According to the weather forecasts for this week, I should start mentally preparing myself for another big chill. At Weather Underground, which has a weather station in my subdivision, they tell me that the temperature is currently 37.8, and will drop to 31 by midnight, 29 by 3 a.m. and 27 by 6 a.m. Weather.com puts the current temperature at 36 degrees and says 32 at midnight, dropping down to 29 by 6 a.m. NOAA also says 36 degrees but predicts a low of 28. So it sounds like we're in for at least 6 hours of below freezing temperatures.
This is just a mere taste, however, of what's in store for us later this week when an Arctic front arrives. We're being told to prepare for "extended periods of freezing temperatures from Thursday night through Sunday morning". Accustomed as I am to balmy winter temperatures, I'm having a difficult time with the idea of an extended cold spell. Seriously, folks, this is the first truly harsh winter I've experienced in almost 13 years of gardening on my corner of Katy. In all that time I've not really had to be concerned about the effects of a freeze upon the garden; we've had no more than 2 or 3 light freezes in any of those years. I can't recall the ground ever having frozen in those 13 years but I do believe that's going to happen in a few days.
This winter is presenting me with a whole new set of garden experiences and I must say that it feels like it's all happening out of order. A light freeze should precede snow, surely ... but we got the snow in early December without even having had any prior frost.
Up until now I've been blithely unconcerned with the possibility that my garden as I knew it is a thing of the past. I've spoken breezily about sissy baby plants being tossed if they can't take the cold and maintained that dead plants equal opportunities to plant new and different ones. Will I still feel the same when the week is over? For the most part, I think I will ... but I'll admit to some trepidation about what the rest of the week will bring!
Pictures are from the December 4, 2009 snowstorm. Note the expression of the garden angel in the first shot: I don't think it's just my imagination that she looks if not quite horrified, at least shocked and dismayed by what she's seeing. Similar expressions may be seen in my mirror this coming weekend.