Thurs. April 28, 2022: Plant Plans

image courtesy of Albrecht Fietz via pixabay.com

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Day Before Dark Moon

4th Quarter Moon Waning in Aries

Celtic Tree Month of Willow

Partly cloudy/party sunny and cold

The photo above is not my front porch or yard, but it’s definitely inspirational!

The weather is still all over the place. We’re back into a cold spell now. It will warm up for a few days, and then, toward the end of next week, get cold again.

In other words, the plants can’t stay outdoors yet.

But the forsythia and azaleas are blooming. There are some bushes that I think are weeping cherry, maybe, also blooming. It smells lovely when I walk around to do my errands. There are daffodils and hyacinths up, and people are planting more. Really lovely. People are excited for spring.

I’ve been working to oil the teak furniture. I have one more small table to do, and then, once it’s warm enough, I can oil the bench and the two bistro chairs and the bench out on the back porch.

Plantwise, I’ve just about given up on the mallow. It’s been nearly a month or slightly over a month since the seeds were planted (the plant journal is in the other room, and I’m too lazy to check). I can repurpose the pots for other herbs or maybe some lettuce.

The mesclun greens seeds popped up and faded immediately. The cilantro came up fast and isn’t doing well. It may well be similar here as it was on Cape – makes more sense to buy lettuce and herbs as plants, rather than trying to grow them from seed. The morning glories, who’ve always grown well for me, are not happy, either. I might have to get a new packet (from a different company) and re-sow. Some of the columbine is doing well. The marine heliotrope and echinacea are not. The lavender has not yet come up.

The snapdragons and tansy shoots are still small, but they’re holding on.

The sweet peas, nasturtiums, and four o’clocks are growing well. The moonflowers are undecided; they’re hanging in there, but it’s almost as though they’re worried about the morning glories. The hollyhocks and black-eyed Susan vine are doing well. The dwarf sunflowers are doing well.

The cucumbers and tomatoes are up, but not really doing much of anything. The pumpkins are doing well, and I will have to replant them a larger pot soon.

The dahlia bulbs have both sprouted, and that’s very exciting. Those are going to be big plants. Since this is my first foray into the Cult of the Dahlia, I’m excited, but also a little intimidated.

I mentioned that I got a small Norway Spruce seedling last week, a gift from the grocery store for Earth Day. It’s sitting in its little pot, doing its thing. Since it’s a tree seedling, I have it out on the enclosed porch, with the chrysanthemum I brought from the Cape house (it used to be in the barrel outside). Eventually, I will probably move the tree seedling to the back balcony, but we’ll see.

It’s supposed to get cold again, one more time, next weekend (not the one coming up, the following one), and then, it should be steadily warm enough to set up the back balcony and leave everything out in front and in back.

Soon after that, once the car is fixed, it will be time to head to Whitney’s Farm again, and get in lettuce and maybe some more geraniums, and some begonias.

All of our philodendrons died. The move shocked them. They’d been in the same spot, growing up the walls inside the Cape house for a decade, so it’s not surprising that the move would be too much. And, after all, the biggest of the plants (that looked like it could be an understudy in a revival of LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS), was originally given to us in 1966, when my dad was in the hospital after a heart attack.

But I want another philodendron. I might make a trip, in the next couple of weeks, to Plant Connector, which just moved to Main Street, and see if they have a small philodendron, and if they have a spider plant. We used to have lots of those, and I used to pot up the offshoots and give them to people. But none of the spider plants survived the move to the Cape.

I want to be more creative on how I decorate indoors with plants. I’m looking at lots of photos on Instagram and going through the garden books that made it up (I have to get the rest out of storage over the coming months). I don’t want to overdo it inside, because of the plants that spend most of the summer outside who have to spend the winter inside. But I do want to be a little more creative inside with plant choice and plant placement.

When I lived in NYC, I had a stack of books on houseplants. When I moved to the Cape, they were packed away (and are now in storage), and I focused on outdoor container gardening and outdoors, in general. I don’t have a yard here, but between the enclosed porch, the back balcony, and the wonderful natural light from the large windows, I can do a mix.

Patience, right? Isn’t that what gardening is supposed to teach? I still have a lot to learn in that department!

How’s your garden doing?

Thurs. April 21, 2022: Seedlings

image courtesy of jggrz via pixabay.com

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Third Quarter Waning Moon in Capricorn

Celtic Tree Month of Willow

Cloudy/rainy/cold

The weather has been all over the place, veering from snow to rain to sun back again. Very bizarre.

Last Saturday, as the temperature plummeted, we took the plants in from the porch. We brought them out again for a few hours on Tuesday, but now they’re back in, because it’s just too cold for them out there.

One of the dahlias is starting to come up, which is very exciting, along with the snapdragons. The cilantro started, too, which is good, since I use a lot of cilantro. I’m still waiting for the mallow, and about to give up on it. I’ve given up on the pear and the clementine. Obviously, those were GMO seeds.

In honor of Earth Day (which is tomorrow), a local grocery store gave away Norway spruce seedlings. I got mine yesterday — a teeny, tiny little sprig. I planted it in the pot where I’d given up on the pear seeds. That pot is out on the front porch (along with the chrysanthemums, which always lived outside on Cape). When I set up the back balcony, I’ll probably move the seedling there. It’s supposed to grow about 2 feet per year, so I have a few years before I have to worry about donating it to a community garden. It’s only about 5 or 6 inches tall at this point.

The dwarf sunflowers have sprouted, out of the kit, although the lavender hasn’t done anything yet.

Quite a few of the plants seem to have stalled. They shot up, but now they’re sitting there, not getting taller or the stems getting thicker. So, we’ll see.

And, of course, I’m alternating the two pots of cat grass, one always seeded and growing, one down where Charlotte and Willa can enjoy it. Tessa doesn’t like cat grass.

I’ve started oiling the outdoor wooden furniture with teak oil. I should have done it at the end of last season and didn’t, so it’s very thirsty now. The chairs have needed two applications so far. I need to be on the lookout for more teak oil. I’m almost out. This bottle lasted me nearly ten years, so I have no complaints.

The Celtic Tree Month of Willow began last Friday. What does that mean? Willow is about being in touch with deep emotions, understanding them, and working with them, not against them. Willow bark has properties similar to aspirin. I’ve used willow bark tea for headaches in the past. With the sun moving into Taurus now, which is about stability and pleasure, and the tree month being Willow, emotion, there’s an opportunity to enjoy and stabilize emotions. Really feel the pleasure, and work with the unpleasant emotions.

Plant growth wise, we are moving into growing season (well, we will, if it ever stops snowing). All these little, tiny plants struggling to get out into the sun and be somebody.

How is your garden growing?

Thurs. April 14, 2022: More Planting

image courtesy of eko pramono via pixabay.com

Thursday, April 14, 2022

2nd Quarter Moon Waxing in Virgo

Celtic Tree Month of Alder

Partly Cloudy and warm

This past weekend was about planting.

I planted the snapdragons, two pots of marigolds, cilantro, and mesclun greens. I also planted Thomas Edison dahlia bulbs. I planted a “growing kit” of dwarf sunflowers, and one of lavender. A Twitter pal has stepped in as my “Dahlia coach” which is a lot of fun, since he knows a lot about growing dahlias, and I have someone to whom I can ask questions.

The greens started coming up in just a few days, and the marigolds had germinated by yesterday.

I also replanted the lemon plant I’ve grown from seed to a bigger pot.

The peace lily is so happy in its new pot. It’s not pulling its usual drama queen behavior, because now it has room to thrive. I hope it likes this pot for a few years, because the next size up will be a challenge!

The pots I got for the dahlias are tall, although not all that wide. They are textured, to look like birch bark, and are really pretty. The Thomas Edison should be a dark reddish purple, with the blooms 8-10” in diameter. My dahlia coach said the stems would grow up about 5 feet, so I wanted to make sure the pot was big enough not to tip over. We don’t have much space, so I didn’t want to go wide. I decided to go tall, but that could still hold enough earth to hold it. I’ll probably have to stake it at some point. I’m regretting giving away so much of my gardening stuff before the move.

The” growing kits” are bizarre. A peaty disk that is dropped into 2 ½ cups of water. It soaks up the water, expanding. Then, you put most of it into the pot, drop in the seeds, and put in the rest. It can take up to a month to germinate.

The cats decimated their pot of cat grass. I reseeded the second pot (even though it wasn’t a planting day), and am waiting for it to sprout. They love sitting in the various windows and watching the birds, who are getting busy. They also sit on the chairs in the kitchen by the window, to watch the birds in the birdhouses – and Spiro Squirrel, who is being a total brat all the time.

Some of the seedlings have stalled in their growth. They’re staying tiny, and not growing up or getting stronger, which puzzles me. They’re not overcrowded, so I’m not sure what’s going on.

We kept moving the plants onto the front porch during the day, and moving them back into the living room at night. Yesterday, it hit 79 degrees F here – and to think, we had snow flurries on Sunday! We could finally throw open the windows and leave the plants on the porch overnight.

This morning was the first day this season I could have my first cup of coffee out on the porch, and do my first writing session out there, with Tessa’s company. It was wonderful.

It might hit 80 today, and then thunderstorms tonight. It’s supposed to cool down by Saturday, and be cold for the following few days, so we might have to bring everything in again by Saturday late afternoon. But the plants will enjoy their time on the porch.

I have to find my teak oil and oil the furniture for the summer. I didn’t do it at the end of the season, the way I should have.

I’m eager for it to get warm enough to start putting things outside. I want to get indoor/outdoor rugs for the back balcony and the front porch, and I want to start setting up The Enchanted Garden again back there. Later in the season, I will add hanging baskets of petunias to the back, and more herbs to the front porch. I want it to be magical and cheerful, a place of joy and enchantment.

How is your garden doing?

Thurs. April 7, 2022: Things Are Growing!

Peace lily. Photo by Devon Ellington

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Waxing Moon First Quarter in Gemini

Rainy and cool

Celtic Tree Month of Alder

The plants are growing like crazy! Last weekend, I made another trip to buy more pots, soil, and a couple of tomato cages for the tomatoes and the cucumbers. I also repotted the peace lily. When we bought the plant, for the very first party at the Cape house, it was in a 4” pot. I just repotted it into a 14” pot.

The night-blooming jasmine should ship soon. I asked the grower what size pot it should go in, and they said a 16” pot. Um? That’s considerably larger than I expected!

The snapdragon and marigold seeds were supposed to be here last Monday, but are still circling around various depots in the Midwest.

On sunny days, as soon as the porch is warm enough, the seedlings are moved out. In the evening, as it cools down, they come back in. It’s worth it, since most of the seedlings are thriving.

I planted a lot of annuals this year, and I’m not sure that was the best choice. I guess I’ll find out. But I wanted flowers this year, and I’ll slowly experiment with small-sized vegetables and herbs to see what grows well. I’m diligent about keeping up the plant journal, which helps.

When I did the big grocery shop on Tuesday, I also bought a large pot of pansies and a bunch of lavender tulips. Pansies always make me smile. They’re such a cheerful flower, and I love having them around. I think, however, I will use petunias in the hanging baskets I eventually want for the back balcony.

I’m a little worried that the mallow won’t come up, and I’m getting ready to give up on the pear and the clementine, and use those pots for herbs instead. They must have been GMO fruits, rather than heirloom, even if they were grown in “organic” conditions.

I followed instructions and took the Rose of Jericho out of the water to “rest” for a day on Monday. According to my research, I have to change the water every day, and let it dry rest one day a week, and then one day a month. It browned and curled up again during the rest, but, although it’s unfurling again, it’s not turning green again. So I’m a little worried.

I planted more cat grass. Charlotte and Willa love their cat grass, and when they can chomp on that, they leave everything else alone.

How are things growing where you are? Grace, how are your blueberries and azaleas doing? Pat, how are the herbs doing? I love hearing about the plants!