No harm from yesterday's snow, except the usual agony of a Washington spring in which the thermometer in the garden shoots up to 80 in February and it snows in April.
"I got up early and never saw the sun more beautiful," complained Ken Mather of Arlington, a retired gentleman well known as a careful observer of great matters, "and took the hound for a fine walk. Nippy. On returning I phoned the weather people to see if it might warm up and they actually said snow flurries; so I said as usual they're out of their naughty word minds."
The main thing about the snow was that the weather bureau foresaw it, in other words.
Two years ago a heavy snow fell late in April in Williamsburg, cresting the late tulips and fully open dogwoods with two-inch helmets. And anybody who often makes the trip across the mountains to Staunton, Va., will remember springs when the apple orchards in full bloom were white with snow. Later than this.
Spring is that chancy interval between zero in January and 100 in August, but no matter how many centuries pass in which to learn that spring weather is up and down, no gardener ever learns, not in his deep heart. His brain knows, but every time the weather is too warm or too cold to suit him, he refits his tantrum and aims it at high heaven.
The snow should not damage the daffodils, tulips, pansies and other flowers now in bloom. It will not harm the gladiolus and dahlia corms and tubers already planted. Unless the temperature drops all the way to 20 or something horrible, it will not hurt the tender lilac buds or the later irises now sending up bloom buds inside their sheaves of young foliage.
One nice thing, it will not bother the cherry blossoms, which were in their glory the first week of April, as usual (over the years April 4 is a good date for them), and they are long over. The poet A.E. Housman used to complain of the fleeting nature of those flowers and the shortness of life:
"About the woodlands I will go
"To see the cherry hung with snow."
The snow yesterday morning powdered the cherries but did not blanket them. There is, however, always tomorrow. If gardeners don't like April snow, in this region more favored than almost any other for gardening, they can as usual behave like spoiled and outraged children. The weather, like everything else in nature, is often poorly thought out, for human purposes, but the weather like the absurd human response to it is, of course, Nature's Way.