Thurs. Aug. 4, 2022: Squirrel Squalor

image by Robbi Hoy courtesy of pixabay.com

Thursday, August 4, 2022

First Quarter Moon Waxing in Libra

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter Retrograde

Sunny, hot, humid

Celtic Tree Month of Holly

Well, this has been a frustrating week on the garden front.

Some excellent things: my friend in New York gave me a potted lilac, mugwort, and tansy from her garden. They are all doing well.

The black-eyed Susan vine has finally started to bloom. I hope that means the morning glories and moonflowers will start, too. The night blooming jasmine is growing like crazy, and I finally put it in a larger pot.

However, the squirrel not only destroyed the pumpkin on the balcony, but ripped a hole in the kitchen screen. Willa scared him off. So now I have a screen to repair. And we have to close the kitchen window during the night, so he can’t get to it, which makes it harder to cool down the place.

Some sort of insect that makes webs infected the cucumber, the impatiens, and one of the marine heliotrope plants. I hope I’ve saved the marine heliotrope, but the cucumber is beyond help, and I think the impatiens are too (I cut back the impatiens, but I don’t think they’ll recover. I overwatered the borage and that’s gone, but I’ll plant them properly next year.

The dahlias are a loss. I stripped the dead leaves off. The blossom gave up, on the bigger of the two. The smaller one is now showing new growth.

I am DONE with dahlias. I was reluctant to try them because they are such high maintenance plants. Done with those drama queens. They’ve been fussed over and coddled since they were planted. The least they can do is bloom.

When my friend with the beautiful garden comes to visit, I will dig up the bulbs and give them to her. She can use them or the groundhogs in her yard can get them. I don’t care.

I’m not sure why the marigolds on the back balcony are doing so well, but the ones on the front porch are not.

The tomato plants just sit there. They don’t grow. They just stay the same.

I think, in this place, growing vegetables is not a good choice, and I’ll rely on the Farmers’ Market. I’ll stick with flowers and herbs, especially cooking herbs and medicinal herbs. I didn’t grow zinnias this year, but they are on my list for next year.

The lemon balm and the mints are doing very well.

The lettuce is still going, which surprises me, since lettuce usually gives it up when it gets hot.

Anyway, this season has been frustrating. But there’s usually a steep learning curve when moving to a new place.

The peace lily is delighted to be out on the back balcony this year, and is not being the drama queen she was last year. The geraniums are doing well, too. And the Christmas Cacti just bloom all year round.

So there’s plenty that’s working. But I’m still frustrated.

Hope your garden is doing better than mine.

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Thurs. July 21, 2022: Blooms and Bombs

image courtesy of S. Hermann & F. Richter via pixabay.com

Thursday, July 21, 2022

4th Quarter Moon waning in Taurus

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron Retrograde

Celtic Tree Month of Holly

Hazy and hot

We finally broke into seasonally hot weather. It’s nowhere near as hot as it is in other parts of the world, but it’s in the low 90’s, feeling like the high 90’s, and humid. Since we don’t have air conditioning, it’s a challenge.

Some of the plants are doing very well; some are not. One of the dahlias is doing well, and we’re getting the first blossoms. The other dahlia is dying, and I have no idea why. The cucumber got pollinated and was growing cucumbers, and suddenly, it’s up and died.

The tomatoes still haven’t grown up into anything. They should be big enough to start blossoming. I don’t know what’s going on.

The pumpkin is happy out on the back balcony, and pumping out blossoms. Hopefully, at least one of them will turn into something.

The geraniums, impatience, and herbs are doing well. The marigolds are doing well as long as I water them every day. The hollyhocks are doing well, although they’ve stalled, height-wise.

Spiro Squirrel kept digging up the tansy, so I brought it to the front porch instead. I’m hoping I can save it. The other tansy is doing well, the one that was always on the front.

The peace lily is quite happy out on the back balcony and blooming like crazy.

Well, it’s a learning curve. I’m making careful notes in the plant journal, so that I can adjust from next year, and learn from what didn’t work.

I’m getting ready to order the tulip and hyacinth bulbs. I bought long window-box style troughs. We’ll plant the bulbs in them in October, so that they’ll come up (hopefully) in the spring. We’ll overwinter them on the front porch, which we close off in winter, because of the cold. So they’ll be protected from digging squirrels, but still get the cold they need.

It gets cool by around 3 AM for a few hours, before it starts heating up again. It’s supposed to break on Sunday night into Monday, and only be in the 80’s next week.

I’m disappointed that the vegetables aren’t growing well, but it makes me even more grateful for the Farmers’ Market, which is just bursting at the seams with wonderful bounty.

How’s your garden growing?

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. May 5, 2022: Spring

image courtesy of dae Jeung kim via pixabay.cm

Thursday, May 5, 2022

First Quarter Moon Waxing in Cancer

Pluto Retrograde

Celtic Tree Month of Willow

Sunny and pleasant

We’ve been able to leave the plants on the front porch for most of the week, although the weekend nights are supposed to dip down into the 30’s again, so we’ll have to take the plants back in. I hope, by next week, we can set up the front porch and the back balcony the way we want to. I want those enchanted garden spaces set up, and then we’ll add/subtract/rearrange over the season.

This is our first season where we start growing things here in the mountains, so there will be a learning curve

The pear, clementine, and mallow have not come up, and I’m giving up on them. I’ve already planted the Norway spruce seedling in the pot where the pear seeds were. Haven’t decided what to plant in the other pots yet. The lavender hasn’t come up, but that’s not a particular surprise. I usually need to buy those as plants.

It looks like I’ll have to buy different morning glory seeds and try those again.

I keep planting cat grass every couple of weeks, alternating the two pots, because Willa and Charlotte love it so much. Tessa has no interest. She likes the herbs – not to eat, but to roll in.

The peace lily is very happy in its new pot, so let’s hope it can stay in it for a few years. Because I don’t know where we’d put a bigger pot to winter.

The dahlias are the big excitement. They are growing beautifully, and are such fun to watch. If they do succeed and bloom, I think they will be gorgeous. My dahlia coach will be proud!

The Tamed Wild box which arrived last week had a small plant kit (could be marigold, mint, or money plant). Today is a planting day (planting and harvesting days are noted on my Llewellyn datebook calendar), so I will plant whatever it is (I hope it’s mint, I have the other two), and I will plant more cat grass.

I’m already excited about Saturday’s Farmer’s Market. I might stop at the Plant Connector that day, too, and see if I can find a small philodendron, a spider plant, and maybe an ivy.

Once the car is fixed and we can go to Whitney’s Farm in Cheshire, I want to get some herbs, geraniums, and maybe begonias. When it gets a little warmer, I want to get a big hanging basket of petunias, and one of cranesbill geranium to hang out on the back porch. At some point, I will buy a few pots of black-eyed Susans.

I hope the night blooming jasmine arrives soon. Although it’s been so chilly, it’s not surprising that it hasn’t shipped yet.

The Rose of Jericho had its week-long rest last week, out of water, and is back in the water, enjoying it. The research I did indicated the water should be changed every day, but this plant prefers water changed every 2-3 days. Tomorrow will be its weekly rest day. Supposedly, it needs to rest one day a week and one day a month out of water.

In the neighborhood, the forsythia is blooming, and so are the tulip trees. Out back, a neighbor has a gorgeous white flowering large shrub. Not sure what it is. I thought it was some kind of azalea, but friends suggested white forsythia or witch hazel. I’m wondering if maybe it’s apple, and is actually a tree or several trees that have been espaliered against the fence? There are quite a few apple trees planted in the various streets which are coming into flower.

It smells wonderful when I run errands on foot!

How are things in your neck of the woods?

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?