Why is it that the first snowfall of the season, no matter how insignificant, can create such havoc? First it was the plumber and then it was my husband who asked this very question of me yesterday. Now I love a good snowstorm as anyone from Maine would and should, but I also know to respect the tiny snowflakes that gang up on you in some of the most creative ways. Combined with very cold water and inexperienced or unsuspecting drivers, snow has a way of telling you who is boss. Ice is great in the skating rink but under those SUV tires it can really ruin your day if you don't drive defensively.
In the gardens and landscapes all over Sudbury and surrounding towns are planted deciduous trees and shrubs and hardy perennials that rely on below freezing temperatures combined with a good coat of snow to send the message to bloom come spring. These plants live in a zone, typically zone 5, which supports their needs. When weather conditions change, the plants do not adapt soon enough and can be weakened or die. Snow is needed as well as consistently subfreezing temperatures to help our zone 5 plants thrive. Just like New Englanders know to get out the winter coats come Thanksgiving, our native and not so native plants that grow here do the same thing. While freeing up closet space for fewer winter coats may seem appealing to you, watching the slow demise of certain native species of plants in our historic landscape and the replacement of them by a new, perhaps invasive species will be much less welcome I assure you.
New England is not just a landscape but a particular temperate zone that is part of the whole picture. Without our winters the spring will be much less of a sight to behold and our ecology will shift to a point of unfamiliarity and create the same havoc that the gang of snowflakes on your windshield does. Embrace our changing seasons, drive carefully, dress for the elements and know that this, too, shall pass!