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Snow in the Garden

I know, I know, it can make life difficult, dangerous and often leads to a lot of disruption but for me there is also real beauty and magic in a snow covered garden.

When we had some of the white stuff before Christmas, it was here just long enough to allow children (and let's face it a lot of adults!) to build a snowman, have a snowball fight and perhaps an impromptu day or two off school. I realise it probably causes havoc with teaching, but those unexpected days off, spent in the garden with friends, trying and failing to build a complete igloo are some of my happiest childhood memories.

Decades later its ephemeral nature still makes snow special to me, but as a grown up, that excitement is tempered by practical considerations and a far greater awareness of the risks.

In the garden snow also has positives and negatives. It’s a great insulator so once it falls on beds and borders it can protect the plants below the surface from the freezing conditions that often follow. Brushing it off these areas is generally not necessary but if you think the snow is affecting hedges, trees or even the roofs of greenhouses it is worth taking care to remove it as it can be damaging. It might look light and fluffy as it falls but once it builds up it can weigh a lot as anyone who has ever shovelled it can attest.

The weight of snow was made very clear to me when I recently helped my 3 year old daughter build a snowman of which I was, I have to say, rather proud. When Frosty eventually melted he left behind his own contribution to my outdoor space - a brand new perfectly round crater in the middle of the lawn - perhaps time for a pond.