Obstinate cold weather not promising for planting season

Posted March 26, 2013

— The persistence of gray skies, cutting wind, and colder-than-normal temperatures make it seem as though spring will never arrive. And the delay costs money for businesses like the family-run Fairview Garden Center.

Jo Ann Dewar, who has been growing plants in the area since 1964, feels the pain both physically and financially.

Now 81, she fights arthritis as well as the cold weather to keep Fairview running.

“It’s miserable when the wind is blowing,” Dewar said of the chill. “It hurts these old bones.”

It also hurts her business.

“I have never seen it swing as drastically as it has this year,” said Dawar. “This March has been much colder than we’ve had in several years – at least as far as I can remember.”

Obstinate cold weather not promising for planting season Obstinate cold weather not promising for planting season

WRAL meteorologist, Mike Moss says the data back Dewar’s. “We’ve got 69 years’ worth of data from the Raleigh-Durham International Airport, and this is the eighth coldest March in those 69 years.”

Although Moss says it is colder than usual, a year-to-year comparison would be unfair.

“That was by far the warmest March that we have ever had at RDU in 69 years,” Moss said of 2012.

“Our business is 100 percent dependent on the weather,” said Heather Rollins, a third generation employee at the Fairview Garden Center. “Business has been pretty tough because of the weather right now.”

Despite the weather, some planting is still possible and trees and shrubs can go into the ground now.

“It’s just a matter of whether you feel like getting out in the wind and rain we’ve had,” Rollins said.

Rollins and Dewar hope the weather will soon break for the sake of the blooming process.

“The cold has really hurt us bad, but we’re busting at the seams with beautiful color,” said Dewar.

WRAL’s Chief Meteorologist, Greg Fishel, predicts an influx of clearer weather beginning on Wednesday after a final dip past freezing Tuesday night.

Temperatures are expected to move into the upper 50’s through Thursday and into the 60’s by the weekend.

Although an improvement comparative to the bleak start to our week, the sun’s presence may remain partial.

He recommended waiting until mid-April to plant annuals, but reiterated that garden center experts, like Dewar and Rollins, offer the best advice.


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  • InTheNo Mar 28, 2013

  • xhidden99 Mar 28, 2013

    Don't worry, this is Raleigh. The temperature will get even colder, rarely breaking the freezing point. Then it will rain for 2 straight months. Then it will be 100 degrees and raining. WRAL will tell us we're in a drought.