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?

Advertisement

Thurs. June 9, 2022: Farmers’ Market Season Begins

image courtesy of Martin Winkler via pixabay.com

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto and Saturn Retrograde

Rainy and cool

We took a quick trip to the Cape to pick up a few things on Tuesday. They are in a different part of their growing season. The lilacs haven’t yet started fading there, and the azaleas are fully in bloom. The pollen, however, was much thicker there. They aren’t getting as much rain as we’ve had.

When we came back, the blue car had a blanket of yellow over it. And we had to scrape pollen off our skin in the shower.

Here, things are green and luscious. Peonies are in bloom, and are gorgeous. The trees are in full leaf. The mountains are all green again.

As far as our little garden goes, things are growing. The dahlia on the back balcony was unhappy, so I brought it forward to the front. The black-eyed Susan vine is twining around the railing out back, and the lettuce and herbs are all doing well. It looks like the tansy has decided to stick around and grow, both front and back, which is great.

The pumpkin vine is growing like crazy. The cucumbers are steady, but haven’t yet bloomed. The tomatoes look small, but I bought a small variety for containers, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.

The impatiens and the geraniums are blooming steadily. So are the Christmas and Thanksgiving cacti – at least one of them is blooming at all times.

We have some replanting to do this weekend – a stalk of geranium fell off our last Cape Cod geranium, and it’s grown roots, so we will pot it. The night-blooming jasmine already outgrew its pot, so I will put it in the big pot (I even bought a new plant stand just for it). A small seedling from Tamed Wild has outgrown its pot, and needs a bigger one. And, of course, I have to plant more cat grass.

We had supposedly organic nectarines this week, so I will plant the pits and see if anything happens.

The other day, driving through Adams/Cheshire, we passed a house with the most magnificent bed of poppies! Just gorgeous. I’ve never successfully grown poppies, so I appreciate it when other people have success.

The Farmers’ Market is now weekly, outside, on Saturday mornings. I go there first thing and see what looks good (it all does), and then build the week’s meals around what I buy at the market. I may have to start making stock every week and a half or so, instead of every 2-3 weeks, with all these vegetables!

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching this area come to life after the winter. It’s so relaxing to sit and watch the plants at work.

How is your garden growing?

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. Dec. 23, 2021: Nameless Day and Changeable Weather

image courtesy of Hans via pixabay.com

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Third Quarter Waning Moon in Leo

Uranus and Venus Retrograde

Nameless Day

Today is known as “Nameless Day” in the Celtic Tree calendar. It’s between the Tree Month of Elder and the Tree Month of Birch. Mistletoe is associated with today. It’s a “between times” day. It’s the day of unshaped potential, and a good day to decide what it is you want to manifest.

The weather is so changeable here. It reminds me of Scotland, where it’s lovely one minute and then stormy the next. We’d been warned that winters were gray and stark here, and we’ve gotten off easy so far, so I am not complaining.

Since we are on the second floor, I enjoy watching the weather from our large windows, or the porch or the back balcony. I love being able to watch the mountains.

The Winter Solstice was a gorgeous day, and I got a good many of my cookie platters delivered. It was delightful to be out and about.

Yesterday was rainy and raw, so I stayed in and baked; that means I have to push to finish all the deliveries and errands by today.

We still have plants on the front porch, because it hasn’t been all that cold. The Mother’s Tongue was getting too much sun, and didn’t like it, so we brought it in and put it in the sewing room, where it’s recovering like a Victorian heroine.

We don’t have a working fireplace in this house, so we couldn’t burn the greens saved from last year. Instead, I took my big cauldron out on the back balcony, and slowly, branch by branch, burned the greens. I didn’t want flames or a lot of smoke to worry the neighbors. But it was done, and a nice psychological tool to release the past year, and the stress of the move, and the life on Cape Cod.

I’m curious to see what this winter brings. It’s been warmer and milder than usual (my heat bill is happy). But we’re supposed to have a couple of weeks of bad weather before it levels out again.

Fingers crossed I can watch most of it from my window, rather than going out in it.

Have a lovely, peaceful, joyful holiday weekend.

Thurs. Dec. 16, 2021: Unseasonably Mild

image courtesy of Vlad Chetan via pexels.com

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Second Quarter Waxing Moon in Taurus

Chiron and Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and mild

Celtic Tree Month of Elder

We are having an unseasonably warm patch right now. The past few days have been mild and sunny. I took advantage of it by doing as many errands as possible on foot, so I could be out and about, enjoying the weather.

Last night, it rained quite a bit, and it’s supposed to get up to 61 degrees F today.

We’ve been warned there’s snow coming in on Saturday, so I better get as much done as possible before then!

It’s much drier here in the mountains than it was by the ocean. The indoor plants need watering far more often. We should probably have a humidifier on, but they’re all in storage. And, frankly, it’s kind of nice not to have things damp, although I’m using far more hand cream than usual.

Both trees are up. The big one is almost decorated; we still have a few more boxes of decorations to get on there. It’s fun to figure out how things fit in this place.

The big tree completely dominated the living room, and, indeed, the entire downstairs in the Cape house. Here, it just looks normal-sized (it’s 7-1/2 feet tall). It looks good in the space, and it’s amazing how much more breathing room there is, both physically and psychologically, with higher ceilings.

We still have plants out on the front porch because it just hasn’t been that cold (at least not for long stretches). The small tree is out on the front porch, along with lights strung up along the windows. People look up as they walk past and enjoy it. The delivery guy from a local restaurant says the address is easy to find, because it has the “happy lights.”

Soon, I will have to hunt for the seeds I didn’t get to use last year, and figure out what we can and want to plant for next year. It will mean re-reading ALL YOU CAN EAT IN THREE SQUARE FEET, I’m sure.

But first – the winter holidays!

Nov. 11, 2021: November Energy

photo by Anna Rye, courtesy of pexels.com

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Second Quarter Waxing Moon in Aquarius

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Celtic Tree Month of Reed

Sunny and cool

In spite of the predictions we’d have our first snow this week, the weather has been glorious. Cold at night, down into the twenties, with a need to scrape frost off the car in the morning.

But during the day, it’s up into the fifties. It’s been sunny most days, a little bit of rain here and there.

I’ll enjoy every beautiful day I can.

This will be my first winter in the Berkshires, and I keep hearing how harsh they are, so I’m ready.

Last Friday, we drove about an hour and a half east, and it was just hitting peak foliage and gorgeous.

There are still some wonderful colors here, but many of the trees have shed their leaves, and they’re getting into the stark, tree-and-branch that has its own loveliness.

The pumpkin my friend carved on Halloween lasted until yesterday, and it started caving in, so we had to throw it out.

I’m hoping the weather will hold for the next few days, so we can spend some time up at the lake, and walking around The Spruces.

They have the trees up and decorated on the Main Street of town. The tree lighting is supposed to happen the Wednesday before Thanksgiving (or the Friday after, if it rains). I might meander the few blocks down for it. I bet it will look pretty.

The porch is still warm enough to keep plants out there. Tessa is out there as many hours as possible, every day. It’s her porch, and she will miss it if/when we have to close it off for the winter. I admit, I sit there as often as I can in the afternoons, reading and soaking up the sun!

One of the many good things about this place is the large windows with lots of natural light. On any sunny winter day, we will enjoy sunshine.

How are things in your neck of the woods this November?

Thurs. Nov. 4, 2021: First Frost

photo by Devon Ellington

Thursday, November 4, 2021

New Moon in Scorpio

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and cold

We had our first frost last night. Or, at least, I think we did. The temperature was down to 28 degrees last night. The roofs look white, and the grass crunchy, although I didn’t see actual frost on grass or trees.

I’m glad we took the plants in earlier this week. The photograph above shows the plants we pulled in from the back balcony, which has a roof, but is open, to the screened-in front porch. Some of the plants may have to be moved further into the apartment if the porch gets too cold, but, for now, they seem happy there. The porch has a Southern exposure, so when there’s sunlight, it’s still reasonably warm and quite light.

I’ll have to learn how it works here.

I had my first houseguest since pre-pandemic, the close friend who found us this apartment. It was raining most of the weekend, so we couldn’t go out and about as much as I’d hoped.

Thistle at The Spruces. Photo by Devon Ellington

But I did take her to The Spruces, where we found these wonderful thistles, and I felt very Scottish.

Golden Maple at WindsorLake. Photo by Devon Ellington

And we also went to Windsor Lake, which is close by. The golden maple is glorious, and I loved the way the trees on the mountainside reflected on the lake. And the birch trees there are magnificent.

The golden maple behind the house is beautifully yellow, even as the leaves fall. I think this area peaked, foliage-wise, last weekend.

As of Monday, all the porches have buckets of ice melt and shovels at the ready. We are supposed to get the first snowfall next Monday. I’ve heard so many negative things about winter here that I have no idea what to expect. We’ve been told not to expect to go anywhere from November 1 until sometime in March.

I’m still attempting a run over to Hadley and Holyoke this weekend; it’s supposed to be sunny, albeit cold.

I’m excited to see what winter is really like, here in the mountains!

Mountainside reflected in Windsor Lake. Photo by Devon Ellington

Thurs. Oct. 20, 2021: Blooms

photo by Devon Ellington

Thursday, October 21, 2021

3rd Quarter Waning Moon in Taurus

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Celtic Tree Month of Ivy

Cloudy/Sunny and warm

The Thanksgiving/Christmas cacti on the front porch are blooming like crazy! They are beautiful.

The porch gets Southern exposure, so on sunny days, it warms up nicely, and there’s lots of sun.

Still no frost. We have plants out on the back balcony. We figured we’d let them enjoy it as long as possible.

We haven’t hit peak color yet, but it’s beautiful. Last weekend, I took a nature walk with Mass Audubon out at The Spruces. Because it was, at one time, a planned community before it was a community park owned by the town, there’s a mix of native plants and cultivars. The walk was fascinating.

It makes me want a book about local flora and fauna even more!

There’s something rather wonderful about being tucked in the mountains. It feels protected (even though we’ve been warned about the harsh winters). And I don’t miss raking leaves AT ALL.

My downstairs neighbor has cut back her vegetable garden, and prepared it for the winter.

I plan to enjoy the beautiful weather as long as it lasts, although I’ve planned to hunker down from November to March, as advised. If the weather is better than expected, I will take joy in every lovely day.

How’s your weather, where you are?

Thurs. Oct. 14, 2021: No Frost Yet

image courtesy of Mike Greer via pexels.com

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Second Quarter Waxing Moon in Aquarius

Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron, Uranus, Mercury Retrograde

Celtic Tree Month of Ivy

Cloudy and mild

We still haven’t had our first frost yet, and might not get it until November, which is late for around here. I wonder if that portends a milder winter, or, when winter finally smacks us, a harsher one?

The Christmas cacti on the front porch are about to burst into bloom. That will be very pretty.

Inside the house, I’m keeping a vase of cut, dark red mums.

The tree outside my bedroom window is turning yellow and the leaves are dropping. I’m not sure what kind of tree it is, sort of an oval leaf. I really need to get a book on the local flora and fauna.

Fingers crossed the weather holds on Saturday. The local Mass Audubon chapter is doing a walk through The Spruces, and I’d like to go and learn about it.

What’s new in your gardening neck of the woods?

Thurs. Oct. 7, 2021: Mist and Mountains

image courtesy of Eberhard Grossgasteiger via Pexels.com

Thursday, October 7, 2021

1st Quarter Waxing Moon in Libra

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

Celtic Tree Month of Ivy

Misty and mild

It’s been raining for the past few days. So, although the leaves are turning colors, everything is damp and a bit muffled. It’s still very pretty. And, as we drive to our errands, watching how the color palette changes on the mountains around us is beautiful. I worry when I see the river getting high against the banks, but the locals aren’t worried; I figure they’ll let me know if and when it’s time to be concerned.

We brought in some of the plants from the back balcony. Some of them are now on the front porch, at least temporarily, like the Christmas cacti, which are about to burst into bloom. The front porch has southern exposure, while the back balcony faces north.

The red geraniums are still blooming like crazy.

The apples are plentiful this year. I’ve been baking with apples: muffins, cake, etc. I indulged in my favorite apple cider donuts, too, from a local orchard, and they were wonderful.

The days are shorter. It’s too dark to sit on the front porch and write for my first writing session of the day. I write in the living room, on the couch, with the light on. The cats are still curled up with me, though. It’s usually dark when I start my morning yoga practice, but fairly light by the time I finish it. I like the way it lightens as I progress through the sequence.

I’m learning the rhythms of this place, which is so different from the rhythms of the Cape.

The farm-to-table movement is huge here, with plenty of local farms, which means lots and lots of harvest festivals all around. Each has a unique personality, which is why they can all thrive in the same region.

The town re-instated their Fall Foliage Parade last Sunday; we were lucky enough that some of the floats and marchers came down our little street at the end of the parade route, and we could watch from the safety and comfort of our front porch. Still not comfortable around a lot of people, even if we’re all masked and vaccinated. So much work went into the floats; it was delightful. There was a sense of humor and fun about them, and bright colors. Everything’s felt so drab for the last eighteen months, that people want to create and wear color.

Since we keep hearing how hard winter is here, we have every intention of finding lots of joy in autumn!

Previous Older Entries