Sunday, February 7, 2010

Snow Drops in the Garden

Some gardens this time of year might have a few snow drops in bloom--little white bells that hug the chill ground and poke through the snow. I saw some just last week blooming around the base of the trees in the Enid Haupt Garden behind the Smithsonian Castle. And there are also old fashioned snowberries, the little white bobs that cling to the shrubs in our grandmother's gardens. And everyone is familiar with the snowballs that grow on the branches of the hydrangea bush, or the carpets of snow-in-summer, that dependable ground cover that blankets the Earth with its tiny star-shaped white clusters.

But the snow that is in my garden today is not of the horticultural sort. The two-foot drifts aren't even record-breaking, oddly enough. (This is only the fourth largest snow in our area.) But the cold, white stuff that began coming down on Friday and continued falling through Saturday night, is some of the most beautiful snow that I've ever seen. Never mind that it shut down our power. Never mind that we are horribly inconvenienced. Never mind that we might rather have been occupied this weekend with the routine errands and chores that bring us back around to Monday, and work and school.

The snow in my garden drapes itself over my favorite old chair. It weighs down the branches of the witch hazel, forcing it nearly to the breaking point. Aunt Rhody is bearing up under its weight, but just barely. And so far all of the majestic trees that grow in the forest down in the ravine are standing powerfully anchored against the bitter cold winds that blew in with the blizzard.

We are hunkered down at a neighbor's home, living commune-style with at least four other families. Others come and go, stopping by for a little warmth and some cheer. We're sharing our food, caring for each other's children and digging each other's cars from the drifts. Multitudes of charging phones and computers and other electronics are plugged into every outlet. I'm puttering here in the basement, even as I can hear footsteps above, the door opening and closing, voices chattering, the game box exploding, the babies fussing. But all the chaos and closeness makes for a kind of reassuring spirit of warmth and friendship.

And now word is that another snow storm is pending for Tuesday. And the power company isn't making any promises about when power will be restored--perhaps, they say, Thursday or Friday. The Putterer


  1. Hi Beth--reading your post from Gerry's where I holed up Friday afternoon--his house had power but like your house, my neighborhood was dark! I've been watching the azaleas and hollys bend under the weight of the snow, and have decided to invest in a landscaping firm, as this spring homeowners will be replacing lots of plants! Ah..snowdrops...

  2. Hi Martha, You could do that. . ., or much more fun, you could do it all yourself! The Putterer

  3. Hi Beth--Your blog is great. And I love the way you write. I wish I could write in English with such style. I am looking forward to seeing your garden, once the winter snow goes away and the spring sun comes back--Nicolas.

  4. Thanks Nicolas. When I'm writing in this blog it is almost as cathartic to me as it is to garden. Can't wait for you see my garden come spring.