Thurs. May 20, 2021: Brilliant Lilacs!

photo by Devon Ellington

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Second Quarter Moon Waxing in Scorpio

Pluto Retrograde

Celtic Tree Month of Hawthorn

Sunny and pleasant

The lilacs are absolutely magnificent this year. I’ve never seen the heritage lilac so laden with blooms. The scent is amazing. I have my windows open, and every time there’s a breeze, it’s heaven.

I’m grateful we were here to see and smell them one last time, and that they’re so magnificent.

The grass is growing, and it’s exciting. No, I’m not being sarcastic. It’s actually exciting to watch the grass grow. There’s a difference, not just every day, but between morning and evening.

The pollen, however. . .my goodness. I sat outside for an hour the other day; when I came in, I had to shower to scrub off all the pollen. Then I had to scrub out the tub, because it was all in a lump at the bottom of the tub. Tessa, my black cat, sat in the window for a stretch; the pollen came through the screen, and she had gold highlights. I cleaned her off so she wouldn’t groom herself and ingest the pollen.

I need to run the little push mower over the front grass, which is starting to suffer from Vacant Lot Syndrome. I didn’t hire the lawn guy this year, since we’re leaving; besides, that little patch isn’t worth anyone’s time. Let’s hope the push mower can get it done.

I’m cleaning, sorting, and stacking the pots we’ve accumulated over the years. Boy, do we have a lot of pots. They’ll have to go in storage, if we move somewhere without a garage or a basement (which seems likely at this point).

Trying to get rid of the big lawn mower and the electric shovel, but no takers so far. I’ll just keep trying.

How are things blooming in your area?

photo by Devon Ellington

Thurs. May 13, 2021: Lilacs!

image courtesy of RitaE via pixabay.com

Thursday, May 13, 2021

First Quarter Moon Waxing in Gemini

Celtic Tree Month of Hawthorn begins

Sunny and pleasant

The lilacs are blooming! My lovely white Edith Cavill lilac in the pot blooms, and the heritage lilac tree that came with the house. I’m so grateful to be here for the blooms one last time. I will miss them when we leave. When I’m out on the deck, every breeze is filled with heavenly scent!

So what does Celtic Tree Month of Hawthorn mean? Instead of regurgitating information, I’m linking to a delightful article on Eco Enchantments here. I can use some of the protection, relaxation, and happiness!

I’m tending the irrigation on the newly sodded patches. The landlord set it up after the septic guys sowed last week, and I make sure to turn it on in the early evenings, when it looks dry.

I’ve been so sick since the last vaccine dose that I haven’t done much anywhere. The landlord has landscapers looking at the space, so once the sod comes in, I assume they’ll get to work. I’m going to ask him to let me know when, so I can get the big potted lilacs and azalea out of the way. I hope we have green space where we’re going so we can take our big pots, but if we don’t, neighbors down the street will give them a home.

This weekend, I plan to clean out the garage, while still packing and trying to purge more from the basement. I especially want to get the garden things sorted out and packed.

It’s supposed to be lovely and finally getting warmer (we still have flannel sheets on the beds and are using hot water bottles). But I bet the pine pollen drops soon and then, it’s one big Achoo! For a few weeks.

How’s your May shaping up?

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. May 21, 2020: Finally, A Planting Day

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Thursday, May 21, 2020
Dark Moon in Taurus
Pluto Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Celtic Tree Month of Hawthorn
Sunny and pleasant

I’m very disappointed with the packet seeds I bought this year. Saved seeds from organic food has sprouted much better. Let’s see if they will get pollinated and actually make food.

It was too cold to plant last weekend, but it’s warming up. Since today is a planting day, I’m going to plant some flower seeds, and maybe repot some tomato seedlings. Monday is the next planting day, and I will probably plant beans and peas that day.

I still have to clean out some of the beds and trim back some plants.

The big lilac is blooming in the back; not that many flowers this year, but I will cut some and put them in water. I love the smell of lilacs.

When I own my own property, I plan to add one lilac each year! Lilacs, lilacs everywhere!

We have the deck mostly set up – the photo above is a partial view. If the idiot neighbors didn’t spend all day EVERY day running chainsaws and leaf blowers, maybe I could actually enjoy sitting outside sometimes. I’d like to be able to enjoy the reason we rented this house. For the past few years, the neighbors blatantly violate noise code 7 days a week, for hours at a time, and the town can’t be bothered to enforce it. Yet renters are required to sign something stating they “understand” the noise code. But owners can do whatever they want?

No one HAS to make that much noise ALL the time.

Let’s hope I can enjoy a few hours here and there outside this weekend.

I intend to take it as a holiday weekend, and enjoy time at home without the pressure of having to do anything I don’t want to do.

Hope you can do the same.

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Thursday, May 16, 2019
2nd Quarter Waxing Moon in Libra
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Celtic Tree Month of Hawthorn
Sunny and pleasant

It’s rained almost every day since my last post. It was sunny last Saturday; I got a bit of mowing done, but that was it.

I’m going to do some more mowing today, and trim some edges in the front and the back terrace area. I’ll mow the side front and No Man’s Land. Pretty soon, I’ll have to mow the terraced back area.

I hope to get some more planting done today and tomorrow (which are planting days).

The photo on the top of the post is the potted lilac on the deck that’s blooming. The photo on the bottom is our large, old-fashioned lilac tree, which is starting to bloom.

I adore lilacs. Someday, I want to live in a place where I have hedges and hedges of lilac.

I’ve had a rough couple of weeks with the car issues. Working in the yard, whenever there was a bit of sun, helped manage the stress.

It took me less time to use the large hand clippers to trim the front beds than it would have to set up the weed whacker.

I hope we have some warmth and light, so I can get the rest of the planting done.

How is your garden growing?

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In Bloom

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Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Waxing Moon Second Quarter Libra
Celtic Tree Month of Hawthorn
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Things are blooming! The Stewartson Azalea (the red one) is doing so well! It’s such a lovely plant. It’s thrived over the past three years — one of the best purchases I made when we moved here.

I cherish the daily walk around the property I do every morning. I like hearing what the land tells me needs to be done. It’s different than just looking out and making decisions — the daily walking makes it feel more alive and makes me feel more connected to it.

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The Edith Cavell Lilac (the white one) is sweet. The old-fashioned large lilac tree’s scent has been intoxicating, but the blooms are fading, which is a shame. Someday, I’d love to have a whole hedge of the old-fashioned lilacs.

Although I don’t have a big rain barrel, I’ve started capturing rain water and using it to water the plants on the deck. They respond to this water better than the treated water out of the taps. And I feel that I’m not “wasting” the water coming out of the sky!

I finally got the meadow mowed, and everything looks good.

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I’m battling the ants in the front — I think I may have to break down and use poison — something I hate to do, but they just won’t honor the agreement about staying near the street and not coming towards the house.

Today is three days before the full moon, so I’m planting my little hills of corn, beans, and pumpkin. I started corn inside, just to see if I could do it in a pot — one strand is getting TALL — not quite as high as an elephant’s eye, but it’s doing pretty well.

Tomatoes and cucumbers and kale are happy on the deck. I dropped the lettuce seed packet and the wind blew seeds all over the place, so we’ll have lettuce turning up everywhere. Maybe that will keep the critters OUT of the main vegetable bed!

The huckleberry bushed died, which is frustrating — considering how much I paid for it and how I’ve catered to it for the past three years. It’s especially frustrating, because, in late winter, it bloomed inside!

I have to replant the peppers and the bok choy into bigger pots — and get all this done before I go away next week. I’ll be so happy if the veggie garden is bountiful this year!

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And isn’t this hosta great?

Devon

Lilacs and Ants


one of the pouffy rhodies

Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Waning Moon 4th Quarter Pisces
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Rainy and cool

The Lilacs are absolutely intoxicating this year. Sometimes, when there’s a breeze, I have to stop whatever I’m doing and just inhale. Or, I sit on the deck in the afternoon, lean back, close my eyes, and enjoy. Lilacs are out for such a short time, so every moment is savored.

The big old lilac bush in the ground here, with both purple and lavender lilacs, is gorgeous. My little Boomerang Lilac, on the deck, from White Flower Farm, is blooming beautifully this year. It, too, has a gorgeous fragrance. The small lilac from Arbor Day Foundation is growing well, as are the two from Miller Farms — the Miss Kim and the Edith Cavell. None of them will bloom this year, but I have high hopes for next year.

The Stewartsonian Azalea is in full bloom, and is gorgeous. The pink, pouffy rhodies are starting, and they’re gorgeous. The tulips are just about done. The little vegetables are doing well, and can be transplanted next week.

I put in the peas, spinach, bok choy and radishes on Monday, I’m preparing a small, circular bed for herbs/medicinal plants in a rather barren patch, and EVERYTHING is mowed. Although, by tomorrow, I’ll have to start again in the front!

The ants, however, are back, and in force, in the front. I hate putting down poison, but I have no other choice. I clear one section — they pop up in the next. I’m getting very, very frustrated.

I’m enjoying every moment in the garden, even the wet ones! If I could just convince the ants to stay down by the road instead of coming towards the house and messing up the whole front lawn, we’d be perfect!

Azaleas and Lilacs and an Owl

Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Moon first quarter in Gemini
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and cold

My Stewartsonian Azalea is getting ready to pop — I can’t wait! I got this bush on sale last year at Mahoney’s for $9.50. It was gorgeous then, and I think it will be even more spectacular now.

Last Friday, a friend gave me some violets and some holly cuttings from her garden. The violets are doing well in a lovely stone pot, and the holly cuttings are sitting in a bucket of water.

I think my two Foster’s hollies from the Arbor Day Foundation have had it; however, hollies usually look a bit sad in April/May, so I’ll wait a few more weeks before making a decision on them.

I got the mower going, and managed to do the terraced back area last week; looks nice. Yesterday, I got most of the front done, except for the strip leading into No Man’s Land. That’s on my agenda for today, and then, probably Friday, I’ll start on the back meadow. Looks much better, but I still have to get out there with the clippers and trim up edges around the trees, the urn, etc. I’m wondering if I should invest in an edger this year.

Not sure how the grass seed is doing, since that’s all new to me, but I’m diligently watering it twice a day as instructed (except when it rains).

The tulips are gorgeous. All 125 I planted came up. ALL of them. Talk about beginner’s luck! The white ones (set to bloom early) are almost done, so I’ll have to do some dead-heading per the instruction book, and then let the leaves wither so the bulbs have fuel for next year. The Carmen Rios are on the cusp of fading. The reds have a few more days left. The Gavottes (yellow and maroon) are at full strength now, and the Queen of the Night are just starting. I got them from Colorblends, and I’m very, very happy with the results.

I planted a bunch of seeds on the 17th (planting day, by the Almanac). All three kinds of tomatoes have come up, some of the cucumbers, the basil, calendula, marigold, All the seedlings go out in the sun on the deck when it’s warm enough, and come back in at night (it still gets down to the thirties). Some of the tree twiglets from Arbor Day Foundation are starting to leaf, as are two of the three raspberries. The new strawberry plants arrived yesterday from Johnny’s (the Fed Ex guy found my sprawled on the grass after mowing the lawn — I think he was afraid he had to call the paramedics, but then I popped up and I nearly had to call the paramedics for HIM).

I think several of the twiglets are going to die; the Niko hydrangea sprig which looked okay when I got it looks miserable now, and the sea holly — I don’t know what it’s supposed to look like, but I doubt a dead stub is it.

The lilacs, however, have me in euphoria. The photo is of the lilac that’s in the ground here. This year’s blossoms are a deep red-violet –quite different from last year’s lavender blooms followed by white ones. It’s nice to see that the places I pruned last year after blossoming (which including falling over the fence into the neighbor’s yard when I leaned over too far, standing on a kitchen chair) are blooming even more this year than last year.

My small Boomerang Lilac from White Flower Farm has small blooms, and looks lovely. The Fragrant Lilac from Arbor Day probably won’t bloom this year, but it’s got healthy growth. Both the Miss Kim and the Edith Cavell from Miller Nurseries are doing well in their tubs, but I think only the Miss KIm will bloom this year.

I’ve been training Tessa on leash and harness, so she can come out with me on the deck. She loves it, but, of course, wants to go further and further. I think she started to realize the danger this morning. We were on the deck, (me) having coffee, when the birds had a fit and Tessa started to shake. I looked up — there was our owl, even though it was early morning, making a statement about territory. Wish I had the camera!

I knew we had an owl from the calls and the pellets and the other traces, and I saw the nest in the neighbor’s large pine. I was too far to get a really good look, but I’m pretty sure it’s a Great Horned — especially from the attitude (and the call and the wingspan). Tessa’s too big at this point to be snatched, but neither she nor the owl know that yet. She’s not allowed out on her own anyway; maybe now she has a better idea why.

I’m in lust with a Scotch broom and a poufy yellow azalea at the garden center, but don’t know if this year’s budget will stretch for them. As I’m offered or price freelance gigs lately, I’ve been calculating how much over bill-pay I’ll have left to use for the garden!

I love sitting out every morning with the first cup of coffee, looking to the garden and listening to it, deciding what it needs. I love sitting out in the late afternoon/early evening, with a glass of wine and a book. This is why I live here, and not somewhere else.

Devon

Light and Weather


This isn’t my yard (unfortunately) ;). It’s a shot of Long Pasture Sanctuary, near by

Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Full Moon in Cancer
Rainy and cold

I’ve stood at the windows a lot during the past few weeks and watched the light change over the yard, both front and back. Ellen Dugan suggests this in her wonderful book GARDEN WITCH’S HERBAL. I haven’t yet made drawings, but that will come in February, when the light’s around longer.

I need to figure out where the different growing areas are in regards to light. The slightly raised vegetable bed created by the previous owner still gets sun almost all day, sometimes direct, sometimes less so, even with the trees that have grown in the 20+ years since the owner lived here. Light streams all morning into my writing room, at the front of the house, and it’s still very bright in the afternoon, even when the sun is more indirect. The lilacs and roses and forsythia will be happy about that.

Most of what I’ll do is container gardening, but there are in-ground bushes and plants already there which I’d prefer to steward than kill, so I have to learn about them and what they need. It seems the previous owner didn’t pay any attention; most of the plants were on their own and seemed to do pretty well, so I don’t want to fuss at them too much.

Part of the back is terraced. The rest is both rather pizza pie-shaped (as opposed to, say, apple pie-shaped) and what would be the crust edge slopes past the terraced area. There’s a line of trees at the far end of the property, and a blotch of what wants to be a wood at the point of the pie, sort of between the line of trees and the neighbor’s curved back of his property (yeah, I don’t quite get it, either).

I’m also learning just how dependent I am on the weather. In New York, the weather would be awful. The producers didn’t want to lose ticket sales or have to refund money, so we had to trudge through blizzards so “the show could go on.” Trust me, it’s not noble, it’s all about the money. People look at the weather report, add another scarf, hope the waterproofing on the boots holds up, go out in it, get stuck in it for hours or days, and can’t get to where they were supposed to be anyway.

It’s not that people are intimidated by weather on the Cape. But they respect it, which is a hugely different attitude than back in New York. In New York, weather is an obstacle; here, it’s a partner, and it’s the dominant partner in your life. You have to adjust what you do and how you do it according to the weather.

When a foot of snow is dumped on the area, people stay home (unless they’re in emergency response positions or plow drivers), schools are closed, and they let those responsible for clearing the streets and keeping things safe do so — without interference. When a bad weather report comes on, there’s no mad dash to the grocery store — people stock up throughout. There’s no sense of panic. They hope the power stays on, but have enough batteries, or maybe even a generator, just in case. They have electronics, but there are a stack of books on the table and those old games they inherited from their parents that usually only come out to entertain guests in the summer when it rains.

They get on with it, but don’t necessarily force their way through it.

It’s much healthier, all the way around.

I have to make another round trip to CT in the next few days. The reports of the next snowstorm change every few hours. Soon, I have to make a decision on how to avoid it, where the window will be that will let me slip through in the best conditions, so I’m not one of the morons who ignored the report and “didn’t think it would be that bad.”

I’m learning how to partner with the weather.

What I learn now will help me steward the property and my garden in the coming months.

Devon