Snow and Ice

Ice after Snow – Not So Good for the Garden!

Ice this afternoon followed the snow this morning. I was happy to wake up to five inches of snow. We have needed precipitation for so long, that even I was delighted to see snow. Some images from this morning can be seen at my photography blog.

Although the temperature did not warm to above freezing at my house today, some of the snow on the roof began to melt, and icicles formed at the edge. They began to drip droplets onto some of my roses, where that water immediately formed ice. This is not something you want to see happening.

Some of you who have followed this blog from its beginning may recall the damage done to my old garden rose, ‘Mermaid,’ when a 22 inch snow began to melt, refreeze, melt, refreeze, until ‘Mermaid,’ was pulled off the wall and laid out across my patio by the weight of the ice. It is why I now do something that most people would say I should not do – I prune ‘Mermaid’ back in late fall. It has proven to be a good strategy for this particular rose in this one particular spot.

(Some images of ‘Mermaid’ and the damage may be seen at the following links. Those images were taken with an old Nikon Coolpix, the first digital camera I owned. Thus, the odd settings that those of you who know your way around cameras will note.

Saga of Mermaid, Part 3
Saga of Mermaid, Part 4
Saga of Mermaid, Part 5
Saga of Mermaid, Part 6
Saga of Mermaid, Part 7
Saga of Mermaid, Part 9 )

Here in the high desert, Albuquerque, we do not prune until late March and preferably early April. That is because of the threat of late freezes. When I do prune this year, I will have damage from today to remove. At the time of this writing, it appears that ‘St. Patrick’ will have the most damage.


‘St. Patrick’ with ice and icicles

You see two different ice formations on ‘St. Patrick.’ The icicles are clear, and are not that big of a threat at that size. But, you can also see in this image a branch that was bent by the weight of the ice, and then droplets continued to drip from the icicles on the roof, weighing down the branch even more. Here’s a hint – you cannot shake ice off a branch like that, in the way you can shake snow off. That branch is broken by the weight of the ice. Those of you who are rosarians will understand that I had really wanted ‘St. Patrick’ to have a really good year in 2015. It may yet; it is far too early to tell for sure. But this ice is potentially a major setback for this rose bush.


Icicles on Veterans’ Honor

The icicles at this size are not a major problem for ‘Veterans’ Honor.’ However, this image shows why we do not prune until later. The leaves you see are last year’s leaves. But, if you look closely, you see new growth (red) appearing along the cane. This new growth will not survive the freezing temperatures. That is okay; there are still a lot of places for new growth when spring does arrive. Many places for new growth would have been removed had this hybrid tea been pruned. I’m not a bit worried about this rose, at least as of today. Who knows what weather lies ahead? But, for today, it is okay.


Icicles on spent blooms of ‘Dream Weaver.’ I personally find this kind of interesting, and no major harm is being done.


Ice and icicles on ‘Dream Weaver’ hip

After I had photographed these images, the snow began again. A new Winter storm Warning was issued for tonight, with additional 1 – 4 inch accumulation. I know my friends in the Northeast are really laughing now, given what they have been and are dealing with this winter. For here, I just hope this is not a sneak attack like the Big Snow of 2006, which had not been predicted at all!

So, while waiting to see what tonight and tomorrow bring, I’ll leave all of us with a couple of bright images!

rose hip

Colorful hip of ‘Dream Weaver’

rose hip

Hip of miniature rose, ‘Yoyo,’ with a dusting of snow

4 thoughts on “Snow and Ice

  1. The ice was not good on the streets either. This morning, there was little traffic at rush hour, so no problem getting to work on streets that went back and forth between being wet and icy. All the schools and universities closed, but tonight it took me 2.5 hours to get home because traffic was horrendous. I guess everyone went shopping or something, because there seemed to be way more traffic than normal, as all routes across the river were at standstills.

    • Hi, Tim. This is so rare for here. But, I think tomorrow will be even worse, at least in the morning. Hopefully the temp will be as warm in the afternoon as is predicted.
      Yesterday I cooked some things and took them to my mom, so she wouldn’t have to worry about going out for a couple of days. I was glad I did that then – I stayed in all day; I took a “snow day.” 🙂 )))))))))
      You must have been fit to be tied by the time you got home.
      All of this brought back flashbacks of ‘Mermaid.’ ‘St. Patrick’ is going to have some real damage this year.
      Anyway, glad you made it home safely tonight.

  2. It didn’t thaw at all at the house, so we still have powdery snow on everything (the rain gauge is showing 0 precipitation because the snow in the gage hasn’t melted). The roses, flowers and other plants are going to be very happy with this snow. We got another 2 inches since this 4 inches we had this morning.

    • You guys normally get the bad luck when it comes to winter weather and roses, so I am glad that this storm is working out well for your plants.
      Right now, I think St. Patrick is the only one that may be really damaged. Some of the others, the ones not near the roof drip line, will probably benefit greatly from the snow.
      I am really glad I cut Mermaid back this fall, though!!

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