Marja-Leena Rathje
Home ::: snow in April

snow in April


We were shocked last night to receive hail and dry pellets of snow, then wet snow for about four or five hours. A few stunning flashes of lightning highlit the whiteness into a ghostlike eery world. Then it all froze overnight.

This morning we see the heavy weight of the snow has spread open many shrubs, some of them in flower like the camellias and the red rhododendron. Large cedar branches are leaning down to the ground and I see some have split. Most sadly, a huge branch has broken off in the center of our magnificent magnolia tree, just beginning to bloom. This is situated along the back border of our yard, lined with trees and so very private. Now there's a huge gap and we can see the neighbours. I grieve.

I'm almost afraid to go outside to check the damage to the tulips and other new growth in the garden. In the 35 years we've lived in Vancouver, I don't remember ever having had snow in April that stayed on the ground. And we may be getting more this weekend. I love snow but not in April.

Added later: Here's a photo of a bruised magnolia flower, picked off the broken branch on the ground.

Marja-Leena | 19/04/2008 | 16 comments
themes: Canada and BC, Home


This sounds just like what we had in London less than 2 weeks ago, with similar feelings. But it's given you the subject for another stunningly beautiful photograph.

Oh my, I understand your grief! You've really had a long, drawn out winter and even though it is officially spring, winter still keeps you in it's jaws. I hope the tulips and other plants are okay and that spring will be kinder to you in the coming days.

Thanks so much for you kind words on my blog, Marja-Leena.

Sorry to hear this. I am intimately familiar with the kind of damage that can come from such unseasonable storms (we once had a heavy wet snow in late autumn before the ground was frozen that felled over 100 trees). Hope it melts quickly.

Jean, thank you for the compliment. I didn't get many good photos today but I'm glad this one worked out.

Joan, spring has been late but a lot of flowers have been coming out nevertheless. I hope we didn't lose too many. I look forward to sunshine next week.

Dave, a 100 trees is a devastating loss! Reminds me of the windstorms we had here the previous winter. The snow is melting; hope we don't get any more until next winter!

Oh Marja, that's awful that you got all that bad weather. Hopefully you didn't lose too many plants and the temps go back to normal.

Oh Marja-Leena, I'm so sorry! Late spring snows can be so damaging and awful. Let's hope this is the very last of it and that the trees and shrubs recover as much as possible.

Thanks Cathy and Beth, I hope so. Quite a bit melted today and if we don't get more tonight, it might not be too bad except for the magnolia and one of the cedars. I still haven't had a closer look at the smaller plants. Weird weather for this time of year all over western Canada while the east is basking in a heat wave, quite a reversal!

Oh it is heart-breaking isn't it? Magnolias always seem such hopeful things...
Hope it gets better from now on.

This out of season weather attack sounds dreadful! May this be the end of it and blue skies and warm breezes reign from here.

Olen todella pahoillani puutarhasi kukkaloiston puolesta. Mutta tuskinpa kukaan enää kehtaa väittää, ettei ilmastonmuutos olisi todellinen.

Olemme tänään saaneet nauttia Suomessa aurinkoisesta kevätpäivästä. Taivas hohkaa yhä kirkkaan sinisenä - kello on vähän yli seitsemän illalla, kun kirjoitan tätä - ja linnut suorastaan riehuvat lurituksineen lähiympäristön puissa ja pensaissa. Toivon, että aurinko voittaa pian myös siellä Vancouverissa. Voi hyvin, Marja-Leena!

Thanks Lucy and Loretta - no more snow, the sun is shining and the snow is melting! Still cooler than normal but it can only get better from now on, eh.

Hei Viides Rooli, aivan samaa ajattelin tästä hullusta ilmasta. Suomessahan ei ollut edes talvea kun vasta keväällä! Toivon sinne jatkuvaa aurinkoisia päiviä. Kohta on jo kesä!

Oh, Marja-Leena, so sorry to hear this, especially your magnolia. The magnolias are just starting to flower here. I see in the comments here that you didn't get any more, so hopefully the damage is limited. We actually have had snow here in April, though I believe never this late. I just had my snow tires taken off my car. We do get freezes, though, so no container planting generally until late May. The hearty tulips and other early spring flowers that are in the ground usually do fine.

We had a cold hiccup over here too, as you know; well, the weather has gone nuts everywhere. Hope you didn't lose too much. We have had a grey concrete sky pressing down for a week. Today dawned blue, a perfect spring day with birdsong and cowslips. Heard the cuckoo yesterday - just one call. No wonder the ancients worshipped the sun.
I used to love the early magnolias until it occurred to me a while ago that they remind me of suet, it has put me right off. Isn't that sad? But I still love the big, cream grandifloras. Hope the sun shines for you tomorrow.

Leslee, thanks. There are still patches of snow around while the temperatures keeps low and in spite of sunshine. I need to get outside to my potting bench to pot up my tomato and basil seedlings. They stay indoors until near the end of May here too, as we may get night frosts even that late.

Anna, yes, I've heard about the crazy weather in parts of Europe, including England. Helsinki didn't have snow until spring! I'd never have thought magnolia flowers could remind anyone of suet! We cut a few flowers off the broken off branch for indoors, but they are rather brown on the edges, quite sad.

Marja-leena: I am too familiar with late frosts and snows, here in Kodiak. It is so disheartening, when the weather signs all say "spring", and then...Snow! We've often had snow in May, during our King Crab Festival, which runs the last week of May through Memorial Day. And this year, Russian Easter falls this Sunday, April 26, and it's almost sure to be snow or frost!

I love magnolias - even your poor frost-bitten, bruised one! Here's best wishes for a warming trend.

Hi Jackie! I imagine that it must be an adjustment for you to get used to the colder climate in Kodiak compared to the relatively balmy weather of Seattle, similar to Vancouver. I remember Winnipeg and northeast BC would often get a late, last snowfall on the May long weekend (Victoria Day). Then it was spring for a few days, then suddenly summer. I do prefer our long slow springs here, but it sure has been a cold one this year.