The Boston Flower & Garden Show

Display at the Boston Flower & Garden Show

Saturday, March 19, 2011
Full Moon in Virgo
Saturn Retrograde
Celtic Tree Month of Alder
Sunny and cold

On Thursday, I was invited to join a group that rented a van to travel to and from the Boston Flower and Garden Show together. It was lots of fun — really good company, and a fun day.

It was in a convention center, built for trade shows, right on the waterfront, a great space. It was well-laid out for the show, with wonderful displays and nice, wide aisles for the vendor booths.

But it WAS a convention center, which meant it smelled like a convention center and not a garden. That was one of the few disappointments. I hoped it would smell like an enchanted otherworld. I suppose too many fragrances would be overwhelming, but it would have been nice to smell more than the occasional mulch! That, and the fact they had boring, overpriced cafeteria food instead of bringing in caterers to create menu items relevant to the show were the only disappointments.

There were lots of great people. I learned how to prune my rhododendrons. I learned some wonderful tips about container gardening, including what to start with and what to add, soil-wise. I even got to ask the guy how to keep my Alberta Spruces happy out front. I spoke to people from the Mass Horticulture Master Gardener Help Desk and the Herb Society and learned about Tower HIll Botanical Garden and got information on the Newport Garden show — right on the water towards the end of June, which should be lovely.

I bought some small pottery pieces (that now live on the mantel), some herbal teas from a woman whose products I’ve used for years, and five small plants: a dwarf curry (I fell in love with the scent), a chocolate mint, an English thyme, a catmint, and an orange geranium. I wanted to buy a peony plant, but it’s so early, I didn’t think I could keep it happy inside until Memorial Day weekend.

Once I got the plants home, I had to repot them almost immediately, because the roots were already coming out the bottoms of the pots. Now, they are much happier.

Curry, thyme, and chocolate mint plants repotted in the window, with the primrose, Christmas cactus, and other plants

It was a great experience, I’m so grateful they included me, and I hope I can retain and apply what I learned. I picked up a lot of handouts — I’m going to organize them in page protectors in a binder, so I have the information handy.

Repotted catmint (below right)

I still have to repot my roses, though — they are getting unhappy in their pots. But I have to get rose soil, I think, for them.

It is serious though, on the Cape, about not putting things in the ground until Memorial Day. It’s a short gardening season here — but, from what I understand, well worth it.


Repotted orange geranium (left)



Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Waxing Second Quarter Moon in Leo
Saturn Retrograde
Celtic Tree Month of Ash
Rainy and mild

The crocuses have opened a bit more on the side of the house. I think they’re so cute! I’m absolutely delighted by them.

On Sunday afternoon, I was invited to attend an event sponsored by the local beautification committee — I’m going to spend some time with them this year working on the local parks and public areas as a way to learn to garden. Anyway, they had a talk on ornamental grasses.

Before I moved here, I had no idea what those were. I know they’re in use; I just never thought about them much. I was backed up on work and thought about bowing out, but people don’t do that here — you make a commitment, you keep it. None of this “I’m too tired” or “I overbooked” or “Something better came up.” You say it, you do it, something I totally agree with, so I had to walk my talk and go.

I’m really glad I did. It was fascinating. I learned a lot. I started to get ideas for the yard, especially on how to integrate them with plants and containers. I won the birdhouse in the picture, which I think is just darling — and I would have never thought about getting one.

And I am well on my way to becoming obsessed with Blue Fescue. Not as obsessed with it as I am with hollies, but I want to get several of them and tuck them along the front, in between the small bushes that were put in after we rented (I heard, from horrified neighbors, that the owner just yanked out the fully mature bushes).

There was also talk of the Master Gardner program, and that it accepts applications in the fall. I think it’s too much too fast — I need to take the seventh-month herbalism course next winter into spring, and then, maybe the following fall, I will see where things stand and apply for Master Gardner for the following year. I would think one needs to be an Apprentice Gardner or an Intermediate Gardner or an Adept Gardner to apply, not an I’m-Muddling-Through-Trying-Not-To-Kill-Everything Gardner.

I came home and dived back into my gardening books and magazines, dreaming dreams that I might actually be able to implement.

What I have to remember is Patience. Patience has never been one of my virtues (or even a cousin). There’s a part of me that wishes I had an unlimited garden budget and could just go out and buy all sorts of stuff. Because I’m on a budget, I have to be very careful and make sure that what I buy is really what I want — especially when it comes to patio furniture. A $3 potted plant is an expense I can afford to make a mistake on; a $750 or more patio set, I can’t.

Also, because the growing season is short on the Cape, and I keep getting advice that nothing should go into the ground until Memorial Day, I’m chomping at the bit. I don’t want to start seeds too early indoors, because I don’t want them to die off because I can’t get them in the ground fast enough. I don’t want to start buying plants and putting them outside if it’s too cold for them to survive. But I want to start! I have ideas for the front and back grounds — many of which I’m sure won’t work — but I need to be able to get out there and TRY them in order to find out!

And, while many areas in the rest of the country are already planting their early spring crops, I have to wait.

I’m not good at waiting.

I’ll have a lot to talk about on Saturday — I’m attending the Boston Horticulture Show with a group from this same organization. I can’t wait!


There’s Hope for Spring

Saturday, March 12, 2011
Waxing Moon in Gemini
Saturn Retrograde
Celtic Tree Month of Ash
Sunny and chilly

I’d just about given up on spring, and, if it starts snowing tomorrow again, I’ll lose it.

However, I took a break the other day from my work, and went outside to clear away some of the branches that have strewn themselves around the yard during the many wind storms over the past week.

As I hauled some of these sticks around the side of the house, to their temporary home until I can find their permanent one, I saw something delightful.

As you can barely see in the photograph, some crocuses are struggling to come up. I’m delighted. I’ve heard so many negative things about the previous tenants that I didn’t think anything like a crocus would have survived.

It’s getting me excited to get to work on the beds (as soon as it’s dry enough) in preparation for planting.

I’m going through the seed packets to figure out when I need to start the seeds inside, working backwards from the Memorial Day “Now you can plant outside on the Cape” advice.

But the beds need to be cleared and composted first.

Those tiny little shoots are giving me my motivation.


Compost and Fertilizer and Mulch, Oh My!

Wednesday, March 3, 2011
Dark Moon in Pisces
Saturn Retrograde
Celtic Tree Month of Ash
Sunny and cold

Didn’t get the photos uploaded — will try to get them done for Saturday.

Okay, I realize that I’m really, really new at all of this, but compost AND fertilizer AND mulch? Isn’t that a bit much? When do I do it? In what order?

Before I do any of that, however, I have to clean out the areas around the bushes and beds from the vegetation that was used to overwinter them. However, it has to be dry to do it, and it’s been raining so much that I haven’t been able to do that, either.

I’m going to re-read the section of the book on gardening in this area to see what they advise, and look around and see what the neighbors are doing. I already know I can’t afford to get a truck full of fertilizer to come for the lawn, so I’m going to have to see what else I can do to make it happy. I want to do right by the lawn and the plants, but I’m also on a budget. And I have to make up for the previous tenants who didn’t care for the grounds — although I don’t own them.

Gunk should not cause this much stress! 😉