With one of the snowiest spells on record in Greater Kansas City and the continual negative spin by most of the media, I thought it was time to talk about and show all the good things about snow in our landscape and gardens.
* Snow is the “great white mulch” that insulates the ground and prevents deep frost penetration. This protection of plants’ roots from severe cold improves plant hardiness.
*Snow moderates the temperature fluctuations of our normally “manic-depressive” climate. So far we will not have to worry about frost heave — a more typical problem from our warm, then cold, snowless winters.
* Snow is simply beautiful and accentuates plants and the landscape.
The conifer garden on the north end of the Visitor Center is blanketed by snow. The yellow-needled conifer in the center is the focal point of this garden. It is the very rare Chief Joseph Lodgepole Pine (Pinus contorta) donated to us by Marvin Snyder of Overland Park — past president of the American Conifer Society http://www.conifersociety.org/. This pine is unique that it turns yellow in the winter and green in the summer!
The evergreen Southern Magnolias (Magnolia grandiflora) also stand out dramatically in the snowy landscape. Here the cultivar ‘Edith Bogue‘ (left) and our local selection ‘Margarite‘ (right) grace the northeastern wall of the Visitor Center. Southern Magnolias actually prefer a spot not so exposed to the winter sun in our climate. Bright sun on a very cold day can burn the leaves — some at Powell Gardens exposed in such conditions have already suffered severe leaf burn as temperatures fell below zero for nine days in a row!