Our snowless winter of 2015-16

No heavy snow to weigh down the grasses along Lake Shore East, January 2016

Perhaps we dreamed of a White Christmas in December 2015, but a dream was all it was. And the snow has just kept on not coming.

Toronto often has little snow on the ground in January, but this year has been a stark contrast to the previous two. While we have had some precipitation in the form of rain, the protective snowy blanket that helps borderline plants overwinter in our USDA Z5/Canadian Z6-ish climate is missing.

So, if this keeps up, don’t be surprised if you lose certain plants, despite the milder weather. Sudden cold snaps like the one this week can knock the stuffing out of unprotected plants. That’s just one of the many joys and continual mysteries of gardening.

What’s weather like where you are?


  1. Hello Helen !
    We were very much like that until a couple of weeks ago when some snow fell.
    But let me tell you I was very uneasy about rain, then freezing rain hitting unprotected plants .. I am sure I will lose a few even though we do have snow over them now .. it was just too much of a shock with this strange winter weather for them. I guess this means I can buy some new ones? But if I lose favorite ones … well that just sucks.
    Who do we speak to about this weather eh ? LOL
    Joy : ) Kingston !

    1. The best part of losing plants (except for maybe mature trees) is the chance to replace them with something new! That being said, I wouldn't want to have to do that every spring.

  2. We finally have a carpet of snow on the ground and it has made me feel a whole lot better. I too was voicing my concerns over our mild fall weather, especially as I planted some new fruit trees and bushes this past year. I'm so happy with all the white right now & hope that the temperatures stay cold enough that it stays put until the "true" spring arrives.

    1. Gardeners outside the city of Toronto usually have better luck with winter snowcover than we do. But, snow or no snow, the mild weather that has fooled many plants of all kinds into thinking spring came early are the ones that really suffer when a cold snap comes. We still have no snow here (but maybe I shouldn't tempt the gods by talking about it!).

  3. There is some interesting weather all over the globe! We have had the mildest late autumn/ winter I can ever remember and have had all sorts of plants blooming in their confusion. The temperature finally dipped about a week ago, so at least those poor plants know now that this IS winter!

  4. All the snow is in the mid-Atlantic! I have 3 ft in my garden that all fell over a 36 hour period. But after a long, mild fall at least I don't have to worry about any of my plants heaving. I lost several plants that way that last 2 winters.

    1. It has been a bit of a crazy year everywhere. I'd gladly take about a foot and a half of your snow off your hands! My plants are heavily mulched with leaves at the moment, which should help a bit. Fingers crossed.

  5. In Maine, we are having warmer weather and less snow than usual (as is typical for El Nino years), but we have had some snow on the ground since late December. Since last year was much snowier and much colder than normal, most people are happy to catch their breath with a milder winter this year. (Although the skiers and snowmobilers are grumbling.) -Jean

    1. As a walker, I'm sort of happy to have dry streets to train on this year. Two years ago, it was so icy we were really set back. The gardener in me would prefer having more snow, though. (The ice, they can keep.)

  6. I have been worried about the lack of snow cover too. It is ironic that after a mild winter we are likely to loose some plants. Sudden cold snaps are likely to take its toll.

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