Thurs. July 30, 2020: Blooming and Fading

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image courtesy of pasja1000 via pixabay.com

Thursday, July 30, 2020
Second Quarter Waxing Moon in Sagittarius
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Celtic Tree Month of Holly
Hot, humid, cloudy

It’s been so hot and the yard so parched that I’ve used the hose to water it. As far as I know, we’re not under drought warning here, so it’s okay. I don’t have an irrigation system set up – I just give the yard a good soak around 5 AM. I do the back both morning and night. It’s making a positive difference, which is nice, because the Earth Science Lawn Repair mixture I bought isn’t doing a damn thing.

The beans are starting to be beans; we have more blossoms on the tomato plants; we have cucumbers. The zinnias are blooming. I’m not sure why the morning glories and moon flowers haven’t bloomed – the vines are everywhere. The basil thrives – I have a feeling I’ll make more pesto this year. Which is fine, because it’s excellent.

The Hosta blooms are starting to fade, although the bees still enjoy them. The Tiger Lilies are already fading, which is early for them, and the leaves are already turning brown.

The Rose of Sharon plants are starting to bloom.

I’m battling the kudzu and the bindweed almost daily. It’s exhausting. And oak saplings everywhere. Around here, oak behaves like an invasive. Over at the Ashumet sanctuary, they have a grove of pitch pine they’re cultivating (the Cape used to have a lot of pitch pine). The oak keeps trying to push out the pitch pine, so they have to keep taking the oak saplings out as though they are weeds.

Che Guevara Chipmunk is back. I saw him drinking out of the water dish I leave out for the wildlife (and change three times a day). I’m glad. I was worried about him. He spends part of his time in our large peace lily plant; when we bring it in for the winter, we will have to make sure he’s not still in it.

The bunnies still munch, morning and night. The crows are hanging out, hoping for more melon. Lots of finches of various types this year. They are funny. Bossy little birds, but they’ve chased off the sparrows and wrens.

Bratty Bird, the nuthatch, hasn’t been around much this summer, and I kind of miss him. But then, Tessa’s not out on the deck, and he loved to bother Tessa.

I hope we get a thunderstorm today; we need a good one.

But at least I can spend some time, every morning and evening, enjoying the yard. It’s been so hot, the neighbors haven’t been out and about making much noise. Except last weekend, when the neighbor across the street used a leaf blower on his gravel delivery.

I spend time every day in gratitude for this lovely place. It makes everything else going on in the world a little more bearable.

Saturday is Lammas, the first harvest, and the agricultural start of autumn. I feel so far behind in so many aspects of my life that I’m panicked, but at the same time, autumn is my favorite season.

Of Radishes and Rabbits

I’ve seen these labelled as both “sun drops” and “evening primrose”. Since they bloom all day, I’m not sure the latter is correct, but I think they’re pretty and I like them, no matter what they’re called. They’ve planted themselves all over the property. Fine by me!

Saturday, July 7, 2012
Waning Moon Third Quarter in Aquarius
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny, hot humid

I must be the only human being on the planet who cannot successfully grow a radish. I’ve read articles by ten year olds who grow them. They don’t work for me. They send up beautiful foliage, but don’t make radishes. I have one Mega-radish that flowered over the winter and has an inedible radish, but the ones I planted this year are doing the same as they did last year, acting like trophy wives — pretty and unproductive.

We’ve got a pair of rabbits – -which means, by summer’s end, we’ll have a lot more than a pair. They’ve awfully cute, and, except for the marigolds and one set of greens, they’re leaving the garden alone. They’re pillaging the neighbors’ gardens instead. I usually see them early in the morning and at twilight. Since we have an owls, I worry that one or both of the bunnies will wind up as someone’s supper, but so far, there seems to be a truce.

The peas are happy, one of the spinach plants came up well, and the bok choy has gotten over itself and it coming along nicely. Although mulched, the vegetable bed has more weeds this year than usual. I’m about the stake the cucumbers (don’t want them hollowed out on the ground like they were last year), and we can’t keep up with the chives, which are growing beautifully. The lettuces and mixed greens are all doing well, and we’re having a Summer of Salads. I don’t mind eating lots of greens when they actually taste interesting.

The round bed I prepared is not doing well. None of the herbs planted from seed came up, nor did the sunflowers (a shame, since it’s sunny). The marigolds were eaten. The pale yellow petunias I planted are doing very well, and the rosemary I planted is happier in that bed than the other rosemaries I have around the premises. The thyme is still making up its mind.

This is a good year for hydrangeas and lilies. The Stella D’oro lilies were gorgeous this year, and the Tiger Lilies prove to be even better. The lavender I planted in the terraced bed last year bloomed this year, and the catmint is stunning and spreading (not that I mind).

The poppies never came up, unfortunately, and the red salvia, which was perfectly happy last year, is struggling this year.

I’m growing three different kinds of tomatoes — Silver Fir, Principe Borghese, and Eva Purple Ball Vine Tomato plants all look good, the eggplants are making eggplants, and the zucchini and pumpkins are in bloom. Even the mystery pumpkin, which took nearly four months from seed to a shoot, looks good. I’ve got more zucchini in the veggie bed, along with heirloom squash (gift from a friend) — growing slowly, but growing.

Of the 10 trees from the Arbor Day Foundation, 8 of them are doing well, along with the Red Maple sapling. All of them are happy, for the moment, in pots. The lilacs and bush cherries and Rose of Sharon are doing well. I think we’ve lost one of our Everbearing Raspberry bushes (which is a shame, since it had the most berries on it).

We harvested our first strawberries (Seasacape) to have with our breakfast this morning. This year’s are much bigger and tangier than last year’s. Yummy!

The small hydrangea, which we thought was dead, has a new shoot. Glad I was patient with it. The Sea Holly, I’m pretty sure, is just plain dead, which is a disappointment.

This is not a good year for herbs — all of my herbs are struggling, which is frustrating. But I think we’ll have lovely zinnias and sunflowers.

The clematis and I debate every morning –it does not want to climb the hoop it’s supposed to, it wants to go elsewhere. The wisteria had a growth spurt and needs a solid trellis, or it’s going to wind its tendrils around the kitchen door and either yank it open or trap us inside.

A friend gifted me with a butterfly bush. It struggled the first few days after planting, but seems to be doing well. The impatiens down at the bottom of the driveway are doing well, but the black-eyed Susan is still unhappy, and I’m worried it will die.

The pansies are soldiering along in the urn. I did what someone suggested and didn’t dig up the pansies in the front bed, but overwintered them — and a few brave ones are sticking up their little heads behind the marigolds. The marigolds in the front are happy — they’re close enough to the house not to get munched.

I moved some hostas which had planted themselves in an unhappy clump, and lined them down one side of the driveway. They look nice and are much happier.

My chrysanthemum in front is about to bloom. It’s going to be gorgeous, but isn’t it a little early?

My heather, however — it’s turned orange. It’s a lovely color, and it doesn’t feel dead — the foliage is soft and yielding. But I didn’t think it was supposed to do that. I’m watching — maybe cut it back hard this fall and see what happens? I can’t find this situation in any of my gardening books.

The roses are fine as long as I leave them alone, and only deadhead. The minute I try to do anything else, they snap at me. A lovely pink bush (all my bushes are red) planted itself near the fence — it’s gorgeous, so I’m not arguing.

It’s fascinating to watch how differently the same plants react in a different year.

Devon

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.

Devon