April in New England

This winter was truly mild– we really did not see much snow or the frigid temps of years past. But just when we were getting small signs of Spring, on April 2nd, we got hit with a bit of snow!  The weathermen were reminding us that a few years back we had a terrible snowstorm on April 1st, and that we were going to be lucky because this one was not going to be as bad.

We are smack in the middle of Massachusetts at an elevation of 1,000 ft., so we tend to have longer winters/shorter growing seasons, and this winter was very mild for us– one for the record books.

But on April 2nd, everything was covered in snow and ice, effectively killing some tender blooms.   We had over six inches of snow fall during the day all day, until the sun came out in the late afternoon.  

The birds who were in their early Spring frenzy to eat and build nests were rushing our bird feeders for seed and were using our heated birdbath for water and to warm their toes.   

We had six Eastern Bluebirds jockeying for the mealworm tray, several Cowbirds and Juncos, many Robins and Mourning Doves, and Cardinals and Woodpeckers.  Even a raptor showed up looking for a meal during the frenzy before the storm scaring all the birds away– at least for a few minutes. 

It was sad to watch some of the birds as their tiny feet stood in the snow and ice. 

While indoors, some of my window plants (mostly begonias) and some of the begonias I grow under lights were happy as can be and growing extensively or flowering.    


Here’s how much snow we had accumulated by the end of this February– about eight inches of snow.  Same time last year we had accumulations of well over three feet of snow.   You can see the total accumulation of snow this Winter on the birdbath on the right.  


Before April 1st, a lilac bush was showing signs of starting to come live.


Even the turkeys were enjoying the Spring-like days.


The daffodils, tulips and crocus were starting to bloom.  But then April 2nd came.

Red Bellied Woodpecker

This is a Red Bellied Woodpecker getting some water and waiting for his turn at the suet feeder, as the snow was just getting started!


Every type of bird showed up at once trying to get as much food as they could.  Here, the American Goldfinches are fighting for access to the thistle seed sock feeder.


As the snow got underway, there was an Eastern Bluebird frenzy for food and water!


As the birds stood still for a few seconds to wait for their turn at the feeders, they started to get covered in snow!


With very little water available when everything is covered in snow and ice, the heated birdbath was very popular.


A Junco found some seed that had been blown on top of the snow, but alas, his feet sunk into the snow as he stood there eating it.


Here a Mourning Dove gets her turn to drink water.


An Eastern Bluebird ducked under a feeder to avoid the snow, but the wind blew the snow everywhere and on everything including fallen seeds and birds.


A Cardinal was shaking off snow, as it waits for its turn at the feeder.

Robin looking for food

A robin is looking desperately for seeds on bushes and trees as worms were not to be had.


As the snow fell, the indoor hibiscus plant in the living room was just happily blooming impervious to the storm outside.


A Nuthatch eats from the suet feeder that was surrounded with icicles dangling off the dome that protected it from the snow and ice. 


A Junco stares at the snow as it sits at the birdbath.


The poor daffodil plants suffered ice damage as did some of the flower buds.


Tulip plants and their buds were covered in snow.


A poor Allium plant stands tall as it’s covered in snow.


Even the garden Buddha was wearing a hat and coat!


Meanwhile indoors, this Begonia scutifolia grown in a container under lights was putting on a show.


Begonia phutoensis from Vietnam was in bloom though the plant is in a small 2 inch pot!


Begonia ‘Flamingo Queen’ was also blooming its head off.


This is a closeup of a Begonia ‘Flamingo Queen’ bloom.


This flower cluster belongs to Begonia peltata.


This is the window over my kitchen sink, and  this Fall was lined with begonias that only get indirect window light.  Note Begonia ‘Hugh Mclaughlin’ going to town on the left.


Here is Begonia ‘Hugh McLaughlin’ in April and still going strong!


This is a closeup of the flower of Begonia henrii from China.


Begonia henrii in bloom and with much new growth.


This is Begonia soli-mutata grown in a container that had been under too much light, thus some of the reddish leaves.

Begonia lyallii

Here Begonia lyallii is bursting out of its container!


This is Begonia decora’s bloom with a closeup of those crazy hairy papillae leaves.


Begonia decora is also filling its container.  Note on the right one of two leaves sprouted a new plant from the blade/leaf base.

Begonia Salsa

Begonia ‘Salsa’ started to bloom too.  This plant sat on my dining table getting no direct light all Fall and Winter!!


The real reason we grow begonias– those exotic, work of art leaves!! This is a leaf of Begonia ‘Salsa’ enjoying the start of Spring.


And just as quickly as the storm came, the sun came out and started warming the ground, melting the snow, and warming up the plants and birds.

Happy Spring Everyone!!