Thurs. June 23, 2022: Steady Greening

image courtesy of Manfred Richter via pixabay.com

Thursday, June 23, 2022

4th Quarter Waning Moon in Aries

Pluto & Saturn Retrograde

Partly cloudy and mild

It’s been rather on the cool side lately, and for that I am grateful. The heat is off for the summer, so we’ve piled comforters back on the bed, and are wearing socks again. Last year at this time, during the move, we had to be careful not to collapse in the heat. I much prefer this.

However, the squirrels are already burying the barely grown nuts. Spiro Squirrel dug up the tansy on the back balcony to bury tiny little bits of nuts in the pot. The cats are shedding their summer fur and growing in thick winter coats, which means, once the heat and humidity do hit in a few days or weeks, they will be miserable.

It also indicates the likelihood of early winter.

Plants are doing pretty well on both the front porch and the back balcony. The brown-eyed Susan gave up the ghost completely, which annoys me, since it was so expensive. I have to figure out what to put in the pot. The columbine died, too.

Some of the plants that struggled early on are doing well, such as the Marine Heliotrope, the Echinacea, and the Lemon Balm.

I planted some of the borage seeds, some pepper seeds (saved, from bought vegetables), and nectarine pits. It’s late for borage, and I’ll probably save the rest for next spring.

I’m saving some seeds from the cherry tomatoes bought at the Farmers’ Market, and will plant them next spring.

The bulb catalogs have arrived. I think I might buy some tulip bulbs and plant them in pots this October, then keep them out on the front porch over the winter, to see if they come up in spring. Trying to decide which ones to buy are a lot of fun. It means getting more pots, too.

I’ll also have to repot several things by the end of the summer, because they’re growing so well.

I hope the dahlias bloom soon. They keep growing taller, but no blooms as of yet.

We’re using the chives, basil, and parsley regularly. We need to eat the lettuce, before we lose it, and start using the cilantro. I’m wondering if I can grow the cilantro all year.

How’s your garden doing?

Thurs. Feb. 3, 2022: Seeds Ordered

image courtesy of Jonathan Kemper via Unsplash.com

Thursday, February 3, 2022

First Quarter Moon Waxing in Pisces

Mercury goes Direct today

Chinese Lunar New Year of the Water Tiger has begun (as of Tuesday)

Celtic Tree Month of Rowan

Rainy and mild

It’s raining this morning, and this evening, another snowstorm comes in. I don’t know how much snow we’re supposed to get; the predictions are all over the place. So I’ll try to dig out the car in the rain, before it all freezes down again.

This week, I ordered my seeds. Yes, it’s probably a little late, but at least they’re ordered.

I did a spread sheet with information from the four different seed catalogs I got, comparing the seeds I liked best, and prices. I decided that, this year, I’m ordering from Botanical Interests (even though their seeds disappointed me a couple of years back) and Kitchen Garden Seeds.

I only ordered two vegetables this year: mini cucumbers and a cherry tomato that can be grown from a hanging basket. I want to see how they do, and then maybe add more vegetables next year.

I will buy herbs in small pots at the garden center. I ordered an echinacea mix; if it grows well, then I’ll have that, and lemon balm, and cat grass. We’ll also buy some lettuce, because we love salads with lettuce we’ve just picked.

Most of what I ordered this year are flowers: black-eyed Susan vine (which supposedly grows well here); Four O’clocks; Hollyhocks; Nasturtiums.

I’d hoped to get a globe thistle and grey poppy, but they were sold out, across the board.

So we’ll see. Hopefully, the seeds will arrive soon, and I can start the planting.

I did not do a ceremonial first planting for Imbolc yesterday; I might do one today, with some clementine seeds and some pumpkin seeds, which are part of my saved seeds project.

I have to learn how to garden here; what works, and what doesn’t. It will be trial and error.

I miss my lilacs. I might buy a lilac slip and try growing one in a pot again, like I did on Cape.

What seeds are you planting this season?

Thurs. Oct. 22, 2020: First Frost

image courtesy of Art Tower via pixabay.com

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Waxing Moon First Quarter in Capricorn

Neptune, Uranus, Mars, Mercury Retrograde

Celtic Tree Month of Ivy

Foggy and warm

Last weekend was our first frost.

I rearranged my bedroom so that I could bring in a low bookcase that holds the two large geraniums. Two smaller plant stands hold two more geraniums. The gigantic peace lily, which I bought in a 4” pot the first winter we lived here, is on my vanity table – where the cats can’t get at it.

My mother took in some of the smaller geraniums to her bedroom. Geraniums help with love, acceptance, and balance, so these are good plants to have in a bedroom. The peace lily is about comfort and harmony (and about purity and sexual energy). Again, fine for the bedroom.

The maiden hair fern, which was so unhappy in the back bedroom last winter, but revived out on the deck, is now in a sunny, warm spot in my office. Maidenhair fern is used for purity and beauty. A paste made from the fronds helps with some insect stings.

The yellow begonia is in the living room. Its association with caution, gratitude, and justice make sense there.

We’re tucking in the rosemary, tarragon, chive, and parsley where we can fit them, and where they can get decent sunlight.

Slowly, I’m clearing away the space we use for quarantine in the garage (moving it to another section), so the large overwinter plants (rose of Sharon, forsythia, lilac) can overwinter there. I plan to get them in this week.

The pansies are still blooming like crazy, so I’ll leave those baskets out longer.

As the other annuals die back, I’m removing them from the pots and stacking the pots in the garage, on the side for pots we don’t need to water all winter! We’ll harvest the last few tomatoes this week, and then scrub and put those pots away.

I still have to put up the lights for Halloween and some of the exterior decorations. It’s been so windy that it hasn’t made sense.

I’ll start putting away the furniture this weekend and next weekend – while still trying to steal a few minutes to sit outside and enjoy the deck here and there!

I am so tired of every day hearing chainsaws and leaf blowers. No one is making things beautiful. It’s all about destruction. Everything that makes Cape Cod wonderful and beautiful is being destroyed.

Thurs. Sept. 24, 2020: First Prep to Put the Yard to Bed

image courtesy of joeblack564 via pixabay.com

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Second Quarter Waxing Moon in Capricorn

Celtic Tree Month of Vine

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Pleasantly warm

We’re warming up for a few days, which is nice. Hopefully, that means I can get some work done out in the yard.

It was mowed last Saturday, probably the last mow of the season, although I’m putting down some lawn food over the next few days in the front, so it has some nutrition as it prepares for winter.

Leaves are falling, which means the raking begins again soon.

Mabon was on Tuesday, and we’re tipping back into shorter days now, until the Winter Solstice. I enjoy this portion of the year, although many don’t.

Cutting back the beds as they die off; cutting back or removing the annuals from the pots as they finish.

I’ll have to rearrange the garage soon. The section where I overwinter the large, potted plants (because it gets natural light) is what I’ve been using for quarantining boxes, bags, and other things coming into the house during the pandemic.

I’m already excited about next Thursday, because it’s the first of October, and I start decorating!

As I start putting pots, etc., away, I have to do a good scrub out, better than usual, because things will be quite different when they are used again in the spring.

The pesto’s all made, and it’s yummy. I’m keeping one pot of basil inside at a sunny window, so I can get a few more weeks’ worth of fresh basil for cooking. The rosemary, parsley, thyme, and chives will probably need to come in soon. I have to find good places for them, too, so I can use them as long as they last.

Not a good year for tomatoes this year. I will try different seeds next year. The Botanical Interests seeds, which I’ve always liked, were a disappointment. I will go back to Johnny’s for seeds next spring, and also order some from Kitchen Gardens.

How are you starting to put things to bed for the winter? Or are you in the Southern Hemisphere, where things are just starting to wake up?

July 2, 2020: My Garden Definitely Grows!

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The terraced border in the backyard

Thursday, July 2, 2020
Second Quarter Waxing Moon in Sagittarius
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Celtic Tree Month of Oak
Hazy and humid

Hello, my friends! It’s been two weeks, because I had surgery last Thursday. I’m on the road to recovery, but it’s taking longer than I would like.

In the meantime, the garden is growing!

The lawn was finally mowed last Friday, and looks much better. I moved the two small, potted evergreens that flanked the front door out of the front beds, and to the side of the house. They’ve grown over the years (I bought them the first Christmas we moved in, in 2010). They don’t look right. They’re too big to be on the small front step; they look wrong tucked in the back of the front bed.

So I moved them to the side of the house (to hide a small dead tree the owner has yet to get rid of). I started cleaning out the front beds and found a wasp nest, attached to the siding, right near the spigot for the hose.

I dashed out to get wasp killer. Note to self: Avoid Hyannis Country Gardens in the future. Only the register staff keeps their masks on, and the customers wear their masks around their necks, not over their faces, and refuse to distance. Not worth putting my life in danger because of selfish Sliding Mask Skanks.

I nearly sprayed them all with wasp killer, but I needed it for the house.

Battled the wasps over the next few days. This weekend, I hope to get the hose attached in the front, and wash the rest of it away.

Because it looked too bare in the front of the house, I brought two of the oversized red geraniums from the back and put them in front. Good Feng Shui, and they look pretty.

One of the baskets of pansies in the front gave up the ghost. I have to put some of the spare pansies in there, and then continue to clean out the front beds.

The border of the terraced section is lively, as you can see from the photo above. The Stella D’oro lilies are doing well. There’s also that slightly darker yellow lily – I’m not sure what it’s called, but I like it. The daisies are in bloom, as are the catmint, the feverfew, and the Queen Anne’s Lace. The Tiger Lilies are getting ready to bloom.

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The Astilbe is pinker than it looks in the photo, and is lovely. The Elephant hosta is now enormous.

I have to tackle bindweed this weekend, because it’s creeping around choking things.

I’m a little concerned that the hostas are already sending up blooms. It should happen in August; the last few years it’s been happening in mid-late July. This year it’s in early July. Also, the critters are already hoarding for winter. That does not bode well.

The rugosa roses are doing well, and the scent is lovely, wafting into my bedroom.

Tomatoes are coming along. Cucumbers keep blooming, but none of the blooms are producing anything. Beans have sprouted. Che Guevara Chipmunk dug up the peas and the sunflowers, so I think those will be a bust this year.

Herbs and lavender are fine. I’d hoped the morning glories would start blooming, but they are very busy growing.

The hydrangeas are blooming. Cape Cod is known for them, and the hydrangea festival is next weekend. I think people are observing from their cars? I hope packs of Maskless Morons don’t think they’re actually going to tromp around people’s properties.

I wouldn’t be out and about on a holiday weekend around here anyway, because of the traffic and the idiot tourists. Add the pandemic this year, and I’m really staying home.

But I have my enchanted garden to enjoy (and work in). I can read and watch the birds – lots of finches this year!

I love to have my first cup of morning coffee out on the deck. I check on the plants. I talk with the birds and the bunnies. The little black cat hasn’t been around lately. I think she was just a visitor. Sometimes I do my first writing session of the day on the deck.

Later in the day, I either read or take more work out on the deck. The skylights and the covering mean I can even work in bad weather (as long as the rain isn’t coming sideways).

Being out there gives me a sense of peace and belonging, that I don’t get anywhere else around here. It also emphasizes how much I want a place of my own, not a rental.

The bunnies continue to eat breakfast and dinner in the patches of dandelions I keep in the yard. Che Guevara Chipmunk is very busy. He likes to get right in Willa’s face, because she’s in the playpen, but she’s learned how to chase him by turning the playpen into a snowball-like roller.

I am so grateful to have this space to enjoy and rest in, this sanctuary away from the horrors of the world.

How’s your garden doing?

Thurs. June 18, 2020: Growth

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image courtesy of Conger Designs via pixabay.com

Thursday, June 18, 2020
Waning Moon 4th Quarter in Taurus
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Foggy and cool
Celtic Tree Month of Oak

Things are growing, and it’s lovely to watch. Summer Solstice this weekend, and then we start losing light.

The morning glories and the moonflowers are both doing well. I think the morning glories might start blooming next week. The pollinator mix and the zinnias are coming up, but the hollyhocks never sprouted, which is a disappointment.

The pansies are still going strong, but with the weather getting warmer, it might become too much for them.

The tomatoes, basil, and other herbs are coming along nicely, and the eggplant and cherry seeds have sprouted. Keeping a close eye on them, for transplanting.

The lettuce is nearly done; not a good year for lettuce this year, sadly. We usually have it going like gangbusters well into August. I might try sowing some mixed greens (today is a planting day), and maybe finally get the beans in. Might be too late, but worth a shot. Someone told me I can still sow the sunflowers.

Everything on the deck was covered in a thick layer of yellow tree pollen. I hosed down the deck and the furniture, but some of the plants will need the leaves sprayed or individually washed, or the pollen will choke it. I do love the pine trees, but the pollen can be annoying.

Neighbors all around are cutting down perfectly healthy trees, which is infuriating. On Independence Drive, in Hyannis, they cut ALL the large gorgeous trees in the median, and most of the trees on the side, revealing so much dust and ugliness. People on the Cape are bound and determined to use the pandemic as a reason to destroy as many natural resources as possible. It’s not progress; it makes the area look cheap and ugly.

Reveals a lot about the people doing it, right?

In any case, I am happy in my enchanted garden. On a typical summer, I would spend most of my time here, avoiding the tourist mayhem. This year, I will particularly do so. I am filled with gratitude for the space, even though I haven’t been able to put in the money to do everything I want.

If it clears up a bit more, I will spend a few hours this morning working on the front beds. They need some tidying up. I did some work on the beds in the back over the last few days, battling invasives, weeding, getting things watered. The lawn guy should be here at some point this week (he usually comes every two weeks, and this is week 3).

One of the things I love doing is paging through garden magazines, reading garden memoirs, and planning gardens for my fictional characters. It’s a way to experiment with gardens on a larger scale, and then, maybe find ways to incorporate some of my favorite things in my own.

I won’t post next Thursday – I am currently scheduled for surgery. I hope to be able to spend time healing in my garden.

Peace, my friends, and I’ll be back in touch in two weeks.

 

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 23, 2019: Trying to Catch Up in the Garden

Thursday, May 23, 2019
Third Quarter Waning Moon in Capricorn
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Celtic Tree Month of Hawthorn
Don’t know the weather — this is scheduled to post

This was a week of rolling up my sleeves to dig in the dirt.

I’m behind on the mowing, as usual, although I don’t hate it as much with the push mower as I did with the gas mower. I really need to see if I can sell the gas mower for a few bucks. I just want it gone.

I did the first treatment for ticks on the deck and I’ll do another one this weekend.

I started transplanting the tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers. I have more tomatoes to repot this week, but I wanted the seedlings to get a little stronger before I moved them. Repotted some herbs (parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme, lemon balm, chocolate mint). Did some trimming with the clippers, and cut back some stuff in pots that I hope comes back. The clematis looks good.

The lilac is blooming, and scents every breeze, which is a delight.

I planted some nasturtium seeds, all my morning glory and moonflower seeds, and about a third of my kale, mesculun, and spinach.

The chipmunk family under the bush is gearing up for the season. One little guy scampers onto the deck and gives little chipmunk speeches.

I was reading on the deck last weekend, recovering from the day’s work, and heard a noise. I looked up to see three young wild turkeys taking a stroll through the yard. Not in the least worried that I was on the deck. They took their time. Stopped for a snack here and there. It was pretty funny.

A young woodpecker got caught under the skylights of the covered deck. I managed to coax him out. Our bratty bluejay stopped by to give me the neighborhood gossip.

My murder of crows hasn’t been around much lately (I miss them). I saw a pair of bunnies down the street, but none yet in our yard. The coyotes have been quiet lately. I hope they weren’t shot. I actually feel safer when they’re around.

I’m hoping the weather will be warm enough these coming days to finish transplanting the tomatoes, and to start the cucumbers, beans, and peas. Maybe even the zinnias and the monarda.

I’ve been taking the plants out for the day and bringing them back in at night. I don’t want to lose any more.

I’ve never lived anywhere before where so much is dependent on the weather. Living in New York, weather was just another obstacle. Here, it dictates the rhythm of the day and the week.

Have a terrific Memorial Day weekend. I intend to spend as much time as possible in the garden. The rest, reading and writing. Online as little as possible.

 

Wed. Feb. 12: Battling Sticky Webs

Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Waxing Moon Second Quarter Cancer
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Celtic Tree Month of Rowan
Sunny and cold

I wanted to post on Saturday, but got injured Friday night, and everything kind of went out the window for the weekend.

Starting Friday, I’ve been battling some weird bug thing attacking my citrus plants. It seems to spin a sticky web below the leaves and then suck all the life out of them. I washed all my plants, leaf by leaf, with ivory soap, rinsed them, and have been keeping a daily eye on them. some branches/leaves were too far gone. Others seem to be recovering. I have a lot of lemons, a tangerine, and a clementine — would hate to lose them.

The garlic plants double in size every day — two out of three came up. The radish plants came up, but not sure if anything’s happening below the surface. How do you check a radish or garlic or carrot without yanking it up? The leeks have started, the carrots have started. One of the pear plants died — I think I need to transplant the other shoots.

None of the herbs have come up yet. I hoped this would be a good year for basil.

A friend started her tomatoes this week. I might start some this week and then some on the Equinox, when I usually start them.

We’re supposed to get slammed by another storm tomorrow. The very thought of it makes me weary.

Think healing thoughts for my citrus plants! I don’t want to use chemicals on them, if I can avoid it.

Devon

Do I Plant Something So I Can Write About It?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Second Quarter Moon in Cancer
Jupiter Retrograde
Celtic Tree Month of Birch
Sunny and pleasant

I didn’t post on Saturday. I didn’t have much to say. I nearly went ahead and planted something just to have something to write about.

In any case, the macintosh apple seeds are being gently tended; today I’ll plant some pear seeds from a gift of pears we had at the holidays. One of them is sprouting; we’ll see.

One of the interesting things is to see which of the foods we get from outside sources is fertile, and which is not. That’s part of the experiment.

I’m trying to figure out what to plant this year. What do I eat most? Tomatoes, eggplants, leeks, radishes, carrots are right up there. We had a great year for tomatoes last year — my only real limitation is space. It was a lousy year for eggplants and zucchini, a good year for peppers. For some reason, although radishes and carrots are supposedly easy to grow, I am the exception and can’t seem to grow decent ones of either.

That doesn’t mean I won’t try again!

I want to grow leeks this year. And more Asian vegetables, such as bok choy (which did pretty well) and lemongrass. I’d like to grow celery, and maybe garlic and onions.

I was light on the herbs last year — most of them did not grow well. I’m hoping for a better herb year this year.

I’m trying to decide what I’ll plant on Imbolc, the important celebration of “what stirs beneath” — it needs to be something important to me, but something likely to grow well!

Decisions, decisions . . .

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