Moments In The Garden: A Messy Surprise End to Winter


“Nature has undoubtedly mastered the art of winter gardening, and even the most experienced gardener can learn from the unrestrained beauty around them.”  

~Vincent A. Simeone



Back from my blog break, I am continuing my series, Moments In The Garden, with a look at our messy end to winter, and a surprise I did not see coming.  In January, I showed the views of our winter finally beginning.  And we assumed winter would continue with a typical February, cold and snowy.

But February was anything but typical.  While there were snowy, cold days, we also saw very warm days, and days that were sloppy with snow, ice and rain that we usually get in March.  So let’s see what February looked like in the garden.



When February started, the weather warmed with record temps, melting 3 feet of snow quickly…..


feb thaw collage

You can see that the grassy areas were sodden and flooded as well as the back of the garden where the garden drains.  Also the pond was becoming translucent with open water at the edges.  These were scenes we usually see in March as spring approaches.





One day after the pictures in the collage above, the garden quickly absorbed lots of the water and was drying out.  I thought, yes we would get an early spring.  Little did I know what February had in store. 





Three feet of snow fell over 3 days mid-month.  And I was thankful as frigid temps were coming, and the snow would protect plants that were beginning to pop up in early February.





And of course the pond was frozen again and covered over with barely a reminder of what was here, except for the grasses and swamp milkweed remnants standing stark now.





The sun bounced off the plants sporting their fluffy cotton hats again.  These are monarda seedheads I love to keep for winter interest.




snowy meadow morning collage

Of course the meadow and woods in the wild area behind us glowed coppery in the rising sun especially after a fresh snowfall.





Once the frigid, below 0 temps came, the snow actually changed in its look and feel.  Powdery as if there was no moisture left.  It was smooth and the color of the shadows was a deeper gray-blue.  You can see this same snow in the picture at the top of the post.



Just when we weren’t sure what would happen next, another sloppy melt and crazy mix started the third week.



We awoke to snow that had been covered by freezing rain, which continued throughout the morning.




mid feb thaw collage

And if it couldn’t get any messier, it began to pour, with a few inches of rain falling, causing the garden to melt yet again.  This was as far as it got as evening set in, and it snowed several inches yet again.  The slushy mess in the roads froze solid, as did the garden, for most of the remainder of the month, with snow covering the mini skating rinks throughout.




slushy branches collage

These are views of the slush-covered branches of the willows in the front garden.





And while there weren’t many sunny days, there were a few spectacular sunrises.  This red sun rose the day before our sloppy snow-ice-rain storm.  I guess the old adage is true, “Red sky in morning, sailor take warning.”





The most frequent visitor to our garden, in February, was the squirrel.  You can read more about their story in my Wildlife Lessons post at my other blog, LivingFromHappiness.


So there you have some February moments in our garden……



Last Wednesday, when we returned from visiting family (that is where I was on my blogging break), we discovered the weather had warmed, snow had melted and early bulbs were beginning to flower.  And some songbirds had started returning.  A lovely garden surprise.  It made for an easier transition back especially since we were treated to 90 degree weather in Arizona and 70s in California. 



These snow crocus always open first, but they did not last long with the cool, wet weather in early March.




snowdrop collage

And snowdrops were up all over.




first spring bloom collage

This weekend as I wandered around the garden, I found other flowers starting to bloom:  more crocus (bottom left), Winter aconite (center), iris reticulata (top right) and one hellebore opening (bottom right), the other getting ready to bloom (top left).





And look at the daffs already…many are getting ready to flower.  I cannot get over how early spring is.  Almost a full month early.


The garden is still too wet to work in, but I am anxious to get started.  It is balm for my soul that is much needed.



As the new season starts, I hope you will join me for Seasonal Celebrations.  Details on how to participate are below.




Join In The Seasonal Celebration:

As I feel spring’s call, to celebrate this new season coming soon, I hope you will join me. I welcome those Down Under who will be celebrating the coming of fall to join in too.  

All you have to do is write a post between now and March 2oth telling me how you are or will be celebrating the new season.  Then leave a comment on the kick-off post, with your link, so it can be included in my summary post on March 21st.  

I do hope you will consider joining in the Seasonal Celebrations meme as we celebrate the new season arriving soon to your corner of the world.

And as always, I will be collaborating with Beth@Plant Postings and her Lessons Learned meme at this same time.  What lessons have you learned this past season of winter here in the Northern Hemisphere and summer in the Southern Hemisphere.  Write a separate post or combine your Lessons with your Celebrations for one post.


I grew more ‘Ariel’ Paperwhites or Narcissus tazetta.  And since they bloomed quickly, I decided to pick them for another vase this week.  There will likely be more for one more vase next week. 



I decided, for this vase, to show the Paperwhites off in a simple glass bottle……





Aren’t they stunning.  They fully opened in no time once I cut them and placed them in water.  They also did not flop over…the stems are very strong.




paperwhites 2 collage

The scent from these is similar to most Paperwhites….I am not a huge fan.  I have noticed both my husband and I react to these flowers with itchy eyes and sneezing.  But I love the flowers so much, that I have to grow these in winter even if I may be allergic.




paperwhites collage

I moved this vase around to see where I loved it more….and really they looked wonderful no matter where I placed them.  A bit of interesting info, in the Language of Flowers, Paperwhites mean ‘Aphrodisiac’ due to their intoxicating scent.  



I thought I would leave the flowers, now starting to bloom outside, for next week, but I just couldn’t help myself….and I picked a few!



A few snowdrops, one iris and one crocus….a perfect early spring vase that was unexpected!





This is the vase from the backside….equally lovely.


I am joining in with a few memes this week as I prepare these vases:  Cathy@Rambling in the Garden for her wonderful meme, In a Vase on Monday, Today’s Flowers hosted by Denise@An English Girl Rambles and Judith@Lavender Cottage who hosts Mosaic Monday.




Next up on the blog:  

Monday, I will have the wrap up of Seasonal Celebrations.

I am linking in with Michelle for her Nature Notes meme at her blog, Rambling Woods.  It is a great way to see what is happening in nature around the world every Monday. 


All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Gardens Eye View, 2010-2016.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.

96 Replies to “Moments In The Garden: A Messy Surprise End to Winter”

  1. It seems you are about level with us Donna, as my daffodils are just about to open too. I love the Paperwhites, but we also don’t like the scent and it makes us sneeze. A shame there isn’t a sort that doesn’t have such an effect! Hope your winter has gone for good!

    1. Winter seems to be gone but the cold wind is still here…typical March so the flowers are slow to bloom…instead playing it safe!

  2. Wonderful photos and mosaics, Donna!
    Your weather has certainly been surprising. I hope all your plants will be well.
    I usually try to be satisfied with whatever weather we have, since it’s something we can’t influence, but sometimes I do feel frustrated when the cloudy weather continues for weeks and the light is always the same grey one. Result: boring photos. 🙂
    I hope you can soon start working in the garden. Have a lovely new week!

    1. We had a bit a flu in the house when we returned from our trip and the weather turned cold so no garden work….but I hope this week once it warms a bit.

  3. Your winter pictures are lovely Donna. If we had that much snow I’d grow monarda just to get those snowy hats. I love that image!

    1. Thanks Jessica….the monarda draws in the bees and butterflies in spring and summer, and then makes for winter fun!

  4. End of winter can be a crazy roller coaster ride. I love the snow hats on the Monarda. Those brave blooms are the cheerleaders of the spring garden. It is great to see the first flowers wake up!

  5. snow so much better at protecting plants than wet and icy – hope your plants survive the freakish February. the woolly snow cap image is so lovely – one for next year’s calendar maybe Donna?
    p.s. glad to see you back and ready for Spring’s oncoming tour de force

    1. Thanks Laura…it is a wonderful pic that I have many of….just outside my window. I will be cutting them down soon as the new growth is emerging.

  6. It certainly has been an up and down winter–one minute you think spring is almost here and then the snow returns. My poor daffodils were totally confused. I’m beginning to believe, though, that it’s for real now and spring is definitely going to be early. Lovely arrangement; can’t wait for my iris reticulata to bloom, too!

    1. I can’t believe more iris are blooming even in our cold snap…nothing deters them….I know spring is here even though it is brisk right now in the 30s…female robins are back and birds are gathering for their nests.

  7. Hello, your garden looks lovely even with the snow cover. I am happy that the weather is finally warming up and the flowers are starting to bloom. Lovely post and images. Happy Monday, enjoy your new week!

  8. Oh my! I’m sure I’m missing my snowdrops and aconite, and possibly a hellebore or two, just as I’m sure my garden is a swamp. So there isn’t any torture waiting for it to dry out. It’s always so tempting to slog around out there in the mud! How’s your garlic? Coming up, too? So happy for you to return to Spring! And what gorgeous Paper Whites – one of my favorites!

    1. My garden is drying out even though it has been cold in the daytime and freezing at night. I bet your garden will just be blooming once you get back.

  9. Hi Donna, your snow photos are beautiful — the Monarda snow hats are so cute! And I’m so happy that your big snows are gone and you’re getting so many blooming flowers — your winter was much worse than ours in the Midwest, which is not usual. I’m glad you’re getting an early spring too. Enjoy warm spring days! -Beth

    1. Thanks Beth….I expect a long, cold, snowy winter and slow spring…but as the garden dries and warms, I hope to get out there soon…I am glad it is taking its time right now.

  10. Your snow shots are so beautiful, but I’m sure you are ready for the seasonal shift to spring. The paperwhites I grew this year were far less fragrant than usual (a good thing) but of course I failed to pay attention to their exact nomenclature.

  11. Yikes, that was a lot of snow! It’s beautiful but so is the homecoming your garden offered. I’m glad our temperatures were pleasant for your visit to California – we’ve dipped into the 60s again in the past week (although I suspect, by comparison to what you’re used to, those temperatures might still have been fine with you, especially after Arizona’s heat). Your spring blooms are exceptionally pretty – I couldn’t have helped myself from picking a few extras either!

    1. 60s are awesome and most welcome Kris…we had a fab time in California. and still only a few blooms…the garden is wisely taking its time as we have cooled to the 20s/30s and 40s.

  12. I do love the little white snow hats on the seed heads after a fresh snow. Your pictures make me almost nostalgic for February – almost!

  13. I am so pleased to see that you have flowers in your garden this week Donna – what a February you have had! I hope that the freezing temperatures are over now and spring will be there to stay in your garden. I am very jealous of your paper whites – I do not have any this year and am missing them so much – thank you for sharing yours.

    1. Unfortunately Julie we have already had freezing temps, hard freezes and they are calling for more snow and cold for the first week of spring…that is our March and the bulbs adjust. I think that is why the garden is not jumping into spring yet which is a good thing.

  14. I like the simplicity of the snow-covered landscape, but oh those spring blooms are the best!! Happy end of winter and welcome to spring!

    1. Yes, it is a delight to see the garden slowly growing…I can savor each bloom right now…soon the riot of blooms will be overwhelming.

  15. Last year we had a big snowstorm on March 23 so I am keeping my fingers crossed. Things are coming up but I don’t think we are out of the woods yet. How lovely to have Crocus and Iris to pick for your vase!

  16. Early spring here as we had weather in the 60’s plus rain. I doubt winter is actually leaving us though, even though bulbs are coming up. It is wait and see… Nice you had a time in AZ and CA. Bet you saw blooms everywhere.

    1. What a glorious sight and the warmth was just what we needed in AZ and CA….it is wait and see right now with our cold snap and freezing night.

  17. First time visiting and wow you sure blew me away. Have to come back and visit again when I have more time. Everything is stunning !

  18. We have had no big snows (>1′) this year and only a few very cold days. Such a difference from last year’s record-breaking cold and snowy February and slow thaw. I had more snow in my garden in mid-April last year than I do now. My plants are mostly staying under cover, though, not trusting this spring-like weather to be real.
    I did see a bunch of juncos in the garden this afternoon, presumably stopping over on their way north to their Canadian breeding grounds.

    1. Wow that is so unusual…i think living off the lake here we get hammered but nothing like in prior years. I love how our gardens do wait as it is cold again here.

  19. Fantastic photos, as always, Donna! Spring has definitely sprung there! I wish we would have been treated to more snow this winter. We’re all a bit concerned about the dry weather and we’re hoping for the best – but it may be really tough on the plants.

    1. I do hope you get some rain Sheryl…I’d love to send you some as we are still flooded but drying out a bit now.

  20. Wow. You’ve been on a weather roller coaster.

    We’ve had loads of rain here in Tennessee lately too. The clay ‘soil’ is sodden and mucky. Like you, I’m eager to get planting, but it may too early. (Then again, if I wait too long and we get an early summer…)

    1. It is a delicate balance to know when to trod out there even in the muck…I think if I can get it to stay warm, I may plant my peas this coming weekend.

  21. Hi Donna, those winter photos are lovely to see in photos, but i wonder if i will still be gardening if i were in those places. I can’t imagine that my plants are all killed and my garden fully covered with deadly snow! So maybe i just stay inside and not plant anymore.

    But your plants coming out of winter are all beautiful, most specially my favorite snowdrops. I am thinking, if i were there, will i also plant snowdrops! hahaha

    1. OH here snow is critical for the garden…..if you lived here you would definitely garden and plant snowdrops!

  22. Lovely Donna – as always! I particularly love your image with “fluffy cotton hats”. I love snow and always wish I had more, but I do admit that I love living in central Virginia, so perhaps I should not complain. Looking forward to your next post!

  23. A delightful post Donna, beautiful photos! So good to see the spring flowers again. Thanks for sharing with Today’s Flowers, and enjoy your week.

  24. You really had to experience more winter the hard way, Donna. It amazes me how the animals and plants can make it through all that. I’m glad things are warming up and FLOWERS are even blooming for you. There must be hope for my sister as well, in NY state. We just keep getting constant rain which makes it hard for me to get the necessary garden work done to start the vegetable garden growing. We are supposed to get 4 rain-free days this week, but I don’t know that the soil will dry out enough to work it in that time. I am a dull work-a-holic sort so most of my celebrating is in putting flowers in a vase and accomplishing some work out in the garden, not so interesting in a post probably.

    1. After the melt it has rained and rained so no garden work here either. I hope you had some rain-free days….also too cold now so hoping by next weekend to get started.

  25. The monarda seeds heads with their snowy hats make a very striking photo. Spring can be so capricious. Hopefully she’s made up her mind to arrive for good now.

  26. what a crazy month, the ice is very dangerous, I expect the gritters were kept busy, though cold for you the snow photos do look nice, I hope your brief glimpse of spring blooms will soon be back to stay,
    is that a bat box I see on one of your trees? Frances

    1. You have great eyes…yes that is a bat box Frances, but still no bats….now if I got some bats, I would be in heaven.

  27. What a lovely treat your second vase was for you – what precious blooms to have come home too 🙂 And narcissi always look stylish – after you talked about your allergy to the Paperwhites last year I realised that my nose felt just a little itchy whn I had picked a vase of them. Nothing more than that though. The snow picture with the shadows is wonderful, by the way

    1. So glad you enjoyed the snow pics and vases….a few more blooms are up to pick but the garden is taking her time to wake as the wether has turned cold.

  28. HI Donna, I see we both had the same idea for the vase. My husband threatened me with divorce if I didn’t move them out, haha, well almost ;). Your late winter pics remind me so much of our life in the Swiss Alps where we sometimes thought the snowy days would never end, so I’m delighted to live in a milder climate and to be able to enjoy flowers all year round. Your daffs look promising. Happy spring days 🙂

  29. Its like sitting down and reading a good magazine…lovely writing, great pictures of gardens, and flowers. The picture of the snow on the seed heads is really special.

  30. What a treat to see vernal flowers Donna. Love your photos of crocus, hellebore, nice collages. Yes, spring is early here as well. All snow melted after two rainy nights. The sunrise is awesome.

  31. It almost makes me a little trepidatious about what’s around the corner for this spring season. Love the winter shots – and so glad to see the little bits of green springing up.

  32. Those ‘sloppy melts’ sound most decidedly unpleasant Donna. You must be so glad to see those spring gems appearing. I like the look of ‘Paperwhites’ but have to have some distance between me and them.

    1. It seems many are saying the same thing about Paperwhites….it seems spring is slowly emerging and for that I am thankful!

  33. I can’t believe you went from all that snow mid-February to daffodils ready to bloom Donna. Spring is early here as well but only with leaves up a couple of inches. Normally we still have good snow covering until the end of March – quite an unusual year!

    1. Here too Judith…more snow on the ground in March usually. But with the cold snap the daffs are staying tight in the bud.

  34. Oh brrrr, that looks so cold! Beautiful photos of your beautiful garden, a feast for the eyes! And such gorgeous flowers too.

  35. Sorry I missed this interesting post Donna, it was sent to my spam box along with lots of other wordpress stuff for some reason. Your snow is amazing, I do hope spring is sticking around now for you.

  36. Your photos are really beautiful…the seed heads covered with snow is my favorite! I am sure that you are tired of the snow. We have been having some crazy weather too…it has been like summer for the past week and a half and by this weekend we are to have 30 degree temps again!

  37. It must be particularly wonderful to see all those spring bulbs after that surprising late snow fest and then ask the messy melting. Hope you are soon able to get out there and enjoy your gardening.

    1. I hope so too…just need some dry weather…too cold these past few days and now the rain will fall again…but soon I will get out there.

  38. I’ve never really imagined living somewhere where it snows in winter, but looking at your beautiful images, i’m quite jealous of the amazing photo ops you get when there’s snow. Great post, showing winter and spring.

  39. An absolutely stunning seasonal transition post! I loved it … Even your snow and ice pictures are beautiful (but I love early Spring the best.). Scrolling through your post was like watching a time lapse series of the winter to spring season change, something I don’t get to see here in Florida.

  40. February certainly had its ups and downs! You presented some lovely images. I especially like the snow capped monarda seed heads! February was pretty much brown mush for us, but March is ushering in spring. My daffodils are all but finished now; I know how exciting it is to see those swelling buds!

  41. Considering your weather, you have some nice blooms there, Donna. Love your vases. I am currently writing a seasons posting — too late for you to include but that’s OK. I’ve had the busiest month on record; my schedule is just starting to calm down, so maybe I can begin blogging again. Happy Easter, my friend! P. x

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