July 9, 2020: Enjoyment

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photo courtesy of MikesPhotos via pixabay.com

Thursday, July 9, 2020
Waning Moon Third Quarter in Pisces
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Foggy and humid
Celtic Tree Month of Holly

There’s not a whole lot to say this week. The garden in the picture is not mine; I’d love it if it was.

We have a lack of bees around this summer, and it concerns me. We had a good quantity earlier in spring – and then the neighbors used chemicals for their lawn, and here we are. So nothing is getting pollinated, which is not boding well for the blossoms on tomatoes and cucumbers.

The beans are doing well. Che Guevara Chipmunk dug up the sunflower and pea seeds, so nothing there. I’m battling the bindweed invasive.

The bittersweet is blooming and is a pollinator, so I’m not cutting it back yet. The Queen Anne’s Lace is about 4 feet tall and beautiful.

I enjoy some time out on the deck every afternoon, reading and/or writing. I take Willa out in her playpen, and she loves it.

Willa and the bunny love staring at each other.

Che Guevara Chipmunk hasn’t been around much in the last few days. I hope he’s okay. The illegal fireworks (10 hours straight on July 4th; every night since July 1) upset the critters.

Some of the lilac cuttings seem to be rooting; only a couple of the rhodies look good. But a couple is better than none.

We’re just keeping on keeping on. The pansies are still blooming; it hasn’t been too hot, so I haven’t needed to switch them out to petunias yet.

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, the Botanical Interests seeds have been disappointing. Next year, I’ll buy my seeds elsewhere. Usually, when I sow Botanical Interests seeds, I get 60-70% germination rate. This year, it’s about 10%. The percentage/cost of seeds/time spent ratio isn’t working for me this year.

The roses are lovely. They grew back quite well where I’d hacked them back last fall.

The tiger lilies should bloom soon. They are in drifts up on the bay side of the Cape, so they will bloom soon over here. The bay side blooms a little earlier.

That’s pretty much it. I’m getting as much enjoyment as possible out of it all.

Too bad the neighbors can’t. All they do is use noisy machines, put down chemicals, and destroy. They never build anything, or make anything beautiful. They just make noise, pollute, and destroy. It’s disappointing.

Hope your garden is growing well.

 

July 2, 2020: My Garden Definitely Grows!

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The terraced border in the backyard

Thursday, July 2, 2020
Second Quarter Waxing Moon in Sagittarius
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Celtic Tree Month of Oak
Hazy and humid

Hello, my friends! It’s been two weeks, because I had surgery last Thursday. I’m on the road to recovery, but it’s taking longer than I would like.

In the meantime, the garden is growing!

The lawn was finally mowed last Friday, and looks much better. I moved the two small, potted evergreens that flanked the front door out of the front beds, and to the side of the house. They’ve grown over the years (I bought them the first Christmas we moved in, in 2010). They don’t look right. They’re too big to be on the small front step; they look wrong tucked in the back of the front bed.

So I moved them to the side of the house (to hide a small dead tree the owner has yet to get rid of). I started cleaning out the front beds and found a wasp nest, attached to the siding, right near the spigot for the hose.

I dashed out to get wasp killer. Note to self: Avoid Hyannis Country Gardens in the future. Only the register staff keeps their masks on, and the customers wear their masks around their necks, not over their faces, and refuse to distance. Not worth putting my life in danger because of selfish Sliding Mask Skanks.

I nearly sprayed them all with wasp killer, but I needed it for the house.

Battled the wasps over the next few days. This weekend, I hope to get the hose attached in the front, and wash the rest of it away.

Because it looked too bare in the front of the house, I brought two of the oversized red geraniums from the back and put them in front. Good Feng Shui, and they look pretty.

One of the baskets of pansies in the front gave up the ghost. I have to put some of the spare pansies in there, and then continue to clean out the front beds.

The border of the terraced section is lively, as you can see from the photo above. The Stella D’oro lilies are doing well. There’s also that slightly darker yellow lily – I’m not sure what it’s called, but I like it. The daisies are in bloom, as are the catmint, the feverfew, and the Queen Anne’s Lace. The Tiger Lilies are getting ready to bloom.

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The Astilbe is pinker than it looks in the photo, and is lovely. The Elephant hosta is now enormous.

I have to tackle bindweed this weekend, because it’s creeping around choking things.

I’m a little concerned that the hostas are already sending up blooms. It should happen in August; the last few years it’s been happening in mid-late July. This year it’s in early July. Also, the critters are already hoarding for winter. That does not bode well.

The rugosa roses are doing well, and the scent is lovely, wafting into my bedroom.

Tomatoes are coming along. Cucumbers keep blooming, but none of the blooms are producing anything. Beans have sprouted. Che Guevara Chipmunk dug up the peas and the sunflowers, so I think those will be a bust this year.

Herbs and lavender are fine. I’d hoped the morning glories would start blooming, but they are very busy growing.

The hydrangeas are blooming. Cape Cod is known for them, and the hydrangea festival is next weekend. I think people are observing from their cars? I hope packs of Maskless Morons don’t think they’re actually going to tromp around people’s properties.

I wouldn’t be out and about on a holiday weekend around here anyway, because of the traffic and the idiot tourists. Add the pandemic this year, and I’m really staying home.

But I have my enchanted garden to enjoy (and work in). I can read and watch the birds – lots of finches this year!

I love to have my first cup of morning coffee out on the deck. I check on the plants. I talk with the birds and the bunnies. The little black cat hasn’t been around lately. I think she was just a visitor. Sometimes I do my first writing session of the day on the deck.

Later in the day, I either read or take more work out on the deck. The skylights and the covering mean I can even work in bad weather (as long as the rain isn’t coming sideways).

Being out there gives me a sense of peace and belonging, that I don’t get anywhere else around here. It also emphasizes how much I want a place of my own, not a rental.

The bunnies continue to eat breakfast and dinner in the patches of dandelions I keep in the yard. Che Guevara Chipmunk is very busy. He likes to get right in Willa’s face, because she’s in the playpen, but she’s learned how to chase him by turning the playpen into a snowball-like roller.

I am so grateful to have this space to enjoy and rest in, this sanctuary away from the horrors of the world.

How’s your garden doing?

Thurs. June 25, 2020: Dreams of House & Garden

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image courtesy of dimitrisvetsikas 1969 via pixabay.com

I’m scheduled for surgery today. In the twilight of anesthesia, I hope I will dream about a place as beautiful as this.

Catch you next week!

 

Thurs. June 18, 2020: Growth

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image courtesy of Conger Designs via pixabay.com

Thursday, June 18, 2020
Waning Moon 4th Quarter in Taurus
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Foggy and cool
Celtic Tree Month of Oak

Things are growing, and it’s lovely to watch. Summer Solstice this weekend, and then we start losing light.

The morning glories and the moonflowers are both doing well. I think the morning glories might start blooming next week. The pollinator mix and the zinnias are coming up, but the hollyhocks never sprouted, which is a disappointment.

The pansies are still going strong, but with the weather getting warmer, it might become too much for them.

The tomatoes, basil, and other herbs are coming along nicely, and the eggplant and cherry seeds have sprouted. Keeping a close eye on them, for transplanting.

The lettuce is nearly done; not a good year for lettuce this year, sadly. We usually have it going like gangbusters well into August. I might try sowing some mixed greens (today is a planting day), and maybe finally get the beans in. Might be too late, but worth a shot. Someone told me I can still sow the sunflowers.

Everything on the deck was covered in a thick layer of yellow tree pollen. I hosed down the deck and the furniture, but some of the plants will need the leaves sprayed or individually washed, or the pollen will choke it. I do love the pine trees, but the pollen can be annoying.

Neighbors all around are cutting down perfectly healthy trees, which is infuriating. On Independence Drive, in Hyannis, they cut ALL the large gorgeous trees in the median, and most of the trees on the side, revealing so much dust and ugliness. People on the Cape are bound and determined to use the pandemic as a reason to destroy as many natural resources as possible. It’s not progress; it makes the area look cheap and ugly.

Reveals a lot about the people doing it, right?

In any case, I am happy in my enchanted garden. On a typical summer, I would spend most of my time here, avoiding the tourist mayhem. This year, I will particularly do so. I am filled with gratitude for the space, even though I haven’t been able to put in the money to do everything I want.

If it clears up a bit more, I will spend a few hours this morning working on the front beds. They need some tidying up. I did some work on the beds in the back over the last few days, battling invasives, weeding, getting things watered. The lawn guy should be here at some point this week (he usually comes every two weeks, and this is week 3).

One of the things I love doing is paging through garden magazines, reading garden memoirs, and planning gardens for my fictional characters. It’s a way to experiment with gardens on a larger scale, and then, maybe find ways to incorporate some of my favorite things in my own.

I won’t post next Thursday – I am currently scheduled for surgery. I hope to be able to spend time healing in my garden.

Peace, my friends, and I’ll be back in touch in two weeks.

 

Thurs. June 11, 2020: Progress

Thursday, June 11, 2020
Waning Moon 3rd Quarter in Aquarius
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Celtic Tree Month of Oak
Cloudy and humid

Things are growing, which is good, about now. It’s warmer and humid, but still much cooler than usual. Not that I’m complaining for myself, but I worry about the plants.

The transplanted tomatoes are doing well, with their little basil companions. The cucumber now has three blossoms – let’s hope the bees pollinate! Peppers are doing well. Nothing from the eggplants yet – I have a feeling Che Guevara Chipmunk’s been digging.

Morning glories and moonflowers are growing well. Pollinator mix doing well, as are the zinnias. Nothing from the hollyhocks, which is disappointing.

The herbs are all doing well.

I have to scrub the tree pollen off all the surfaces, but other than that, our Enchanted Deck is doing quite well.

Today is another planting day. As late as it is, I’m going to plant some zucchini seeds, beans, and start the peas soaking to plant tomorrow. I know, I know, it’s waaaay late to plant peas. But I’ll try.

I cut back a lot in the front beds and on the side. I have to clean out the front beds, do some more weeding and tidying up around the roses, and get rid of some invasives in the back. The weather’s been a little wonky, so I haven’t done all that much. I’m hoping for a nice weekend, so I can spend a couple of hours every day getting things done.

I’m designing a garden for one of my books – and having such a good time with it. There’s a lot of room in this fictional garden, and it’s set within a wood, so there’s all kinds of fun stuff, with patches of sun and shade.

The lettuce is absolutely yummy, and we love being able to eat it.

The pair of bunnies love the patches of dandelion and clover in the yard. They’re so much fun to watch. The birds are busy, and Che Guevara Chipmunk keeps everyone in line.

Willa loves going outside in the playpen. She’s really funny.

It’s so nice to sit outside and read a book or write or have a cocktail on the deck and just enjoy the yard. It’s always nutty around here in summer because of tourists, so I’m always grateful to have this sanctuary. I’m even more grateful this year, with the reckless re-opening and people running around like the virus doesn’t exist any more.

I’ll just stay and enjoy my sanctuary.

How is your garden doing?

Thurs. June 4, 2020: Watching Growth

 

Thursday, June 4, 2020
Second Quarter Moon in Scorpio
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Celtic Tree Month of Hawthorn
Sunny and humid

The first flower on the cucumber plant blossomed! I’m very excited. There are plenty of bees around, so let’s hope we get actual cucumbers.

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The morning glories, moonflowers, and pollinators are sprouting. We lost some of the lettuce when the large peace lily was knocked over by the wind and fell on it, but the lettuce that survived is doing well.

We’re eating lettuce from our own garden. As always, it has more taste than anything in the store (and is safer to eat).

The hollyhock seeds did not sprout, but I think Che Guevara Chipmunk might have something to do with that.

The lilacs have come and gone, except for my lovely potted white Edith Cavell lilac that still blooms, and the Miss Kim lilac that is just starting. The iris are in bloom. We don’t have many iris left, but the ones we have are lovely.

There are two large brown bunnies who eat breakfast and dinner in the yard. I keep patches of dandelions for bunnies, bees, and butterflies. Che Guevara Chipmunk is very, very busy. He comes right up on the deck now to talk to me, and to tease Willa in her playpen. He never dared to tease Tessa, because she told him right off.

The birds are back and happy: cardinals, blue jays, crows, lots and lots of warblers. I hear the mourning dove early in the morning. Bratty Bird is finally back. Tessa hasn’t been out on the deck often; I think Bratty Bird misses teasing her.

I have to replant tomato seedlings today, and plant eggplant and cherry seeds. I might plant some beans, too. I forgot to soak the pea seeds overnight, so they will have to wait.

I might do a run to the garden center (masked, of course) to get more lettuce and some herbs. I bought a big pot of basil that I can break up and plant with the tomatoes, but I also need marigolds.

This weekend is supposed to be nice, so I’m going to weed beds and do some repotting, rearranging, and put out the garden stakes and the solar lights. Just a little bit every day, and, eventually, it will get done.

I also want to see if I can root cuttings from the fluffy pink azalea-or-maybe-it’s-a-rhody and from the big lilac.

How is your garden growing?

Thurs. May 28, 2020: Things Are Growing

Thursday, May 28, 2020
Waxing Moon in Second Quarter Leo
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Celtic Tree Month of Hawthorn

Not much to say, garden-wise. I’m behind on the planting. I was too tired on the last planting day to do much. Now, I don’t think I can wait until next Wednesday to replant the tomato seedlings. I’m going to have to do it this weekend.

The morning glory seeds I planted last week are starting to sprout. I hope the moonflowers, zinnias, mixed pollinators, and hollyhocks soon follow suit.

The lettuce we saved is doing well, and so are the peppers and the one little cucumber.

The lilacs are in full bloom and ready to fade. The red Stewart azalea is blooming, and our puffy pink not-sure-if-it’s-azalea-or-rhody is in full flower, too.

The grass is growing, and our lawn guy will be here sometime this week to mow it. The hostas is in full throttle, but the hydrangeas are struggling this year. Not just mine, but I see it all around.

The trees are finally coming into leaf.

We’re enjoying time on the Enchanted Deck Garden. It’s full on summer on the Cape, which means too many tourists and can’t do anything anyway – even with the virus. So we are just fine staying home.

Hope your gardens are flourishing, too!

Thurs. May 21, 2020: Finally, A Planting Day

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Thursday, May 21, 2020
Dark Moon in Taurus
Pluto Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Celtic Tree Month of Hawthorn
Sunny and pleasant

I’m very disappointed with the packet seeds I bought this year. Saved seeds from organic food has sprouted much better. Let’s see if they will get pollinated and actually make food.

It was too cold to plant last weekend, but it’s warming up. Since today is a planting day, I’m going to plant some flower seeds, and maybe repot some tomato seedlings. Monday is the next planting day, and I will probably plant beans and peas that day.

I still have to clean out some of the beds and trim back some plants.

The big lilac is blooming in the back; not that many flowers this year, but I will cut some and put them in water. I love the smell of lilacs.

When I own my own property, I plan to add one lilac each year! Lilacs, lilacs everywhere!

We have the deck mostly set up – the photo above is a partial view. If the idiot neighbors didn’t spend all day EVERY day running chainsaws and leaf blowers, maybe I could actually enjoy sitting outside sometimes. I’d like to be able to enjoy the reason we rented this house. For the past few years, the neighbors blatantly violate noise code 7 days a week, for hours at a time, and the town can’t be bothered to enforce it. Yet renters are required to sign something stating they “understand” the noise code. But owners can do whatever they want?

No one HAS to make that much noise ALL the time.

Let’s hope I can enjoy a few hours here and there outside this weekend.

I intend to take it as a holiday weekend, and enjoy time at home without the pressure of having to do anything I don’t want to do.

Hope you can do the same.

Thurs. May 14, 2020: Someday We Can Start Planting

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Thursday, May 14, 2020
Third Quarter to Fourth Quarter Waning Moon in Aquarius
Celtic Tree Month of Hawthorn
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cool

That’s a photo of our blooming potted lilac, framing a hanging ornament from a basket of pansies, overlooking the freshly-mown terraced back yard area.

We lost most of the lettuce and the parsley. From the packet seeds, the beefsteak tomatoes didn’t survive and only one, teeny tiny Moneymaker tomato shoot is out. It was too cold on Sunday to plant the flowers, but I’m hoping it will be warmer for tomorrow’s planting day.

The saved seeds from food, however, are doing better. The cucumber climbs, the peppers are doing well, and both kinds of tomatoes (roma and grape) have come up. I will have to r=epot the tomatoes soon.

I’m going to start eggplants, again from saved seeds, tomorrow on the planting day.

We’re taking seedlings out for sun during the day, and still bringing them in at night, because it’s gone down as low as the 30s.

The guy came to mow our lawn yesterday — first mow! It looks great, and he was able to do it safely. He is the only landscaper I’ve seen around here that is using a mask. I sure appreciate it. He works alone, and he is comfortable coming here — I did check, because I didn’t want him to feel pressure to come if he felt unsafe, even though what he does is deemed “essential.” But he said he’d rather be out DOING, and he was taking precautions.

I hope to get some painting done this weekend (if the Target order with the paint ever shows up) and set up more of the Enchanted Garden on the deck. Maybe clean up some of the beds, if the weather holds. And, if it’s warm enough, sit out and enjoy the deck!

Since I’m not going anywhere any time soon, I fully intend to enjoy the garden even more than usual.

Happy planting, friends.

Thurs. May 7: First Growth

Thursday, May 7, 2020
Full Moon in Scorpio
Pluto Retrograde
Celtic Tree Month of Willow
Rainy and cool

Sorry I don’t have a photo today. The potted lilac on the deck has started to bloom. The lady’s mantle spills across the terraced are wall and looks lovely.

The rose of Sharon plants are budding. I prepped the pots on the deck for flower and pollinator planting, but it was too cold yesterday. I’ll either do it today or wait until the next planting day on Sunday.

We lost most of the lettuce and the parsley is miserable, which is frustrating.

But the Roma and grape tomato seeds are sprouting from the grocery store produce, which is fun. Nothing yet from the seed packets. Whatever I got from Country Garden this year is a dissapointment.

Cleaned the branch debris in the yard for next week’s lawn mowing. The guy who did it last year is eager to come back, we can manage it safely for all of us, and it takes so much pressure off me.

The peepers are out, and I love how they sing me to sleep at night. It brings back happy memories of my grandmother’s sleeping porch in Foxboro. I loved sleeping there whenever we visited in spring and summer.

I think I’d be afraid to sleep out on a porch in this day and age. I’d feel too exposed.

The mourning dove stll cries, and it feels appropriate, with all that’s going on. The blue jays are back being feisty, and we have more kinds of warblers than usual. I have to find my guide and try to identify them.

There are some fat bumblebees drifting around, enjoying the forsythia and early lilac and even the pansies. I hope the flower seeds come up nicely to give them a banquet.

Che Guevara Chipmunk is back, in fine fettle, running around on the wall and across the deck. I saw one bunny so far, a larger, browner one than we usually get.

The weather is nice for a day and awful for several, such slows everything down.

But I want to savor as much time in the garden as possible.

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