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Still Winter in Maine

March 19, 2011

Woods in March snow (photo credit: Jean Potuchek) Yesterday, my part of Maine was graced with sunshine, blue skies, and warm southwest winds that brought temperatures in the mid-sixties. The snow finished melting from the south side of the roof; and, although most of the garden is still covered by about a foot of snow, bare ground started to appear around trees and the foundation of the house. I was tempted to think it was spring.

But then this morning I awoke to this: big fat snowflakes falling thickly and covering everything with a coating of white. Once I got over the shock of what I was seeing, I had to admit that it was very pretty.

I love this mixture of red and white in the mock orange (Philadelphus) outside my bedroom window.

Mock orange in snow (photo credit: Jean Potuchek)And I think both the rhododendron on the back slope and the spirea above the retaining wall look stunning in their ermine coats.

Rhododedron in March snow (photo credit: Jean Potuchek) Spirea in March snow (photo credit: Jean Potuchek)I don’t expect this snow to amount to anything. It is less than an inch, and sunshine accompanied by temperatures above freezing later today will probably melt it all before nightfall. But it does serve as a reminder: While March may be springtime in many parts of the earth’s north temperate zone, March is still winter in Maine.

19 Comments leave one →
  1. March 19, 2011 12:45 pm

    Jean, we’ve had the same reminder here. After a week of rain and soaring temperatures we had snow last night yet again. The bright side is that we’re on the down slope of winter and any snow that lands on the ground won’t stay there long!

  2. March 19, 2011 1:06 pm

    Jean – it’s hard to deny the picturesque serenity of snow, but it sure takes the wind out of your sails when looking forward to Spring! The photos are lovely — and the size of your Rhododendron is SO inspiring to me!! 🙂

  3. March 19, 2011 3:59 pm

    Oh, kind of shocking, to still see fresh snow. Still dripping, too hot here. Rain please?

  4. March 19, 2011 5:32 pm

    Jean we have very cold temps here too…not much blooming yet and next week it is going to be in the 30s with flurries likely…still winter here even with the tease of warm temps this past week…pretty pictures of snow in the garden as long as it is not staying… 🙂

    • March 24, 2011 10:51 pm

      Marguerite, I love your description of this time of year as “the down slope of winter.” It does make the snow that comes after those spring teasers easier to bear.

      Donna, I think of it as a tease, too. But even when I know intellectually that it’s just a tease, I can still get sucked in emotionally!

      Shyrlene, I agree with Donna that I can enjoy the beauty of snow at this time of year as long as I know it’s not going to stay around long. BTW, the rhododendron may look bigger than it really is because I photographed it looking up from the bottom of the slope; it’s really not as tall as the house!

      Diana, I have to keep reminding myself that while we’re craving warmth, you’d be happy to have some of our cool temperatures (well, maybe not that cool :-)).

  5. March 19, 2011 9:30 pm

    The greatest snowfall of my Alabama life happened in March, 1993 – we had drifts over three feet deep in our front yard! So March can be deceptive, even here. Your snow is very lovely!

  6. gardeningasylum permalink
    March 20, 2011 6:59 am

    Jean, It could happen here in CT too, I know. The consolation is that these snows won’t last too long, we hope.

  7. March 20, 2011 11:00 am

    Your plants looks so pretty in their cotton-ball regalia. At least your snowfall was light and not the heavy wet stuff that does so much damage from Spring storms. I hope that you don’t suffer too much loss from this past winter. I envy you the woods in the back garden – so peaceful. I have to add tons more evergreens to my property both for bird shelter, wind breaks and privacy.

    Hope Ma Nature takes a cue from the calender – it IS, after all, equinox and the first official day of Spring! Let’s keep our fingers crossed. 😀

    • March 24, 2011 10:58 pm

      Deb, I’m trying to imagine 3′ of snow in Alabama! The whole state must have ground to a halt until it melted.

      Cyndy, It wasn’t the March snow that was unusual for Maine; it was the warm temps that preceded it. April is the month we sometimes get socked with a big snowfall after plants are up and spring flowers are blooming and you had good reason to think winter might be over.

      Kris, Even if this snow had been heavy and wet, it wouldn’t have done much damage because there isn’t much for it to damage yet. It’s those may snows after the trees have already leafed out that really do a lot of damage. The spring equinox may be the beginning of spring in some parts of the country (e.g., Pennsylvania, where I’m writing this), but definitely not in Maine.

  8. March 20, 2011 12:51 pm

    Your post made me have fond memories of my ten years living in Maine, but it didn’t make me want to move back!

  9. March 21, 2011 2:19 pm

    Love seeing this Jean. I miss Maine so desperately, but I so love to garden here in California.


    Sharon Lovejoy Writes from Sunflower House and a Little Green Island

    • March 24, 2011 11:00 pm

      Carolyn and Sharon, Even for those who love Maine, this is an easy time of year to love being somewhere else! When I’m in Maine year round, I try to plan a getaway to spring for late March or early April.

  10. March 21, 2011 2:39 pm

    It’s lovely, Jean – a light snow brings out shape like nothing else. But I would think that it’s becoming harder to be patient with winter at this point…

  11. March 22, 2011 9:10 am

    Jean, it’s great that you find beauty in this sign of winter’s persistence. As you know, I was in your ‘other home’ last week, in Pennsylvania, with bright blue skies and warm sunshine (70 degrees +). You could almost stand and watch the cherry blossom open! I hope such weather finds its way north to you before too long.

  12. March 23, 2011 10:20 am

    I was shocked seeing your snow, even though the nights are still cold the days are springlike and warm now. I was pruning perovskia in a t-shirt this morning. Your images are very beautiful and i’m sure it will soon be spring for you too. Christina

  13. March 23, 2011 9:23 pm

    60! I might have crocus blooming but we have not yet reached 60. In fact it is downright c-c-cold. Snow flurries are in the forecast. I just say to myself that according to the equinox it is now spring. We had a “spring snow” the other day, too, and no matter how tiresome it may be, it was still very beautiful as in the snow in your wondrous photos. I look forward to seeing your garden as it begins to wake up.

  14. March 24, 2011 1:07 pm

    I hope you weren’t too set on it being spring, but I guess “spring” is relative! Still I hope things continue to thaw and let you start thinking about the seasons ahead.

    • March 24, 2011 11:09 pm

      Stacy, I love snow, so I really didn’t mind this. I don’t really think of spring as coming to Maine until some time in April (although we did get spoiled by our early spring last year).

      Jill, I’m glad you had good weather for your visit to Philadelphia. Even though Gettysburg is as far south as Philadelphia, there is no sign of cherry blossoms yet here (although the magnolias have starte to bloom) — probably because we’re inland and don’t have the moderating effects of the water.

      Christina, Thank you for visiting. The moderating effects of the water probably explain a lot of the differences between your climate and mine at this time of year, too. Although I am a bit further north than you are in Lazio, the warm ocean currents are what really make the difference. Maine is cooled by ocean currents that flow south from Labrador.

      VF, Even in southern PA, it’s supposed to get down in the twenties tonight! Yikes! It won’t bother the crocuses, daffodils or forsythia that are blooming, but I have a feeling those magnolia blossoms I’ve been enjoying on my walks to and from work are going to be brown mush tomorrow.

      James, I wasn’t set on spring — both because I know spring doesn’t come to Maine in March and because I knew I was headed back to spring in the mid-Atlantic a few days later. This is the easiest time of year to be away from Maine.

  15. April 4, 2011 4:36 pm

    Beautiful! I hope for you that its the last of these you have to take until November!

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