If this unfathomably long, cold winter is getting you down, you’ll be happy to hear that there is a silver lining to our cold-weather doldrums. According to local NYC ecology experts, the more snow, the better (when it comes to gardening, that is)! The deep snow cover that has yet to melt away is acting as a supreme insulator for the soil underneath, meaning that we can expect abundant, lush flora this coming spring.
We might be experiencing the coldest February since 1934, but the record lows have kept the snow piled nice and high above our soil. Kristin Schleiter, senior curator at the New York Botanical Garden, tells The New York Times that after last winter’s plentiful snow cover, “we had an unbelievable spring,” and that “the perennials were very, very lush. The flowers were very, very big.”
In fact the deeper the snow, the better. Novem Auyeung, a research ecologist for the NYC parks department, says that a deeper snowpack will actually boost active nutrient-making microbes to develop within the soil. And according to urban ecologist Marielle Anzelone, chilling temperatures also encourage rare native plants like the sundial lupine to sprout new buds, while eradicating invasive species like kudzu.
Surprisingly, experts say that one thing to watch out for are warmer swings in temperature. These freeze-and-thaw cycles cause plants to heave out of the ground, and trick trees into blooming before the next freeze blasts them away.
So, if you can muster up the strength, be thankful for this harsh winter. There are good things to come.
Images via Shutterstock