Thurs. Aug. 13, 2020: Bean Harvest

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image by matthiasboeckel via pixabay.com

Thursday, August 13, 2020
4th Quarter Waning Moon in Gemini
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Celtic Tree Month of Hazel
Humid and cloudy

I think I’ll be able to do my first harvest of green beans today. They’re ready to be picked, steamed, and enjoyed with butter.

We’re getting more cucumbers, and the tomatoes are starting to form. The tomatoes are late this year, even though they were planted pretty early.

The tiger lilies are faded and the chlorophyll is draining back into the bulbs. Some of the hosta blooms have faded, so I’ll have to cut back the stems.

I feel like I do nothing but battle kudzu.

It’s still terribly dry. I was out watering the lawn by moonlight this morning at 5 AM, because sunrise is later and later. I’m having trouble getting the lawn food I want. I thought I saw a coyote take off down the street when I turned the hose on.

There were a pair of bunnies out in the meadow eating breakfast while I was out watering (I made sure not to get them wet). And a bigger bunny later on the terraced area. He comes right up to the steps. He’s used to us.

The morning glories start the day a deep purple, and fade back to a red violet in the afternoon. I thought I had a multi-colored pack – I didn’t realize the blossoms themselves changed color.

The leaves are already falling. They’re not turning pretty colors. They’re drying up and brown, giving up and letting go of the branches.

Sort of on point for 2020.

Charlotte and Willa take turns coming out on the deck in the playpen. They both like it. Tessa hates the playpen and won’t have anything to do with it. She doesn’t even want to come out any more, which is a shame, because she always loved her time on the deck.

I’m trying to spend some time out on the deck every evening, when it gets cool enough. And early in the morning, after I water, with my first cup of coffee, for my first writing session.

How’s your garden doing?

Thurs. Aug. 6, 2020: Noticing the Changes

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image courtesy of skeeze via pixabay.com

Thursday, August 6, 2020
Third Quarter Waning Moon in Pisces
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Celtic Tree Month of Hazel
Partly cloudy and cooler

We’re going to have a nice crop of beans this year. I wonder if any of them will make it into the kitchen, or if I will gobble them up as soon as I pick them?

The morning glories are finally blooming. The vines are stretching everywhere, but they are lovely. The zinnias and nasturtiums are still going strong, too.

The tomatoes have blossoms, but the blossoms aren’t turning into tomatoes.

We are getting more cucumbers, though. We ate the one that already grew. It was delicious. It never ceases to amaze me how much better garden vegetables taste than anything I can get from the store.

I’ve been watering the yard early in the morning, front and back, and the back sometimes in the evening. I can feel the difference – it’s not crunchy when I walk on it. It’s still not very green, but it looks and feels healthier.

I don’t have an irrigation system; it’s using the hose, so the yard gets a drink not saturation. Anyone who gives me guff about it can go stick their illegal fireworks right up their asses. When the nightly illegal fireworks stop, I’ll stop watering the lawn and hosing down the roof.

The bunnies eat their breakfast and dinner in the yard. One of them comes pretty close to the deck, while I sit there in the mornings, writing. He thinks it’s interesting to watch me as he eats. I’m very quiet, and do my best not to startle or frighten him.

I change the water in the dish two to three times a day, depending how hot it is. I didn’t put out the birdbath this year because of the mosquito-based disease and it’s 2020. But in the heat, I want to make sure the critters have water. So I have a large dog dish out there, and change it frequently. Haven’t seen any mosquitos around it, but the bunnies, Che Guevara Chipmunk, and the birds appreciate it.

The cardinals are more vocal lately than usual, too. They’re spending much more time in the large pink hibiscus (which is in bloom) now that I got most of the kudzu out of it.

The Tiger Lilies have mostly faded, and the leaves and stems are already losing their green. I’ll have to clear them out/cut them back early this year. Usually they’re dancing around well into September. The storm, earlier this week, blew off a lot of the faded blooms, so I don’t have to deadhead until the weekend.

Some of the neighbors are annoying, between nightly illegal fireworks, constant leaf blowing, and cutting down anything natural to put up bare ground or gravel. Just ick.

When we first moved here from New York, I was amazed, when I washed my face at night, how clean things were. Now, when I give it a good scrub, the washcloth is just as dirty as it was when I lived on 42nd St. in NYC. A big difference in pollution levels in a decade.

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image courtesy of Bergader via pixabay.com

But I am grateful to have my little patch of lovely in this chaotic time. A trio of trees has grown over the past decade we’ve lived here, and now I have a small enchanted forest in the back – a little forest glade where I can retreat and enjoy some peace. It’s not as large or elaborate as the photo above, but it gives me the same sense of peace.

It makes a difference.

How’s your garden doing?

Thurs. July 30, 2020: Blooming and Fading

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image courtesy of pasja1000 via pixabay.com

Thursday, July 30, 2020
Second Quarter Waxing Moon in Sagittarius
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Celtic Tree Month of Holly
Hot, humid, cloudy

It’s been so hot and the yard so parched that I’ve used the hose to water it. As far as I know, we’re not under drought warning here, so it’s okay. I don’t have an irrigation system set up – I just give the yard a good soak around 5 AM. I do the back both morning and night. It’s making a positive difference, which is nice, because the Earth Science Lawn Repair mixture I bought isn’t doing a damn thing.

The beans are starting to be beans; we have more blossoms on the tomato plants; we have cucumbers. The zinnias are blooming. I’m not sure why the morning glories and moon flowers haven’t bloomed – the vines are everywhere. The basil thrives – I have a feeling I’ll make more pesto this year. Which is fine, because it’s excellent.

The Hosta blooms are starting to fade, although the bees still enjoy them. The Tiger Lilies are already fading, which is early for them, and the leaves are already turning brown.

The Rose of Sharon plants are starting to bloom.

I’m battling the kudzu and the bindweed almost daily. It’s exhausting. And oak saplings everywhere. Around here, oak behaves like an invasive. Over at the Ashumet sanctuary, they have a grove of pitch pine they’re cultivating (the Cape used to have a lot of pitch pine). The oak keeps trying to push out the pitch pine, so they have to keep taking the oak saplings out as though they are weeds.

Che Guevara Chipmunk is back. I saw him drinking out of the water dish I leave out for the wildlife (and change three times a day). I’m glad. I was worried about him. He spends part of his time in our large peace lily plant; when we bring it in for the winter, we will have to make sure he’s not still in it.

The bunnies still munch, morning and night. The crows are hanging out, hoping for more melon. Lots of finches of various types this year. They are funny. Bossy little birds, but they’ve chased off the sparrows and wrens.

Bratty Bird, the nuthatch, hasn’t been around much this summer, and I kind of miss him. But then, Tessa’s not out on the deck, and he loved to bother Tessa.

I hope we get a thunderstorm today; we need a good one.

But at least I can spend some time, every morning and evening, enjoying the yard. It’s been so hot, the neighbors haven’t been out and about making much noise. Except last weekend, when the neighbor across the street used a leaf blower on his gravel delivery.

I spend time every day in gratitude for this lovely place. It makes everything else going on in the world a little more bearable.

Saturday is Lammas, the first harvest, and the agricultural start of autumn. I feel so far behind in so many aspects of my life that I’m panicked, but at the same time, autumn is my favorite season.

Thurs. July 23, 2020: Oppressive Humidity

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image by GLady courtesy of pixabay.com

Thursday, July 23, 2020
First Quarter Moon in Leo
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Rainy and oppressively humid

The pollinators and the nasturtiums are finally blooming. So are the beans and the tomatoes – let’s hope the bees drawn by the hosta blooms pop over the railing and pollinate the vegetables!

By this weekend, we’ll be able to eat our first cucumber – let’s hope there are more!

Bunnies are still dining in the yard. There’s enough that they leave the vegetables on the deck alone.

I still haven’t seen Che Guevara Chipmunk for weeks, now. I’m getting very worried about him.

It’s lovely to have my first cup of coffee in the morning on the deck and write. It’s also lovely to go out on the deck in the late afternoon to read and have cocktails. I’m lucky to have this space, especially right now, and I am grateful.

There’s something about writing in longhand on the deck that settles me. It makes me feel both peaceful and more creative. The ideas flow more smoothly and with more strength and dexterity.

The humidity is oppressive today. We’re supposed to have bad storms coming through, and it would be nice if they’d break the oppression. The fans aren’t doing much good (no air conditioning). The air’s just too heavy and not moving.

I love a good thunderstorm, so I’m hoping for one. I hope we have another one at night – it keeps the idiots with their illegal fireworks off the streets. They’ve been out every night that it hasn’t rained since July 1. I am sick of it.

Hope your summer is going well, and that you have a chance to spend some time outside!

Thurs. July 16, 2020: Trying For Tranquility

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image courtesy of tina0128 via pixabay.com

Thursday, July 16, 2020
Waning Moon Fourth Quarter in Taurus
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Celtic Tree Month of Holly
Sunny and cool

I’m enjoying the cool, since it’s supposed to get hot and humid again over the weekend.

Those aren’t my tiger lilies in the photo, but mine are starting to bloom. To me, tiger lilies are a cheerful flower.

We had bees earlier in the season, but then the neighbors went and put pesticides down so their lawns can look like putting greens, and now we have no bees to pollinate. I’m discouraged.

But things are growing. Especially invasives. I spent a couple of hours the other day battling bindweed. I got a lot cut away, but there’s more to do.

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These are my hydrangeas. I cut some to enjoy them indoors.

This week is the Cape Cod Hydrangea Festival, a mix of virtual and drive by the houses. I think some gardens are open. Usually the tourists just stomp around and leave trash, and they often roam people’s properties even if those properties are not on the tour, because why would they have any consideration for anyone? They don’t even wear masks.

I’m not sure what I’ll do this weekend, garden-wise. I hope to sit on the deck and enjoy things. Hopefully, the guy will come to mow. Most of the yard still looks fine, but No Man’s Land on the side, could use some work.

The white geraniums, daisies, and Queen Anne’s lace practically glow in the dark at dusk and dawn. It’s quite lovely. Because I’m not a big fan of the color white in general, I never wanted a white garden (Vita Sackville-West had one at Sissinghurst. You can see it here). But looking at the plants at these times makes me think maybe, one day, I’ll try for one.

I might do some repotting over the weekend. The Moneymaker Tomato decided to grow quickly. The eggplants and a couple of the cherry seeds have come up, and they need bigger pots.

I haven’t seen Che Guevara Chipmunk lately, and I’m a little worried about him. The bunnies are still around, which is a good thing. They have plenty to eat, and leave our vegetables alone. Because dandelion and purslane taste better!
Peace and good growth to you.

July 9, 2020: Enjoyment

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photo courtesy of MikesPhotos via pixabay.com

Thursday, July 9, 2020
Waning Moon Third Quarter in Pisces
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Foggy and humid
Celtic Tree Month of Holly

There’s not a whole lot to say this week. The garden in the picture is not mine; I’d love it if it was.

We have a lack of bees around this summer, and it concerns me. We had a good quantity earlier in spring – and then the neighbors used chemicals for their lawn, and here we are. So nothing is getting pollinated, which is not boding well for the blossoms on tomatoes and cucumbers.

The beans are doing well. Che Guevara Chipmunk dug up the sunflower and pea seeds, so nothing there. I’m battling the bindweed invasive.

The bittersweet is blooming and is a pollinator, so I’m not cutting it back yet. The Queen Anne’s Lace is about 4 feet tall and beautiful.

I enjoy some time out on the deck every afternoon, reading and/or writing. I take Willa out in her playpen, and she loves it.

Willa and the bunny love staring at each other.

Che Guevara Chipmunk hasn’t been around much in the last few days. I hope he’s okay. The illegal fireworks (10 hours straight on July 4th; every night since July 1) upset the critters.

Some of the lilac cuttings seem to be rooting; only a couple of the rhodies look good. But a couple is better than none.

We’re just keeping on keeping on. The pansies are still blooming; it hasn’t been too hot, so I haven’t needed to switch them out to petunias yet.

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, the Botanical Interests seeds have been disappointing. Next year, I’ll buy my seeds elsewhere. Usually, when I sow Botanical Interests seeds, I get 60-70% germination rate. This year, it’s about 10%. The percentage/cost of seeds/time spent ratio isn’t working for me this year.

The roses are lovely. They grew back quite well where I’d hacked them back last fall.

The tiger lilies should bloom soon. They are in drifts up on the bay side of the Cape, so they will bloom soon over here. The bay side blooms a little earlier.

That’s pretty much it. I’m getting as much enjoyment as possible out of it all.

Too bad the neighbors can’t. All they do is use noisy machines, put down chemicals, and destroy. They never build anything, or make anything beautiful. They just make noise, pollute, and destroy. It’s disappointing.

Hope your garden is growing well.

 

July 2, 2020: My Garden Definitely Grows!

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The terraced border in the backyard

Thursday, July 2, 2020
Second Quarter Waxing Moon in Sagittarius
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Celtic Tree Month of Oak
Hazy and humid

Hello, my friends! It’s been two weeks, because I had surgery last Thursday. I’m on the road to recovery, but it’s taking longer than I would like.

In the meantime, the garden is growing!

The lawn was finally mowed last Friday, and looks much better. I moved the two small, potted evergreens that flanked the front door out of the front beds, and to the side of the house. They’ve grown over the years (I bought them the first Christmas we moved in, in 2010). They don’t look right. They’re too big to be on the small front step; they look wrong tucked in the back of the front bed.

So I moved them to the side of the house (to hide a small dead tree the owner has yet to get rid of). I started cleaning out the front beds and found a wasp nest, attached to the siding, right near the spigot for the hose.

I dashed out to get wasp killer. Note to self: Avoid Hyannis Country Gardens in the future. Only the register staff keeps their masks on, and the customers wear their masks around their necks, not over their faces, and refuse to distance. Not worth putting my life in danger because of selfish Sliding Mask Skanks.

I nearly sprayed them all with wasp killer, but I needed it for the house.

Battled the wasps over the next few days. This weekend, I hope to get the hose attached in the front, and wash the rest of it away.

Because it looked too bare in the front of the house, I brought two of the oversized red geraniums from the back and put them in front. Good Feng Shui, and they look pretty.

One of the baskets of pansies in the front gave up the ghost. I have to put some of the spare pansies in there, and then continue to clean out the front beds.

The border of the terraced section is lively, as you can see from the photo above. The Stella D’oro lilies are doing well. There’s also that slightly darker yellow lily – I’m not sure what it’s called, but I like it. The daisies are in bloom, as are the catmint, the feverfew, and the Queen Anne’s Lace. The Tiger Lilies are getting ready to bloom.

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The Astilbe is pinker than it looks in the photo, and is lovely. The Elephant hosta is now enormous.

I have to tackle bindweed this weekend, because it’s creeping around choking things.

I’m a little concerned that the hostas are already sending up blooms. It should happen in August; the last few years it’s been happening in mid-late July. This year it’s in early July. Also, the critters are already hoarding for winter. That does not bode well.

The rugosa roses are doing well, and the scent is lovely, wafting into my bedroom.

Tomatoes are coming along. Cucumbers keep blooming, but none of the blooms are producing anything. Beans have sprouted. Che Guevara Chipmunk dug up the peas and the sunflowers, so I think those will be a bust this year.

Herbs and lavender are fine. I’d hoped the morning glories would start blooming, but they are very busy growing.

The hydrangeas are blooming. Cape Cod is known for them, and the hydrangea festival is next weekend. I think people are observing from their cars? I hope packs of Maskless Morons don’t think they’re actually going to tromp around people’s properties.

I wouldn’t be out and about on a holiday weekend around here anyway, because of the traffic and the idiot tourists. Add the pandemic this year, and I’m really staying home.

But I have my enchanted garden to enjoy (and work in). I can read and watch the birds – lots of finches this year!

I love to have my first cup of morning coffee out on the deck. I check on the plants. I talk with the birds and the bunnies. The little black cat hasn’t been around lately. I think she was just a visitor. Sometimes I do my first writing session of the day on the deck.

Later in the day, I either read or take more work out on the deck. The skylights and the covering mean I can even work in bad weather (as long as the rain isn’t coming sideways).

Being out there gives me a sense of peace and belonging, that I don’t get anywhere else around here. It also emphasizes how much I want a place of my own, not a rental.

The bunnies continue to eat breakfast and dinner in the patches of dandelions I keep in the yard. Che Guevara Chipmunk is very busy. He likes to get right in Willa’s face, because she’s in the playpen, but she’s learned how to chase him by turning the playpen into a snowball-like roller.

I am so grateful to have this space to enjoy and rest in, this sanctuary away from the horrors of the world.

How’s your garden doing?

Thurs. June 25, 2020: Dreams of House & Garden

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image courtesy of dimitrisvetsikas 1969 via pixabay.com

I’m scheduled for surgery today. In the twilight of anesthesia, I hope I will dream about a place as beautiful as this.

Catch you next week!

 

Thurs. June 18, 2020: Growth

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image courtesy of Conger Designs via pixabay.com

Thursday, June 18, 2020
Waning Moon 4th Quarter in Taurus
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Foggy and cool
Celtic Tree Month of Oak

Things are growing, and it’s lovely to watch. Summer Solstice this weekend, and then we start losing light.

The morning glories and the moonflowers are both doing well. I think the morning glories might start blooming next week. The pollinator mix and the zinnias are coming up, but the hollyhocks never sprouted, which is a disappointment.

The pansies are still going strong, but with the weather getting warmer, it might become too much for them.

The tomatoes, basil, and other herbs are coming along nicely, and the eggplant and cherry seeds have sprouted. Keeping a close eye on them, for transplanting.

The lettuce is nearly done; not a good year for lettuce this year, sadly. We usually have it going like gangbusters well into August. I might try sowing some mixed greens (today is a planting day), and maybe finally get the beans in. Might be too late, but worth a shot. Someone told me I can still sow the sunflowers.

Everything on the deck was covered in a thick layer of yellow tree pollen. I hosed down the deck and the furniture, but some of the plants will need the leaves sprayed or individually washed, or the pollen will choke it. I do love the pine trees, but the pollen can be annoying.

Neighbors all around are cutting down perfectly healthy trees, which is infuriating. On Independence Drive, in Hyannis, they cut ALL the large gorgeous trees in the median, and most of the trees on the side, revealing so much dust and ugliness. People on the Cape are bound and determined to use the pandemic as a reason to destroy as many natural resources as possible. It’s not progress; it makes the area look cheap and ugly.

Reveals a lot about the people doing it, right?

In any case, I am happy in my enchanted garden. On a typical summer, I would spend most of my time here, avoiding the tourist mayhem. This year, I will particularly do so. I am filled with gratitude for the space, even though I haven’t been able to put in the money to do everything I want.

If it clears up a bit more, I will spend a few hours this morning working on the front beds. They need some tidying up. I did some work on the beds in the back over the last few days, battling invasives, weeding, getting things watered. The lawn guy should be here at some point this week (he usually comes every two weeks, and this is week 3).

One of the things I love doing is paging through garden magazines, reading garden memoirs, and planning gardens for my fictional characters. It’s a way to experiment with gardens on a larger scale, and then, maybe find ways to incorporate some of my favorite things in my own.

I won’t post next Thursday – I am currently scheduled for surgery. I hope to be able to spend time healing in my garden.

Peace, my friends, and I’ll be back in touch in two weeks.

 

Thurs. June 11, 2020: Progress

Thursday, June 11, 2020
Waning Moon 3rd Quarter in Aquarius
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Celtic Tree Month of Oak
Cloudy and humid

Things are growing, which is good, about now. It’s warmer and humid, but still much cooler than usual. Not that I’m complaining for myself, but I worry about the plants.

The transplanted tomatoes are doing well, with their little basil companions. The cucumber now has three blossoms – let’s hope the bees pollinate! Peppers are doing well. Nothing from the eggplants yet – I have a feeling Che Guevara Chipmunk’s been digging.

Morning glories and moonflowers are growing well. Pollinator mix doing well, as are the zinnias. Nothing from the hollyhocks, which is disappointing.

The herbs are all doing well.

I have to scrub the tree pollen off all the surfaces, but other than that, our Enchanted Deck is doing quite well.

Today is another planting day. As late as it is, I’m going to plant some zucchini seeds, beans, and start the peas soaking to plant tomorrow. I know, I know, it’s waaaay late to plant peas. But I’ll try.

I cut back a lot in the front beds and on the side. I have to clean out the front beds, do some more weeding and tidying up around the roses, and get rid of some invasives in the back. The weather’s been a little wonky, so I haven’t done all that much. I’m hoping for a nice weekend, so I can spend a couple of hours every day getting things done.

I’m designing a garden for one of my books – and having such a good time with it. There’s a lot of room in this fictional garden, and it’s set within a wood, so there’s all kinds of fun stuff, with patches of sun and shade.

The lettuce is absolutely yummy, and we love being able to eat it.

The pair of bunnies love the patches of dandelion and clover in the yard. They’re so much fun to watch. The birds are busy, and Che Guevara Chipmunk keeps everyone in line.

Willa loves going outside in the playpen. She’s really funny.

It’s so nice to sit outside and read a book or write or have a cocktail on the deck and just enjoy the yard. It’s always nutty around here in summer because of tourists, so I’m always grateful to have this sanctuary. I’m even more grateful this year, with the reckless re-opening and people running around like the virus doesn’t exist any more.

I’ll just stay and enjoy my sanctuary.

How is your garden doing?

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