Thursday, May 18, 2023: Too Cold To Plant

image courtesy of 💚🌺💚Nowaja💚🌺💚 via

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Dark moon in Taurus

Pluto Retrograde

Celtic Tree Month of Hawthorn

Sunny and cold

29 degrees F when I woke up, dropping to 27 while I had my first cup of coffee.

It’s been too cold to plant.

The marshmallow started coming up, and the cat grass is doing well, but it’s been too cold to plant any of the seeds that didn’t need to rest in the fridge. The rest of the tulips and mini daffodils never came up. We’ll have to keep them inside if the weather is this whacky next summer. It’s too cold to put the large plants outside, or even put the night-blooming jasmine on the front porch.

I may have to start seeds and put the pots in my office or the living room, where there’s good light, or they’ll never come up this season.

Haven’t yet bought the lettuce plants, nor have I bought the hanging baskets, because it’s just too cold to leave them outside. Maybe the lettuce would be okay, but the rest would not.

I’ve noticed, the past few years, that winter starts later in the year, and pushes farther into spring. And then there tends to be a leap from cold weather to hot weather without a lovely stretch of cool in between.

I prefer cool to hot, but I also like a stretch of gradual warmup to summer and gradual cool down to winter.

What’s going on with your garden? What have you noticed changing the past few years?


Thurs. April 20, 2023: The Magnolias In Bloom

image courtesy of Jill Wellington via

Thursday, April 20, 2023

New Moon in Aries

Solar Eclipse

Mercury Goes Retrograde TOMORROW

Celtic Tree Month of Willow

As we’re headed into retrograde season with our favorite Mercury (yes, that was sarcasm), I’m still trying to get my act together and plant.

And maintenance still hadn’t come to get the jammed back door open.

We went from 86 degrees this time last week to 31 degrees last night.

Definite problems getting my act together on the garden front this year.

On the positive side, I cut the faded tulip heads back per instructions, and will wait for the leaves to die back. I still hope the other two varieties I planted will bloom. Some of the daffodils look like they’re considering a bloom, but we’ll see.

Outside, in spite of the cold snap we’ve had this week, the trees are starting to bud. The magnolias are in bloom, and they are beautiful. The forsythia hasn’t started yet.

I repainted the copper and crystal whirligig. It looks lovely. Once we get the back door open and can access the back balcony to set it up, it will hang out there. I got the copper and the gold portions of the wind chimes repainted. I still need to do the detail in yellow, orange, and blue. I couldn’t finish last weekend/early this week due to the rain, which meant it was too damp for the paint to dry properly. I will give it another go this weekend.

I’m a little discouraged, both by the inability to access some of my outdoor space, and by the way I’m dragging my feet. How are you doing with your spring planting?

Thurs. April 13, 2023: Behind on the Planting

image courtesy of Jonathan Sachs via

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Waning Moon

Celtic Tree Month of Alder

Hazy and mild

I am so far behind in my planting that it’s not even funny. Today is a planting day, so I better get my act together and plant SOMETHING. It’s also supposed to get up to 80 degrees today, which is insane for this neck of the woods in April—and then snow next Tuesday.

The balcony door is still jammed shut, and maintenance is basically ignoring it. I’ve re-hung doors myself, albeit not as heavy as this one. The last door I re-hung took me 40 minutes. It’s not like this is an all-day thing. Oh, wait: men are doing it, so they’ll make it one.

I want my balcony space back, and I want to set it up.

The front porch has been lovely to sit on. It still smells like hyacinths, although they are fading, and the yellow tulips are fading. I hope the other tulips come up. The daffodils are coming up, but haven’t bloomed yet. I take the laptop out there in the afternoons to work.

This year, I’m focusing on flowers and herbs, and not trying to grow vegetables. Instead, I’ll make full use of the farmers’ market.

Nothing’s started to bud yet, and no sign of forsythia, so the plants don’t yet believe it’s spring, in spite of the fluctuating temperatures.

If it stays nice and I get my work done early enough these next few days, I want to take some time to go up to Windsor Lake and/or take a walk at the Spruces.

What plants are coming up in your neck of the woods?

Thurs. April 6, 2023: Mud Season

image courtesy of Rudy and Peter Skitterians via

Thursday, April 6, 2023

Full Moon in Libra

Celtic Tree Month of Alder

Rainy and chilly

Once again, the weather’s been all over the place this week. Sometimes it’s sunny and pleasant during the day, and then I take the laptop and work on the porch, amongst the tulips and hyacinths. Other times it’s rainy or sleety and chilly.

The Sunny Smile tulips are in full bloom; I hope the Angelique and Queen of the Night also come up. The hyacinths are peaking. The daffodils, which I expected would be first, are just coming up.

I still haven’t started the other plants. Tomorrow is a planting day, so I’ve blocked off time to do that.

We’re in mud season now; lots of rain and everything is in various shades of brown muck. But that’s necessary for the green, so I’ll go with it.

How are things growing in your neck of the woods?

Thurs. March 30, 2023: March Is Still A Lion

Photo by Devon Ellington

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Second Quarter Waxing Moon in Cancer

Celtic Tree Month of Alder

Cloudy with fresh snow

March didn’t get the memo that when it comes in like lion, it’s supposed to exit like a lamb. March is still lioning, and it looks like that will continue into April. We had snow again last night. Not that much, but enough to be annoying.

In spite of the snow on the ground, the photo above was taken earlier this week. The Sunny

Smile tulips are starting to bloom. And, as you can see, so are the hyacinths. On afternoons when it’s sunny and warm enough, I can sit and work on the porch (with the cats, of course) in the lovely scent of hyacinths.

Photo by Devon Ellington

I keep missing planting days; I’m not sure why. I have to get the seeds started, or I’ll miss the window. I might just have to plant seeds in defiance of the astrological calendar and hope for the best.

The daffodils (which I thought would come up first) are barely poking shoots out. Most of the rest of the indoor plants are doing well; one primrose died, and one of the geraniums gave up the ghost, but I think it was one of the older ones, from back on Cape, so it’s not surprising.

The jade plant tipped over the other day, so when we rescued it, we put it in a bigger pot hope it gets over the shock.

I don’t understand why it’s so hard to find trellises here that fit into pots; everything is big, for outdoor gardens.

It’s still too cold, with too much bad weather coming in. for us to start putting anything out on the back balcony, but we are enjoying the enclosed, southern-facing front porch when the weather is nice.

How are things in your garden?

Thurs. March 23, 2023: Blooms in Mud Season

image courtesy of PublicDomainPictures via

Thursday, March 23, 2023

First quarter waxing moon in Aries

Celtic Tree Month of Alder

Cloudy and chilly; looks and feels like rain

I SHOULD have planted this past Monday, on the Equinox. I did not. The next planting day is tomorrow, and I better get my act together. There are also more seeds I need to get, and some where I’ve missed the planting window.

Some of the hyacinths on the front porch are starting to bloom. On sunny days, it’s warm enough in the afternoon to be out there for a few hours. I take the laptop and work out there. It’s lovely. The tulips are coming up, but haven’t bloomed yet, and the dwarf narcissus are still confused.

Inside, the Thanksgiving and Christmas cacti are blooming again, though!

As I mentioned last week (somewhere, if not on this blog), we’re moving into mud season. The snowpacks are shrinking, and things are muddy. Necessary for the rest of spring and summer growth, but still needing boots in which to tromp around.

The birds are chattering and negotiating where to nest.

The temperatures are still in the twenties and the thirties at night, but up in the high forties and even kissing fifty on some of the sunnier days.

I need to do some repotting, too. I need to inventory the pots I have. Some of the ones in which I invested were poor choices. Others were good, and I want to get more like them.

It’s still too cold to start putting the furniture, et al, down on the back balcony, but I hope we can do that by early April. I might be overly optimistic!

I hope the temperatures steady out in the 40s soon, because I have some painting to do out there, and I can’t do it until the temperatures remain at least in the mid-40s.

How are things, plant-wise, in your neck of the woods?

Thurs. March 16, 2023: Snow-Covered

image courtesy of Peter H via

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Fourth Quarter Waning Moon in Capricorn

Partly cloudy and a little milder

We had three feet of snow in the early part of the week, spread over a few days. Yesterday was all about digging out.

Another thing to love about living here? On Cape Cod, everyone was always cutting down healthy trees because they’d “cause a problem in a storm.” Here, there are trees all over the place. They are kept healthy, and no one worries. The heavy snow and ice bent the limbs, then the snow would slide off and the tree would shake its branches and straighten up;  but there was little damage anywhere because of trees. Just shows how much lying goes on as an excuse to cut down trees and hurt the environment even more.

The seeds arrived from Eden Brothers, but I have not yet planted them. I may do some today and some on the next planting day, which is Sunday. I still have to order some more seeds, which I might do over the weekend. I picked up some decent potting soil at Carr’s Hardware the other day, and I might get more.

None of the bulbs on the porch have bloomed yet; I think the temperature fluctuations did a number on them. But they’re still growing, so I’m still hopeful!

How are things in your garden?

Thurs. March 9, 2023: Holding Pattern

image courtesy of Šárka Jonášová via

Thursday, March 9, 2023

Third Quarter Moon in Libra

Cloudy and cold

Not much to say on the garden front. We’re kind of in a holding pattern, with a series of snowstorms that came through these past couple of weeks, with more coming through in the next couple of weeks.

The bulbs are growing slowly. They get confused between the sun and the snow.

I’m waiting for the seeds to arrive and will order some more next week. It’s a late start, but often when I plant as early as advised, the plants pop up and then keel over, so we’ll see.

We’re close enough to Vermont to share mud season, that interim when the snow has stopped, but it’s not really spring yet, and that will come in for late March into April.

How are things where you are?

Thurs. Feb. 23, 2023: Watchful Crows

image courtesy of René Bittner vis

Thursday, February 23, 2023

First Quarter Waxing Moon in Aries

Celtic Tree Month of Ash

Snowy and cold

We’re back to winter again. We had about 4 inches of wet, heavy snow, with periods of sleet. Now it’s more freezing rain.

The plants on the porch are a little confused, but everything we have inside just shrugs it off. Last week, I also bought a couple of African violets (in pink and purple), a spider plant, and a small, variegated philodendron. I have to repot them, but it’s nice to have these plants around again.

The giant philodendron that didn’t survive the move had come with us from Chicago (and we moved to NY in 1966), then moved from the house to the apartment after my dad died, and then, when we moved to the Cape in 2010, it attached itself to the walls and grew huge. But the move was too much of a shock. None of the cuttings survived, either. I missed having a philodendron, so I’m happy to have another.

With the temperature fluctuations, the bulbs are stopping and starting, but I hope they bloom by, say, Easter. The hyacinths are the farthest along.

The borage was doing really well, and then it fainted, so I don’t know what’s going on there.

I haven’t been able to order any other seeds yet; I hope I haven’t left it too late.

The squirrel who dug so much up on the back balcony last summer and put a hole in the kitchen screen has been running over the top of the roof to the front and peeking in both the porch and the living room windows. Charlotte patrols the front of the house, Willa the back.

Monday morning, crows woke me. They were herding the flocks of birds migrating back up from the south. Seeing thousands of birds fly across the sky in formation, then nudged by the crows toward the lake, was an amazing sight.

I bet they’re sorry they came back early!

But the cats are shedding their winter coats (time to vacuum every day), so maybe this is winter’s last puff.

How are things in your neck of the woods?

Thurs. Feb. 16, 2023: A Hint of Spring

image coourtesy of  Bruno /Germany via

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Fourth Quarter Waning Moon in Capricorn

Partly sunny and mild

Celtic Tree Month of Rowan

The temperatures have been all over the place. This week, they go up into the fifties during the day, and plunge down into the twenties at night. That gives me headaches, so I’m not having fun.

But we are getting patches of sun, which is lovely.

The borage is growing like crazy. I love borage, and wish I was growing strawberries as a companion plant. They work well together. These seeds are from the Berkshire Botanical Garden. I need to get down to their store soon and get more seeds. The  quality is excellent.  The butterfly mix hasn’t sprouted yet. The bulbs are doing well out on the porch, in spite of the fluctuating temperatures, with the hyacinths in the lead.

The bratty squirrel from the back, who always tried to get at our lunch, is now in the front of the house, dashing up and down the side of the building to the roof, and hanging out by the front and porch windows, trying to find a way in. Charlotte keeps sentinel there, much the way Willa keeps watch out back.

More birds are singing, and, out back, several different birds are checking out the birdhouses on the back balcony and sorting out who will nest where. It makes me hopeful that spring is on the way.

How are things in your neck of the woods?

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