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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Snow Falling on Sedums

October 7 marked Laramie's first day of winter.  Not according to the calendar of course, but according to the weather.  And while it was a surprise to wake up on Saturday morning to three inches of snow, I'm sure the plants in the Berry Prairie were even more confused.  (Or maybe not... do they know more than we do?  Could they sense the snow?  Watch the next episode of the Twilight Zone to find out...)

The Berry Prairie was covered with snow on Monday morning.

But in any case, the snow on the Berry Prairie exemplifies one of the questions we have about how this green roof will over winter.  See the photograph above.  There is at least an inch of snow covering those plants, which is 1) maybe good for the plants (insulation for the winter, water supply, erosion protection, etc.), and 2) strange, considering most of the snow elsewhere had melted by Monday morning.

The roof over the Vertebrate Collection extends precisely to that line of snow-no snow boundary.
Monday, October 10

As you see in the photo above, the snow that is above the Vertebrate Collection, including the Berry Prairie and the patio directly south of it, hadn't melted even though snow on the rest of the true ground had. 

Is that a good or bad thing?  How will it influence plant survival over the winter?  Will there be other effects from the roof, light heating from below that causes the plants to not freeze over the winter?

What are your guesses?  Any thoughts on how snow piling and this roof-top environment will fare?

By now, much of the snow is turned to usable precipitation for the plants.  But that was just the first of many snowfalls this winter.  Stay tuned!

Most of the snow has melted by Tuesday morning.

Written by Brenna Wanous, Berry Center

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