Thurs. Aug. 11, 2022: Garden in the Month of Hazel

image courtesy of Annette Meyer via pixabay.com

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Full moon in Aquarius

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter Retrograde

Sunny and pleasant

Celtic Tree Month of Hazel

The heat and humidity have broken, which is helpful. The plants are happier; the people and the cats are certainly happier.

I’ve been cleaning up and putting aside the pots where the plants didn’t survive. I have to catch up on the notes in my plant journal, but yeah, there definitely need to be some changes next year. Live and learn, right? Part of it.

I’m hearing that the heat and humidity have negatively impacted plenty of gardens. Hopefully, some books on gardening in climate change will come out soon.

Spiro Squirrel tried to get into the kitchen via the screen again earlier this week, and Willa chased him away. Another time, he was on the bistro table, watching us through the window. I had to go out on the balcony before he jumped on the railing, ran along it, and jumped back into the tree. Little brat.

The mountain heliotrope has its first blossom, which is fun. The black-eyed Susan vine is blooming like crazy all over the back balcony, and very pretty. I will definitely plant that again next year. The morning glories and moonflowers have vined all the way up the posts to the rail, but no blossoms yet.

The Farmers’ Market continues to be amazing. I’ve made pasta primavera and roasted vegetables over couscous and all kinds of good things this week. When the eggplants appear, I will buy a bunch of eggplant, zucchini, tomato, and peppers to make a big bunch of ratatouille (Moosewood recipe), and then portion it and freeze it. And I want to make a bunch more pesto, too.

We entered the Celtic Tree Month of Hazel last Friday. Hazel is connected to inspiration and wisdom. It’s all about sacred wells and magical springs, and the knowledge that bubbles inside.  Lots of wands are made out of hazel wood. It’s a wonderful time to write poetry or songs. (Which is funny, because I’m reading the latest poem I wrote at part of the Poets in Conversation series tonight).

How’s your garden growing?

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?

Wed. March 17, 2022: More planting, more seedlings

image courtesy of pexels.com

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Second Quarter Moon Waxing in Scorpio

Cloudy and mild

Celtic Tree Month of Ash

After a beautiful day last Friday, we had yet another snowstorm on Saturday, which dumped heavy, wet snow on the area. And then the temperature has rocketed up again. It was 61 degrees F yesterday afternoon. Most of the snow is melted; there are some small patches, in places that were plowed into mounds.

I’d picked up more pots and more potting soil, and used them quickly, for the cherry tomatoes and mini cucumbers. I need to get some more pots and potting soil for the rest of the plants. I don’t know when we’ll get back to storage to get the pots we’ve still got there (and there may not be enough). I didn’t want to buy too many, but too few doesn’t work, either. And I always, always underestimate how much soil I need.

Charlotte and Willa have nearly decimated the first pot of cat grass, so I planted a second pot. I will alternate the two, so they always have cat grass (which means I need to buy more seeds). The second pot has already started to grow.

The lemon balm hasn’t yet sprouted, but a few shoots of the black-eyed Susan vine are cautiously putting their heads out. The echinacea is doing well. The heliotrope and columbine remain tiny shoots.

I’m still waiting for the tansy seeds, which should have arrived on Tuesday, but seem to be going around in circles between Springfield and here. Usually, once something hits Springfield, it gets here fast.

The sweet pea and mallow seeds arrived much more quickly than I expected; I hope to get more pots and soil soon, and then I can plant them.

The peace lily is, once again, outgrowing her pot. This plant is a bit of a drama queen anyway, but is getting crowded. To think, I bought it for $3.98 in a 4-inch pot back in January of 2011! And it’s spilling out of an 11 ½ inch pot now.

Some of the Christmas cacti are blooming. They’re always a bit confused, and tend to bloom year-round, taking turns.

The birds are very busy on the back balcony, sorting out who will live in which house, and on the nest under an eave. There was a cardinal in one of the trees the other morning, and the crows living in the tall evergreen out back are very busy, morning and night. The scout crows check in every morning, and when I run errands on foot, I generally have a running commentary from the crows as I head there and back. They have an absolute fit if I step off a curb and there’s a car within 100 feet of me, as though I’m not bright enough to avoid getting hit. I do appreciate the warnings, though.

Because the screened-in front porch faces south, it generally warms up quickly when there’s sun, so we put out the seedlings in the late morning, and then take them back in before supper.

I hope this is the last of the snow. Much as I love living in a place with seasons, I’m ready for the snow to be over. Granted, that means we’re in for mud season, but that’s what boots are for. And I love the way it smells as the seasons change.

The time change, as usual, has thrown me off. I’m great when we fall back; I’m disoriented for a few weeks when we spring forward.

A new combination of plant center and art gallery will open on Main Street soon, within walking distance. I’m very excited to spend time there. I’m sure I’ll learn a lot. And buy too many plants!

It’s lovely to watch the mountains, out back and out front, change with the seasons.

What’s changing in your neck of the woods?

Thurs. March 3, 2022: Tiny Shoots

image courtesy of u_79qqozws via pixabay.com

Thursday, March 3, 2022

Waxing Moon First Quarter in Pisces

Celtic Tree Month of Ash

Snowy and cold

It’s snowing, off and on, every few days, then changes to slush, then freezes over and snows some more again. We had about eight or ten inches of snow over last weekend, so there was shoveling involved.

The marine heliotrope seeds are growing steadily. Still tiny, thin shoots, but quite a few of them. The echinacea is slowly adding more shoots to its pot. These are sturdier and wider. The columbine has a few wispy shoots coming up.

This past week, on a planting day, I planted some cat grass. I’m going to see if the cats will go for it, and leave the maiden hair fern alone.

Some of the Christmas cacti are blooming again. And they’re dropping some stems, which means we’re rooting them. The geranium, which came from a cutting from the huge geraniums we gave our neighbors when we moved, is doing well, although I’ll probably buy a couple more this spring.

I miss my lilacs so much that it physically hurts.

I’m in the process of getting more pots and more earth, so I can stagger the starts of the rest of the seeds over the next few weeks. Some of them are seeds that don’t like to be moved, so I have to plant them in their permanent pot from the beginning. I don’t want to do that until we can put plants out on the screened-in porch in front. It will be a couple of months until we can put things out on the back balcony again.

How are your plants doing?

Thurs. Feb. 17, 2022: First Planting

photo by Devon Ellington

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Third Quarter Moon Waning in Virgo

Celtic Tree Month of Rowan

Cloudy/rainy/mild

There’s actual plant stuff to talk about this week.

Friday was mild enough to be out on the front porch. I cut back some of the plants that did not overwinter well. One of the geraniums will probably come back. Our oldest philodendron, the one that looked like something out of Little Shop of Horrors on the Cape, didn’t make it. It was never happy here, and just gave up. The chrysanthemum which used to be in the barrel on the front lawn, and was in a pot on the back balcony, blooming so well in autumn, has new shoots. That will be fine. I don’t think the Impatiens survived, but I’ll give it a few more weeks.

The rest of the seeds arrived Friday, although I didn’t get down to the mailbox to get them until Saturday. I was excited that they arrived, and then realized I’d forgotten to order one of the ones I wanted to try this year. Maybe I’ll still order it; maybe I’ll wait until next year.

Pulled two of the seed packets from the new box which also need to be planted sooner rather than later.

Sunday, I planted two pots of Marine Heliotrope, a pot of Echinacea, and a pot of Rocky Mountain Columbine. All of them could take up to a month to sprout, so I have to be patient, although I’m fussing over the pots every day. And started the journal tracking sheets, so I can see what works and what doesn’t here, and adjust as needed.

Last night, the murder of crows tried to chase away a hawk. He came to perch on our back balcony for a bit. Beautiful, gray-headed, sharp-eyed, amazing wingspan. Much as I love my murder of crows, this gorgeous bird fascinated me. He took a break, rested up, and then took off. That wingspan! Absolutely stunning.

It’s supposed to be very mild for the next few days (maybe the ice around the tires will melt), and then another storm on Sunday.

I need to get some more pots. At the end of February, I have a bunch more seeds to start. I’m excited about the nasturtiums, the four o-clocks, and the black-eyed Susan vine.

Have you started any of your plants yet?

Thurs. Feb. 10, 2022: First Seed Packets

photo by Devon Ellington

Thursday, February 3, 2022

Second Quarter Waxing Moon in Gemini

No Retrogrades

Celtic Tree Month of Rowan

Snowy and cold

Yesterday, it was in the forties and slushy, on top of all the layers of ice. It was supposed to be the same today, but it snowed overnight. So that changes the schedule. Well, when we moved here, we were warned that we couldn’t expect to go anywhere from November 1 to the end of March!

The first of the seeds arrived, as you can see from the photo above.

I need to get the heliotrope into pots on the next planting day, which is Saturday. It’s supposed to be started 10-12 weeks before the last frost. And it can take up to a month to sprout.

I chose these particular cherry tomatoes because they can be grown in containers and/or hanging baskets, and I thought that would be fun. I’m not planting them until the end of the month.

The cucumbers are minis, just right to grow in pots on the deck and porch. They can’t be started until after the frosts are finished; I’m thinking the end of March.

I’m still waiting for my other seeds, and will see when/how to schedule planting them. I have a feeling I’ll need a few more pots.

I’m debating whether or not to order a night-blooming jasmine from Territorial Seed to put on the front, screened-in porch. I bet it will smell gorgeous at night.

The only vegetables I’m planning to grow from seed this year are the tomatoes and cucumbers listed above. I will buy some lettuce plants, rather than growing them from seed. I need to learn how the vegetables do in this location.

I have ordered seeds for flowers, and I will buy pots of herbs, so there will be variety. But the growing conditions are very different here than they were on Cape Cod, and I need to learn. It will be trial, and, no doubt, plenty of error!

I’m excited for the farmers’ markets to start up again. There’s one in walking distance.

Hope you’re having a good February. I usually get a bad case of the blues, the “Februaries” I call them, but I’m hoping the planting will assuage some of that.

See you next week!