December 26, 2008

2008 Is Ending On A Cold Note!

After the warm fall, it was a bit of a shock when December began with a sudden drop in temperatures. In Montana, we expect cold, freezing temps to begin in October; but this year, we were 'lulled' into an attitude of 'look at how long our fall is'. So, when the weatherman said we were to receive a blast from the north, I took a second look at how well my yard was tucked in for the winter.
The nighttime temps were to reach -30's and we had very little snow, so I worried about my roses. Many of them were Canadian bred roses, but they still suffer top winterkill if there is not enough snowcover. We had about 2 inches of snow, and the wind was fast blowing it away from my flowerbeds!
So, I began to haul snow, by the tubfull, into and onto the flowerbeds and roses. I had dropped several shovelfuls of dirt around each rose's crown, and had also covered the most tender varieties with a rose cone. Now, I began to bury everything under piles of snow.
Even the newly planted iris row needed help; the ground was completely bare around them!
Several hours later, everything looked much better! I set a few buckets and other 'junk' around in the beds and on the 'upwind' side of several roses, just to add a bit of snow-holding bulk.
For nearly a week, nighttime temps reached -25 or colder. A weak winter sun couldn't compete against the never-ending wind, and daytime temps did not climb above -5.
We were busy keeping the animals warm and breaking water in tanks and buckets, so I didn't have a chance to worry about the roses.
One day, the sun came out and the cold intensified as the wind dropped... then suddenly, it began to warm up! I took the above photo out of the dining room window and again began to dream of watching my roses bloom next year.
What a perfect time for four or five rose catalogs to come in the mail! :)
On the one hand, it will be easier for me to resist the temptation of ordering a plant that is not hardy to zone 3 or 2... and on the other, I am thinking I may be able to order several replacement roses, 'for those that will surely die back to the ground' this winter!!! :)
The final effect of the cold temps with little snow won't be known until spring... but this is typical Montana winter conditions: cold and little snowcover. We will get cold temps again for most of January and February, but hopefully more snow will come also.


geotrax2 said...

2009 is ending a little early - or are you skipping a year? :)

Mrs John said...

Hee, hee...
Maybe I should say OH< DEAR!!!
NO, I don't want to end 2009 early.... I have a feeling it will go fast enough!!!!!