We had an unexpected snowfall overnight and this morning, and while I’ve known for weeks I needed to do something with my plants before they ended up as frozen mush, snowfall was decidedly a surprise.
It was also better than the alternative at this time of year, a freeze, because while more tender plants will be tinged with air cold enough to produce snow, it’s also full of moisture which helps to protect leaf and petal surfaces, and plants under cover of a deck or tree aren’t as badly affected. A freeze is typically cold with a clear sky and low humidity, and any plant outdoors that has moisture in its leaves is pretty much done for.
Often annual plants are thriving in the autumn, into a second bloom after the heat of late summer is moderated by the cool dampness of early autumn. Many plants can be brought indoors and kept as houseplants through the winter, which saves you both time and money next spring when you can start with plants that are already growing.
You may have a variety of plant or a color of flower that is difficult to find, a plant that has an emotional tie to someone, or heirloom plants you’ve purchased or started from seed or cuttings. But you need to take precautions about what plants do well indoors, what might hitch a ride indoors with your plants, and what your pets might decide to do with all that lush greenness.
It’s my annual paean to gardening and the cycles of life. While it may not seem to have much to do with cats and animal welfare, my garden, my backyard, my love of the seasons and enjoyment of all the creatures who live in my yard, even the slugs and groundhogs, is all rolled into one big idea. And for as long as I’ve been gardening, there has always been at least one cat who shared my work, and their spirits are as much a part of my garden as the living things.
Every year in the month of March I awaken one morning with the knowledge it’s time to plant the peas, another step in the flow of the seasons. Though I have plants growing indoors, this is truly the beginning of the gardening season for me. Whether it’s the sun, moon, weather, schedule or simple urge to get out there and get my hands dirty I don’t know, but I enjoy the simple manual labor without assistance from any electronic device, ears open to the birds, face feeling the breeze, hands and feet feeling the earth.
This photo is obviously not from today, but one of my favorites from pease past.