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!



Mornings on the Porch

Saturday, April 16, 2011
Waxing Moon second quarter in Virgo
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Celtic Tree Month of Alder
Sunny and cold

I love sitting outside in the mornings. I feed the cats, take my coffee, and sit outside for about twenty or thirty minutes, listening to the garden.

More and more birds are migrating back. I’ll have to get a Petersen or Audubon guide to learn what they are. I’ve never heard some of those songs before.

The owl in the back usually wakes me up, just before dawn. I love owls, and I’m pleased we have one in the vicinity. The neighbor’s pine has a nest high up in it, so perhaps that’s where he’s staying. I’m not sure which kind of owl he is, but from his call and the nest, I’d think it’s a Great Horned.

The songbirds and other birds fill in as I sit there, and there’s a spring robin jaunting around the grass, getting his breakfast. Before I moved here, I didn’t even know that there were spring robins and winter robins.

The blue jay zooms past, yelling at the top of his lungs, because, of course, it’s all about HIM. I know most people think blue jays are pests, but I’ve always had a soft spot for them. They’re scrappy and stubborn and independent. And the blue coloring is so intense and lovely, much more vivid than anything artificially created.

The crows stay out of the back. There’s a group of seven who visit the front lawn every morning, usually a few minutes after I sit down to work. They wander the yard, peering at the windows, and give me the news of the neighborhood, then go off on their rounds. They come back and hang out in the neighborhood, though, and let me know if someone is coming. They seem to know the difference between people who live on the street and “intruders”, and only call out if a non-resident approaches.

I learned, at the various wildlife seminars, that crows mob owls and hawks, but, for some reason, My Mob of Seven seem to have a truce with the Backyard Owl. The crows stay out of the back, the owl stays out of the front, so they’ve worked out some sort of a deal.

This morning, the jays had a fit because a hawk was just outside of the property, circling, looking for some breakfast. The crows came racing around the side of the property, mobbed him, and chased him off. What was interesting was that they kept whatever truce lines they’ve drawn with Backyard Owl, not crossing through the backyard, but going around it, to get to the intruding hawk.

I’m going to start some more seeds on Monday, the next planting day. Some of them, I’ll start in seed pots, and some I’ll start in the pots I plant to put outside. My dilemma is that, in all the design books, the advice demands mixing as many different plants as possible in each pot for a lush, abundant look. However, I feel that, since I’m so new to all of this, that I should start them separately — a pot of chamomile, a pot of lemon balm, a pot of lobelia, etc. Then, as they grow and I’m more familiar with them, I can figure out what to mix and match, dig some out of some pots, put them with compatible, pretty plants in other pots, etc.

The Racer pumpkin that came up a few days ago is getting big, and the second one which came up is racing to catch up. The Chucky pumpkins are growing at a much more sedate rate.

The Lemon Verbena didn’t make it, unfortunately; it was too traumatized during the shipping process.

I heard from White Flower Farm that they’ve shipped my iris plants — iris are among my favorite flower, so I’m excited.

I like roses when other people take care of them — they seem like an awful lot of work — but some of the shrub roses I’m reading about look rather intriguing. I remember there used to be a special type of climber specific to the Cape, but maybe I’ll see more of it in June. The stores are carrying the “hybrid tea” roses, which , as I say, are pretty in OTHER people’s gardens, but I’m not up for the work.

I love sitting on the porch in the mornings, letting the yard talk to me. I learn something new every day, and, hopefully, the garden will teach me what it needs.

Rainy and Raw

Black King Eggplant

Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Waxing Moon First Quarter in Taurus
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Rainy and cool
Celtic Tree Month of Alder

We’ve got a thunderstorm going with lots of rain. That’s a good thing — the ground needed it. All these plants trying to come up need a good, long drink. The Cape has rollicking good thunder storms — one boomer was so loud some of the little Easter decorations in the west window fell right out.

I’m changing my morning routine to allow myself twenty or thirty minutes to sit outside and listen to the yard before I start my first writing session of the day. It makes a huge difference. The birds chatter with the latest news, I can hear the trees rustling in the wind. I can just BE, and learn the garden and what it needs. I can read all the books I want, get more advice than I can handle, but I think, ultimately, I have to let the garden itself tell me what it needs.

People around here are mad for hostas, and I have to say, so far, I’m not feeling the love. Probably because I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with last year’s faded leaves — should I have cut them back in fall? Should I cut them back now? Because I will NOT be happy if I see slugs in the yard. I have a feeling a call to the MA Master Gardner hotline is in order.

Inside, I repotted some plants on Monday (by my astrological calendar, a planting day). I started the chamomile and the lemon balm (inside). I put in the wildflower paper that I got from the Tower Hill Botanical Garden exhibit, and we’ll see what comes up.

Racer pumpkin

One of the Racer pumpkin vines has come up, and it’s living up to its name, doubling in size every day. I may have to pot it before it goes outside. The starter pots are biodegradable, so one doesn’t have to disturb the plant, but I don’t think this little guy will wait that long. Three of the Chucky pumpkins have germinated, too, but they’re growing more slowly. The Big King eggplant is getting enormous. I decided that I will keep it in a large pot, rather than putting it in the bed with the other eggplants. I want to keep it separate and see how it does.

I’ve got patio furniture now, so I can sit and enjoy the outdoors. Yesterday was even mild enough to eat lunch out there, until the temperatures dropped again. I hope it will dry up enough in the next few days, so I can get the extra sand out of the vegetable bed and put down more soil.

Now, not only do I have my eye on a pair of Blue hollies, but there’s a golden one that caught my eye, too. I don’t know whether it’s a male or a female, but, if I get the pair of blues, I don’t think it will matter. I’ll find out, won’t I? Because I am obsessed with hollies.


Patience in the Cold

Crocuses under the forsythia bush outside the garage

Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Waxing Moon First Quarter in Taurus
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Celtic Tree Month of Alder
Sunny and cold

It’s been cold and rainy for the past few days, so it’s nice to see some sunshine today. It’s still in the 30s, though, quite cold. I’m glad I didn’t put the pansies in the ground over the weekend.

As I visited a garden center last weekend, it sold out of manure. Only sunny day in weeks, and everyone rushed out to buy manure. We are definitely not in NY anymore! 😉

I’ve repotted the plants that arrived from Territorial Seed — the Hellebore, the Big King eggplant, the lemon verbena, and the Thumbelina Lavender. They’re all happy except the lemon verbena, which I don’t think will make it. It was badly frost damaged when it arrived, and I haven’t been able to save it.

The pumpkins inside haven’t germinated yet, but the plants I bought at the garden show are thriving. I’m especially in love with the catmint, and am tempted to buy lots of it and plant it in every possible border corner.

The eggplant has doubled in size each day since its arrival nearly a week ago.

The eggplant, however, grows before our very eyes, nearly doubling in size every day.

The crocuses are still blooming outside, and the daffodils are coming up. So are other plants which I’ve yet to identify — not sure if they’re tulips or day lilies, because I can’t tell by the leaves. There are also green things coming up under the trees all the way at the back, so I have to go and investigate. Keeping the leaves on the beds for winter made them all very happy.

I have a spade, and, once I clean off the pine cones and needles from the long-abandoned vegetable bed, I can turn over the soil and prepare it.

It’s hard NOT to jump out and start planting in the ground, but I’m listening to those who know more than I do and restraining myself. I’m watching the plants that are here, and letting them teach me — the previous tenants paid no attention to them and they managed to survive, so I figure, if I don’t fuss at them too much, and really listen to them, they’ll be fine.

The front looks a little bare, with the bushes so tiny, but I hope to plant a row of bright, cheerful pansies soon, and then add some blue fescue at the back, staggered with the small bushes, towards the end of the month. I bought some garden ornaments, but the scale is too small for the front of the house, so I have to re-think. I wish I could add fences to the property — I’d love to enclose the space with a low picket fence in the front and side, and then plant against it — but, since I’m renting, that’s not an option.

I have to be patient. Not everything can or will happen this year, both for budgetary and for practical reasons. I have to learn what’s here and how to take care of it. A garden doesn’t show up fully formed, unless you hire a landscaper to put it in. It evolves. And, no matter how many books I read of other people’s experiences and ideas, I have to figure out what works for me in MY space.



Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Waxing Second Quarter Moon in Leo
Saturn Retrograde
Celtic Tree Month of Ash
Rainy and mild

The crocuses have opened a bit more on the side of the house. I think they’re so cute! I’m absolutely delighted by them.

On Sunday afternoon, I was invited to attend an event sponsored by the local beautification committee — I’m going to spend some time with them this year working on the local parks and public areas as a way to learn to garden. Anyway, they had a talk on ornamental grasses.

Before I moved here, I had no idea what those were. I know they’re in use; I just never thought about them much. I was backed up on work and thought about bowing out, but people don’t do that here — you make a commitment, you keep it. None of this “I’m too tired” or “I overbooked” or “Something better came up.” You say it, you do it, something I totally agree with, so I had to walk my talk and go.

I’m really glad I did. It was fascinating. I learned a lot. I started to get ideas for the yard, especially on how to integrate them with plants and containers. I won the birdhouse in the picture, which I think is just darling — and I would have never thought about getting one.

And I am well on my way to becoming obsessed with Blue Fescue. Not as obsessed with it as I am with hollies, but I want to get several of them and tuck them along the front, in between the small bushes that were put in after we rented (I heard, from horrified neighbors, that the owner just yanked out the fully mature bushes).

There was also talk of the Master Gardner program, and that it accepts applications in the fall. I think it’s too much too fast — I need to take the seventh-month herbalism course next winter into spring, and then, maybe the following fall, I will see where things stand and apply for Master Gardner for the following year. I would think one needs to be an Apprentice Gardner or an Intermediate Gardner or an Adept Gardner to apply, not an I’m-Muddling-Through-Trying-Not-To-Kill-Everything Gardner.

I came home and dived back into my gardening books and magazines, dreaming dreams that I might actually be able to implement.

What I have to remember is Patience. Patience has never been one of my virtues (or even a cousin). There’s a part of me that wishes I had an unlimited garden budget and could just go out and buy all sorts of stuff. Because I’m on a budget, I have to be very careful and make sure that what I buy is really what I want — especially when it comes to patio furniture. A $3 potted plant is an expense I can afford to make a mistake on; a $750 or more patio set, I can’t.

Also, because the growing season is short on the Cape, and I keep getting advice that nothing should go into the ground until Memorial Day, I’m chomping at the bit. I don’t want to start seeds too early indoors, because I don’t want them to die off because I can’t get them in the ground fast enough. I don’t want to start buying plants and putting them outside if it’s too cold for them to survive. But I want to start! I have ideas for the front and back grounds — many of which I’m sure won’t work — but I need to be able to get out there and TRY them in order to find out!

And, while many areas in the rest of the country are already planting their early spring crops, I have to wait.

I’m not good at waiting.

I’ll have a lot to talk about on Saturday — I’m attending the Boston Horticulture Show with a group from this same organization. I can’t wait!



Saturday, February 19, 2011
Waning Moon in Virgo
Saturn Retrograde
Celtic Tree Month of Ash
Sunny and cold

I know I’m going to regret this, but I’m going to plant zucchini.

How could I possibly regret it? I eat zucchini, I cook with it a lot. I’m planning on growing two kinds of eggplants, two kinds of tomatoes, and peppers. And herbs. So all that’s missing from the mix is zucchini and I’ve got all the home-grown ingredients for one of my favorites, ratatouille. I adore the recipe from the original MOOSEWOOD COOKBOOK.

On Cape Cod, there’s a running joke about zucchini. People who grow them joke about how they sneak around in the middle of the night, leaving baskets of zucchini on other people’s doorsteps — sometimes the doorsteps of strangers. People who don’t grow them joke about finding far more zucchini than they could ever use on the front doorstep when they go out to get the paper in the morning.

But I’m growing it anyway, albeit cautiously, because I want to make ratatouille with home-grown ingredients from my garden.

Hey, I’m growing cucumbers, too, and I’ve already been warned about those . . .


The Green Pepper Experiment

Saturday, January 29, 2011
Waning Moon in Sagittarius
Saturn Retrograde
Celtic Tree Month of Rowan
Snowy and cold

The other day, when I cut up a green pepper, I saved the seeds and am soaking them in water. We’ll see what happens.

I’ve successfully started peppers, cucumber, and tomato in the past from seeds out of plants I got at the farmer’s market — but this was from the store, and had a “4” starting its code number, which means it’s not organic (it would need an “8”). So it may not have the type of seed in it that can germinate.

Of course, when I started these from seed in NY, they died as small plants because of the toxins the scumbag landlords exposed us to. Since I have plenty of lichen growing around here, at least I know we have good air! I do have a citrus that survived the trip up that I grew from store seed (tangerine, I think), but it’s not very happy with the current weather, and I’ve had to coddle it a lot. It’s about four feet tall at this point, and I need to put it into a bigger pot.

I’m still going to buy organic pepper seeds and give it a go in the vegetable bed, but I thought I’d try this, since the seeds were right there.

I’ll keep you posted.



Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Waning Moon in Scorpio
Saturn Retrograde
Celtic Tree Month of Rowan
Snowy and cold

I’ve always liked flower pots, mostly the simple terra cotta kind you can find anywhere, but also the lovely, ceramic, decorated ones. It’s kind of like “fashion for flowers”, and, this year, I have to think about pots in a different light, since most of my gardening will take place in containers, especially the herbs. Inside, I have a lovely jumble of all sorts of clay pots, the traditional terra cottas, and pots that I bought at craft fairs or people I know made for me at some point or another.

And, when the Alberta Spruce trees in front wake up and decide to grow this spring, I want to put them in pretty pots slightly larger than the ones they are in now, so that they can grow and enjoy themselves. The plan is to put them in a slightly larger pot each year until I own a property where I can put them in the ground and they can live like, well, trees.

I bought five pots the other day — two in a faded, heathery bronze, two in a heathery blue, and one in a kind of a muted red. They’re different sizes, but the shapes are complimentary. The two largest ones, the bronze, will hold the tomato and basil plants. I’m not sure what the others will hold — I kind of like the idea of one of the blue pots holding the white poppy (provided I can find that seed) and mugwort and something else that works well with those.

In any case, although it’s still January, I am stockpiling pots when I find pots I like and they go well with each other and the deck — the roof of the deck is painted a bright, crisp white. The floor is a muted, heathery grey — hence the heather tone in the pots, which will compliment it, even if it place the pots in different places in the yard. I’ll have a mix of terra cotta, probably, but in the back, I think I’ll keep the tones muted.

In the front, around the Alberta Spruces, I may place more brightly colored pots. Another plan is to find a wheelbarrow to place in front of the Gemini Oaks (no, I’m not calling them that because I think there’s a genus or species of oak named Gemini; I’m calling them that because they are a pair of twin oaks in the front yard), and will place a variety of pots in that. I’ve wanted a wheelbarrow since I was six years old; now I have a reason to get one.

So I sit in the snowstorm with garden books and plan. I keep my eyes open for sales and on craigslist and elsewhere. Slowly but surely, I accumulate what I need and want for the garden — with an eye on budget that keeps me creative instead of stifling me.


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.


Winter Solstice – New Beginnings

Winter Solstice 2010
December 21
Neptune Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Snowy and cold
Full Moon
Lunar Eclipse

This year, it will be different.

How often have I said that? Every year since I can remember. For years, I’ve had the fantasy of a garden. I’ve grown whatever I could in various apartments, be it right off Times Square, or in a Westchester County apartment where scumbag landlords used toxins so severe plants and animals died.

But this year, it WILL be different, because I no longer live in an apartment. I no longer live in New York. I am living where I’ve wanted to live for many years, on Cape Cod. I have a yard that’s about three times bigger than I realized when I rented the place. I’ve learned how to rake and bag leaves, how to take them to the dump. I’ll have to buy a lawn mower, which, to me, is more intimidating than walking down 42nd St. at two a.m. I have a still room for my herbs, and I’ll be growing some my own herbs and vegetables.

I can’t wait.

I have a lot to learn — from Times Square to Cape Cod is quite the shift in scenery (and everything else).

I look forward to learning, trying, and even making the mistakes.

I sit here, inside, watching the lovely snow pound down, wondering when I should go out and start shovelling, but, mostly, enjoying the peace and the ability to genuinely experience the ebb and flow of the seasons.

I hope you’ll join me on the journey. Your comments are always appreciated. I plan to post once or twice a week, more often during the summer if it’s appropriate.

And why not start on the Winter Solstice in the middle of a lunar eclipse that hasn’t happened this way since 1638 or 58 or whatever it is?

Merry Solstice, may the light shine on your flower beds, and may there be GENTLE rains!