Unusual Weather, As Usual
Unusual weather we're having, ain't it?
In North Carolina, spring has been unusually late in arriving, as winter temperatures stuck around a lot longer than usual. March was unusually cold. Last winter, though, was unusually warm. And last summer was unusually hot.
I have reached the conclusion that, in central North Carolina at least, the weather is always unusual. In the 8 years that I have lived here, we have never once had "normal" weather. You can ask anyone. It's always unusually hot. Or unusually cold. Or unusually dry. Or unusually wet.
Since I'm a relative newcomer to these parts, I have a slightly different perspective, which is: snow in July is unusual. Everything else is about par for the course. Realizing this has done wonders for my garden.
Let's start with tulips. I am still patting myself on the back for my decision to forego the mid- and late blooming varieties in favor of early bloomers. Of course it "shouldn't" be 80 degree in April or May, but it often is. March bloomers are a better bet if I want my tulips to last more than a day.
Today is April 1, the average last frost date in Zone 7B Cary. Usually the weather is gorgeous, and everyone floods the farmers markets and garden centers looking for basil and tomato plants. Not I. Back in April 2007, a rare late frost killed all the peach blossoms and ruined life for many a farmer. That one actually was unusual, but those freak spring hail storms that pour buckets of crushed ice from the sky are not. How quickly we forget.
As for the summer, it will be hot and humid. Very, very hot and humid. Sometimes it will be very, very, very hot and humid, and everybody will be surprised. I was too, at first. But after failing with such allegedly hardy-to-Zone 7 plants as Sambucus "Black Lace," Delosperma "Eye Candy," Fuschia "Sanicomf," and pretty much every oriental poppy I ever tried, I stopped being shocked. Now I'm even boycotting hardy geraniums, which are hardy to Zone 8. Usually.
"Normal" weather is like a "normal" person: a phenomenon so rare that it is almost a contradiction in terms. Most of us are a little crazy in some way. "Normal" people are the exception, which makes you wonder why they get to be called normal and we're stuck with being weird.
Normal weather? Now that would be unusual.
4/1/2013 05:31:18 am
Yes, just call me Abby Normal.
4/1/2013 04:47:49 am
Sarah, hilarious as usual. A week ago, as the snow was pouring down and I was getting ready to drive from Maryland to NJ, I thought, "it's one thing to worry about snow over winter break, but over spring break?"
4/1/2013 05:35:36 am
At least it keeps psychologists and meteorologists in business.
4/1/2013 06:17:43 am
Ha! I think the same thing --- normal never ever happens. What we really mean by normal is "perfect". How I long for a perfect garden, a stellar season and just the right amount of everything the garden needs at just the right times. You know, "normal".
4/1/2013 11:15:10 am
Let me know when you find it! It must be a very nice place to be.
4/1/2013 06:31:25 am
I think "normal" for weather is constantly changing, so every year seems unusual. I can remember what the weather "normally" was like when I was a child, then again what it "normally" was when I was a teenager, then what it "normally" was several years ago. They were all different, and different than now. So, I guess, in reality, anything could be normal (or unusual) - for weather, at least! Cute post!
4/1/2013 11:16:48 am
I have had the same different memories of "normal," but now I wonder if any of them is really accurate. I do think our memories play tricks on us.
4/2/2013 02:50:49 am
True. I remember crazy weather from my childhood in New York - shorts in February, snow in April.
4/2/2013 08:17:39 am
I remember one snow in April and one in October. Can't say I remember shorts in February, I seem to recall cold winters, with snow starting in December and the ground staying frozen through March.
4/3/2013 02:02:56 am
Yes, summer in North Carolina could be the 10th circle.
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The Galloping Horse Gardener is a native New Yorker who packed it in in 2005 to live under the radar in Cary, North Carolina. In 2014, she removed to a new secure location somewhere in Raleigh.
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