by William Shakespeare
It is a cold drizzly day today, but there's no doubt that spring is emerging. I just took a walk down the street and heard the call of Osprey for the first time since last fall. Soon the returning pair will be nesting again on the top of the next door neighbor's boat lift, carrying sticks and brush and whole branches back and forth in front of our windows. Their calls will be joined by those of seagulls on the boat house roof of the neighbor on the other side. Unlike the graceful Osprey, seagulls gather in large raucous groups for mating, with earsplitting catcalls followed by acrobatic intercourse with the chosen one. The lewd sounds are just beginning today. They will get longer and louder by the day.
After the long COVID two year winter, I have finally gotten back into propagation. I love rooting cuttings and I have been quite successful with some of the Salvias, Hypericums, Cestrum, Buddleia, Loropetalum. The deer don't eat those. Last fall I was determined to make more Amsonia hubrictii,
which seems to survive deer and salt water. That plant needs to be divided, or grown from seed. So I picked and cleaned seed for weeks, hoping to figure out the key to reliable germination. I tried cold damp in refrigerator, cold dry in refrigerator, sown outside, sown and kept in a plastic carton outside. Bonanza!! This year it all worked! I have thousands of seedlings now, and my work cut out for me.
Along those same propagation lines, as spring approaches, I fondly remember my long days at the nursery. I spent many hours transplanting rooted cuttings into cell packs, cell packs into quart pots, quart pots into gallons, gallons into 3 gallon. It wasn't rocket science, but it developed a certain rhythm and efficiency of motion. Almost as an echo of that tempo, I used to love to listen to baseball. The game has a deliberate pace; a calm approach; a cadence of the play by play. I've tuned into Bulldogs Baseball a few days this month when I've been outside, and it has been like a reunion with old friends- the walk up music, the nicknames, the corny announcer jokes, the crack of the bat, the call "over the wall".
Today the classic season's tug of war will play out. It is gray, windy, 70 degrees. After the coming rain and thunderstorms, it will be clear, windy and 26 degrees; one of those "winters" the southeast is famous for.