Odds and ends


Yesterday’s New York Times published an opinion piece about the damage caused by outdoor cats. I always thought the scientific consensus was that they killed about 1 billion birds per year. Turns out it’s more like 2.5 billion. Think about that in a time when our environment is already fragmented and degraded. We’re starting to realize that what we do in our own backyards has a large impact on the environment we all share.

And speaking of our backyards, every gardener I know is longing to get out there and start planting, but the weather remains stubbornly cold. Right now the temperature is 20 degrees, and snow is predicted for tomorrow night. Every day I plan to sow some early spring greens and uncover my earliest flower beds. Then I look at the weather forecast and decide to wait. It is supposed to get warmer on Thursday and stay in the 50s and 60s for at least a week after that. For at least the past month, the temperature has been persistently colder than the forecasts.

So it’s too early to plant and too late to prune (woody plants are no longer dormant), but there are lots of things you could be doing if, like me, you can’t bear staying indoors any longer: clean up the garden, neaten the edges, put down mulch, trim overgrown vines (Virginia creeper grows on our garage walls, and every spring we give it a haircut). I’m raking the backyard lawn to get the leaf pile back into shape–winter scattered the leaves around quite a bit. The raking also helps loosen the ground in areas where I intend to sow grass seed. And you can always look out the window and enjoy the crocuses.




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