March 15, 2013

No springtime for you

spring collage

These flowers were blooming in my garden at this same time last year. To see what my garden looks like this year, see my Feb. 28 post, and add a couple more inches of snow and a layer of ice.



(Don't worry, this is a silly post...you'll see.)

No springtime for you: That's what we're feeling like in this little corner of the world. Even our neighbors just slightly to the south and west are getting a taste of spring.

But if there's one thing I've learned after living here for a few decades, it's that you never know what kind of March weather you'll get in Wisconsin. Last year, the first Crocus bloomed in my garden on March 14; in 2011, it happened on April 9. Considering my Crocuses are still covered with a few inches of snow, this year they might not bloom until mid-April.

You're probably thinking, "Why do people live there?" And I don't blame you. Sometimes I wonder why I live here. But believe it or not, in addition to the fact that most of my family members live near here, there are other benefits, as well. As Donna at Gardens Eye View and Jen at Muddy Boot Dreams keep reminding us (thanks, ladies), snowy winters can be good for the garden.

So I thought I'd do a little tongue-in-cheek reflection on the benefits and drawbacks of living in Wisconsin (most of these also apply to Minnesota and Michigan...and other northern U.S. states and Canada and probably northern Europe and Asia, and with a little adjustment...mountainous regions in the southern hemisphere...did I forget anyone?):

The Pros and Cons of Wisconsin Winters

Cons
Pros
It’s cold.
The back porch serves as a large walk-in refrigerator/freezer from November through March.
It’s snowy for three months, at least.
It’s not brown and mucky for three months.
Lots of time indoors.
Lots of time to read books.
When you have a January thaw, the rain freezes and creates a skating rink on your driveway.
You can go skating on your own driveway.
Springtime is the shortest season.
When spring happens, it’s like watching a freakish, fast-forward, science-fiction film, where plants grow inches every day.
Occasionally, it snows in April and May.
You can make homemade snow ice cream to eat the next day when it will be 85 F.
Sometimes it’s subzero (< 0 F or < -18 C) for days on end.
You can comment to your friends about how at least it’s not 100 F and humid like it will be in the summertime.
The ground is frozen from November through March.
You get to have manicured fingernails for half of the year.
You have to wear a heavy coat when you go outside.
The coat doubles as a lap blanket and a bed for your pets.

You get the idea. Honestly, if I had a choice, I'd probably live here from April through January, because I enjoy a taste of winter. Plus, our summers are usually incredible, autumn is pretty, and springtime...well, when it finally happens, words can't begin to describe its glory.

bugbane

Next: the Garden Lessons Learned wrap-up!

36 comments:

  1. Ugh. It's snowing here in Montello as I write this. I checked the 10 day forecast and it's looking like we will be having low temps for a while longer yet.

    Since I can't stand being housebound any longer I've been dedicating myself to pruning just about everything.

    And I agree. Wisconsin does have it's shortcomings, but for the majority of the year it is a pretty great place to be.

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    1. Yep, we just have to make it through this disgusting last bit of winter, and then things will be much better. Hang in there!

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  2. In the words of the song, love the one you're with! Celebrate your climate and surroundings, I say. We all waste so much time and energy being envious of other people's weather, plants, surroundings. Much better to love what we have, relish the contrasting seasons, go with the flow. And enjoy the fact that you will have crocuses blooming while some of us are missing them and already looking forward to next Spring so that we can enjoy them again!

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    1. So true, Janet. This is the toughest time of year for me to do that, but I thought a touch of humor would make it a bit easier. ;-)

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  3. I need to remember to make a similar chart when it is 104 and 90% humidity here in July. However, I have to add 'no wind', mosquitoes, and 'water bills from hades' to the list. On second, thought, maybe I shouldn't make one for Houston. But, it IS delightful all of March, April, and May here in the South. Happy Spring!!! :0) Nice post.
    David/:0)

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    1. Thanks, David! Yes, Houston (or Florida or Louisiana or...) is much preferred to Wisconsin this time of year! We have the mosquitoes, too, but when the temps are perfect I don't care because there are ways to cope with that and still get outside more. Happy Spring to you!

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  4. I really enjoyed your chart! As I've said we moved to TN from CA. We moved in January (one of the coldest since moving here eight years ago) and it was quite a shock for me. The first few days in our new home we didn't have a refrigerator because the moving company hadn't delivered anything yet. So when my hubby said to put the "cold items" out on the back porch I thought he was crazy, but it worked like a charm!

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    1. Thanks, Christy! My husband and I were just talking today about how it would be soooo shocking for people to move to Wisconsin who've only lived in warm climates in the past. It's shocking enough to us when winter rolls around each year. ;-)

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  5. Loved your pros and cons list, Beth:) Although we haven't had the snow you have had this year, I can empathize with you, because most of our winters are like this, too. I keep telling myself that I won't complain this summer when it's 100 degrees and 99% humidity, but I'll probably forget these winter days then:)

    I think enduring such winters makes us Northeners more appreciative of spring...whenever it finally arrives.

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    1. Thanks, Rose! We've had feet and feet of snow (I forget the exact total--but it's more than "average"). It's really good for the plants and it looked pretty all winter, but now I need spring. You're right--when it finally comes, we really appreciate it!! :-)

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  6. I love it....your reflection is perfect for us here as well and gave me a laugh I needed.....I plan to stay here for decades more as I love the seasons. March is always iffy and I have noticed when we have an early Easter, we have an awful March. In retirement I plan to be gone for some of January, February and the beginning of March...it's a dream for a winter vacation I have never been able to take.

    Cold and snowy here right through the beginning of spring. Well at least I have more time to rest...been a bit under the weather recently.

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    1. I plan to stay in Wisconsin, and get away as much as possible in February and March. They're the only months of the year that I dislike my home state. But that's OK -- it gives me an excuse to travel during the late winter. ;-)

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  7. Humor is an essential survival skill, I'm so glad you have some! I lived in Wisconsin for two years and it is a beautiful place with a very high quality of life. And if it makes you feel any better, I am sitting in my back porch in Chicago and watching the snow come down.

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    1. Yes, agreed (re: humor)! Sometimes the late winter snows are so lovely because they seem to gently float down in giant flakes and they cling to the big buds on trees. But there comes a time when I just have to get away from the upper Midwest, just for a break.

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  8. All those pros and cons work for me here in Scotland too!
    Can I add another Pro to your lists please....
    When it's freezing cold, snowny blizzards and wind that will move a mountain - you can sit indoors in front of a cosy warm fire and watch it all happen before your very eyes!

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    1. Yes! That is definitely a pro! I did that a lot in January and loved it. :)

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  9. anche qui in Italia c'è ancora neve consolati (appennino modenese...nord italia)

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    1. Winter holds on longer at high altitudes, too, doesn't it? I'm glad we're not the only ones. ;-)

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  10. Really funny!! I can relate, and Buffalo weather is very similar. We have now on top of snow, and the walk to the grocery store this morning was blistery. Spring will miss us this year I think.

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    1. Spring is our shortest season, too, Donna. Some years it gives a few more hints than this year, though. I grew up in northern Wisconsin, and it was even worse there! I hope we get a bit of spring in the next few weeks before summer hits in May.

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  11. Love the fact that you have manicured hands for half the year! :) Our spring is much slower to get started this year, too. The garden is always teaching that same lesson over and over: patience. I get so tired of that lesson! ;) I imagine people in Wisconsin must be some of the most patient people on earth! :)

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    1. Well, I don't really follow that one (although I should). But a northern gardener conceivably can, unless they do a lot of work with houseplants. I grinned at your comment about Wisconsin people being patient. We are all pretty crabby right now, and the weather forecasters are not very popular. ;-)

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  12. Thanks for making me laugh - your sense of humour hasn't become frostbound, anyway. Hope spring is springing soon.

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    1. I'm glad to hear it, Lyn. The humor is a coping mechanism, and I guess it works to some extent. You do what you have to do, right? ;-)

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  13. Your list made me smile!
    It’s like spring in Norway, where I am from, when you said “it’s like watching a freakish, fast-forward, science-fiction film, where plants grow inches every day” - that’s exactly what spring is like in Norway, usually last a week or so and then it's summer. I often get asked here in London why people live in Norway, when it is so cold there. I always struggle to answer that question, after all, I moved out 13 years ago, and I am very happy not to have any snow - brown winter suits me fine! This year the winter has lasted a bit too long, and the weather has been way too cold, but still, I have crocuses and hellebores and daffodils in my garden, my sisters’ 3 children are still going skiing in their garden!

    But there is something serene and calm about the snow too, and that bit I miss. When the sun is shining and the pristine snow is sparkling like jewels all around you. Well, you just don’t get that in London!

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    1. Isn't that fast-forward effect incredible?! It kind of makes the human hormones and chemistry kind of mixed up, too. You can see why love "blossoms" in the springtime, right? It has been so interesting to compare notes with gardeners in the U.K. I think late winter/early spring is the time of year when our gardens are most different. Which makes the comparisons so much fun!

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  14. LOl I loved this especially about the back porch. We use our garage here in Scotland for storing things that need to be kept chilled. I've seen the Christmas Turkey out there too.

    http://www.leavesnbloom.com/2013/03/whats-in-bloom-in-march.html

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    1. Yes! We frequently put holiday leftovers that are too big for the refrigerator on the back porch. It works, and it's enclosed, so no animals can get to it (well, except for greedy humans).

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  15. Your winters are colder than ours, but we store things in our garage instead of cluttering the refrigerator. It has been cold, but signs of spring are showing themselves. Wishing you a happy spring!

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    1. Thanks, Michelle! I know the spring is just around the corner, so I'm just reading a few more books and doing more planning about my garden for the months ahead. Happy Spring!

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  16. Your post reminded me of what it was like when I was living in Russia :). I hope spring will be all the more beautiful for you because it is so eagerly awaited.

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    1. Thanks, Masha. Yes, I imagine our winters are similar to winters in Russia. And I agree that springtime is extra sweet when it takes longer to show itself. Too bad it's so short!

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  17. As a friend of mine who moved from Memphis to Cleveland recently said, "You bloom where you are planted."

    I admire people - like you - who are able to bloom wherever they find themselves.

    As Shakespeare so eloquently said, "There is nothing neither good nor bad, but thinking makes it so."

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  18. Thanks for the pick-me-up today! Great perspectives... loved the comparison of pro's and con's of living in WI. I live in northeast Ohio, along the south shore of Lake Erie, and I could say "Ditto"! It's been a dreary, rainy day here with temps hovering in the 30's, and my driveway was indeed an ice rink this morning. Yet I know that St. Paddy's Day and St. Joseph's day (tomorrow)are harbingers of Spring... that glorious time in the Heights area of Cleveland (Shaker Hts., University Heights, and Cleveland Heights), when gardens come to life like magic.

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  19. Love your sense of humor. Sometimes that's the only thing that gets me through the winter or life for that matter. Come summer, I really miss my back porch refrigerator/freezer. :)

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  20. Your pros and cons gave me a much needed chuckle ♥

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