The First Day of Spring… Elsewhere!?

You can’t let yourself be too easily discouraged by winter when you live where I do, in Quebec City, Canada. I recently read it was listed as the 5th snowiest city in the world, ex-aequo with Syracuse, New York, with an average of 3.15 m (10 ½ feet) of snow per year. Of course, things could be worse: imagine living in Aomori, Japan, with an average of 7.92 m (26 feet) per year!

This year has been (so far) the second snowiest ever recorded. Snow tends to pack down over the winter, so you never see the full amount on the ground at once. Even so, there is presently nearly 2 m (over 6 feet) of snow on the ground and we’re told to expect an unusually cold spring, with cold weather in March (true enough so far!) and April and more snow to come. All the snow should melt away, according to previsions, by early May, about a month later than usual. Given the fact that winter started nearly a month earlier than usual last fall, with snow on the ground in late October, it will have been one truly snowy winter! Before it’s over, we may well be able to say we were under snow for a full six months.

Looking out through the greenhouse, you can see the clothesline trailing in the snow. I’m sure it’s at least 8 feet (2.4 m) above the ground. Photo: Larry Hodgson

So, as (most of) the rest of the Northern Hemisphere celebrates spring, with the first buds and flowers and perhaps even picnics in sunny fields (at least, that’s what I imagine!), we celebrate – hmmm! – snow, I guess, which will hopefully melt slowly so we don’t get flooded. At least it should keep our gardens well watered for much of the summer. 

I’m looking forward to being able to see out of my (basement) office window: it’s been under snow since January. Most days I literally have no idea whether it’s sunny or cloudy until I pop upstairs for lunch at noon.

My aloe is blooming nicely in spite of the snow outside. Photo: Larry Hodgson

My houseplants do sense it’s spring, though. My aloe (Aloe vera) is blooming up a storm, my bleeding heart vine (Clerodendron thomsoniae) is coming into bloom, some of my Thanksgiving cactus (Schlumbergera truncata) are reblooming and there are always a few African violets, streptocarpus, begonias and pelargoniums in bloom. They give me hope…

Well, at least these two extra months of winter means two fewer months of mosquitoes!

Garden writer and blogger, author of 65 gardening books, lecturer and communicator, the Laidback Gardener, Larry Hodgson, passed away in October 2022. Known for his great generosity, his thoroughness and his sense of humor, he reached several generations of amateur and professional gardeners over his 40-year career. Thanks to his son, Mathieu Hodgson, and a team of contributors, will continue its mission of demystifying gardening and making it more accessible to all.

3 comments on “The First Day of Spring… Elsewhere!?

  1. Pat Evans

    Oh, my, you do have it bad. We at least have bare ground here near Rochester, NY, although it’s been cold and more snow is due tomorrow.

  2. Here’s to a warm spell to melt some of that white stuff. 🙂

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