Thurs. Sept. 29, 2022: The Season Starts The Turn

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Thursday, September 29, 2022

First Quarter Moon Waxing in Scorpio

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus, Mercury Retrograde

Mostly sunny and cool

Celtic Tree Month of Vine

It’s like someone flipped a switch, and we’re into autumn temperatures, but not autumn colors. It’s still lovely and pleasant during the days (when it’s not raining), but going down into the 40s and even the 30s (F) at night.

Which meant moving the plants inside, from the back balcony. The large peace lily is in my office. The night blooming jasmine came in from the front porch to sit next to it. The peace lily was a drama queen for the first few days, but has settled down. The maiden hair fern went up on top of the bookcase in my office, where the cats can’t get at it. The slip of Mother’s tongue that fell off the big plant, and the lemon tree are both still in my office.

The jade plant and the Christmas cacti went into my mother’s room. The aloe plant came into the kitchen. The large Mother’s tongue is in the living room. The geraniums all went out onto the front porch.

That leaves the black-eyed Susan vine (still blooming), the morning glory (still blooming), the moonflower (never bloomed), the marigold, the lilac, the chrysanthemum, the mugwort, and the mullein out on the back balcony. The lettuce is finished.

I have to cut the peppermint and the lemon balm and let it dry.

We have to close off the front porch in the evening, and open it in the late morning, but during the day, when it’s sunny, it’s like a greenhouse there.

You know what that means?

The tomato plants we grew from seed, which did nothing all summer, are suddenly growing. Does this mean we’ll have tomatoes for Christmas?

This coming weekend is the big turnover to the spider web curtains, the Halloween fabric, and the Halloween decorations. One of the fun things about living here is that people start decorating for Halloween in September, and keep layering it on until November.

How’s your garden doing?

Thurs. Sept. 22, 2022: Equinox Rains

image courtesy of Markus Spiske via Pixabay.com

Thursday, September 22, 2022

4th Quarter Moon Waning in Leo

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus, Mercury Retrograde

Celtic Tree Month of Vine

Autumn Equinox

Rainy and mild

Plants are waning, although the morning glories are blooming nicely. Of course, Spiro Squirrel eats all the blossoms he can reach, that little troublemaker.

The black-eyed Susans and black-eyed Susan vine are still blooming well, too. I think I will plant more black-eyed Susan vine next spring, maybe in different colors.

I think we’ll have to take the Thanksgiving/Christmas cacti in soon; the nights are getting cooler. Pretty soon, we’ll have to figure out where to put the plants that need to be inside all winter, and which plants can stay on the front porch when we close it off for the winter.

I wonder when the tulip bulbs will arrive.

It’s been gray and rainy for days now, but I guess that’s better than snow!

Today is the Autumn Equinox. It only gets darker from here.

How are you winding things up in the garden?

Thurs. Sept. 15, 2022: Harvests and Marigolds

image courtesy of yganeshbabu via pixabay.com

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Third Quarter Waning Moon in Taurus

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus, Mercury Retrograde

Celtic Tree Month of Vine

Sunny and cooler

The morning glories finally bloomed, just before my friends arrived for their visit. Finally! Really pretty, too.

The marigolds are blooming – well, the ones where the squirrels didn’t eat the blooms.

The night blooming jasmine is starting to bloom, too!

We’ve used the last of the lettuce. That did well.

I’m giving up on the tomatoes and yanking them out. The plants never grew beyond shoots. It’s time to harvest the rest of the basil and make pesto. The chives are just about done. The rosemary gave up (I’m so tired of it acting like an annual). The parsley still has some life in it, thank goodness.

Slowly, we are putting plants to bed, and we’ll start bringing in some of the ones that need more warmth as things cool down.

While this season was disappointing, I learned a lot, and hopefully, I can apply it well next year.

I want the hummingbirds to be happy next year, so I’m going to grow flowers out on the back balcony that they’ll like. I’m even thinking about growing some Angel’s Trumpet (datura). Since the balcony is up on the second level, random people won’t mess with it to get poisoned, and the flowers are so pretty. We’ll see.

I need to update this season’s garden journal and then do an assessment. That way, I can plan for next year. I need to get a bigger binder. The plan is to keep that season’s notes in the smaller binder, and put the previous season’s notes in the big binder, with yearly dividers, so I can go back and see what worked and what didn’t.

Now that we have to factor climate change into every evaluation, too, that will also make a difference.

How’s your harvest coming?

Thurs. Sept. 8, 2022: Finally Rain and Too Much Rain

image courtesy of Steve Bussinne via pixabay.com

Thursday, September 8, 2022

2nd Quarter Waxing Moon in Libra

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus Retrograde

Mercury turns Retrograde TOMORROW

Celtic Tree Month of Vine

Cloudy and cooler

I’ve mentioned this before, and I’ll say it again: it feels like we’re in a seasonal limbo. The calendar says September, but it doesn’t feel or smell like it. Although it’s a little cooler, thank goodness, it still doesn’t have that crispness, nor are the leaves turning colors yet. Some of them are turning brown and giving up, but there’s not that wave of color change.

We finally got rain, and then it rained steadily for more than a day. While we needed it, it was a little too much too quickly, and many of the plants and shrubs outside got battered.

Mercury goes retrograde tomorrow, to pile on to all the other retrogrades, so September will be a challenging month on multiple levels.

We’re in the Celtic Tree Month of Vine right now. It’s about harvest and passionate emotions (both good and bad). Pile that on top of the retrogrades and yeah, challenges.

On the garden front, the marigolds out back are starting to bloom and are lovely. The black-eyed Susans and four o’clocks are doing well. The rosemary has had it. I don’t understand why, here in MA, rosemary behaves like an annual. The dahlias, which had died back and regrown, are dying back again. I have friends coming to visit this weekend with lovely gardens, and I am digging up those damn dahlias and giving them away. In spite of all the coddling they got, they were spiteful and didn’t bloom. Outta here!

The annuals are starting to fade, so I will cut them back and pull them out as needed. The lettuce is done and has bolted; some of the basil is bolting, and the rest I’ll turn into pesto in the coming week or so.

We’re in the process of emptying/scrubbing pots and storing them for the winter. Pretty soon, we’ll have to bring the plants inside to overwinter – and decide where to put them! That will be a challenge, at times. But we’ll figure it out.

How’s your garden doing?

Thurs. Sept. 1, 2022: Flamingo Sentinels

omage courtesy of Ulrike Leone via pixabay.com

Thursday, September 1, 2022

First Quarter Moon Waxing in Scorpio

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus Retrograde

Celtic Tree Month of Hazel

Sunny and cooler

September 1, and finally, some of this humidity has broken! The plants will be relieved. The front porch gets a little bit like a hothouse conservatory during the day. Which isn’t a bad thing, but I have to adjust which plants do well there.

The rosemary does not, so next year’s rosemary will have to go out back. I had some mugwort in the front (and in the back), but the mugwort in the front wasn’t happy, so I moved it.

The marigolds in the back are getting ready to bloom, which is exciting.

The four o’clocks are lovely in the front, the way they open and close. The night blooming jasmine is enormous, but hasn’t yet bloomed. The mountain heliotrope has lovely, periwinkle-colored blossoms. The dahlia restarted. I have no idea what’s going on there.

The black-eyed Susan plant is doing well in the back. I love how cheerful they are.

The pink flamingos are doing their job in the back, and keeping away the squirrels. So next year, I think I will buy some whirligigs, too, for the back. Put something in every pot, and maybe then the squirrels won’t destroy it all.

The black-eyed Susan vine is blooming like crazy out back, and it looks like the morning glories might start. Still nothing from the moonflowers, although the vines have grown nicely, and, between the three kinds of plants, it’s created a lovely natural curtain along the railings of the back balcony.

Apples come into season soon, and I can’t wait. I love apples, and I  miss eating an apple every day. I already had the first apple cider donuts that showed up in the store!

I can’t wait for some genuine, autumn weather!

How are things in your neck of the woods?

Thurs. Aug. 25, 2022: Ragweed Season Begins

image courtesy of Jan Haerer via pixabay.com

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Fourth Quarter Waning Moon in Leo

Day Before Dark Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus Retrograde

Celtic Tree Month of Hazel

Cloudy and humid

Not much to tell, on the garden front. The black-eyed Susan vine is gorgeous and blooming out back. The vines for the morning glory and moonflowers are lovely, but there aren’t any blossoms yet. The four o’clocks, out front, are blooming beautifully. I’d always had yellow ones on Cape; I forgot that these were red! They are fun.

The night-blooming jasmine has grown to be huge; I hope it blooms next summer.

A lot of the plants stalled, and I’m not sure why. The tomatoes never grew up so they could have blooms that then could be pollinated and make tomatoes. The hollyhocks and snapdragons also stalled. I’m not sure what’s going on there. I think, next year, I will get a different type of potting soil, and see if that makes a difference.

It’s definitely ragweed season (Achoo!) which means it will soon be goldenrod season.

We have a few slips of plants that are getting roots, and we will put them in pots soon. We are emptying pots of plants that have come and gone, and will scrub out the pots, put the soil in a bin with nutrients over the winter, out on the back deck, and, hopefully, it will be better soil next year.

It doesn’t really feel like summer anymore, but it hasn’t taken that turn into crispness for autumn, either. It’s more like a limpid in-between state.

I’m looking forward to autumn and cool breezes, and then battening down the hatches and staying cozy all winter.

How is your garden doing?

Thurs. Aug. 18, 2022: A Little Visitor

image by Dominec Hoffman

Thursday, August 18, 2022

3rd Quarter Waning Moon in Taurus

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter Retrograde

Celtic Tree Month of Hazel

On a positive note, we now have a hummingbird who comes and visits on the back balcony. I love hummingbirds.

On a negative note, Spiro Squirrel tore a hole in the kitchen window screen, trying to get in. Put on a temporary patch, until I can get it fixed.

The dahlia is showing new growth, which completely confuses me. The impatiens is growing back, which is great. The tomatoes have just never done much.

The four o’clocks are blooming, and they are lovely. Every afternoon, the bright reddish-pink blossoms open. I’ll try to take a picture, but I keep forgetting until it’s too dark.

My neighbors downstairs have actual ears of corn on their cornstalks. It’s vey cool. And their tomatoes are doing really well.

The weather’s been mostly dry, but as hot and humid, thank goodness. We had a little rain yesterday.

The Canada geese have been flying south the last couple of weeks. The weather folk keep telling us we will have a long, warm autumn (which would be nice), but the animals and plants are saying something else.

So we’ll see.

How’s your garden growing?

Thurs. Aug. 11, 2022: Garden in the Month of Hazel

image courtesy of Annette Meyer via pixabay.com

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Full moon in Aquarius

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter Retrograde

Sunny and pleasant

Celtic Tree Month of Hazel

The heat and humidity have broken, which is helpful. The plants are happier; the people and the cats are certainly happier.

I’ve been cleaning up and putting aside the pots where the plants didn’t survive. I have to catch up on the notes in my plant journal, but yeah, there definitely need to be some changes next year. Live and learn, right? Part of it.

I’m hearing that the heat and humidity have negatively impacted plenty of gardens. Hopefully, some books on gardening in climate change will come out soon.

Spiro Squirrel tried to get into the kitchen via the screen again earlier this week, and Willa chased him away. Another time, he was on the bistro table, watching us through the window. I had to go out on the balcony before he jumped on the railing, ran along it, and jumped back into the tree. Little brat.

The mountain heliotrope has its first blossom, which is fun. The black-eyed Susan vine is blooming like crazy all over the back balcony, and very pretty. I will definitely plant that again next year. The morning glories and moonflowers have vined all the way up the posts to the rail, but no blossoms yet.

The Farmers’ Market continues to be amazing. I’ve made pasta primavera and roasted vegetables over couscous and all kinds of good things this week. When the eggplants appear, I will buy a bunch of eggplant, zucchini, tomato, and peppers to make a big bunch of ratatouille (Moosewood recipe), and then portion it and freeze it. And I want to make a bunch more pesto, too.

We entered the Celtic Tree Month of Hazel last Friday. Hazel is connected to inspiration and wisdom. It’s all about sacred wells and magical springs, and the knowledge that bubbles inside.  Lots of wands are made out of hazel wood. It’s a wonderful time to write poetry or songs. (Which is funny, because I’m reading the latest poem I wrote at part of the Poets in Conversation series tonight).

How’s your garden growing?

Thurs. Aug. 4, 2022: Squirrel Squalor

image by Robbi Hoy courtesy of pixabay.com

Thursday, August 4, 2022

First Quarter Moon Waxing in Libra

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter Retrograde

Sunny, hot, humid

Celtic Tree Month of Holly

Well, this has been a frustrating week on the garden front.

Some excellent things: my friend in New York gave me a potted lilac, mugwort, and tansy from her garden. They are all doing well.

The black-eyed Susan vine has finally started to bloom. I hope that means the morning glories and moonflowers will start, too. The night blooming jasmine is growing like crazy, and I finally put it in a larger pot.

However, the squirrel not only destroyed the pumpkin on the balcony, but ripped a hole in the kitchen screen. Willa scared him off. So now I have a screen to repair. And we have to close the kitchen window during the night, so he can’t get to it, which makes it harder to cool down the place.

Some sort of insect that makes webs infected the cucumber, the impatiens, and one of the marine heliotrope plants. I hope I’ve saved the marine heliotrope, but the cucumber is beyond help, and I think the impatiens are too (I cut back the impatiens, but I don’t think they’ll recover. I overwatered the borage and that’s gone, but I’ll plant them properly next year.

The dahlias are a loss. I stripped the dead leaves off. The blossom gave up, on the bigger of the two. The smaller one is now showing new growth.

I am DONE with dahlias. I was reluctant to try them because they are such high maintenance plants. Done with those drama queens. They’ve been fussed over and coddled since they were planted. The least they can do is bloom.

When my friend with the beautiful garden comes to visit, I will dig up the bulbs and give them to her. She can use them or the groundhogs in her yard can get them. I don’t care.

I’m not sure why the marigolds on the back balcony are doing so well, but the ones on the front porch are not.

The tomato plants just sit there. They don’t grow. They just stay the same.

I think, in this place, growing vegetables is not a good choice, and I’ll rely on the Farmers’ Market. I’ll stick with flowers and herbs, especially cooking herbs and medicinal herbs. I didn’t grow zinnias this year, but they are on my list for next year.

The lemon balm and the mints are doing very well.

The lettuce is still going, which surprises me, since lettuce usually gives it up when it gets hot.

Anyway, this season has been frustrating. But there’s usually a steep learning curve when moving to a new place.

The peace lily is delighted to be out on the back balcony this year, and is not being the drama queen she was last year. The geraniums are doing well, too. And the Christmas Cacti just bloom all year round.

So there’s plenty that’s working. But I’m still frustrated.

Hope your garden is doing better than mine.

Thurs. July 28, 2022: Frustration

image courtesy of Geoffrey Hyland via pixabay.com

Thursday, July 28, 2022

New Moon in Leo

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter Retrograde

Celtic Tree Month of Holly

On the plant front, this has been a frustrating week. Even though we kept everything watered in the heat, we lost a bunch of plants. We lost one dahlia, and the other looks like it’s going, too, even though it looked like it would bloom. The sunflowers never did anything except grow about 4 “ tall. The cucumbers completely gave up, even though they’d been pollinated and were making cucumbers. The sweet peas only grew vines, no flowers. Some of the hollyhocks are starting to look unhappy. The pumpkin was doing well, but something climbed into the pot and took out most of the earth.

And I have no idea why.

They are watered, but not overwatered. They have plenty of sun.

Why are the plants dying?

I don’t get it.

The geraniums are doing well. The marine heliotrope, the echinacea, lemon balm, mints, impatiens, are all doing well.

The Christmas cactus is confused enough to bloom.

The peace lily is having a fine old time out on the back balcony.

So what’s with the others? It’s very frustrating.

Last Saturday, when we performed the World’s Largest Poem at the Mount, the Edith Wharton homestead, I got to spend some time in the gardens. It’s so beautiful. There’s a sculpture installation there now, too, and some of the poets are doing pieces inspired by the sculptures over the next few weeks, so I hope to go back and hear them.

I love how art is installed in so many of the gardens around here. Art is a living part of daily life. It makes such a huge, positive difference.

How is your garden growing?

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