Thurs. April 28, 2022: Plant Plans

image courtesy of Albrecht Fietz via pixabay.com

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Day Before Dark Moon

4th Quarter Moon Waning in Aries

Celtic Tree Month of Willow

Partly cloudy/party sunny and cold

The photo above is not my front porch or yard, but it’s definitely inspirational!

The weather is still all over the place. We’re back into a cold spell now. It will warm up for a few days, and then, toward the end of next week, get cold again.

In other words, the plants can’t stay outdoors yet.

But the forsythia and azaleas are blooming. There are some bushes that I think are weeping cherry, maybe, also blooming. It smells lovely when I walk around to do my errands. There are daffodils and hyacinths up, and people are planting more. Really lovely. People are excited for spring.

I’ve been working to oil the teak furniture. I have one more small table to do, and then, once it’s warm enough, I can oil the bench and the two bistro chairs and the bench out on the back porch.

Plantwise, I’ve just about given up on the mallow. It’s been nearly a month or slightly over a month since the seeds were planted (the plant journal is in the other room, and I’m too lazy to check). I can repurpose the pots for other herbs or maybe some lettuce.

The mesclun greens seeds popped up and faded immediately. The cilantro came up fast and isn’t doing well. It may well be similar here as it was on Cape – makes more sense to buy lettuce and herbs as plants, rather than trying to grow them from seed. The morning glories, who’ve always grown well for me, are not happy, either. I might have to get a new packet (from a different company) and re-sow. Some of the columbine is doing well. The marine heliotrope and echinacea are not. The lavender has not yet come up.

The snapdragons and tansy shoots are still small, but they’re holding on.

The sweet peas, nasturtiums, and four o’clocks are growing well. The moonflowers are undecided; they’re hanging in there, but it’s almost as though they’re worried about the morning glories. The hollyhocks and black-eyed Susan vine are doing well. The dwarf sunflowers are doing well.

The cucumbers and tomatoes are up, but not really doing much of anything. The pumpkins are doing well, and I will have to replant them a larger pot soon.

The dahlia bulbs have both sprouted, and that’s very exciting. Those are going to be big plants. Since this is my first foray into the Cult of the Dahlia, I’m excited, but also a little intimidated.

I mentioned that I got a small Norway Spruce seedling last week, a gift from the grocery store for Earth Day. It’s sitting in its little pot, doing its thing. Since it’s a tree seedling, I have it out on the enclosed porch, with the chrysanthemum I brought from the Cape house (it used to be in the barrel outside). Eventually, I will probably move the tree seedling to the back balcony, but we’ll see.

It’s supposed to get cold again, one more time, next weekend (not the one coming up, the following one), and then, it should be steadily warm enough to set up the back balcony and leave everything out in front and in back.

Soon after that, once the car is fixed, it will be time to head to Whitney’s Farm again, and get in lettuce and maybe some more geraniums, and some begonias.

All of our philodendrons died. The move shocked them. They’d been in the same spot, growing up the walls inside the Cape house for a decade, so it’s not surprising that the move would be too much. And, after all, the biggest of the plants (that looked like it could be an understudy in a revival of LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS), was originally given to us in 1966, when my dad was in the hospital after a heart attack.

But I want another philodendron. I might make a trip, in the next couple of weeks, to Plant Connector, which just moved to Main Street, and see if they have a small philodendron, and if they have a spider plant. We used to have lots of those, and I used to pot up the offshoots and give them to people. But none of the spider plants survived the move to the Cape.

I want to be more creative on how I decorate indoors with plants. I’m looking at lots of photos on Instagram and going through the garden books that made it up (I have to get the rest out of storage over the coming months). I don’t want to overdo it inside, because of the plants that spend most of the summer outside who have to spend the winter inside. But I do want to be a little more creative inside with plant choice and plant placement.

When I lived in NYC, I had a stack of books on houseplants. When I moved to the Cape, they were packed away (and are now in storage), and I focused on outdoor container gardening and outdoors, in general. I don’t have a yard here, but between the enclosed porch, the back balcony, and the wonderful natural light from the large windows, I can do a mix.

Patience, right? Isn’t that what gardening is supposed to teach? I still have a lot to learn in that department!

How’s your garden doing?

Jasmine and Crocus

Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Waxing Moon Second Quarter Gemini
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold (although they said we’re getting snow)
Leap Year Day!

New England is not known for its native jasmine, but I saw a pot of it at Trader Joe’s and couldn’t resist. I adore jasmine. I do a fire-and-ice ritual at dawn every January 1, and the candle is slathered in jasmine oil. To me, the scent means “fresh start.”

I repotted the poor thing as soon as I got home; once I’d pulled the paper away, I saw the roots were a good four inches out of the pot. It perked right up, and seems happy — in a warm place with plenty of sun. The fragrance is lovely, the cats are fascinated. I bought it about two weeks ago, and yesterday, I replaced the trellis with a bigger one. It’s growing quickly.

I soaked some seeds from a zested lemon and stuck them in a pot of earth. We will see if the seeds are from a genetically-mutated (that’s not the right term, but I can’t remember it right now) lemon or a real one. When I’ve soaked and planted citrus seeds from “organic” fruit here and there, it usually grows. My tangerine plant is one of those. I had a grapefruit plant from seed, planted the in 1968 that died in the early 90s. So, far, nothing. We’ll see. If not, I’ll dump the soil and put something else in.

I bought some pots and soil yesterday. Last year, I started everything too late. This year, I’m starting some of it early, inside. But not with those seed pots that claim to dissolve back into the earth. Because they don’t. They just get soggy, and when you pull the plans in the fall, the poor roots had to grow up and over them — no wonder some of the plants were unhappy. This year, I’m either starting the seeds in the containers in which they’ll continue to live OR (in most cases), starting them in small pots with the appropriate “seed starter” soil and then moving them into either bigger pots or the ground when it’s safe.

The vegetables that can be transplanted will get started on the Equinox. The ones that have to go directly into the bed will wait until it’s safe, but I’ll watch my Gardening King neighbor and take my cues from him (stuff like spinach, peas, bok choy, etc.)

Of course, I’m impatient (ya think? You know me so well) and stared some of the flowers yesterday (which, according to my calendar, was a planting day). I planted a container of Morning Glory and one of Moonflower, which will trellis up in pots on the deck. I used to grow them in pots in NY, and, when I did it right, trained them to grow up a window, alternating one vine of morning glory, one of moonflower, so that during the day, the blue flowers opened, and at night, the white ones did. I got that idea from Silver Ravenwolf, who talked about using the plants as a natural screen around her porch. Anyway, I have one big pot of each that will go on the deck. I planted a couple of smaller pots that I will put on the east side of the house, training up the wagon wheel. I put them in the ground last year, not realizing I had a Hosta family there, and the poor things were choked before they had a chance. This year, I’m growing them inside first, and then transplanting them, once the hostas are more visible. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, you’re not supposed to transplant Moonflower; it gets cranky. I’ve done it pot-to-pot before and it works, so I’m hoping I can get away with pot-to-ground.

Also planted some sweet peas, which will stay in a container, Love-in-Mist (ditto), and Nicotiana/Indian Peace Pipe (ditto). In a fit of “I want flowers” last week at Country Gardens, I bought a couple of African Violets — I haven’t had any of those for years, although my grandmother, in Maine, had two of her windows specially-fitted with shelves and kept pots of them.

The heather is blooming beautifully — it’s absolutely gorgeous. The crocuses are starting to pop, and the daffodils and tulips are farther along than I expected for this time of year. We’re supposed to get three inches of snow, so I hope they won’t all die. I spent a lot of money on those tulip bulbs and it’s the first time I ever tried to plant tulips. I want at least SOME of them to come up! 😉

I may have inadvertently killed my strawberries. I’ve brought them inside to warm them up, feed them, and try to revive them, but they look more dead than dormant. I may have to get another batch from Johnny’s. I wish a gardening learning curve didn’t include involuntary plant-a-cide.

I’m in the process of doing some Major Ordering from places like Botanical Interests, Miller Nurseries, The Arbor Day Foundation, and White Flower Farm. I’m getting three of the Black King Eggplants (which did so well here, until eaten by spider mites) from Territorial Seed Company, but that was the only thing from them I was happy with last year. Let’s hope everything doesn’t all arrive at once. I’m still trying to stockpile pots.

Garden Dreaming — And Scheming!


What February should look like – -but doesn’t. This is from our storm a few weeks ago — which was all melted by the next afternoon!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Waxing Moon Second Quarter in Taurus/Gemini
Mars Retrograde
Celtic Tree Month of Rowan
Cloudy and mild

The weather’s been totally wacky this year; way too warm. While my bank account is grateful, in terms of the heating bill, I’m worried about my plants. Was it cold enough for the tulips, or will all 125 that I planted (on time, for once) last fall — my very first attempt at tulip-ing — rot? The barrel of heather is blooming beautifully — will it wear itself out before spring? The forsythia and lilac have buds — but my witch hazel hasn’t popped yet.

I’d hoped, since the weather is mild, that it would also be sunny today and I could get outside and do some more yard clean-up. The front’s in good shape, but the back needs work. So far, though, it’s drizzling, which means there’s not a whole lot I can do. I figure if I do a little bit every nice day, by the time it’s warm enough to really plant and tackle things, I’ll be in good shape.

I’m going through the garden books and magazines and the designs, dreaming big dreams. Then, I have to scale them down so they make sense in my life!

I have a lot of seeds, so I’m okay in the seed department. I’ll buy a lot of the herbs in 4” pots to start, instead of doing them from seed. I’ve got some repotting to do today, and, in the spirit of it being Imbolc Eve, I’m planting some lemon seeds from a zested, juiced lemon. I’ve got a lovely tangerine plant started the same way.

This year, I’m going to start the moonflowers and morning glories inside first, then transplant them up the big wagon wheel at the side of the house. Last year, I put them directly into the ground — not realizing there were hostas there, who popped up and didn’t give them enough sunlight! Plus, I think my seeds were too old. This year, fresh seeds, start indoors — in March, I will probably set up the grow light and a seed table in the back room to get things started.

The Elsa Memorial Orchid has two new shoots! I’m very excited. As long as I leave that plant alone, it’s happy. I get the hint. For those of you new to the blog, the Elsa Memorial Orchid was sent to me by a group of friends when my beloved Elsa died shortly before the move to the Cape. It blooms beautifully at least once a year, sometimes twice, and the agreement is that it will keep blooming as long as I don’t try to “help” too much. Message received.

I’m looking forward to a deck and an expanded back area full of plants this summer, especially more medicinal herbs. I’m thinking about getting some clematis or American wisteria to grow up the sides of the deck, like a natural privacy screen. But I don’t want the deck to feel closed in. The roof is so wonderful, it’s nice to have the breeze coming through. The big lilac in the ground and my neighbor’s hydrangeas work well on that side. It’s just on the other side that we need a bit more coverage.

Devon