Thurs. May 26, 2022: We Have Lettuce!

image courtesy of 422737 via pixabayc.om

Thursday, May 26, 2022

4th Quarter Waning Moon in Aries

Pluto and Mercury Retrograde

Celtic Tree Month of Hawthorn

Partly sunny/cloudy and pleasant

Things are growing! It’s lovely to see the plants doing well. The tomatoes are still growing slowly, but that’s okay.

The dahlias, in particular, are nearly three feet tall. I got a book out of the library about dahlias, and it thoroughly intimidated me, but I am doing the best I can with them. My dahlia coach tells me they are actually pretty tough plants, so, fingers crossed they actually bloom.

We’re using the rosemary, parsley, lettuce, and basil. I will probably use some of the spearmint and peppermint over the holiday weekend. I plan to use the lettuce for the tacos I’m making.

The impatiens on the front porch, and the impatiens, geranium, and brown-eyed Susan on the back porch are all blooming with giddy joy. I hope to add a basket of petunias soon.

The lilacs have been gorgeous the past week and change. I’m so happy so many yards around here have lilacs. I can literally stop and smell the lilacs when I run errands. I might, just might, purchase a lilac slip next spring and put it in a pot, like I did on Cape. Having lilacs out back would be lovely.

The good thing about all these blooming bushes around us is that there are plenty of bees, so when the tomatoes and cucumbers and pumpkin need pollinating, I can put them out on the back balcony for a few days and leave the bees to it. Imagine! I live in a city, and there are more bees than we had on Cape. But then, here, people aren’t putting pesticides on their lawns, and cutting down all the trees, either.

We’re spending lots of time out on the front porch. I’m trying to spend more time on the back balcony, too, since we have it set up so nicely. We took Willa out there in her playpen yesterday. She loved it. There was so much to see and smell, and it was so different from the deck in Cape Cod.

Charlotte sat on the kitchen chair inside and watched us, very sad, so it will be her turn today. I might try Tessa out there, too, if I can get her into her playpen over the weekend. She hates being in the playpen. Willa and Charlotte don’t mind.

This weekend, passes go on sale for Windsor Lake, which is only a half a mile up the mountain. The season pass is very reasonable, and I’m looking forward to spending lots of time at the lake this summer. We’re also planning a trip to the Berkshire Botanical Garden.

In the meanwhile, we tend our plants every day. I probably fuss at them too much, but they seem to like it. I mean, the peace lily is a constant drama queen, but that’s a peace lily for you.

It’s time to give the Rose of Jericho a few days’ rest, so I will do that, and then, on Monday, the new moon, put it back in water.

There’s definitely a learning curve, and things grow very differently here than on Cape, but it’s a lot of fun to learn. And can I just say I don’t mind not having to mow, rake, and do all the rest of the yard work, at all?

How’s your garden 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?

Thurs. Dec. 31, 2020: Happy Green New Year!

image courtesy of Dirk Vetter via pixabay.com

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Third Quarter Waning Moon in Cancer

Uranus Retrograde

Rainy and cold

Happy New Year, friends! We are all happy to see the back of this one leaving, aren’t we?

It’s rainy here, and the yard looks greener and happier than it has all year. Making up for all the drought. I’m worried, though – if it doesn’t get cold enough, it’s bad for the resting plants, and it also means a very buggy spring and summer. Not necessarily the good kind of bugs.

Finally got in the big bench from the deck. Now, only the large, round table sits there overwinter.

Indoors, we have plenty of artificial, glittery greenery and sparkly artificial fruit. We have a bowl of the fruit on the coffee table. Willa likes to pull out an ornament here and there and play with them. Fortunately, they’re not breakable.

Of course, yesterday, Willa went into the kitchen and pulled a potato out of the open bin in which they live and rolled it up and down the hallway. How many cat toys do we have in this house? And Willa prefers a potato. She’s inventive.

The seed catalogs are arriving, which is one of my favorite parts of the year. I will take some time in the next few weeks, dreaming and planning. Since the move will happen during planting season, I’m not sure how much will actually get planted, but the dreaming will be lovely.

Thank you for being on this journey during this weird year. I wish you peace, joy, health, and a green New Year!

Thurs. Nov. 12, 2020: Mild Days and Blooming Cacti

image courtesy of Shinichi4849 via pixabay.com

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Dark Moon Fourth Quarter in Libra

Neptune, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Celtic Tree Month of Reed

Foggy and mild

I have one calendar saying today is the new moon and Mars goes direct, and another calendar saying today is still the dark moon and that all happens tomorrow. Go figure.

The last week’s weather has been quite lovely and unseasonably warm here. I pulled out all the faded annuals from pots and put the pots away in the garage. I repotted the cherry seedlings, which somehow survived without much attention all summer. I pulled out the spent tomato plants, but haven’t put away the pots yet. I’m going to leave the large pots that usually overwinter out as long as it remains pleasant.

But the deck is tidy and it’s still a pleasure to sit out there and enjoy the final nice days of the year. Because the deck is covered and there are skylights, one can even sit out in the rain. The deck is one of the things I will miss most about the house when we move in spring.

The landlord came and did some of the heavier pruning that’s too hard for me to handle, and the lawn guy is going to come by and do leaves soon.

We’re in decent shape.

I am sick of the neighbors and their leaf blower obsession. It’s autumn. One of the beauties of autumn is the falling leaves. If you don’t like it, don’t live in New England!

The moron using his leaf blower at 3:30 AM in the rain really angered me today.

I intend to wring every moment of pleasure out of autumn that I can. Who knows what winter will bring?

Our Thanksgiving cacti are starting to bloom, and should be gorgeous by the time it’s actually Thanksgiving.

The quality of light is very different now, too. The second floor doesn’t get as much afternoon sun, but the first floor gets more. Tessa, whose domain is the second floor, blames me personally for the change, which is pretty funny.

How’s your garden doing?

Thurs. Aug. 27, 2020: Visit From a Hummingbird

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image courtesy of fprose via pixabay.com

Thursday, August 27, 2020
2nd Quarter Waxing Moon in Sagittarius
Celtic Tree Month of Hazel
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cooler

Red sky this morning. Wonder if we’ll have storms coming through?

Not much to say on the garden front. The Roses of Sharon are blooming, and the bees are very happy. We’re getting more cucumbers. We have tomatoes, but they’re not getting ripe; they’re staying green. The grass hasn’t grown much, but it’s looking a bit better. Hopefully, the lawn food arrives soon and I can feed it for the autumn.

It’s a little cooler now, and you can smell the earth early in the morning and in the evening. It’s not quite the scent of autumn yet, but also not summer.

I’m pulling out the lily stalks as they finish browning, and the chlorophyll sinks back into the bulb. When the stalks are done, they pull right out. I’ll have to cut back the hosta blooms that have faded.

The hydrangeas were lovely this year, but they’re starting to fade, too.

I can’t believe some of our pansies are still blooming!

In a couple of weeks, I’ll get a few pots of chrysanthemums, especially for the front.

I’ve been looking at garden design/planning software as a tool to draw maps for the books that have gardens in them. I didn’t realize there was so much out there!

I started with Plan-A-Garden, from Better Homes and Gardens, and even that is overwhelming. It will be useful when I get in close and detail specific plants, but it doesn’t have me do the aerial view of the design of the entire property, which is where I need to start. I’m stuck on my current book until I can map that out. The magazine does that often, so I know the software exists, I just don’t know what it is. So I guess I’ll start, once again, with pencil and paper, and go from there. Otherwise, it becomes an excuse not to write.

I’m going to look at some of the other software options, too, but many of them are too complicated. I can’t take three weeks to teach myself something and then find out it doesn’t do what I need it to do.

I’m looking forward to the cooler weather. Not looking forward to raking leaves, especially since all my neighbors do is amp up their leaf blower use (from daily in the summer to twice or three times daily in autumn). They make big piles of leaves on their property that are then carried by the wind to my property, and I’m the one who rakes them and bags them and takes them to the dump. I’m getting tired of it, after ten years.

Willa and Charlotte love being out on the deck in the playpens. Tessa would rather be free to roam, but it’s too dangerous at this point.

The other day, as I sat outside reading, a hummingbird visited to drink from the flowers. First hummingbird I’ve seen this season (we usually have quite a few). It was a delight to watch.

Next week, the summer decorations start transforming into autumn – the over-sized hummingbird comes down, the basket of fall foliage goes up on the front door. We start switching out the summer fabrics to autumn-themed ones. The big changeover comes October 1, when the white lace curtains come down and the black spiderweb curtains go up, and everything goes to Samhain décor.

Meanwhile, we keep on keeping on.

I have to figure out when to harvest the basil this year. There’s a lot of it, which means plenty of basil pesto to get us through the winter. It’s so much more delicious than anything from the store.

In the next few weeks, I’ll have to see about getting in another load of firewood for the winter, too.

But I intend to enjoy my time in the yard and on the deck as much as possible!

Thurs. Aug. 13, 2020: Bean Harvest

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image by matthiasboeckel via pixabay.com

Thursday, August 13, 2020
4th Quarter Waning Moon in Gemini
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Celtic Tree Month of Hazel
Humid and cloudy

I think I’ll be able to do my first harvest of green beans today. They’re ready to be picked, steamed, and enjoyed with butter.

We’re getting more cucumbers, and the tomatoes are starting to form. The tomatoes are late this year, even though they were planted pretty early.

The tiger lilies are faded and the chlorophyll is draining back into the bulbs. Some of the hosta blooms have faded, so I’ll have to cut back the stems.

I feel like I do nothing but battle kudzu.

It’s still terribly dry. I was out watering the lawn by moonlight this morning at 5 AM, because sunrise is later and later. I’m having trouble getting the lawn food I want. I thought I saw a coyote take off down the street when I turned the hose on.

There were a pair of bunnies out in the meadow eating breakfast while I was out watering (I made sure not to get them wet). And a bigger bunny later on the terraced area. He comes right up to the steps. He’s used to us.

The morning glories start the day a deep purple, and fade back to a red violet in the afternoon. I thought I had a multi-colored pack – I didn’t realize the blossoms themselves changed color.

The leaves are already falling. They’re not turning pretty colors. They’re drying up and brown, giving up and letting go of the branches.

Sort of on point for 2020.

Charlotte and Willa take turns coming out on the deck in the playpen. They both like it. Tessa hates the playpen and won’t have anything to do with it. She doesn’t even want to come out any more, which is a shame, because she always loved her time on the deck.

I’m trying to spend some time out on the deck every evening, when it gets cool enough. And early in the morning, after I water, with my first cup of coffee, for my first writing session.

How’s your garden doing?

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.

 

Thurs. Nov. 14, 2019: First Bite of Winter

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image courtesy of JillWellington via pixabay.com

Thursday, November 14, 2019
Third Quarter Waning Moon in Gemini
Celtic Tree Month of Reed
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Partly Sunny and cold

We had our first bite of winter on Tuesday night, with a dusting of snow, and plenty of sharp, cold weather.

Charlotte is fascinated by snowflakes, Willa runs away, and Tessa is used to them.

Last weekend, we worked hard to put the rest of the plants to bed for the winter. I did some of the pruning (not enough). I have much more pruning to do this weekend. We cut down/pulled out the annuals and put the pots away. We brought in the remaining pots that will spend the winter in the house, rather than in the garage. I oiled the teak furniture before putting it away. The large teak bench went upstairs to live at the bottom of my mom’s bed. Brought the large geraniums in — they live near the very sunny window in my bedroom all winter, and usually bloom and bloom and bloom. Cleaned the decorations and brought them in.

I will have a lot of repainting to do in the spring.

So far, 10 30-gallon bags have gone to the dump. 6 more are waiting, and we’re still working on the front. If the weather holds, there is a great deal of raking, bagging, and driving to the dump over the weekend.

I will have to get my act together to start the seeds earlier in February next year. I started too much too late, because certain seeds don’t like to be moved, and I wanted to plant them on the deck in their mature pots. I’m going to have to find the room to do that inside this year. Not sure how, especially since the cart where we usually start seedlings in the front window of my office has been converted to a perch for Willa.

I have a few months to think about it. But I don’t want to wait until the last minute.

Have you finished everything that needs to be done in your yard for winter?

October 24, 2019: Post-Storm

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image courtesy of Schwoaze via pixabay.com

Thursday, October 24, 2019
4th Quarter Moon in Scorpio
Celtic Tree Month of Ivy
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cool

I couldn’t post last Thursday because of the nor’easter. We lost power around 1 AM. By mid-morning, we also lost cell service. Most places in the area, including the library, were shut.

It wasn’t too bad. We worked socializing the cats, wrapped up in layers, read books. One of the radios had batteries, so we could keep up with how bad it was outside.

Around 1:30 in the afternoon, the power came back on, but flickered until late afternoon.

Lots of branches came down. Not tree limbs, just branches. That’s taken some time to clean up.

I’ve taken the exterior Halloween decorations up and down too often to count at this point.

We have some more tomatoes growing; let’s hope they mature before they’re stolen again.

I have to cut back the roses and cut back what needs it in the beds over the weekend, weather permitting. We’ll start putting plants into the garage to overwinter, and the smaller plants (which are still pretty big, but do well indoors) inside and up in my room.

I have to oil the teak furniture one more time before we put it away.

Then, the garden goes to sleep for the winter.

And I immediately start fantasizing about what I want to do next year!