Whining About Winter


No Shortage of That Going Around…

I wrote a short story in college called Whine, Woman and Song that was published in a national collegiate magazine.  The more I read posts lately, the more I keep thinking of this story.

So many are singing the song of Spring and whining about Winter; and guess what, most are woman too.


This leads me to think…

Why we can’t just appreciate the season around us, knowing the next one comes along soon enough. There is beauty and interest in each passing season and maybe it just takes making something of it.


Even the sun took a few steps sideways today to poke out from behind the clouds. Things brighten up.


I happen to love winter and look forward to what it brings.  Sure most days the skies are gray, but when they are not, it is absolutely breathtaking. The ice sparkles, the snow glistens and colors pop.


Niagara Falls State Park

Appreciating a winter wonderland only takes a bit of brave to explore. More than the physical elements, it is the beauty of the experience.


Duck on Frozen Pond.

Since foliage is lacking in winter, animals that would be camouflaged in summer are much easier to see. You may whine when they take a bite out of your gardens, but you have to marvel at their visit.


Winter Rainbow

This winter transparency not only reveals the animals but topography as well. Disguised in summer, the hills, gullies, slopes, caves and crevasses are unveiled in form and texture, all waiting to be explored in a way only found in Winter.


Inside Devil’s Hole Cave in Winter

Alone in the woods – but far from alone.


Oak Leaf in the Snow

The features of forests lay bare the fallen leaves, bark, twigs and needles, forming a living ecosystem.


The fallen organic matter harbors nutrients, beneficial bacteria and an assortment of life. The decay of the forest allows the next generation to grow – all being prepared for spring by winter.

More benefits of snow?

  • Great insulator for the garden.
  • Conserves soil moisture.
  • Highlights structural elements of the garden.
  • Snow contains nitrogen.
  • It provides needed cold stratification for seed germination.
  • Snow absorbs sounds.
  • Winter interest with colorful bark, twigs, conifers appear greener.

I keep saying that the most overlooked aspect of winter is the most important. It is a sense of solitude that exists only at this time of year.


Tuffted Titmouse

Colors – the blues of winter are soothing, but don’t even get me started on the reds. Nothing says winter more than a cardinal in the snow.


Male Cardinal in the Snow

So if the cold is not your thing, snuggle by the fire, gaze out the window, grab a glass of wine, and enjoy the peaceful silence of winter. You just might catch a critter grabbing a bite.

The next post, to be fair, looks at the cons of snow and winter. Even with the negatives, it is no less a pretty sight.



But, do I have a whine myself?

The cable went out for more than a day during the storm yesterday. A gripe, no.  It gets you to think and do things much more important.

The photo in this post of the duck on the frozen pond is called This Bites. I was emailed this from ViewBug on winning an award, “You are a Rockstar! Your photo thisbites was selected by the judges as one of their favorite photos.” I am pretty pleased!!!


About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at: http://gardenwalkgardentalk.com
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86 Responses to Whining About Winter

  1. I agree and a wonderful time to do indoor projects, observe birds at the feeders, and complete garden tasks before the onslaught of heat, humidity and biting insects!

  2. Winter can be beautiful. This year, it hasn’t been. There hasn’t been much snow. The sky has been gray. It’s the kind of weather I hated as a kid– too cold to play summer games, but not wintry enough to go sledding or build a snowman. But yes, those moments of sunshine can be dazzling! (And though you live only a short drive away, I ask, what storm? We got some heavy rain, but that was all.)

    • My next post explains. We have been having snow daily and the rain was what knocked out the cable on Tuesday night. TW called to say it was back on and it wasn’t. I could not get a hold of anyone at TW to tell me why we were out so long. It has not stopped snowing for days and is really coming down now. Wednesday was a day of on and off rain and snow. The weather could not make up its mind.
      This year here has been great for snow. My husband does not think so since he has to clear the driveway though.You didn’t have a full day of sun on Sunday? It was beautiful here. Snow and sun what a great day.

  3. Oh, my dear Donna, I admire your beautiful photographs… amazing!

  4. Patty says:

    I am hoping the snow and cold weather will keep down some of the nasty garden pests for the upcoming year. That would be a bonus. We’ve had a mix of snow and rain the last two days making things very slushy – nothing a pair of rubber gardening boots couldn’t handle.

    • It may do just that in our area. It will be in the low 20’s through the weekend. It is unseasonably cold here. Lots of sun is predicted with snow as well. Those are great days. We too had the snow and rain, but not the slush oddly since the precipitation fluttered between both that day, never settling long enough to have the mushy mess. I too have been in the garden, but really can wait until spring makes it worth the work.

  5. That was definitely me you heard whining! While enjoying the beauty at the same time. I was just outside this morning with the camera as our branches and boughs were laden in a way that you rarely see–that true “Winter Wonderland” effect. Still, I have relatives in Victoria where their annual “flower count” started two days ago, so . . . .

    • It is funny, but “everybody” has been rushing the season and anxious for Spring. Is it not great when the snow is light and new? It makes the landscape a whole other place. Flower count? I have a long wait for that!

      • Well, there are winter people and not-so-winter people, I think. However, our snow is not light at all this time around. It rained between wet snowfalls, and it’s really heavy as you can see in the pictures I took today (just posted). Beautiful, I cannot deny, and definitely the landscape looks like a whole other place. I think last spring may have given us chilly gardeners some false hope, though I know a good winter is a sign of a healthier climate.

  6. Shirley says:

    Gorgeous winter photos! We have a very different kind of winter. I did enjoy living where it snowed and appreciated beautiful new snow every time I saw it.

    • Many bloggers have winters that are uninspiring I guess. But the gardens need winter no matter where we live. Plants have their down times even in warmer climates. New snow has been happening daily here. Everything looks fresh and clean. Much better than dingy, dirty snow.

  7. I find that by the end of winter and the many inches of snow, I am ready…I think a little whining is healthy as long as it is not constant….I have to let a little steam off after 14 inches of snow…I also think it is the anticipation of spring that brings the late winter whining out of me…like a kid…are we there yet?

    Your post made me laugh and I loved the the pictures…don’t be surprised if you read some of the same facts about snow in my upcoming post (I think in 2 weeks)…with work being busy I had time last week before the next rush of work to write several posts…. and when I saw your snow facts I said, wow like minds again 🙂

    I love the beauty of winter but I love spring even more so especially after a good snowy winter…so hey, are we there yet???

    • We have had more than 14 inches earlier this month. Now we are at about 10 inches. I know that gardeners such as yourself really want to garden all year, and winter here makes for the waiting. Since I design gardens, I get plenty of that three months a year, so I really appreciate when gardens rest.

      I have a lot of snow facts being a serious skier (avalanches and all, been in one), and just touched the surface of what I could have written, so I am sure your post will expand on what I mentioned. Look forward to your post. You have been having ‘like minds’ with a few bloggers lately as I saw in comments. You must be really busy writing. 😀

      “Not there yet” according to the weather predictions. I just saw a report saying it well may go into March, maybe beyond. No surprise here, that happens where we even have had snow in May.

      • Oh how I remember the last snow in May just 2 years ago…actually don’t count on my snow info being any great shakes 🙂 I’ll watch winter creep out and spring slowly slip in…I like the subtle changes actually.

  8. Bindu says:

    What enchanting scenes! I have never experienced snow but these shots made me feel I have, just now.

  9. Winter reveals the architecture of a tree–the trunk, the limbs, the essential framework otherwise hidden by foliage.

  10. alesiablogs says:

    I actually love winter! I think my body just appreciates the warmer temps of summer. Our summers in the Pacific NW are glorious.

  11. Christy says:

    Being born and raised in San Diego, CA I’d never seen the seasons until we moved to TN eight years ago. (That means I went without seeing seasons for a LONG time!) I do enjoy the change of seasons, but by mid-winter I’m chomping at the bit to get out into my garden and get my hands dirty! I dream and plan all winter about what I’m going to do in the garden and I’m eager to put the plans into action. Here in middle TN we get just enough snow to make the garden messy and soggy. I don’t mind a cold day if the sun is out, but I’m not crazy about the grey, cold, windy days. As usual, I love your pictures!

    • I design all year, mostly for three months, so I have no shortage of planning to do. I love the break in January and February, with no desire work on a design. My garden is small, not like my client’s landscapes, so I don’t think much about it. It is all routine to me.

      Today was gray, and I took photos coming back from the grocery store. Weirdly, I liked them better than the photos I took of the same park a couple years ago on a sunny day. I am doing a Gray Day Post to show gray days can be pretty too. I was not even thinking “post” when I shot the images either, but got back and said, hey these make the day not so bad.

  12. Skeeter says:

    Beautiful and makes one rethink the snow….

  13. Love, love, love the duck photo – AMAZEBalls:) I recently went to Hawaii and came back home to Winter – sorta of a cruel thing to do to yourself – ha! Have a Great One

  14. Helene says:

    Lovely photos Donna, that photo of the duck was amazing. I am originally from Norway and know what a proper, 5 month long winter is. I moved to London age 35, (13 years ago) and although it hardly ever snows here, or at least the snow doesn’t’ lay for long here, the cold weather feels very cold here – different cold than in Norway. I would much rather have minus 25 Celsius in Norway where I used to live (mountainous area) than minus 2 C in London! It has been an unusually cold winter this year, everything is many weeks later than normal, my crocuses and daffodils are just about to flower, but my family and friends in Norway are still going skiing and will do so for another month. Not whining, just eager to let spring get started properly 🙂

    • I would love to visit Norway. I love the places where snow is around most of the time. I too am a skier and taught skiing in Utah for a winter. It was like heaven for me. The mountains and being in the powder everyday. It is unseasonably cold here too. I won’t be seeing a bloom for a while. Many are eager like you. Not me though. Gardens are work for me, and while I love the flowers spring and summer bring, I am not caring much for “getting my hands dirty” like so many others. That is why I design landscapes for others. I can just look at the gardens rather than work in them.

  15. lucindalines says:

    Such beautiful photos, thanks for sharing. Also thanks for bringing us back to reality. I too have been complaining about winter. We must all remember that without winter there would be no spring.

    • So very true. How much can you appreciate something you see all the time. Just coming back from St. Lucia, I could never have ‘one season’ all the time. Spring is my least favorite season. In fact we rarely get a spring here. It jumps right into the hot, dry weather of summer pretty often.

  16. Pat says:

    Lovely winter photos.

  17. nicole says:

    Great post!!! I couldn’t agree with you more! We have been in a serious drought so all of this extra snow we are getting is a bonus! Beautiful winter pictures Donna!

    • I have been hoping for snow everyday because our area has been having drought conditions for the past few summers. Last year we did not have snow and trees are suffering with a low water table. We need our snow and hopefully we have a summer of rain. I care more for the long haul. I was cutting down blooms the last two years to prevent stress on the plants. What is the point when the blooms are drooping anyway.

  18. Phil Lanoue says:

    Tremendous series of winter scenes! Well done!

  19. You have a positive, healthy attitude. However, I still intend to whine.

  20. Kala says:

    Gorgeous wintry images. That rainbow shot is breathtaking.

  21. Marguerite says:

    hmm, so I’m not the only one that noticed this. One thing I love living on the east coast is that despite snow there are sunny skies. After living on a cloudy grey west coast for most of my life I just love that the sun shines here in winter. We’ve gotten out numerous times to enjoy it skiing and snoeshowing. Bring on the snow I say! although, I must admit 3 weeks of back to back blizzards was kind of a bit much.

    • I am glad you said that! I thought I was the only one to see post after post lamenting for Spring as if this season could not pass by fast enough. The sun shines up here so rarely in winter, but I try to get out in it when it does. I used to love skiing and it was my reason for living in winter, but my health keeps me off high mountains now. I enjoy the snow with my camera instead. We have been lucky missing the brunt of those storms. We have gotten snow and wind, but not like other places.

  22. Such beautiful winter images you have shared here. It’s true, one should appreciate the weather they get. We’ve had no winter or snow storms to speak of. Although whenever we do, all I think about and do is move snow. Seems that I should be making snow angels instead.

  23. Scott Weber says:

    I agree! While I think most of us would never say winter is our favorite season, moaning about it doesn’t make it any shorter. I learned a while ago to appreciate winter for what it is…sometimes you just have to look a litter harder, or try to see things a little differently, in other to find their beauty. To be honest, I’ve never lived anywhere where people whine about winter more than they do here in Portland…and we BARELY have any sort of winter…it’s crazy!

    • Ha, I can hear them whine from here. I see on TV when the reporter interviews the residents of some states that rarely get snow, you get these people talking about it like it is the end of times. You see car pile ups in two inches of snow. We get three feet and think little of it. I have always had a Jeep, even when in my early twenties, so getting around is second nature. I do feel for Southerners and those in the far west though because that is where our food comes from. Now that I do notice!

  24. terrytrekker says:

    Simply amazing pictures! look at that raindrop! Congratulations on such a wonderful blog!

  25. Brillian t post!! love it and love your final words of learning to do other things when “power is off”, it is perfect reminder. I love winter too, but the winter with snow and cold, I miss is here where I live now, thanks for your beautiful images.

    • When cable (TV, phone, internet) goes out, it is a wake up call for many. The media has such a hold on daily lives, that people cannot find anything else to do. I got out and took photos, got a good bit of designing done, called friends (my home phone is not connected to cable)… had an enjoyable day.

  26. catmint says:

    dear donna, although i haven’t commented I have been getting your posts via email and have been keeping up reading them. If it were possible, the words and photos are getting even better. The posts about feeding birds in backyards and the decline in sparrow numbers I found heart rending. In this post the photos are heartwarming, but not enough to prematurely melt the snow.

    • Most posts I have been doing are like reporting on things rather than interjecting my feelings on subjects. Lately with hitting 500 posts (two from now) I am getting more reflective on things in my life – what I think and how I do things.

      I am starting to look at the way others post and well, looking at how many are saying the same things, over and over. I have been enjoying posts from those finding new things to say or report. I knew many would find this post not of the same mind, but in my 500th post I say “phooey” on that. My blog, my words – and I decided I don’t have to please others by looking at the same things they look at over and over just to have others placated in some way.

      • catmint says:

        that’s the challenge for me – to keep on blogging, but not to get into a rut or a pattern where you stop learning and growing. The irony is that when you stop trying to please people your blog becomes more interesting and more popular.

  27. HolleyGarden says:

    You are absolutely right! We whine about winter, and long for spring. But isn’t that human nature – to want what we don’t have? Winter does have its own beauty, though, especially the snow. (Although, I’m thankful we rarely get any of that.) However, as you point out, winter is a good time to be quiet, reflective, and just slow down for a while.

  28. I enjoy winter but don’t like how grey and brown it is here. There is no winter wonderland in northern VA or snow to pretty things up, just several months of blah. My area is an in-between spot: not as much snow as farther east but more winter grey than farther south. I think the density of the construction/population contributes to an overall feeling of ungreenness that can wear you down, especially in Feb. When I lived in upstate NY, winter was easier to deal with because there was so much snow and the town I lived in (Watertown) was so scenic. Winter here is pretty ugly. 😦

    • Gray and brown does give some landscapes a bit of the dulls. Many places do not get the pretty snowfalls and we were one of them last year. My garden has many conifers so the winter interest is still evident, but I always seem to find perennials worth a snapshot. I leave them standing for birds and get the color and interest by daily avian visits. I agree on the city densities. When the city is dirty and unkempt, that makes for an ugly place to travel through. NF is not a pretty city by a long shot.

  29. b-a-g says:

    Beautiful photos especially the rainbow. I’m hoping you’ll share your Whine, Women story with us.

  30. I think the snow is beautiful and if it is going to be cold then I would like to see the gorgeous snow. Last time we had snow was three years ago, a rarity in our part of the country. We have mostly grays and browns in our winterscape but there is beauty to be found it that too. I love your shot of the duck on the frozen pond! Looks like he is really contemplating things. Our heat went out the other day and really makes one appreciate what the birds have to endure. It is working now and just in time for old man winter to blow through this weekend.

    • I really agree, if it is cold, I want something for it! The snow has so many benefits to a landscape, it really is a good thing to happen in winter. Many places never see it and that is ashamed. Too bad on losing heat. No fun when it is cold outside. Glad they got it back on for you, was it more than one day?

  31. I grew up in Minnesota so I love winter, but always grew tired of waiting for spring. Your pictures are gorgeous and bring back a lot of good memories, images that I have stored away in the back of my mind. I now live between the mountains and the ocean so I have managed to move between both worlds and I find that suites me better. Thank you so much for sharing.

    • I could deal with mountains and OCEANS. That is the best of all worlds in my book. It is so flat here and I grew up where there was large hills, so I miss seeing the ‘mountains’ of PA.

  32. a3acrefarm says:

    Stunning photos. I particularly loved the duck – the blue and orange especially! You are an inspiration to those of us who take many, many photos with our little family cameras in order to get a few good shots.

    • That duck really was a trooper. Out on the ice and not sure where to go. I have so many photos of him too. I could have gotten the same shot of him with my small Nikon too. There is a setting for the soft blur, rather than using a lens filter or f-stop of f4 or a larger aperture.

  33. aberdeen gardening says:

    Donna, no one will dare whine after seeing what you can do with Winter. Other than your skill with the camera you do have a landscape which most of us dream about. I guess women do whine and moan more than men, but as my old mother used to say when accused of being a nag, (its the only defence I have),

    • Such a nice compliment, thank you. I believe woman whine much more. I have a friend I talk to so infrequently because of the incessant whining. It is like their misery has to be your own.

  34. You must have heard me all the way to NY lol I too have been stepping out this winter and only capturing pretty things 🙂

    • Glad to hear. I did see your fine shots. I enjoy what people find in winter, but it takes a little looking in most cases. Here, the Falls is covered in ice or snow most of the season because the mist freezes. Not many tourists see that either. One reason, the wind is just terrible there.

  35. Winter snow is so beautiful and it takes some lovely photos to remind us. Since I design as well it is also my winter break and I get to take a breath, gaze into my own garden and plan for spring. The seasons give interest and that is why I love it here on Long Island. There is always change going on and something to look forward to. The winter’s first snow is the best though and so are ‘ first blooms of spring! By the way…I saw a mother mocking bird the other day gathering twigs…a sure sign of spring approaching…maybe! 🙂

    • Your garden is lovely in winter. You have many conifers that just sing winter when draped in snow. I agree about constant change. That is important to design, where nothing is static. Even in building design, it is important. The lighting on materials changes the look throughout the day. The way shadows fall, the way light dances on textures.

  36. Cynthia says:

    Your winter photos are beautiful! Our winter looks completely different, so I really enjoyed this peek into yours.

  37. Guilty. And I know I shouldn’t whine, so I’ve tried to stay positive this winter. The “No Winter Whining” meme helped a lot. So did working in a home-based office, so I didn’t have to go out if I didn’t want to (unless I had an appointment). Winter is absolutely spectacular, as shown in all your fantastic photos and posts these past few months, Donna! I just think it lasts too long (although I realize I have no choice in the matter, so I just read a lot of great books to pass the time). And now I’m certainly ready for the next season! 🙂

    • I did not realize there is a meme for winter. There are just so many and I do not participate in memes anymore. It is far too time consuming. Glad to hear there are others of the same mindset, looking at winter as a season of visual, and sensory joy. Here it can last too long as well. We can have snow in May. That would ‘frost’ most people. 😀

  38. Brian Comeau says:

    I’ll admit winter isn’t my favourite season. I’m not a fan of the real cold days or short days of light, but it does have some good aspects too. I do enjoy the snow and shooting and playing with my kids in it. Winter also means hockey season as well. My other passion. Hitting 40 also made me realize, life is short so we need to enjoy each day. Your post and images are a great reminder for us all.

  39. What beuatiful, inspiring photos! And it does improve the winter perspective.

  40. I appreciate a fresh snowfall…the sparkles of the tiny ice crystals that brighten the day. I like all seasons, just appreciate a shorter winter season….so I can be outside more. I do go outside every day to walk the dogs and love the fresh cold air on a winter’s day.
    Love your Mallard picture, really beautiful and that rainbow on the falls, wow!!

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