northern California. We delivered the plants a couple of days ago, expecting crisp but sunny spring weather. Well, the weather gods managed to surprise as again, as they already have many times this year. Instead of sunshine, we were greeted by rain. It did stop briefly—the sun even popped out for an hour or two—but then it resumed and overnight turned to snow. I could hardly believe my eyes when I woke up to a solid snow cover this morning!


Post-Easter winter wonderland

We’re still hoping for a few sunny hours this afternoon so we can do some planting but it’s beginning to look less and less likely.

Have I mentioned how weird the weather has been this year???


10 ft. Ginkgo biloba ‘Autumn Gold’, freshly leafed out and blooming.
The 5-gallon can had to sit between the driver and passenger seat for the tree to fit in our van.


New leaves and flowers. ‘Autumn Gold’ is a male cultivar; it flowers but doesn’t produce the smelly fruit that gives female ginkgos a bad name.


Close up of leaves and (male) flowers


Other plants packed into the trunk of our car
(we’d already unloaded our luggage when I took this photo)


In addition to the the ginkgo, we brought a division of our Miscanthus sinensis ‘Silberpfeil’ which we’d removed last fall; an Aloe maculata from our large succulent bed; a yellow-twig dogwood (Cornus sericea 'Flaviramea'); a strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo); a variegated California lilac (Ceanothus thyrsiflorus 'Perado'); a camellia ‘Elina Cascade’ (Camellia tsaii var. synaptica ‘Elina Cascfade’); and a Parney’s cotoneaster (Cotoneaster parneyi).


Rain mixed with snow…


…turning to snow overnight


Our plants covered by an inch of freshly fallen snow this morning


The poor camellia got so top heavy it flopped over


LEFT: Variegated ceanothus, almost completely covered
RIGHT: Ginkgo looking much less cheery than the day before


Ginkgo leaves and flowers covered with snow

I took the opportunity for a quick stroll through the snow to snap some photos. However, the wet snow quickly soaked into my sneakers so it wasn’t a particularly long outing :-).


Sempervivums huddled under the snow


Iris poking out of the snow


Tulips in a half barrel on the patio. Will they ever bloom this spring?


Henon bamboo (Phyllostachys nigra ‘Henon’)


Black bamboo (Phyllostachys nigra) still flopped over from the winter snow


Fargesia dracocephala 'Rufa' completely flattened


Yellow vivax bamboo (Phyllostachys vivax ‘Aureocaulis’),
literally one of the few pops of color in the back yard

Our afternoon planting party is definitely out. It’s snowing again, more heavily now…


  1. Yikes! It looks very pretty but it's April...

  2. Oh, burrr. I am so ready for warmer weather.

  3. My daughters and I went downtown this afternoon and the snow was coming down so hard, visibility was less than 20 ft (6 m). Everything is shaking their head about this absolutely crazy weather.

  4. It looks pretty but for Pete's sake I am so sick of this and ready for spring.

  5. It looks like the chimenea is laughing at the weather!