Thurs. Feb. 18, 2021: The Quiet

image courtesy of Free Photos via pixabay.com

Thursday, February 18, 2021

First Quarter Waxing Moon in Taurus

Mercury Retrograde

Celtic Tree Month of Ash begins

Cloudy and cold/incoming storm

I have little to say about the garden. I have not done any planting. The edges of the yard and driveway still have snow ridges, but everything within has melted.

There’s another storm headed in later today that should continue until tomorrow night.

It’s that period of waiting, trying to get on through until spring.

Today, the Celtic tree month of Ash begins. Ash, Oak, and Thorn are the trio of trees sacred to the Druids, and believed to contain/control the power of the sea. Talismans of ash are believed to provide protection from drowning. The time of ash is also about inner work.

Fits, with this time of silence.

How’s your garden doing?

Thurs. Feb. 11, 2021: Real Winter Weather

image courtesy of moonzigg via pixabay.com

Thursday, February 11, 2021

New Moon in Aquarius

Mercury Retrograde

Celtic Tree Month of Rowan

Snowy and cold

I’m grateful that we have a good, solid cold snap. It will benefit the yard.

It was frustrating to try to dig out, because the plow pushed ice boulders into the bottom of my driveway that then froze down. And the Dig Safe guy showed up to mark the lines during the storm, and spray paint info on the snow. Does he not realize that it must melt before any digging can happen?

Not my problem.

I still haven’t planted either the strawberries or poppies. Tomorrow’s another planting day, and it’s waxing moon, which is good for planting that which will be above ground. So maybe I can make up for it tomorrow.

We’re having some more flurries this morning, and possibly another storm over the weekend. That’s what winter’s for, right?

I have every intention of enjoying as much of it as I can!

What’s new in your garden?

Thurs. Feb. 4, 2021: Snow!

image courtesy of Peter Kraayvanger via pixabay.com

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Third Quarter Waning Moon in Scorpio

Mercury Retrograde

Snowy and cold

It’s snowing! We weren’t hit with snow as hard as other areas of the state this week; for us, it was mostly rain, sleet, ice, high winds. But now we have some snow, and it looks pretty!

Usually, I plant the first seeds of the season, indoors, at Imbolc, but, according to my calendar, Tuesday was not a planting day. However, today and tomorrow are, so I will plant the strawberries and the breadseed poppies. I haven’t had good luck with any type of poppy in the past, but I keep trying. The breadseed poppies make the seeds used in baking. Although I seriously doubt I can grow enough to, say, make my favorite poppyseed roll, I still want to see what I can grow. This is very much an experiment. I haven’t grown strawberries from seed before; I’ve only bought seedlings at the garden center. Another experiment. I will wait another week or so to start the tomatoes.

I bought cut flowers last weekend; two different bunches, and then arranged them in vases around the house. It’s very cheerful, and reminds me how much I enjoy having fresh flowers in the place.

In summer, it’s easy, because I can cut roses or lilac or zinnias or hydrangeas or whatever’s blooming. I wonder, if someday, I can set up a year-round greenhouse that’s warm enough to grow flowers, herbs, and vegetables all year. Something to think about.

We need some real winter, with real cold, or the garden will be unhappy in spring and summer. Even though I won’t be here for it, I still want it to do well.

How’s your garden growing? What are your plans?

Thurs. Jan. 28, 2021: The Seeds Arrived!

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Full Moon in Leo

Celtic Tree Month of Rowan

Wintery weather

The seeds arrived!  I’m so excited.

After unseasonably warm weather in January, it’s getting colder, and we expect to have snow/sleet/rain mixing on and off for the next few days.

Means I can enjoy fires in the fireplace, which is always a good thing in winter!

I have to decide which seeds I will start next week. Most likely, the poppy and the strawberries first, and then the tomatoes, eggplant, bok choy, and lemon balm. I will probably wait to plant the flowers until after the move.

What are you most excited to plant this spring?

Thurs. Jan. 21, 2021: Waiting

image courtesy of Conger Design via pixabay.com

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Second Quarter Waxing Moon in Taurus

No Retrogrades

Celtic Tree Month of Rowan begins

Cloudy and cold

Rowan trees are about protection and inspiration. They often grow in poor conditions. The wood makes excellent walking sticks. It’s tied to Brigid and Imbolc, which is about the quickening and rebirth of spring.

I ordered some seeds, from Kitchen Seeds and Territorial Seeds. I hope at least some of them arrive in time for Imbolc, when I hope to start some of them.

I did not yet order from Johnny’s – and I might not. Supposedly, their catalog went out, but I haven’t received it. And now, they are only accepting orders from home growers on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The timing might not work out this year.

But I ordered enough to have, at least, a minimal garden, no matter where I end up: bok choy, only two kinds of tomatoes this year, eggplant, strawberries, morning glories, moonflowers, breadseed poppy, and a pollinator mix.

It’s finally a little colder. We had some snow flurries yesterday, but we haven’t had a bad winter. When we first moved here, the winters were harsh, and we were sometimes snowed in for days before the plows came.

Right now, I’m just in a waiting period. Eager for new seeds to arrive, so I can start them. Eager to figure out where we’ll live next, so I can learn about native plants and plan new gardens.

How’s your winter going?

Thurs. Jan. 14, 2021: Finally Winter Maybe?

image by JackieLou DL via pixabay.com

Thursday, January 14, 2021

First Quarter Moon Waxing in Aquarius

Uranus Direct

Celtic Tree Month of Birch

Cloudy and cold

According to the weather, we’ll finally get some cold for the next two weeks. The past few weeks have been unseasonably warm, most of the time. In fact, the grass has been growing, and I wondered if I would need to call the guy who mows the lawn in, say, February, to have him start up again.

It’s good for the grass to grow out at times (though, probably not in the middle of winter in the Northeast). It’s healthy for the roots. Too many people in this neighborhood mow every other day in the spring, summer, and fall, keeping their grass very short. Of course, they are also the ones who use chemicals, so that the lawn looks like astro-turf.

We replanted some cuttings. Well, they were less “cuttings” than “fell of the plant.” Bits of the Christmas cactus or the big geranium or the philodendrons fall off. We rescue them and root them in water until they grow roots. We plant them in a fresh pot. And our plants multiply.

I have to make seed decisions in the next couple of weeks, and I just don’t know, since I don’t know where we will move. And yet, I don’t want the whole season to go by and not plant anything. Perhaps I will pick one kind of tomato (a small one), and one or two other things.

I have to sit down with the seed catalogs this weekend. I’m looking forward to trying seeds from Kitchen Garden this year, and I’ll buy a few things from Johnny’s, which has been my old reliable most of my gardening life. I’m skipping Botanical Interests this year, since they were a disappointment the past couple of years, especially last year.

I also have to decide what seeds I want to start on Imbolc (February 2). Traditionally, I start seeds on something meaningful to me on that day, and nurture the plant for the entire growing season.

Remember those organic lemon seeds I planted a few months back, nothing came up, and I was so disappointed? One little shoot finally came up!

When we put away the holiday decorations, we moved the gigantic peace lily from its temporary abode in my bedroom back down to the living room. When I first bought it, in January 2011, it was in a 4” pot. Now it’s in a 15” pot and is about 4’ tall and 2’ wide.

It’s on a side table next to one of the wingback chairs and actually helps form an entryway. This house doesn’t have a vestibule – the front door opens into the living room. We’ve sort of created an entry way with furniture placement. We put the peace lily on that table because it was the only place with enough room for it at the moment, but it works well as an entry definer. Plus, it’s good feng shui.

That’s really all that’s going on right now. Today and tomorrow, I’ll break up the time spent working on a book proposal and an article, and make seed decisions!

How do you connect to the garden in January? Do you live in a place where you can garden year-round?

Thurs. Jan. 7, 2021: Wish for a Real Winter

image courtesy of Hans Braxmeier via pixabay.com

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Waning Moon Fourth Quarter in Libra

Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and cold

I wish it looked as it does in the photo I chose for today’s post, but it’s much milder down here on Cape. It worries me; if the plants don’t get the rest from a good cold snap, it will negatively affect growth patterns. Not to mention all the bugs.

It feels frivolous to write a garden post when domestic terrorists stormed the Capitol yesterday. But I’m in touch with my elected officials, and they are representing my views in this. Thank you, Elizabeth Warren, Ed Markey, Bill Keating.

Seed catalogs are arriving, which means there will be hours of delightful daydreaming, a nice antidote to what’s going on. However, I’m not sure what seeds to order, or if I should order any, as I’m moving in spring. Since I don’t know where I’ll land, or if I can transport seedlings, I have a feeling most of my catalog reading will remain in daydreams.

We’re still in the process of taking down the holiday decorations. It will take a few days.

The live green wreath has been stripped of its decorations and is now on the hook inside the door. I have an artificial gold-painted bay leaf wreath on the front door for the rest of the month, until I put up the Valentine door décor.

I’m tired and sad and angry. I have a morning group meditation via Zoom. If the weather clears up a bit and it’s mild enough, I’ll do a meditation later in the day under the beautiful maple tree in the back. I will miss the maple and the lilac terribly when I move. They’ve both brought me a lot of joy in the past decade.

Let’s hope there’s better news to report next week. Stay safe, my friends.

Thurs. Dec. 31, 2020: Happy Green New Year!

image courtesy of Dirk Vetter via pixabay.com

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Third Quarter Waning Moon in Cancer

Uranus Retrograde

Rainy and cold

Happy New Year, friends! We are all happy to see the back of this one leaving, aren’t we?

It’s rainy here, and the yard looks greener and happier than it has all year. Making up for all the drought. I’m worried, though – if it doesn’t get cold enough, it’s bad for the resting plants, and it also means a very buggy spring and summer. Not necessarily the good kind of bugs.

Finally got in the big bench from the deck. Now, only the large, round table sits there overwinter.

Indoors, we have plenty of artificial, glittery greenery and sparkly artificial fruit. We have a bowl of the fruit on the coffee table. Willa likes to pull out an ornament here and there and play with them. Fortunately, they’re not breakable.

Of course, yesterday, Willa went into the kitchen and pulled a potato out of the open bin in which they live and rolled it up and down the hallway. How many cat toys do we have in this house? And Willa prefers a potato. She’s inventive.

The seed catalogs are arriving, which is one of my favorite parts of the year. I will take some time in the next few weeks, dreaming and planning. Since the move will happen during planting season, I’m not sure how much will actually get planted, but the dreaming will be lovely.

Thank you for being on this journey during this weird year. I wish you peace, joy, health, and a green New Year!

Thurs. Dec. 24, 2020: Birch & Holly

image by dendoktoor via pixabay.com

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Waxing Moon 2nd Quarter in Aries

Uranus Retrograde

Celtic Tree Month of Birch Begins

Christmas Eve

Stormy and mild

What does it mean, when I refer to the “Celtic Tree Months”? They’re related to the ogham, which is a Celtic script used from the 4th to the 10th century C.E. There’s a wonderful article on theories of origin here. It makes more sense for you to read it than for me to paraphrase it.

Each of the months has fixed dates, and is related to a tree, from December 24-December 22. December 23 does NOT have a relationship to any tree – instead, it’s tied to the “day” of “a year and a day.”

Today, December 24, is the first day of the Tree Month of Birch. It lasts until Jan. 20. There is an ogham character connected to it, which I cannot reproduce, but there’s a wonderful article on the tree enchantments that shows the script and talks about medicinal, magical, and physical properties of the tree here. There’s another good article about the various trees and their properties here.

I love birch trees. Before I started working with ogham, I did not know that birch is the first tree to grow back after a fire.  I love to use it for creativity, new beginnings, purification.

However, it’s not usually the birch one associates with Christmas, but Holly.

In the Tree Calendar, the month of Holly is July into August, but here in the Northern Hemisphere, we associate it with Christmas, Solstice, and the Winter Holidays.

I adore holly. My next-door neighbor has an enormous female holly (it has berries), and seeing the tree every day makes me happy. Ashumet, one of the local Mass Audubon Sanctuaries, has over 60 hollies. In pre-COVID times, I would go on the holly walk at the beginning of each December, guided by the director of the Sanctuary, and reacquaint myself with all the hollies. I would go back during the year to the sanctuary and spend time with them. The Holly Walk was one of my favorite things to do since I moved to the Cape. I started it the very first year I moved here.

There’s a good article about the meaning of various Yuletide greens here.

I like holly for protection and luck. When you see a spell call for “bat’s wings” – that is the folkloric name for the holly leaf.

I tried growing small hollies in pots when I first moved here, but they need to be planted in-ground, and they only survived a year or two. When I own my own home and garden, I will try again. The male and female holly need to be planted within 15 feet of each other, and the best time to plant them is in March, according to what I learned on holly walks!

On a personal note, I put up decorations outside last weekend, and on the deck. Some of them will have to come in today, since we are expecting hurricane force winds and a lot of rain. No white Christmas for us this year, but that’s okay. I’m glad to be safe at home.

I wish you peace and joy.

Thurs. Dec. 17, 2020: Snow At Night Makes for a Cozy Day

image courtesy of Jill Wellington via pixabay.com

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Waxing First Quarter Moon in Capricorn

Celtic Tree Month of Elder

Snowy and cold

We had our first substantial snowstorm of the season overnight. Although, so far, it’s not as bad as predicted, it’s heavy, wet snow, and I’m not looking forward to going out there and shoveling later.

Since we were warned about the storm, I did not put up the lights and outdoor decorations yet. That is on the agenda for this coming weekend.

Today, we are tucked home, enjoying the tree and the indoor decorations, reading, and writing, and resting. With the bulk of the stress done for the holiday season – I just have to get the annual inspection for the car done next week, and, yes, with an old car, I’m worried – we can sit back and enjoy. There’s been so much stress and pain in this year, that capturing a few hours of enjoyment here and there is high on the agenda.

One of the things we love is to sit by the fire, with one of our favorite blankets, a good book, the cats, the fire going in the fireplace, and a cup of cocoa or a glass of wine. it’s a simple pleasure, and yet so resonant.

Next Monday is the Solstice, my big celebration, and I’m excited and looking forward to it. Much as I love the dark time of the year, I am ready for the return of light and hope.

Peace, friends.

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