In Bloom

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Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Waxing Moon Second Quarter Libra
Celtic Tree Month of Hawthorn
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Things are blooming! The Stewartson Azalea (the red one) is doing so well! It’s such a lovely plant. It’s thrived over the past three years — one of the best purchases I made when we moved here.

I cherish the daily walk around the property I do every morning. I like hearing what the land tells me needs to be done. It’s different than just looking out and making decisions — the daily walking makes it feel more alive and makes me feel more connected to it.

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The Edith Cavell Lilac (the white one) is sweet. The old-fashioned large lilac tree’s scent has been intoxicating, but the blooms are fading, which is a shame. Someday, I’d love to have a whole hedge of the old-fashioned lilacs.

Although I don’t have a big rain barrel, I’ve started capturing rain water and using it to water the plants on the deck. They respond to this water better than the treated water out of the taps. And I feel that I’m not “wasting” the water coming out of the sky!

I finally got the meadow mowed, and everything looks good.

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I’m battling the ants in the front — I think I may have to break down and use poison — something I hate to do, but they just won’t honor the agreement about staying near the street and not coming towards the house.

Today is three days before the full moon, so I’m planting my little hills of corn, beans, and pumpkin. I started corn inside, just to see if I could do it in a pot — one strand is getting TALL — not quite as high as an elephant’s eye, but it’s doing pretty well.

Tomatoes and cucumbers and kale are happy on the deck. I dropped the lettuce seed packet and the wind blew seeds all over the place, so we’ll have lettuce turning up everywhere. Maybe that will keep the critters OUT of the main vegetable bed!

The huckleberry bushed died, which is frustrating — considering how much I paid for it and how I’ve catered to it for the past three years. It’s especially frustrating, because, in late winter, it bloomed inside!

I have to replant the peppers and the bok choy into bigger pots — and get all this done before I go away next week. I’ll be so happy if the veggie garden is bountiful this year!

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And isn’t this hosta great?

Devon

Lilacs and Ants


one of the pouffy rhodies

Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Waning Moon 4th Quarter Pisces
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Rainy and cool

The Lilacs are absolutely intoxicating this year. Sometimes, when there’s a breeze, I have to stop whatever I’m doing and just inhale. Or, I sit on the deck in the afternoon, lean back, close my eyes, and enjoy. Lilacs are out for such a short time, so every moment is savored.

The big old lilac bush in the ground here, with both purple and lavender lilacs, is gorgeous. My little Boomerang Lilac, on the deck, from White Flower Farm, is blooming beautifully this year. It, too, has a gorgeous fragrance. The small lilac from Arbor Day Foundation is growing well, as are the two from Miller Farms — the Miss Kim and the Edith Cavell. None of them will bloom this year, but I have high hopes for next year.

The Stewartsonian Azalea is in full bloom, and is gorgeous. The pink, pouffy rhodies are starting, and they’re gorgeous. The tulips are just about done. The little vegetables are doing well, and can be transplanted next week.

I put in the peas, spinach, bok choy and radishes on Monday, I’m preparing a small, circular bed for herbs/medicinal plants in a rather barren patch, and EVERYTHING is mowed. Although, by tomorrow, I’ll have to start again in the front!

The ants, however, are back, and in force, in the front. I hate putting down poison, but I have no other choice. I clear one section — they pop up in the next. I’m getting very, very frustrated.

I’m enjoying every moment in the garden, even the wet ones! If I could just convince the ants to stay down by the road instead of coming towards the house and messing up the whole front lawn, we’d be perfect!

Azaleas and Lilacs and an Owl

Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Moon first quarter in Gemini
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and cold

My Stewartsonian Azalea is getting ready to pop — I can’t wait! I got this bush on sale last year at Mahoney’s for $9.50. It was gorgeous then, and I think it will be even more spectacular now.

Last Friday, a friend gave me some violets and some holly cuttings from her garden. The violets are doing well in a lovely stone pot, and the holly cuttings are sitting in a bucket of water.

I think my two Foster’s hollies from the Arbor Day Foundation have had it; however, hollies usually look a bit sad in April/May, so I’ll wait a few more weeks before making a decision on them.

I got the mower going, and managed to do the terraced back area last week; looks nice. Yesterday, I got most of the front done, except for the strip leading into No Man’s Land. That’s on my agenda for today, and then, probably Friday, I’ll start on the back meadow. Looks much better, but I still have to get out there with the clippers and trim up edges around the trees, the urn, etc. I’m wondering if I should invest in an edger this year.

Not sure how the grass seed is doing, since that’s all new to me, but I’m diligently watering it twice a day as instructed (except when it rains).

The tulips are gorgeous. All 125 I planted came up. ALL of them. Talk about beginner’s luck! The white ones (set to bloom early) are almost done, so I’ll have to do some dead-heading per the instruction book, and then let the leaves wither so the bulbs have fuel for next year. The Carmen Rios are on the cusp of fading. The reds have a few more days left. The Gavottes (yellow and maroon) are at full strength now, and the Queen of the Night are just starting. I got them from Colorblends, and I’m very, very happy with the results.

I planted a bunch of seeds on the 17th (planting day, by the Almanac). All three kinds of tomatoes have come up, some of the cucumbers, the basil, calendula, marigold, All the seedlings go out in the sun on the deck when it’s warm enough, and come back in at night (it still gets down to the thirties). Some of the tree twiglets from Arbor Day Foundation are starting to leaf, as are two of the three raspberries. The new strawberry plants arrived yesterday from Johnny’s (the Fed Ex guy found my sprawled on the grass after mowing the lawn — I think he was afraid he had to call the paramedics, but then I popped up and I nearly had to call the paramedics for HIM).

I think several of the twiglets are going to die; the Niko hydrangea sprig which looked okay when I got it looks miserable now, and the sea holly — I don’t know what it’s supposed to look like, but I doubt a dead stub is it.

The lilacs, however, have me in euphoria. The photo is of the lilac that’s in the ground here. This year’s blossoms are a deep red-violet –quite different from last year’s lavender blooms followed by white ones. It’s nice to see that the places I pruned last year after blossoming (which including falling over the fence into the neighbor’s yard when I leaned over too far, standing on a kitchen chair) are blooming even more this year than last year.

My small Boomerang Lilac from White Flower Farm has small blooms, and looks lovely. The Fragrant Lilac from Arbor Day probably won’t bloom this year, but it’s got healthy growth. Both the Miss Kim and the Edith Cavell from Miller Nurseries are doing well in their tubs, but I think only the Miss KIm will bloom this year.

I’ve been training Tessa on leash and harness, so she can come out with me on the deck. She loves it, but, of course, wants to go further and further. I think she started to realize the danger this morning. We were on the deck, (me) having coffee, when the birds had a fit and Tessa started to shake. I looked up — there was our owl, even though it was early morning, making a statement about territory. Wish I had the camera!

I knew we had an owl from the calls and the pellets and the other traces, and I saw the nest in the neighbor’s large pine. I was too far to get a really good look, but I’m pretty sure it’s a Great Horned — especially from the attitude (and the call and the wingspan). Tessa’s too big at this point to be snatched, but neither she nor the owl know that yet. She’s not allowed out on her own anyway; maybe now she has a better idea why.

I’m in lust with a Scotch broom and a poufy yellow azalea at the garden center, but don’t know if this year’s budget will stretch for them. As I’m offered or price freelance gigs lately, I’ve been calculating how much over bill-pay I’ll have left to use for the garden!

I love sitting out every morning with the first cup of coffee, looking to the garden and listening to it, deciding what it needs. I love sitting out in the late afternoon/early evening, with a glass of wine and a book. This is why I live here, and not somewhere else.

Devon

Wet and Rainy April

Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Waning Moon 4th quarter in Aquarius
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Celtic Tree Month of Willow
Rainy and cool

No photos today; sorry. I’ve got to take some more and upload some more.

Things are blooming in the terraced border — not quite sure what they are, but they’re pretty. The magenta azalea continues to bloom, the daffodils and hyacinths are gorgeous. My neighbor’s tulips are lovely.

Much to my surprise, the strawberry plants are doing well. They like being out on the deck.

The hollies need to be replanted, though; that mucky earth is hurting them, not supporting them. That’s a task for me to do this weekend.

The Black King Eggplant is huge; the others have yet to germinate. The pumpkins are doing well, and the zucchini are just starting to come up.

I hope, within the next week, to finish prepping the vegetable bed, and maybe, next week, starting some mixed greens and some radishes directly in the bed. I’m still trying to figure out if I should buy marigolds already up or grow them from seed. Probably the former — they’ll offer more protection.

There are certain places on the property where I’m just going to sprinkle some annuals and see what happens. Yeah, I know, I’m supposed to use graph paper and do all this intricate planning. But I’m learning what’s already here, and filling in as I go. There’s only so much I can learn from other people. The rest has to be trail and error.

I’ve got to call the Master Gardener Hotline — the previous tenants didn’t prune the lilac last year, so there are dead patches on it. I need to know if I can prune it now, or if I have to wait for the first bloom to prune all of it.

My boomerang lilac shipped yesterday, and the huckleberry bush is on its way, so I’ve got arrivals to look forward to!

With any luck, the weather will clear up and bit and I can get more work done on the back bed. My neighbors are out every minute it’s not actually raining. I’ve got to finish my contracted work first, and then I can go out and putter in the garden!

Devon

Possibilities

Wednesday, January 6, 2011
Waxing Moon in Capricorn
Celtic Tree Month of Birch
Sunny and cold

My friend Costume Imp is here from New York. Although he’s a costume designer/wardrobe person, he grew up on a farm and also used to landscape. He knows his stuff. He’s going to help me buy a lawn mower while he’s here, and, yesterday, we walked the property, talking about its possibilities. He identified most of the shrubs and mysterious things poking up from the ground, although one or two remain a mystery.

I’m excited by the prospect of having forsythia, azalea, rhodedendron, and even some roses. The Cape has a very specific type of small, lovely rose that I adore, and I hope that’s what these bushes are — because they’re very hardy and I don’t know much about the care of roses. I would be over the moon if one of the bushes turns out to be lilac. The Cape has gorgeous lilacs, and lilac are one of my favorite flowers. It even looks like there are some irises planted — my absolute favorite, and not just because Iris (aka Princess Hellion) is the namesake!

We talked about what kind of pots and furniture to get, and where to put things. The back is a long, odd shape, but the bulk of the yard gets a lot of sun, which should make growing herbs and flowers easier. There’s holly in front and out back, and a third little bit seems to be determined to make its mark on the side of the house. I adore holly, especially after taking the Holly Walk soon after we moved, so that’s exciting to me.

We can’t figure out a good place to put a bird feeder, unless i get one that’s free standing and I can stick into the ground. Also, I’m worried that, trying to grow vegetables, supplying a bird feeder will encourage them to pick at the vegetables instead of going to the feeder. I’m not quite sure how that works. Any suggestions?

There are indications that hooks for hanging pots were once in the deck, which is great, because I want to hang pots of strawberries and maybe some other basket flower.

I’m looking forward to reading the stack of gardening books I bought in Niantic!

At this stage, there are a lot of possibilities. Even though I’m on a budget, I’m very excited by them. The garden is not a blank slate — it’s been well-loved and cared for by previous tenants. So it will be exciting to see what’s there and combine that with what I envision. I’m sure there will be mistakes along the way, but I’m delighted by the prospect of the journey.

A Lot of Work Ahead of Me

Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Celtic Tree Month of Birch
Sunny and cold

I have a lot of decisions ahead of me. I have a reasonably large space in the front yard, and a quite large space in the back yard, and I have to decide what to do with them, come spring and summer.

I don’t own the place, so I’m limited in the amount of in-ground planting I can do; most of it will be container. There are some new bushes in the front, at least some of them azalea. There’s a rhododendron on the side of the house, some bushes that I hope are forsythia, a pair of oaks in front I’ve nicknamed “Gemini”, and oak, pine, and cedar in the back.

There’s a raised planting bed that was once used for vegetables; I’m watching the light move across it on sunny days, trying to figure out if I can use it as is, or if the trees around it have grown up so tall it won’t get enough light.

The front looks rather bare; the two small Alberta Spruces I bought to flank the door help, and I’ll probably leave them there until I get some planters with blooms in for spring. I’m tempted to put a stone bench in front of the oaks, and get a sundial for the front, along with arrangements of containers. It’s a reasonably safe neighborhood, but there’s still the worry that stuff left in the front could be stolen.

I want at least one gazing globe for the back, some statuary, an assortment of plants and, especially culinary and medicinal herbs. I also need patio furniture and a lawn mower, and it all needs to be done on a budget.

I’m not quite sure yet what I’ll do, and I know I won’t get it all right the first time. “Enchanted cottage garden” is pretty much my style, with one of two light touches for formal. I want it comfortable and interesting without looking too forced. Plus, I’ll make mistakes as I learn, and things will die or not look good and I’ll have to try something else.

And I’m on a budget.

So I’m reading everything I can get my hands on, trying to figure out what grows best here, what I can grow in containers, and keeping my eyes open on Craigslist and in the papers for sales, etc.

It’s a little intimidating, but it will also be fascinating to see how it evolves.

Devon