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. Aug. 20, 2020: The Season Starts To Shift

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image courtesy of uileo via pixabay.com

Thursday, August 20, 2020
First Quarter Moon Waxing in Scorpio
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Those aren’t my sunflowers, sadly. Mine didn’t come up this year.

The season is starting to turn. It’s not as hot and humid. It still doesn’t quite smell like autumn, but it’s not that hot, heavy, summer sensation. Thank goodness.

We had some rain, much-needed. The grass is still brown, and I’m waiting for the lawn food to arrive. I feel like all I do is battle kudzu.

The goldenrod is blooming. The Queen Anne’s Lace is fading, and, as it fades, it makes me sneeze.

The landlord is coming by later this afternoon, so I’m going to have to cut back a few things.

The beans were delightful. I think we might get one more meal’s worth from the plants before the end of the season.

The tomatoes are finally forming, on one plant anyway, but they’re staying green.

More cucumbers. Yum. I can never get enough cucumbers.

Zinnias and nasturtiums are fading. The morning glories are going like gangbusters.

I have so much basil I’ll be doing a big harvest and making pesto again. I love the home-made pesto.

The pansies are still blooming, which is kind of cute. We didn’t even switch over to petunias this year. Pretty soon, though, I’ll get some chrysanthemums. Mums always make me feel like it’s autumn. Not sure yet WHERE I’ll get them, since Country Gardens is so lax on masking and safety protocols, and I don’t want to shop there any more. But I’ll make that decision when it’s time.

The days are shorter. It’s actually too dark to do my first writing session of the day on the deck. And I have to work to catch the sunset after dinner, or I miss it. The angles of light are different, too. It’s one of the things I like about living somewhere with lower buildings – you can see the way the light changes through the year.

The other morning, when I was out watering by moonlight (which I had to do over the weekend) – the sky was so clear! Even the waning moon and the stars were so bright! It was lovely.

How’s your garden changing these days?

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.

 

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

Patience in the Cold


Crocuses under the forsythia bush outside the garage

Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Waxing Moon First Quarter in Taurus
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Celtic Tree Month of Alder
Sunny and cold

It’s been cold and rainy for the past few days, so it’s nice to see some sunshine today. It’s still in the 30s, though, quite cold. I’m glad I didn’t put the pansies in the ground over the weekend.

As I visited a garden center last weekend, it sold out of manure. Only sunny day in weeks, and everyone rushed out to buy manure. We are definitely not in NY anymore! 😉

I’ve repotted the plants that arrived from Territorial Seed — the Hellebore, the Big King eggplant, the lemon verbena, and the Thumbelina Lavender. They’re all happy except the lemon verbena, which I don’t think will make it. It was badly frost damaged when it arrived, and I haven’t been able to save it.

The pumpkins inside haven’t germinated yet, but the plants I bought at the garden show are thriving. I’m especially in love with the catmint, and am tempted to buy lots of it and plant it in every possible border corner.


The eggplant has doubled in size each day since its arrival nearly a week ago.

The eggplant, however, grows before our very eyes, nearly doubling in size every day.

The crocuses are still blooming outside, and the daffodils are coming up. So are other plants which I’ve yet to identify — not sure if they’re tulips or day lilies, because I can’t tell by the leaves. There are also green things coming up under the trees all the way at the back, so I have to go and investigate. Keeping the leaves on the beds for winter made them all very happy.

I have a spade, and, once I clean off the pine cones and needles from the long-abandoned vegetable bed, I can turn over the soil and prepare it.

It’s hard NOT to jump out and start planting in the ground, but I’m listening to those who know more than I do and restraining myself. I’m watching the plants that are here, and letting them teach me — the previous tenants paid no attention to them and they managed to survive, so I figure, if I don’t fuss at them too much, and really listen to them, they’ll be fine.

The front looks a little bare, with the bushes so tiny, but I hope to plant a row of bright, cheerful pansies soon, and then add some blue fescue at the back, staggered with the small bushes, towards the end of the month. I bought some garden ornaments, but the scale is too small for the front of the house, so I have to re-think. I wish I could add fences to the property — I’d love to enclose the space with a low picket fence in the front and side, and then plant against it — but, since I’m renting, that’s not an option.

I have to be patient. Not everything can or will happen this year, both for budgetary and for practical reasons. I have to learn what’s here and how to take care of it. A garden doesn’t show up fully formed, unless you hire a landscaper to put it in. It evolves. And, no matter how many books I read of other people’s experiences and ideas, I have to figure out what works for me in MY space.

Devon