Snow in September, part two.


Whoohoo!  The blue sky and sunshine today is proof that we’ve made it out of what everyone here is dubbing “Snowtember”:  three days of several rounds of heavy snow that caused car accidents, disruptions in LRT service, power outages, dicey Internet connection, ruined gardens, and so many damaged trees you cannot walk or drive any block in the city without seeing fallen branches lying on the sidewalk or roads.  In some cases, the trees actually split in half like someone took a giant ax to them; some cracked open so violently they yanked themselves up by the roots.  Tree branches landed onto the windshields of cars as people were driving beneath them, and smashed windows of houses and businesses. Most of the city parks are closed today because there is clean up work underway and there is a lingering concern that a branch will fall on someone as they walk beneath it.  The green ash that sits directly in front of our parking stall at the apartment lost a limb – fortunately, it fell on the other side of the hood of our truck!

I went to work yesterday morning only to discover we had no power, so we shelved books by the light shining in the windows until it became too cold in the library and our manager told us we should go home.  (Funny thing is, the Starbucks and the Tim Hortons across the street had power!  Hmmmmm).

IMG_0133A ‘Schubert’ chokecherry and a May day tree in our yard – hard to believe these two didn’t break! 


Our community garden is a sad, sad collection of mushy plants right now – the root crops will be fine, as will the brassicas, but anything tender such as squash and tomatoes are finished.  The raspberry plants were straining under the weight of the snow when I stopped by after work on Tuesday to check on things and the sunflowers were pulled up and lying on their sides.  My own plot isn’t too badly affected:  as I mentioned in my last post, I had already picked all my tomatoes and zucchini, and I had taken out the fennel and some kohlrabi that was ready to eat.  The garlic and shallots had been harvested a bit ago, and they comprised the bulk of my garden bed, so I am pretty lucky.  The kohlrabi and carrots that are left should rebound quickly.


The community garden before the final (worst) round of snowfall.

My flowers at the apartment – well, they’re still partly buried under the white stuff, so I haven’t been out to survey them.  I know there will be quite a bit of damage, so they’ll look really bedraggled for autumn.  I’m confident most of them will come back as beautiful as ever next year.  I just have to wait until it dries up a bit so I can go in and do some trimming and tidying.

It is difficult to believe that the day before the storm, our temperature was in the mid-20’s (Celsius).  We went from sandals to winter boots in less than 24 hours – which, everyone here would agree, is not extremely unusual, especially given our proximity to the mountains.  The ferocity and duration of the storm was a bit hard to take, though!


Poplars in the park next to our apartment – at least none of these particular trees were split in half like others I saw yesterday.

For anyone here in Calgary and area who are wondering what to do about broken trees, The Yard Therapist published a very useful post this morning – you can find it here.  (This is good advice that may also apply in the event of ice storms, something our eastern neighbours occasionally have to deal with).


    • It looks like my flowers made it through largely intact – things are a bit bedraggled, of course! I did lose some veggies, but I was prepared for that. I just hate to see all the broken trees in the city, that’s the worst part.

  1. You poor things! We have been caught by surprise at the end of October before, but not September! Take care Sheryl…. don’t go walking under trees for a while! 😉

  2. Well I’m going against the grain here – I can’t wait for our first snow! Of course, I don’t like the fact that such an early snow caused so much damage, accidents, and outages, and certainly our wardrobes aren’t ready for such cold, but we just went through a nasty late-season heat spell and I’m SO done with all this!

  3. As I recall, you had some posts not too long ago showing the LAST snows of last winter…how late they seemed and how much we all were ready for warmer weather. I’m sorry you were hit by the beginning of this winter so early.

    • Ugh…so true – we had so many months of cold and snow last winter, we all thought it would never end, and now this! Fortunately, the weather has rebounded, and while it’s not warm by any stretch, the snow is gone and maybe we’ll have a proper autumn after all!

  4. Wow, you got snow. I can’t believe how much more intense the weather was for Calgary compared to here with only 100 miles between us. A few years ago we had a storm like that, I heard a really loud “snap” and it was part of our Sicamore tree breaking off, hitting the power line and bringing the live wire to rest in our backyard. These types of snow storms are dangerous.

    It is cool that you work at a library, I didn’t know that. My son is currently doing his training for a job he just got shelving books in our local public library. What a nice quiet environment to work in.

    • I love working in the library – growing up, it was always my dream job. I feel so fortunate to do something I enjoy. The shelving positions are fabulous jobs for students, too – congratulations to your son on landing one! He’ll love it, I’m sure.

  5. How unbelievable to have a temperature drop like that and then snow…. It misses out Autumn…. Who know it might just get warm again in an instant! Crazy weather. Keep warm!

  6. Merry Christmas…I always heard people say, a bit sour, when snow arrived too early in Ontario. I like Snowtember better;0) But I am sorry for you and all those trees and plants. Mother Nature rules how she want to. Your posts made me whine a whole lot less about the hot weather here…
    Well, there is nothing else to it, make a hearty soup, hot chocolate, greentomatoe pie…nestle on the couch with a good book and a blanket and stay warm! Lots of love from Ohio!

    • LOL I heard “Merry Christmas” a few times, too! I did think “Snowtember” had a bit of a ring to it – the journalists here were having fun with the word, that’s for sure!

      I definitely took your advice about the hot chocolate…a few times, actually! 🙂

      Have a wonderful week – hope you still have plenty of sunshine to enjoy there!

    • We have in the past received snow this early, but I cannot recall so much over so many days. The damage to the trees was extreme – the newspapers say it will be “weeks” before everything is cleaned up. Crazy!

  7. Oh Sheryl, all of that hard work, I hope some is at least salvageable. The storm must of been really fierce to do so much damage to the trees. Its hard to imagine a storm that bad from over here.

  8. Last night I saw a photo in the newspaper about snow in Calgary and I immediately thought of you. It is too early for that kind of storm.

  9. Yikes! I hate to see mature trees destroyed like that……and snow way too early in the season. Sorry about your community garden….that has to be very disappointing.

    • Definitely disappointing…but I guess it’s all part of gardening here! We do have crazy weather, that’s for sure…. I’m not as sad about my garden as I am for the broken trees. I’ve never seen snow damage to such an extent before.

  10. Awful! We had a similar early storm a few years ago, when I lived in Buffalo, NY. The damage to trees was unfathomable–the newspaper called it “Arborgeddon”! Good luck getting everything sorted out!

  11. I’m glad most of your garden weathered this early storm. I hope it’s a one-off and not shades of things to come.

    We’re still struggling with a drought here. It’s unbalanced everywhere. Beautiful shots of the snow, Sheryl.

    • Thanks so much!

      I keep reading about how dry it is there and I can’t believe how difficult that must be to go through for such a sustained period. You’re right, the weather is definitely unbalanced world-wide. I keep wondering what that means for the future.

      • It’s really been a slog for growers, gardeners and animals, too. I don’t know how they’re managing with so little water.

        I heard the other day that we hadn’t had any rain since April 25th…nearly five months.

          • We get most of our rain between December and February. Early this year the thought we would have a wet winter, but over the months that possibility has drastically reduced. California is experiencing terrible forest fires right now, one of them actually set by an arsonist. Their is so much ‘fuel’ from the drought-dry brush, that they are struggling to keep ahead of it. It’s really scary.

    • Things definitely look more than a little ragged, but I think most of the perennial flowers will pull through. The community garden was hit pretty hard; we’re all trying to clean up our plots and the compost bins are VERY full right now!

    • There was one morning when the snow was coming down in gigantic flakes and I was thinking about upcoming snowshoe trips in the mountains…you definitely have to try the “glass half full” approach when these things happen! 🙂

  12. Hi Sheryl,

    Thanks for “liking” my post “September Sights” on

    So sorry that you’ve had snow! It sounds like your vegetable garden will be fine but the trees –that’s heartbreaking. Between hurricanes and winter storms, we’ve lost many trees here in southern Rhode Island over the past two years. It’s sad, but perhaps the newly sunny spaces will allow for more gardening!
    I hope you get “Indian Summer” in Calgary!


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