My cats Ed and Chester get to go outdoors once a day, on their leash. This is a huge excitement for them, and both guys run around the kitchen begging, until I’m finished with lunch and coffee, and the time comes. They’re a classic pair of brothers, Chester big and easy-going, Ed small and full of mighty schemes—so Ed gets his treat first, since Chester can wait and he can’t.
The worms are waking up now, and the moles in the garden have been rooting just under the leaves. Even a human can watch their tracks and hear them rustle.
The other day Ed pawed at one until he managed to extract it, and pick it up in his mouth for a second. Then he dropped it, and we both saw an amazing thing. The mole leaped off the ground to escape, went gliding down an incline (using loose skin to soar like a squirrel, I have to assume), for a distance of 15 feet or more. As soon as it hit the ground, it burrowed in. Ed spent a good while trying to recover his prey where last seen, but the fun ended with being picked up and put indoors, as always.
The first picture above shows my heucheras, started in the fall from seed, now full-size plants. I couldn’t guess anything about their progress, because the whole idea was an experiment. The best gauge of when hardy perennials (whose foliage can take temperatures below freezing on occasional nights) can be planted, is when their counterparts in the garden have put up strong growth. These new heucheras can go in the ground in April.
Another group that have got too large are the verbascums, from seed I collected from Southern Charm, a pretty peachy variety. They took off right away, while most perennials take a few weeks to germinate. But my garden verbascums have a good rosette already, so my new ones will soon be hardened off enough to plant.
The second photo shows the leggy impatiens and coleus, also alternanthera, from a winter spent on shelves by the patio door. I chopped them this week, to make two flats of new ones out of rooted cuttings.
The third photo shows some charming spotted trilliums, five out of six of which I’ve found, sprouted from bulbs I planted last fall.