Bad Winter / Good Winter


What actually constitutes how we rate our winters in Virginia? I think it depends on who we ask. Personally, my vote is that we are having a good winter. I base my vote solely on the temperatures—especially here in January. Where I grew up along Lake Erie, the cold snap that we experienced this past Christmas weekend only brought back many fond memories of sledding down hills, ice fishing, and ice skating on frozen ponds and the lake.

Here we are in mid-January and our winter season is about a month old. Our winter season kicked in with some extreme cold temperatures that we have not experienced in some time. But, we just need to wait. If you watched the weather channels then you realize that we didn’t set any new records. 2023 came in very mild with temperatures in the 60s. It put me back into wearing shorts again. And, so far, January has stayed relatively mild. So, you may be wondering what this weather pattern is doing to our plants.

As gardeners in Virginia, we are accustomed to fluctuating temperatures throughout winter. And, our plants are accustomed to this changing weather as well. After that frigid weather we had for a week in December, our plants, including our bulbs, are very dormant.

If you know me then you know I like to do soil temperature testing throughout the year. As of January 10th, our soil temperature is sitting at 41 degrees. Yes, cold but not frozen ground which is good if you still have some planting to do in January.

Another huge benefit to our winter this year is that we have had ample rainfall that has keep all our plants well watered. Remember—we never want our plants to be dry going into any cold weather. And, this pertains to all container gardens.

Also, if you know me, then you know I love to do container gardens. Most of my containers have boxwoods in them: Graham Blandy, English, Varder Valley, and Gold Child. Even with that cold spell at Christmas, my boxwood plants are very healthy and happy here in January. My pansies plants are all fine. They did wilt down with the cold in December but have now bounced back with this January warm spell and are now beginning to bloom once again.

So, if our plants could talk then I believe that they are content with our winter so far up to this point. But, we have a ways to go before warmer weather becomes more consistent.

Good winter = normal temperatures, added rainfall, and maybe a little snow just to please those people yearning for an excuse to have some time off from work or school.


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