I admit, when the weather forecast calls for a chance of snow, I’m obsessively refreshing Weather.com to see how much snow I can expect. More often than not, the snow that was promised fails to materialize. But last week, Mother Nature didn’t disappoint. With eager anticipation I crept my way to work along slippery roads, excited to see the gardens with a fresh blanket of snow. There’s something wonderful about being the first to walk along a pristine snow-covered garden path and hearing the unmistakable sound of snow compacting underfoot. The stillness after a fresh snowfall is interrupted by the sound of a soft breeze moving through bare tree branches and the standing pollinator garden is calming and exhilarating. What is it about a cold, snowy day that invigorates the body and sharpens the mind? The gardens look so different, they sound different, even scents are different after a snow.
Just when you feel like you have the snow-covered garden to yourself, the sound of the chickadees, finches, and nuthatches calling out as they dart from tree to tree, fills the air. Most likely they’re waiting for us to vacate the garden so they can alight on the plants, shake loose the snow, and dine on the cache of seeds awaiting them.
The garden in winter can and should be a place of beauty. The anticipation of seeing your pollinator garden after light snow should entice and lure you into the garden. As we are planting with nature, our gardens are benefitting us as well as the native pollinators and birds. We are feeding the birds and offering shelter while creating a space that encourages us to get up and move away from the computer and television and go outside. We need to be in and with nature year-round, not just when the garden is flushing out in the spring or when it’s bedecked in summer blooms. We need to be moving, to be breathing fresh air, and to be out in the sun (those few winter days when it’s actually sunny in Cincinnati). A garden planted with nature, that’s left to stand through winter, is just what we need to be in nature, even after the snow falls and the cold winds blow.