Jasmine and Crocus

Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Waxing Moon Second Quarter Gemini
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold (although they said we’re getting snow)
Leap Year Day!

New England is not known for its native jasmine, but I saw a pot of it at Trader Joe’s and couldn’t resist. I adore jasmine. I do a fire-and-ice ritual at dawn every January 1, and the candle is slathered in jasmine oil. To me, the scent means “fresh start.”

I repotted the poor thing as soon as I got home; once I’d pulled the paper away, I saw the roots were a good four inches out of the pot. It perked right up, and seems happy — in a warm place with plenty of sun. The fragrance is lovely, the cats are fascinated. I bought it about two weeks ago, and yesterday, I replaced the trellis with a bigger one. It’s growing quickly.

I soaked some seeds from a zested lemon and stuck them in a pot of earth. We will see if the seeds are from a genetically-mutated (that’s not the right term, but I can’t remember it right now) lemon or a real one. When I’ve soaked and planted citrus seeds from “organic” fruit here and there, it usually grows. My tangerine plant is one of those. I had a grapefruit plant from seed, planted the in 1968 that died in the early 90s. So, far, nothing. We’ll see. If not, I’ll dump the soil and put something else in.

I bought some pots and soil yesterday. Last year, I started everything too late. This year, I’m starting some of it early, inside. But not with those seed pots that claim to dissolve back into the earth. Because they don’t. They just get soggy, and when you pull the plans in the fall, the poor roots had to grow up and over them — no wonder some of the plants were unhappy. This year, I’m either starting the seeds in the containers in which they’ll continue to live OR (in most cases), starting them in small pots with the appropriate “seed starter” soil and then moving them into either bigger pots or the ground when it’s safe.

The vegetables that can be transplanted will get started on the Equinox. The ones that have to go directly into the bed will wait until it’s safe, but I’ll watch my Gardening King neighbor and take my cues from him (stuff like spinach, peas, bok choy, etc.)

Of course, I’m impatient (ya think? You know me so well) and stared some of the flowers yesterday (which, according to my calendar, was a planting day). I planted a container of Morning Glory and one of Moonflower, which will trellis up in pots on the deck. I used to grow them in pots in NY, and, when I did it right, trained them to grow up a window, alternating one vine of morning glory, one of moonflower, so that during the day, the blue flowers opened, and at night, the white ones did. I got that idea from Silver Ravenwolf, who talked about using the plants as a natural screen around her porch. Anyway, I have one big pot of each that will go on the deck. I planted a couple of smaller pots that I will put on the east side of the house, training up the wagon wheel. I put them in the ground last year, not realizing I had a Hosta family there, and the poor things were choked before they had a chance. This year, I’m growing them inside first, and then transplanting them, once the hostas are more visible. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, you’re not supposed to transplant Moonflower; it gets cranky. I’ve done it pot-to-pot before and it works, so I’m hoping I can get away with pot-to-ground.

Also planted some sweet peas, which will stay in a container, Love-in-Mist (ditto), and Nicotiana/Indian Peace Pipe (ditto). In a fit of “I want flowers” last week at Country Gardens, I bought a couple of African Violets — I haven’t had any of those for years, although my grandmother, in Maine, had two of her windows specially-fitted with shelves and kept pots of them.

The heather is blooming beautifully — it’s absolutely gorgeous. The crocuses are starting to pop, and the daffodils and tulips are farther along than I expected for this time of year. We’re supposed to get three inches of snow, so I hope they won’t all die. I spent a lot of money on those tulip bulbs and it’s the first time I ever tried to plant tulips. I want at least SOME of them to come up! 😉

I may have inadvertently killed my strawberries. I’ve brought them inside to warm them up, feed them, and try to revive them, but they look more dead than dormant. I may have to get another batch from Johnny’s. I wish a gardening learning curve didn’t include involuntary plant-a-cide.

I’m in the process of doing some Major Ordering from places like Botanical Interests, Miller Nurseries, The Arbor Day Foundation, and White Flower Farm. I’m getting three of the Black King Eggplants (which did so well here, until eaten by spider mites) from Territorial Seed Company, but that was the only thing from them I was happy with last year. Let’s hope everything doesn’t all arrive at once. I’m still trying to stockpile pots.

When In Doubt, Repot

Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Waning Moon Third Quarter Leo
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold

My calendar had Sunday the 5th designated as a planting day. It’s a little too cold to put anything outside, in spite of the mild winter, but I’m itching to get started and see things grow.

So I repotted.

I planted some lemon seeds I’d had sprouting in a window sill, but the rest of it was getting plants in quarters too tight for their comfort out of them and into better ones. They’re pretty darn happy now, ready to stretch and breathe and enjoy a bit of room for their roots.

The introductory package from the Arbor Day Foundation came. I’d sent in a donation, and in return, I’m getting 10 trees and 2 bushes. I thought they’d be tiny — sort of the way I thought the Huckleberry would be a real bush instead of a twig. However, I seem to have gotten it backwards this time. These will be saplings, but pretty sturdy ones.

So THAT will be an adventure.

The birds already sing me awake in the mornings, and, in spite of the cold, you can smell the change of season.

Devon

Garden Dreaming — And Scheming!


What February should look like – -but doesn’t. This is from our storm a few weeks ago — which was all melted by the next afternoon!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Waxing Moon Second Quarter in Taurus/Gemini
Mars Retrograde
Celtic Tree Month of Rowan
Cloudy and mild

The weather’s been totally wacky this year; way too warm. While my bank account is grateful, in terms of the heating bill, I’m worried about my plants. Was it cold enough for the tulips, or will all 125 that I planted (on time, for once) last fall — my very first attempt at tulip-ing — rot? The barrel of heather is blooming beautifully — will it wear itself out before spring? The forsythia and lilac have buds — but my witch hazel hasn’t popped yet.

I’d hoped, since the weather is mild, that it would also be sunny today and I could get outside and do some more yard clean-up. The front’s in good shape, but the back needs work. So far, though, it’s drizzling, which means there’s not a whole lot I can do. I figure if I do a little bit every nice day, by the time it’s warm enough to really plant and tackle things, I’ll be in good shape.

I’m going through the garden books and magazines and the designs, dreaming big dreams. Then, I have to scale them down so they make sense in my life!

I have a lot of seeds, so I’m okay in the seed department. I’ll buy a lot of the herbs in 4” pots to start, instead of doing them from seed. I’ve got some repotting to do today, and, in the spirit of it being Imbolc Eve, I’m planting some lemon seeds from a zested, juiced lemon. I’ve got a lovely tangerine plant started the same way.

This year, I’m going to start the moonflowers and morning glories inside first, then transplant them up the big wagon wheel at the side of the house. Last year, I put them directly into the ground — not realizing there were hostas there, who popped up and didn’t give them enough sunlight! Plus, I think my seeds were too old. This year, fresh seeds, start indoors — in March, I will probably set up the grow light and a seed table in the back room to get things started.

The Elsa Memorial Orchid has two new shoots! I’m very excited. As long as I leave that plant alone, it’s happy. I get the hint. For those of you new to the blog, the Elsa Memorial Orchid was sent to me by a group of friends when my beloved Elsa died shortly before the move to the Cape. It blooms beautifully at least once a year, sometimes twice, and the agreement is that it will keep blooming as long as I don’t try to “help” too much. Message received.

I’m looking forward to a deck and an expanded back area full of plants this summer, especially more medicinal herbs. I’m thinking about getting some clematis or American wisteria to grow up the sides of the deck, like a natural privacy screen. But I don’t want the deck to feel closed in. The roof is so wonderful, it’s nice to have the breeze coming through. The big lilac in the ground and my neighbor’s hydrangeas work well on that side. It’s just on the other side that we need a bit more coverage.

Devon