Thurs. May 19, 2022: Things Are Growing!

image courtesy of RitaE via pixabay.com

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Third Quarter Moon Waning in Capricorn

Pluto and Mercury Retrograde

Celtic Tree Month of Hawthorn

Rainy and cool

Things are growing! It’s absolutely lovely to be in the Berkshires right now, and watching the trees go into leaf, and the sides of the mountains turn from brown to green. The air smells wonderful.

The weather is all over the place, with bands of thunderstorms and heavy rains passing through Further east, they had hail.

We bought two hanging baskets. One is definitely impatiens (or, as my grandmother used to call them, “patient Lucy”). The other is marked as a “flowering annual”, but the leaves look and smell like a geranium. The baskets are hanging in the back balcony, but I keep having to take them down when it rains, because otherwise they’d get battered.

The lettuce is doing well, and pretty soon we can actually use it. I’m already using the parsley, the rosemary, and the mint. The chives did well all winter, and continue to provide chives.

We repotted the rest of the plants we’d bought at Whitney’s Farm last week. I put some marigold seeds in with the ruby cherry tomato, and they’ve started sprouting. The nasturtium was unhappy up on the shelf on the porch, so I moved it where it gets more sun. Hopefully, it will like it better. I reseeded the morning glories and put the pot out back. Fingers crossed.

The brown-eyed Susan is blooming well in the back, and Norway spruce seedling is growing. The peace lily is being its normal, drama queen self.

We’re keeping the cat grass growing, although they’re not eating much in the current batch.

The missing night-blooming jasmine was replaced. It’s much smaller than expected but I put it in a smaller pot than planned, and it seems perfectly happy so far.

There are lilacs here, so I might get a small lilac slip next spring and start it in a big pot. I miss my lilacs so much. I loved the old-fashioned lilac tree in our previous yard, and I’d nurtured the other potted lilacs for nearly ten years. It was a wrench to give them up, especially the white Edith Cavell lilac, which is not easy to find.

But our garden spaces are coming together, and we enjoy using them. The neighbors are setting up their porches and balconies, too, so it’s fun to see how everyone decorates and enjoys their various spaces. It adds so much to the quality of life.

The Celtic Tree month of Hawthorn began last Friday, so what does that mean?

Hawthorn has a lot of masculine energy. On a medicinal front, Hawthorn is used for circulatory issues and to lower blood pressure (always check with an accredited herbalist first, and discuss any medical conditions before trying an herbal remedy, especially if you’re on ANY kind of medication). On spiritual levels, it’s about clearing negativity and stimulating forgiveness.

It’s been cool enough the past few days to close the windows and for the heat to kick on overnight, but it’s supposed to get up into the 90’s this weekend, which I am not looking forward to.

However, I am looking forward to buying my season pass for Windsor Lake and spending time up there all summer!

How’s your garden growing?

Thurs. May 12, 2022: Creating Our Garden Spaces

back balcony, photo by Devon Ellington

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Waxing Moon Second Quarter in Virgo

Pluto and Mercury Retrograde

Celtic Tree Month of Willow

Sunny and pleasant

The focus, the past few days, has been on our version of garden. On Tuesday afternoon, we headed over to Whitney’s Farm and bought all kinds of plants: a red geranium, a brown-eyed Susan, rosemary, basil, a small tomato, spearmint, peppermint, impatiens, parsley. I saw what the black-eyed Susan vine will grow into, and it’s very exciting.

Yesterday, while the computer ran a 14-hour update, we used the time to start setting up the back balcony and the front porch as our Enchanted Garden spaces. It’s not finished, but they are both shaping up to be lovely.

We repotted the pumpkin to a larger pot, and moved the aloe into the former pumpkin pot. We repotted the brown-eyed Susan, the geranium, the basil, spearmint and peppermint, and then we ran out of potting soil. So that is on the agenda for today. More potting soil. We’d bought more pots, but we didn’t get all the proper sizes, so we might grab another pot or two.

We took out some of the big plants that overwintered inside and put them out back. That includes the peace lily. I have so much extra room in my office now! I oiled the bench and the two bistro chairs; we brought out the bistro table, and the small red table. I hung the stained-glass hummingbird and the stained-glass lighthouse. We put the green shelf unit that we use to define the space at the door (the length of the balcony is shared by the two apartments on this floor, but the other tenant uses his half as extra storage). We put out some of our decorations, and put down the red patio rug we bought. It looks good, but I think we need another one to run down the whole space,

We had to take all the furniture out of the front porch in order to put down the green rug I’d bought for that space. By a stroke of luck, it was exactly the right size. I mean, I’d done a rough measurement, but I’d bought the rug because it was the last one in the color I liked, and hoped for the best. It’s kind of a sage green, and it really brightens up the space. We then rearranged the furniture on it. Because the plant stands/shelf units are all on the back deck, we have to figure out what else we need for the plants still on the floor. But it’s a nice, inviting space.

I was tired and achy by the end of it, and I’m sore today, but it was worth it. Still more to do, but we have two lovely gardenesque spaces to enjoy this season!

How’s your garden doing?

Front porch with Willa, photo by Devon Ellington

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!

Thurs. March 31, 2022: More seedlings!

Pumpkin seedlings. Photo by Devon Ellington

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Fourth Quarter Dark Moon in Pisces

Celtic Tree Month of Alder

Lots of seed sprouting news in the past week! It’s all very exciting!

Whenever it’s sunny and the front porch warms up enough, we move all the seedlings out there. It’s a southern exposure, and good for them. Eventually, when it’s warm enough, some plants will go out on the back balcony, and others will stay on the front porch, but it’s still too cold.

The lemon balm still has that one, tiny shoot. The tomatoes are growing well, and I hope they remain sturdy.

Either Willa or Charlotte chomped on some of the cucumber seedlings. I’ve raised the pot where they can’t get at it when it’s inside. I’ve lost one of the seedlings, but the other nine seem to be fine.

The hollyhocks, morning glories, nasturtiums, sweet peas, tansy, moonflowers, four o’clocks and all three of the pumpkin seeds germinated.

We are only waiting for the mallow, pear, and clementine seeds to sprout.

The snapdragon and marigold seeds are on their way; I hope to plant them next week, once I’ve had the chance to buy more pots and soil. I still haven’t bought the tomato cages for the cucumbers and tomatoes. In the case of the cucumbers, I need to do that fast. I have a trellis in there, but it’s not enough.

As far as brands go, the Baker Creek Heirloom, Kitchen Garden, and Burpee seeds are doing the best, with the Botanical Interests seeds having a lower germination rate. Out of saved seeds, the pumpkin seeds from the pumpkin bought at Whitney’s Farm have been the best. It makes me doubt that the pears and the clementines were actually organic.

Rose of Jericho closed. Photo by Devon Ellington

In this month’s Tamed Wild box, I received a Rose of Jericho. I’ve never worked with this herb, so it’s a learning curve for me.  The photo above is when I first put it in the water.

Rose of Jericho starting to open. Photo by Devon Ellignton

A few hours later, it had started to open.

Rose of Jericho photo 3. By Devon Ellington

A few hours more, and it opened even more.

Rose of Jericho Photo 4. by Devon ellingon

The final photo is how it looked after a couple of days in the water. I just learned this morning that I need to change the water every day, give it a rest one day a week from the water, and one week a month, so I have to be careful about that. I’m making a collage about the plant for my plant journal.

How are your plants doing?

Thurs. March 24, 2022: Plants and Seedlings

image courtesy of conger design via pixabay.com

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Third Quarter Waning Moon in Sagittarius

Celtic Tree Month of Alder

Rain/sleet/snow

There’s a lot of garden-related stuff to write about this week! Very exciting.

I replanted more cat grass on the Equinox last Sunday. As of yesterday, it had already germinated, which is a good thing, since Charlotte and Willa are chomping on the second pot of it.

I’m a little worried about the heliotrope and the columbine. I’m not sure the seedlings will survive. The echinacea is growing slowly, but it’s growing. The black-eyed Susan vine is growing steadily, which is very exciting. The lemon balm has only one tiny shoot, not even a half an inch tall. The cherry falls tomato seedlings are doing well, and the mini cucumbers are growing fast! All 10 seeds germinated, and I will need a tomato cage for them by this weekend.

I bought more soil and pots, and even some more seeds, because I hadn’t bought any morning glories or moonflowers, and I love those.

I planted the Watchman hollyhocks, a rose mallow (Lavatera), a batch of mixed colors morning glories, moonflowers, jewel blend nasturtiums, marvel of Peru four o’clocks, heirloom sweet peas, and two pots of tansy seeds.

Yes, the tansy seeds finally arrived, after travelling from Missouri to Massachusetts to Chicago and back.

I also planted some saved seeds: pear, clementine, and some of the pumpkin seeds I saved from my friend’s Halloween pumpkin she carved when she visited.

Once the front porch warms up enough in the morning, we move the seedlings out for their sun. As it cools off in the late afternoon, we move them back into the warmth.

The night-blooming jasmine should arrive in April sometime. We’ll buy some lettuce plants and herbs, and a couple of hanging baskets of flowers later in the season.

It’s all very exciting! This is the first year we’re starting the growing season in the Berkshires, so there’s a lot to learn.

We’re in the Celtic Tree Month of Alder now, which means a focus on expressing hopes and dreams, and forgiving the past.

I focused more on flowers than on vegetables this year. I want to see how these work; if they grow well, I will try a couple of others next year, and so forth and so on. I’m more conscientious about keeping the notes updated in the plant journal, which will be a big help.

I still miss my lilacs so much it causes physical pain, but I will have to figure out what to do about it; keep some small ones in a container? For this season, I will have to buy bunches of cut lilacs.

Even missing the lilacs, I am excited about this year’s planting.

This morning, the weather keeps fluctuating between rain, sleet, and a smattering of snow., coating everything with a white sheen.

How’s your planting going?

Wed. March 17, 2022: More planting, more seedlings

image courtesy of pexels.com

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Second Quarter Moon Waxing in Scorpio

Cloudy and mild

Celtic Tree Month of Ash

After a beautiful day last Friday, we had yet another snowstorm on Saturday, which dumped heavy, wet snow on the area. And then the temperature has rocketed up again. It was 61 degrees F yesterday afternoon. Most of the snow is melted; there are some small patches, in places that were plowed into mounds.

I’d picked up more pots and more potting soil, and used them quickly, for the cherry tomatoes and mini cucumbers. I need to get some more pots and potting soil for the rest of the plants. I don’t know when we’ll get back to storage to get the pots we’ve still got there (and there may not be enough). I didn’t want to buy too many, but too few doesn’t work, either. And I always, always underestimate how much soil I need.

Charlotte and Willa have nearly decimated the first pot of cat grass, so I planted a second pot. I will alternate the two, so they always have cat grass (which means I need to buy more seeds). The second pot has already started to grow.

The lemon balm hasn’t yet sprouted, but a few shoots of the black-eyed Susan vine are cautiously putting their heads out. The echinacea is doing well. The heliotrope and columbine remain tiny shoots.

I’m still waiting for the tansy seeds, which should have arrived on Tuesday, but seem to be going around in circles between Springfield and here. Usually, once something hits Springfield, it gets here fast.

The sweet pea and mallow seeds arrived much more quickly than I expected; I hope to get more pots and soil soon, and then I can plant them.

The peace lily is, once again, outgrowing her pot. This plant is a bit of a drama queen anyway, but is getting crowded. To think, I bought it for $3.98 in a 4-inch pot back in January of 2011! And it’s spilling out of an 11 ½ inch pot now.

Some of the Christmas cacti are blooming. They’re always a bit confused, and tend to bloom year-round, taking turns.

The birds are very busy on the back balcony, sorting out who will live in which house, and on the nest under an eave. There was a cardinal in one of the trees the other morning, and the crows living in the tall evergreen out back are very busy, morning and night. The scout crows check in every morning, and when I run errands on foot, I generally have a running commentary from the crows as I head there and back. They have an absolute fit if I step off a curb and there’s a car within 100 feet of me, as though I’m not bright enough to avoid getting hit. I do appreciate the warnings, though.

Because the screened-in front porch faces south, it generally warms up quickly when there’s sun, so we put out the seedlings in the late morning, and then take them back in before supper.

I hope this is the last of the snow. Much as I love living in a place with seasons, I’m ready for the snow to be over. Granted, that means we’re in for mud season, but that’s what boots are for. And I love the way it smells as the seasons change.

The time change, as usual, has thrown me off. I’m great when we fall back; I’m disoriented for a few weeks when we spring forward.

A new combination of plant center and art gallery will open on Main Street soon, within walking distance. I’m very excited to spend time there. I’m sure I’ll learn a lot. And buy too many plants!

It’s lovely to watch the mountains, out back and out front, change with the seasons.

What’s changing in your neck of the woods?

Thurs. March 10, 2022: Watching Seedlings Grow

imaage courtesy of Jesus Leal via pixabay.com

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Second Quarter Waxing Moon in Gemini

Celtic Tree Month of Ash

Sunny and snowy

They told us we’d have 2-3 inches of accumulation yesterday, but it snowed all day, and I think it’s between 6 and 8 inches. I have some shoveling to do in the parking lot to get my car out!

The little seedlings are doing well. When the sun warms the front porch enough, I bring out the seedlings for a few hours in the afternoon, and then take them back in when the sun angle changes.

Last Sunday, I planted the Black-Eyed Susan vine and the lemon balm. They should sprout by the end of the month.

I ordered tansy seeds from one company, and mallow and sweet peas from another. The tansy seeds should be here Saturday, so maybe I’ll plant them this weekend. I want a pot of tansy in for the front porch and one for the back balcony, to keep away pests.

I bought some more pots. I have to get the lighter ones, because I don’t want too much weight on the porch or the balcony. I could have the large, ceramic planters on Cape because they were on the deck, and that was sturdy enough to hold the weight. The porch and balcony can probably take a good deal of weight here, but I don’t want to push my luck.

I have to get some more potting soil, too, which I will pick up tomorrow. I want to get the tomatoes and the cucumbers started. I’m going to seed them directly, rather than do starter pots and then replant.

I will need to replant the lemon that I grew from organic seed into a bigger pot. It’s doing well. I have some organic pear and clementine saved seeds that I want to try.

It feels weird to focus on planting when there’s still so much snow happening, but it’s necessary. We probably can’t put anything out on the back balcony until late April or early May. The front porch, since it’s enclosed and south-facing, will be able to hold plants earlier, as long as the nights don’t get too cold.

I miss my lilacs terribly. I’ll probably spend way too much money this spring buying cut lilacs.

The cat grass grew like crazy. Willa and Charlotte love it, and have almost chomped down the first pot. I’ll order more seeds, and probably grow two pots to alternate, so they always have some cat grass. Tessa thinks it’s awful, and won’t go near it.

The snow is pretty, but it was a heavy, wet snow that’s clinging to branches and power lines. It won’t be fun to shovel. But it will all get done.

The birds are very busy, and they’re negotiating who lives in which bird house and nest out back (there were two bird houses and one covered platform with a nest up on the back balcony when we moved here). The cats love to sit on the chairs in the kitchen near the window and watch the birds. I have a Sibley’s Audubon Guide to the birds I recently unpacked, and I bet we use that a lot this year.

How are things in your neck of the woods?

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