Thurs. June 11, 2020: Progress

Thursday, June 11, 2020
Waning Moon 3rd Quarter in Aquarius
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Celtic Tree Month of Oak
Cloudy and humid

Things are growing, which is good, about now. It’s warmer and humid, but still much cooler than usual. Not that I’m complaining for myself, but I worry about the plants.

The transplanted tomatoes are doing well, with their little basil companions. The cucumber now has three blossoms – let’s hope the bees pollinate! Peppers are doing well. Nothing from the eggplants yet – I have a feeling Che Guevara Chipmunk’s been digging.

Morning glories and moonflowers are growing well. Pollinator mix doing well, as are the zinnias. Nothing from the hollyhocks, which is disappointing.

The herbs are all doing well.

I have to scrub the tree pollen off all the surfaces, but other than that, our Enchanted Deck is doing quite well.

Today is another planting day. As late as it is, I’m going to plant some zucchini seeds, beans, and start the peas soaking to plant tomorrow. I know, I know, it’s waaaay late to plant peas. But I’ll try.

I cut back a lot in the front beds and on the side. I have to clean out the front beds, do some more weeding and tidying up around the roses, and get rid of some invasives in the back. The weather’s been a little wonky, so I haven’t done all that much. I’m hoping for a nice weekend, so I can spend a couple of hours every day getting things done.

I’m designing a garden for one of my books – and having such a good time with it. There’s a lot of room in this fictional garden, and it’s set within a wood, so there’s all kinds of fun stuff, with patches of sun and shade.

The lettuce is absolutely yummy, and we love being able to eat it.

The pair of bunnies love the patches of dandelion and clover in the yard. They’re so much fun to watch. The birds are busy, and Che Guevara Chipmunk keeps everyone in line.

Willa loves going outside in the playpen. She’s really funny.

It’s so nice to sit outside and read a book or write or have a cocktail on the deck and just enjoy the yard. It’s always nutty around here in summer because of tourists, so I’m always grateful to have this sanctuary. I’m even more grateful this year, with the reckless re-opening and people running around like the virus doesn’t exist any more.

I’ll just stay and enjoy my sanctuary.

How is your garden doing?

Thurs. May 21, 2020: Finally, A Planting Day

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Thursday, May 21, 2020
Dark Moon in Taurus
Pluto Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Celtic Tree Month of Hawthorn
Sunny and pleasant

I’m very disappointed with the packet seeds I bought this year. Saved seeds from organic food has sprouted much better. Let’s see if they will get pollinated and actually make food.

It was too cold to plant last weekend, but it’s warming up. Since today is a planting day, I’m going to plant some flower seeds, and maybe repot some tomato seedlings. Monday is the next planting day, and I will probably plant beans and peas that day.

I still have to clean out some of the beds and trim back some plants.

The big lilac is blooming in the back; not that many flowers this year, but I will cut some and put them in water. I love the smell of lilacs.

When I own my own property, I plan to add one lilac each year! Lilacs, lilacs everywhere!

We have the deck mostly set up – the photo above is a partial view. If the idiot neighbors didn’t spend all day EVERY day running chainsaws and leaf blowers, maybe I could actually enjoy sitting outside sometimes. I’d like to be able to enjoy the reason we rented this house. For the past few years, the neighbors blatantly violate noise code 7 days a week, for hours at a time, and the town can’t be bothered to enforce it. Yet renters are required to sign something stating they “understand” the noise code. But owners can do whatever they want?

No one HAS to make that much noise ALL the time.

Let’s hope I can enjoy a few hours here and there outside this weekend.

I intend to take it as a holiday weekend, and enjoy time at home without the pressure of having to do anything I don’t want to do.

Hope you can do the same.

Planning: Sometimes the Best Part


Amaryllis. It reached its full glory on the night of the Twelfth Night Party

Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Waning Moon Fourth Quarter in Scorpio
No Retrogrades
Celtic Tree Month of Birch

I ran into an acquaintance-on-the-road-to-becoming-a-friend a few weeks ago at a music event. She asked why I stopped writing the blog, because she enjoyed reading it! So, here I am!

My heather’s blooming, out front, in the barrel. It looks lovely, but

Learning how to maintain a garden was a little overwhelming for me last year. All in all, although I won’t win any prizes, I learned a lot, I had a LOT of fun, and there were great times. The Black King eggplant (who lived in the house until a spider mite kerflamma) grew to be nearly six feet tall and spat eggplants at us until nearly Thanksgiving; the tomatoes were put in late, so it was nearly Thanksgiving before we got any, but I’d pulled them in and put them under a grow light in the back bedroom — so we had tomatoes. It was too wet for the pumpkins, and they died, which was disappointing. The cucumbers would have been great, but the squirrels hollowed them out and left the rinds; the green peppers were good. The salad greens were amazing.

Supposedly, anyone on the planet can grow a radish. Not me.

Win some, lose some.

While I’m glad I don’t have to live through the winter on the harvest, it wasn’t bad for a first time out.

The culinary herbs did well, and I need to add some more medicinals in this year. The lavender was kind of hit and miss. I’d been told lavender is easy, but I must not have given it what it needs. Some of the plants are dormant now, cut back, so we’ll see what happens in spring. In fact, I have a whole section of the garage with dormant, cut-back perennials.

I bought a witch hazel tree from Country Gardens. I absolutely adore it. It was beautiful all summer, it turned lovely colors in fall. It wants to bud, but hasn’t yet.

My Blue Prince and Princess hollies are doing very well. I also dug up another holly from a difficult place in the yard and stuck it in a pot. It’s doing well, too. From this past Holly Walk at Ashumet, where we get to take branches, I took some of the Goldie berries and planted them — hoping something will come up. I’d love to have a holly that can trace back its lineage to Ashumet, which is one of my favorite places on the planet.

The Boomerang Lilac is still on the back deck, along with the hollies and the witch hazel. I pulled them back, to protect them from the harshest weather, but they’re out there on the deck and seem happy. It looks like the Boomerang will have some nice buds in spring.

The strawberries gave us a small harvest over the summer, but a second, much larger one in fall. We had strawberries for breakfast for weeks up until late October. And they were delicious. They’re cut back and resting, so hopefully they will be even more productive and delicious this year. The kitten (Tessa) doesn’t each much people food, but she does like to pick her own strawberries from the plants and eat them.

The plants from Territorial Seed Company did not do well, other than Black King eggplant (which was magnificent). The Peppermint Ice Hellebore (the most expensive) was unhappy (it’s struggling, but unhappy), the Huckleberry is struggling, and everything else died. Well, the Lemon Verbena arrived nearly dead, but that was simply ignored. I may buy the Black King from them again, but . . .moving on.

Eden Brothers seeds did pretty well, and the locally bought seeds were fine, too. Johnny’s, as usual, worked the best for me. The bulk of my purchases this year will either be from Johnny’s or from the local shops.

I’m sitting down and planning for planting season. I want (and need) more herbs. It makes more sense to buy them as small plants locally than start them from seed. I hope the rosemary comes back, and some of the others. I want more different varieties of thymes and basils. The Feverfew did well — this year I have to harvest it, instead of just oohing and aahing about how pretty it is. The Echinacea did NOT do well, so I’ll give that another go. I want to add chamomile and dill to the mix, and I need tansy, rue, and pennyroyal. I’d like to expand to coltsfood and horehound, but don’t know if I can this year. I use both herbs a lot in cough and cold mixtures.

Vegetable-wise, I’ll put some things in the bed as last year, and others in pots that will line up on the ground below the terraced area in the back. It gets a lot of sun. I need to grown the Asian vegetables I like to use in cooking, and have a hard time finding.

I’m going to start tomatoes earlier, and go with locally-started plants instead of trying to do everything from seed. There will also be more marigolds, and they’ll be EVERYWHERE. Cucumbers, eggplants, zucchini, peppers — hey, a girl’s gotta have enough for ratatouille, right? And cucumber sandwiches. I want to try some lettuces, cabbages, spinach, and peas. I like the IDEA of corn and beans, but don’t know if I’m actually ready to deal with them. I will try pumpkins again.

My questions for planning the season are:

–what do I use most in cooking, and like best?
–can it grow here?
–what herbs do I use and need most?
–can it grow in a pot?

And then, it’s just trial and error.

I wasn’t as dedicated to good note-keeping last year as I should have been. I kept buying plants and not making up sheets for them or noting when they were replanted or died. I have to be better about that this year.

I am an azalea and rhodie convert, and I even fell for the hostas, once they were up. When we first moved here, I did not understand the love of hosta — to me they looked icky and wilted when I cut them back. Then, they came up in spring and summer and were gorgeous. I can’t wait for the Stewartsonian Azalea I bought last year to start blooming again. It seems very happy in its barrel.

I want more pansies this year, and more petunias. The petunias looked lovely with the coleus and the dusty miller in the urns out front. The mums were a little disappointing — the orange, which I loved, where the quickest to fade. Some of the deep reds and the yellows stayed much longer. We will see if they are annuals or perennials. I was told if I got them into the ground quickly, they’d be perennials. Some went into the border in the front, some stayed in pots, so we’ll see. The cosmos looked lovely, so hopefully they’ll come up well this year (I’ll plant more), and I plan to put the poppies in early enough so they can actually come up.

I planted 125 tulips in the fall — a true red, a white, a red-and-yellow (Carmen Del Rio), a yellow and maroon, and a maroon (Queen of the Night). I’m concerned, with the temperate weather, that they’ll get confused and come up before it’s time.

The Arbor Day Foundation is sending me ten trees and two flowering shrubs, so getting those situated (in pots — this is a rental) will take up some time.

The peace lily which was bought for last year’s Twelfth Night party is huge and gorgeous. The small roses are struggling — I think the spider mite plague was more than they could survive. Last year’s primrose is doing well. I bought three more small ones for this year’s party — they’re not as happy. I’m not sure if they need replanting, or were just forced too early or what. We’ll see how they fare.

I want to schedule my time better. Now that I know the garden needs more time, I want to schedule my writing day so that the writing and the garden both get what they need.

Really, this is the best time of year, garden-wise, because anything is possible!

Devon