smashed, but still growing

The very bottom edge of a big winter storm touched our town this last weekend.  Just enough to leave us with six inches or so of snow on the ground and everything shut down for the weekend.  This is our second winter in South Carolina, and our first living here, north of Spartanburg.  So I didn't know whether this was normal winter behavior for the weather or not.  Consulting a weather history chart, I find that it's not common, but not unheard of.

The children were beyond thrilled.  Since we moved from California the possibility of snow has been a hope they've cherished.  We grimaced a little at their hope, since we moved to South Carolina, not exactly known for its white winters.  So when I woke up on Friday morning and the whole place was blanketed, I breathed a little happy sigh for them.  

The field/garden (we really need a name for this space) was blanketed too, and for a while I worried about my flower babies out there under the snow.  

There I am walking on top of the tough snow crust.  

But when the snow began to melt, I found that it wasn't a big deal for these plants.

Snapdragons are tough!

Anemones couldn't care less.

We've learned that plastic pipe won't hold up to any kind of weight being put on it.

The ranunculus and anemones have been a bugbear this winter.  Growing directions from everywhere tell us that we need to protect them from prolonged winter cold, and that an unheated hoophouse is ideal.  Not having an unheated hoophouse, we put up two rows of rebar-and-plastic-pipe arches and slung greenhouse plastic over them.  No good.  One arch sheds rain, but two arches side by side collect it between them.  

More research revealed that the anemones would probably be fine in our climate, so we pulled the plastic off of them and the ranunculus in the next bed over.  A hard frost later, the anemones had proven they were fine, but the ranunculus were a little frost-burned, so we covered them with frost cloth.  Ah!  What a good solution!  The rain goes right through frost cloth, and the plastic pipe is sturdy enough to hold it above the plants. 

But then there was snow.  Snow did not go through the frost cloth, it collected on top and mushed everything.

At some point, being unable to do anything, I gave up worrying and enjoyed the days in socks and pajamas with my family.  It was very helpful to our enjoyment that we had hot water and electricity throughout our long, long winter.  

And of course, when the snow began to melt, three days later, there were a lot of flat, but still happy and growing plants out there.  

A trooper of a poppy:

Nothing seemed to mind being mushed, so hopefully we're in the clear.  We're still trucking toward flowers in the spring.  And maybe that can be our motto for this first winter as we muddle toward that vision.  We may be mushed, but we're not out of the game yet.  Here we are still, smashed a little, but still growing.