December 29, 2011

Where's the snow?!

All Toronto gardeners want for Christmas is........decent snow cover!

My garden is desperately in need of the "white" mulch.

We normally think of mulch as some shredded bark-like material (not red, I trust!) that is thrown loosely on the garden's surface. Other mulches include shredded leaves, chipped bark, straw, pea gravel and compost.

Benefits include:
  • suppressing weeds from germinating, reducing our weeding efforts
  • keeping the soil temperature relatively stable
  • reducing transpiration and, thus, watering
  • finishing off the garden's appearance (aesthetics)
But there's a type of mulch which is equally important to have in the Toronto area that boosts your plants' chances of surviving brutally cold winds and is free! 


A thick and persistent layer of snow insulates the frozen soil and keeps it frozen. A cycle of freeze and thaw can kill many marginally-hardy plants in our area as the crowns (tops) of perennials are exposed and often plants are heaved out several inches. (I've lost coral bells (Huechera) due to this process.)

We haven't had a significant amount of snow in Toronto yet which is a driver's dream but a gardener's curse. A good foot of the white stuff will let me sleep better (but my back will undoubtedly complain after tackling the driveway!)


  1. Anonymous29.12.11

    We want some snow too! It looks so pretty, and gives you a good excuse to stay inside in your jammies. Oh well, winter's just arrived, so we still have hope!

    Happy New Year, Garden Muse!

  2. We had a light dusting yesterday and, sigh, it's going to melt in a couple of days.

    And a happy new year to you, Lynne!

  3. It doesn't snow much here in Seattle, so that was an interesting thing for me to learn. I read in the paper today that Anchorage has twice as much snow as usual, which is quite a lot! I'm hoping we make it through the winter with no snow.

  4. Hi Jordan,

    we had a little snow yesterday but need more! Just increases the hardiness of many "marginal" perennials and shrubs that depend on a thick and persistent layer of snow to make it through prolonged temps. below -15 C.

    Thanks for your comment!