As I sit in my home in New Hampshire on the second day of spring, several feet of snow stand in the way of my desire to be outside. This winter has caused most of us to postpone our thoughts of tulips and crocus, planting gardens, and building outdoor spaces. While we must patiently wait for spring to arrive, there are several things we can learn from this time of year..
Understand your property in winter. For those that live in a snowy climate, make a mental note or take a picture of what your property looks like in the winter. When the snow has gone, it is easy to forget where the piles are formed from plowing, where the roof sheds its’ snow or where ice builds up. This will all have impact on where walkways should be placed, what type of plants should be planted, and where a stonewall can be constructed. Better to plan now than have the plow hit your hard work later.
Watch your drainage. As the snow melts, giving way to our glorious mud season, pay attention to where the water is going. You may want to avoid building a walkway directly through the natural path for water or planting your garden in the low spot where water pools. If you use salt or snow-melt, you want to use plants that can handle run-off of this type.
First signs of spring! Pay attention to where the ground becomes uncovered first on your property. We all await those early signs of spring, the warm sun, the first flowers. It is such a shame when the tulips planted last fall are still under that last bit of snow where snow piled off the roof. How the sun hits your property changes throughout the year, but if you put those early bloomers where spring first arrives, you will be rewarded with early color. As a side note, I will often put bulbs adjacent to my stonework. The stones resonate the warm spring sun and provide a great backdrop for the flowers. Heed the drips. The spring thaw will inevitably result in dripping off the roof, off the trees, and onto patios and walkways. Know where your trouble spots are and use the
spring to correct for next winter. Pay attention to where ice has built up to see if a change in design can prevent the same occurrence next year. It is a great time to eliminate those gentle drips that will result in rotting of wood, erosion of soils, and buildup of mosses and lichen on stonework, bricks, and foundations. Consider where to install rain barrels, drip stone, and gutters.
To prepare for the coming spring, take stock in how winter affects your property. Keep the faith, spring will arrive!!
For comments and questions, feel free to email Scott at [email protected]