Hooray! Winter has returned. While sane people stayed inside, horticulture educators like myself headed outside to take pictures. Many homeowners and gardeners may be feeling a panic rising in their chest seeing their emerging plants and spring blooming bulbs covered in snow. Oddly, I find it a great time to examine how plants respond to this kind of environmental stress. I'm also the neighbor who grows a weed to see what the flower looks like.

In an effort to capture what may be the final accumulative snow of the 2016-2017 winter, here are some snapshots of the winter scenes.
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Snowflakes rest in the indentations of my emerging purple lilac flowers.

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The emerging leaves of my white-blooming lilac hold a pinch of snow.

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A hyacinth given as a gift last year and planted in the garden. The blooms covered in snow, seem to be asking - Where did everyone go?

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The color yellow is barely contained in these daffodil flower buds.

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Often snow cannot gain purchase on the high tunnel plastic. This was a wet snow and weighs heavy on the plastic covering my cool season crops.

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A view north across the Discovery Garden at the McDonough County Extension office.