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 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. April 22, 2021: Earth Day

photo by Devon Ellington

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Second Quarter Waxing Moon in Leo

Celtic Tree Month of Willow

Sunny and cool

Earth Day

The photo is of the forsythia in the backyard, with the chimes from the deck. It’s in full bloom now, and lovely.

The lilacs are starting to bud, and the maple is showing red buds. We still have daffodils and hyacinths in the front yard, although the rain battered them a bit. I’m enjoying whatever time we have left with this yard.

Today is Earth Day. I still have the tee shirt from the first Earth Day.

How much do you want to bet the jackasses will be out today, since it’s sunny, cutting down more trees and destroying more habitat on Earth Day? Pretty soon, there won’t be any trees left on Cape Cod, except in the Audubon sanctuaries.

Weather’s been all over the place this past week, reeling from snow to warm enough to sit on the deck. I’ve taken Willa and Charlotte out in their playpens a few times. The other day, I took Willa out, but it was so windy, her playpen got blown over, so I took her back inside.

I hate not having any tomato or lettuce seedlings, but it doesn’t make sense to plant them, since we don’t know where we’ll be, or if we’ll have any green space.

The indoor plants are doing well.

I just want a nice, safe place to live with a little green space. I hate being in limbo.

April 15, 2021: Spring in A Changing Neighborhood

photo by Devon Ellington

Thursday, April 15, 2021

First Quarter Waxing Moon in Taurus

Celtic Tree Month of Willow begins

Cloudy and cold

Yes, that is a photo of my potted forsythia, started a few years back from cuttings from the forsythia in the yard. It started blooming in the garage. Last weekend, I moved the forsythia, the potted lilac, the two potted Roses of Sharon, and the clematis onto the deck, with the Adirondack chairs and the small table. We might as well enjoy whatever nice days we have left here.

We have a few daffodils blooming at the front and side of the house.

It’s been much cooler here than in the rest of the state, although Worcester is set to get snow tonight into tomorrow. Here, it will be heavy rain, which we desperately need.

People move to Cape Cod, claiming they move here for the beauty. Then, all they do is cut away trees and bushes and add chemicals to grasses and make it look like any subdivision in any bland spot in the world. Why do people come here to destroy? Why can’t they ever appreciate the beauty that’s here?

Coyote mating season is February/March. This year, I didn’t hear a single coyote call. Not one. Usually, they keep me up for at least a few weeks while they get busy. This year – not once.

Between the idiot with his landscaping and heavy machinery across the street, and the sketchy neighbors on the property behind with their late-night deliveries, odd heavy machine noises, and stack of old mattresses stacked in their back yard, this neighborhood is turning into a mix of industrial park and short-term rentals. It’s very discouraging.

On a happier note, we are moving into the Tree Month of Willow. I love Willow trees. They are about healing, growth, and protection, all of which I could use right now.

Yesterday was a nice enough sunny day, albeit a little chilly, to sit outside. Willa and Charlotte wanted to come, so I put them in their playpens, took a book and a glass of white cranberry peach juice, bundled up in a jacket, and sat outside for about an hour.

The traffic is as bad as it would be in midsummer. The neighborhood idiots keep buying bigger and louder leaf blowers, and running them all day every day EVEN THOUGH THERE ARENT’ ANY LEAVES. Quiet enjoyment of one’s space is no longer an option.

But the perennials in the terraced bed are poking up again, determined to make it for another year. The lilacs – both the old lilac by the fence, and the two potted lilacs I have near the fence – are starting to bud. There are some birds. Somebody built a big old nest in one of the oak trees.

Charlotte was a good little princess out there on her playpen. She sniffed the new smells, gave herself a bath, played with the toys in her playpen, and settled down to enjoy being out.

Willa did sniffy-sniffy and paced like a caged lion. She had a few things to say, and also played with her toys. But she’s learned how to roll her playpen, and I have to keep an eye on her, because she’s gotten pretty good at it, and can cover a lot of ground fast. I don’t want her rolling down the steps and across the yard.

Tessa, meanwhile, was up in the window, and in her new bed (more about that on today’s Ink in My Coffee post on the other blog).

Even with the noise and the chaos, it was nice to sit outside in semi-fresh air (all the leaf blowers and heavy machinery leave a weighted scent of machine oil around all the time, so it’s hard to smell what’s budding).

Maybe, just maybe, it will clear up a bit over the weekend, so we can sit out again.

In the meantime, how’s your garden growing? Have you started any seeds?

Thurs. April 8, 2021: A Hint of Spring

image courtesy of Capri23autho via pixabay.com

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Fourth Quarter Waning Moon in Pisces

Celtic Tree Month of Alder

Cloudy and mild

There are finally signs of spring. The potted forsythia in the garage is blooming, and I’ll move it out on the deck soon. But even the in-ground forsythia are shyly starting to show yellow buds.

I love forsythia. They’re such a cheerful plant, and to me, mean spring. It makes me feel cheerful and hopeful, something I desperately need right now.

I have some daffodils in vases – not ones from the house, ones I bought. They’re lovely.

The hyacinths I planted out front about eight years ago bloomed. Another spring favorite.

We had a smattering of snow into Saturday morning. Woke up with it on the roof and the roof of the deck. Barely saw it on the ground; if I hadn’t looked out of the window early enough, I wouldn’t have seen it.

The bunnies survived the winter, living under the deck. We saw them last night, coming out for their supper. We love our bunnies. We’ve lost so much wildlife in the neighborhood, due to people cutting down their trees and overbuilding. Fewer birds, too, although a fresh robin watched me pull out of the driveway yesterday, and I can hear the mourning doves when I wake up.

We still don’t know where we will move, and I haven’t done any planting. I will be so sad if I don’t have any garden this year. The stress of not knowing where we will end up is taking a bad toll.

But I am trying to enjoy each moment still here, and I’m trying to stay optimistic that we will end up in the right place.

Thurs. April 18, 2019: The Weather Works Against Me

Thursday, April 18, 2019
Day Before Full Moon
2nd Quarter Moon in Libra
Jupiter Retrograde
Celtic Tree Month of Willow
Rainy and cool

I’m trying to remember what got done since last Thursday. The days I’ve been free to do yard work have not coincided with the weather, unfortunately. What were supposed to be a string of sunny days weren’t.

I started work on the side yard, and I got the front beds raked out. Cut back a lot of invasives. Got one load of yard debris to the dump, and am accumulating another.

Bought six-packs of Romaine lettuce (grow your own; avoid e-coli), Buttercrunch, and Boston lettuces. Got a six-pack of parsley. They are all happy in their new pots. Got the pansies into the hanging baskets out front, and in the barrel.

Yesterday, finally started replanting the Cherokee Purple tomatoes in big posts. Got some of them in; will get in more today, and then start replanting the Romas and the Eggplants.

Then I can move forward some of the other tomatoes, in smaller pots, closer to the windows.

The lettuce and parsley go out on the deck during the day on good days, and come in at night, because it’s still cold. The tomatoes are still too fragile to go out.

The forsythia and white Rose of Sharon are out on the deck; the hydrangea, lilac, and large Rose of Sharon will go out soon.

I need to put teak oil on the wooden furniture as it goes out on the deck, repaint the white plant stand, and decide if I want more pansies in the little teacup planters.

Again, I don’t know how much I’ll get done this weekend because of rain.

I’m posting most of the in-process photos on Instagram, where you can find me @devonellingtonwork.

Hope you’re having fun with your gardens, too! Drop a line or a photo or an Instagram link. I’d love to see how it’s going.

 

Thurs. April 11, 2019: Growth & Sunshine

20190411_065145
forsythia in the garage

Thursday, April 11, 2019
Waxing Moon, 1st Quarter Cancer
Celtic Tree Month of Alder
Sunny and pleasant

The forsythia is blooming in the garage. I’ll have to get it out on the deck this weekend. It’s a little bit ahead of the forsythia planted outside.

The maple tree in the backyard is starting to bud. It’s always such a pretty tree.

20190411_064951

I finally planted my last four kinds of tomatoes last weekend: the Principase Borghese, the Purple Cherokee, The Gardeners’ Delight, and the Moneymakers.

By the end of the month, I hope I can plant the peas, beans, zucchini, and cucumbers outside. But it’s all dependent on the weather. It may well be later in May before I can.

The Roma and Chocolate Cherry tomatoes, and the eggplants are growing like gangbusters. It’s such a delight to come down each morning and see how well they’re doing.

Today or tomorrow, I will plant the first of the mixed greens, the spinach, and the kale. I might get some basil and marigold plants (if it’s not too early) to go with the tomatoes that need to be transplanted to their big pots, and some pansies for the outside hanging baskets. I also have to get some hardware to fix our lovely wind chimes. I also have to get more potting soil.

The weather is supposed to be pretty decent this weekend, so I intend to do a few hours each day of yard work. Raking leaves, cleaning out beds. I think it’s a little too early to mulch, but most people are already mulching. I’ll have to see.

There’s a lot of work to be done. So much of it depends on weather. Unfortunately, good weather is also coinciding with me being on tight deadlines, so it’s a balancing act.

I’m on Instagram, by the way. You can find me @devonellingtonwork over there. I share posts on Twitter and Tumblr, but not necessarily on Facebook.

Garden Dreaming — And Scheming!


What February should look like – -but doesn’t. This is from our storm a few weeks ago — which was all melted by the next afternoon!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Waxing Moon Second Quarter in Taurus/Gemini
Mars Retrograde
Celtic Tree Month of Rowan
Cloudy and mild

The weather’s been totally wacky this year; way too warm. While my bank account is grateful, in terms of the heating bill, I’m worried about my plants. Was it cold enough for the tulips, or will all 125 that I planted (on time, for once) last fall — my very first attempt at tulip-ing — rot? The barrel of heather is blooming beautifully — will it wear itself out before spring? The forsythia and lilac have buds — but my witch hazel hasn’t popped yet.

I’d hoped, since the weather is mild, that it would also be sunny today and I could get outside and do some more yard clean-up. The front’s in good shape, but the back needs work. So far, though, it’s drizzling, which means there’s not a whole lot I can do. I figure if I do a little bit every nice day, by the time it’s warm enough to really plant and tackle things, I’ll be in good shape.

I’m going through the garden books and magazines and the designs, dreaming big dreams. Then, I have to scale them down so they make sense in my life!

I have a lot of seeds, so I’m okay in the seed department. I’ll buy a lot of the herbs in 4” pots to start, instead of doing them from seed. I’ve got some repotting to do today, and, in the spirit of it being Imbolc Eve, I’m planting some lemon seeds from a zested, juiced lemon. I’ve got a lovely tangerine plant started the same way.

This year, I’m going to start the moonflowers and morning glories inside first, then transplant them up the big wagon wheel at the side of the house. Last year, I put them directly into the ground — not realizing there were hostas there, who popped up and didn’t give them enough sunlight! Plus, I think my seeds were too old. This year, fresh seeds, start indoors — in March, I will probably set up the grow light and a seed table in the back room to get things started.

The Elsa Memorial Orchid has two new shoots! I’m very excited. As long as I leave that plant alone, it’s happy. I get the hint. For those of you new to the blog, the Elsa Memorial Orchid was sent to me by a group of friends when my beloved Elsa died shortly before the move to the Cape. It blooms beautifully at least once a year, sometimes twice, and the agreement is that it will keep blooming as long as I don’t try to “help” too much. Message received.

I’m looking forward to a deck and an expanded back area full of plants this summer, especially more medicinal herbs. I’m thinking about getting some clematis or American wisteria to grow up the sides of the deck, like a natural privacy screen. But I don’t want the deck to feel closed in. The roof is so wonderful, it’s nice to have the breeze coming through. The big lilac in the ground and my neighbor’s hydrangeas work well on that side. It’s just on the other side that we need a bit more coverage.

Devon