Thurs. Dec. 8: The Seed Catalogues Arrive!

image courtesy of kryciak via pixabay.com

Thursday, December 8, 2022

Last Day of the Full Moon in Gemini

Chiron, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Celtic Tree Month of Elder

Cloudy and mild

The weather has been all over the place lately, especially temperature-wise. After a few cold days, it warmed up again. It’s supposed to be fairly mild through the weekend, then dip again early next week. Originally, the prediction was for a White Christmas; now that looks doubtful. We’ll see.

I thought life revolved around the weather on Cape Cod, but it’s even more so here. It’s rather fascinating.

I’m slowly nursing the peace lily back to health. I’d hate to lose it, after 11 years and so much growth. The jasmine is now gigantic, and needs water nearly every day. My lemon plant, grown from organic lemon seeds from a lemon from the market last year, will need a bigger pot in spring.

The seed catalogues are starting to arrive, which means dreaming of what we want to grow next year. We’ll skip vegetables, since we have access to the Farmer’s Market, and it’s hard to grow them on the balcony and porch. We’ll focus on herbs and flowers. I have to go through the binder with the sheets on this year’s seeds and make decisions on which to continue with and which didn’t work, before moving those sheets to the big, multi-year binder.

I know I want to grow zinnias next year. We didn’t grow them this year, and I missed them. I want to grow more Black-Eyed Susan Vine, because that did well. The morning glories worked, but the moonflowers did not. Cooking herbs (rosemary, sage, oregano, basil, etc.) I’ll buy at the garden center, rather than start from seed, but I might do some Medicinals from scratch.

Planning is one of my favorites.

And yes, before you ask, the tomato plants are still growing, although we don’t have enough sun to keep them happy. I’m considering getting a grow light.

The decorating is going slowly. Toward the end of next week, I will get in some more greens, and integrate them with the artificial greens we have. I didn’t want to get them too early, for fear they’d dry out.

How is your garden doing? What are your plans for next year?

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Thurs. Nov. 17, 2022: First Snowfall of the Season

image courtesy of Jill Wellington via pixabay.com

Thursday, November 17, 2022

4th Quarter Moon Waning in Scorpio

Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Celtic Tree Month of Reed

Cloudy and cold

We’re finally getting some winter weather. The storms are coming in from the Midwest, hitting us, and then warming up before they hit Boston.

We had our first snow Tuesday night going into Wednesday. They told us to expect up to 5 inches, so that’s for what we prepared. It snowed steadily in the evening and into the night, but then changed over to freezing rain around  3 or 4 in the morning. It was kind of yucky all day yesterday.

Fortunately, on the garden front, we were okay.

Last Sunday was a planting day, and it was finally cold enough to plant the bulbs. I have three long, narrow trough-type pots, in which I put the different colored tulips, some of the hyacinths, and a handful of miniature narcissus.

Scheeper’s shorted me on the tulips. Each bag was supposed to hold 12 tulips and only had 10, which means they shorted me a half a dozen tulips. And no, the packets are not by weight, but number of bulbs. Another strike against them, along with all the order kerflamma.

Next year, should I want more bulbs, I’ll get them from Color Blends again. Their bulbs are high quality, and they’re lovely to deal with. The only reason I used Scheeper’s this year is because Color Blends sells bulbs in packs of 25, and that’s a lot. But when you buy 25 bulbs from them, the packages actually have 25.

There were still left over hyacinth and narcissus bulbs left over after I planted the troughs, so I have one large round pot with a mix, and one smaller round pot with the rest of the narcissus.

Some of the bulbs looked like they were already sprouting, because it’s been so warm. We may have flowers for Christmas; if we do, we’ll enjoy them.

We did a bunch of rearranging plants, between what’s still on the porch and what needs to be inside for the winter.

On Tuesday morning, I dashed out to get a tarp. We brought in the rest of the plants and decorations, and some of the furniture from the back balcony. The bistro chairs and bench stay out all winter, albeit without their cushions. We tarped them this year, to protect them, and moved the bench directly under the kitchen window, where we can keep an eye on it.

I have some paint touch-ups to do on the decorations over the winter, especially on the windchimes, which need a new coat of copper rustoleum.

Instead of putting the green shelf unit out on the porch, we’re putting it in the kitchen this year, in front of the window, with some small plants on top, and storing decorations and tools underneath. We won’t have 4 around the table again until spring, as far as we know, so we can take up that space.

We’ve got most of the pots emptied and cleaned; there are still a few more to do. I brought in the lemon balm, and will cut it back shortly to dry it, so I can use it all winter.

The tomatoes are still growing, happy as can be.

We might have lost our giant peace lily, after eleven years, which would be a shame. I think I left it out too long. Even though the days were warm, the nights were too cold. I’m hoping to gently nurse it back to health over the next few weeks.

The snapdragons didn’t bloom this year, but the foliage turned pretty colors, so hopefully, it will survive again for next year. And, maybe bloom.

Pretty soon, we’ll need to decide what to plant for next year. I have to go through the garden journal notes I kept and decide what to plant again (we know we want more black-eyed Susan vine), what to skip (dahlias, they’re too much of a diva for me to deal with), and what to add to the mix.

I’m also going to look at seed companies. If it turns out that we didn’t have success with seeds from a particular company, I won’t order from them again.

I didn’t order anything from Johnny’s, up in Maine, last year, and that was definitely a mistake. And I want to buy more seeds from the Botanical Garden down in Sturbridge, because they were good.

I didn’t plant zinnias this year, either, and I missed them. I also want to get some indoor houseplants over the winter, such as another philodendron. I miss having philodendron.

How’s your garden going to bed this year? Or, if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, how it is shaping up?

Thurs. July 21, 2022: Blooms and Bombs

image courtesy of S. Hermann & F. Richter via pixabay.com

Thursday, July 21, 2022

4th Quarter Moon waning in Taurus

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron Retrograde

Celtic Tree Month of Holly

Hazy and hot

We finally broke into seasonally hot weather. It’s nowhere near as hot as it is in other parts of the world, but it’s in the low 90’s, feeling like the high 90’s, and humid. Since we don’t have air conditioning, it’s a challenge.

Some of the plants are doing very well; some are not. One of the dahlias is doing well, and we’re getting the first blossoms. The other dahlia is dying, and I have no idea why. The cucumber got pollinated and was growing cucumbers, and suddenly, it’s up and died.

The tomatoes still haven’t grown up into anything. They should be big enough to start blossoming. I don’t know what’s going on.

The pumpkin is happy out on the back balcony, and pumping out blossoms. Hopefully, at least one of them will turn into something.

The geraniums, impatience, and herbs are doing well. The marigolds are doing well as long as I water them every day. The hollyhocks are doing well, although they’ve stalled, height-wise.

Spiro Squirrel kept digging up the tansy, so I brought it to the front porch instead. I’m hoping I can save it. The other tansy is doing well, the one that was always on the front.

The peace lily is quite happy out on the back balcony and blooming like crazy.

Well, it’s a learning curve. I’m making careful notes in the plant journal, so that I can adjust from next year, and learn from what didn’t work.

I’m getting ready to order the tulip and hyacinth bulbs. I bought long window-box style troughs. We’ll plant the bulbs in them in October, so that they’ll come up (hopefully) in the spring. We’ll overwinter them on the front porch, which we close off in winter, because of the cold. So they’ll be protected from digging squirrels, but still get the cold they need.

It gets cool by around 3 AM for a few hours, before it starts heating up again. It’s supposed to break on Sunday night into Monday, and only be in the 80’s next week.

I’m disappointed that the vegetables aren’t growing well, but it makes me even more grateful for the Farmers’ Market, which is just bursting at the seams with wonderful bounty.

How’s your garden growing?

Thurs. May 5, 2022: Spring

image courtesy of dae Jeung kim via pixabay.cm

Thursday, May 5, 2022

First Quarter Moon Waxing in Cancer

Pluto Retrograde

Celtic Tree Month of Willow

Sunny and pleasant

We’ve been able to leave the plants on the front porch for most of the week, although the weekend nights are supposed to dip down into the 30’s again, so we’ll have to take the plants back in. I hope, by next week, we can set up the front porch and the back balcony the way we want to. I want those enchanted garden spaces set up, and then we’ll add/subtract/rearrange over the season.

This is our first season where we start growing things here in the mountains, so there will be a learning curve

The pear, clementine, and mallow have not come up, and I’m giving up on them. I’ve already planted the Norway spruce seedling in the pot where the pear seeds were. Haven’t decided what to plant in the other pots yet. The lavender hasn’t come up, but that’s not a particular surprise. I usually need to buy those as plants.

It looks like I’ll have to buy different morning glory seeds and try those again.

I keep planting cat grass every couple of weeks, alternating the two pots, because Willa and Charlotte love it so much. Tessa has no interest. She likes the herbs – not to eat, but to roll in.

The peace lily is very happy in its new pot, so let’s hope it can stay in it for a few years. Because I don’t know where we’d put a bigger pot to winter.

The dahlias are the big excitement. They are growing beautifully, and are such fun to watch. If they do succeed and bloom, I think they will be gorgeous. My dahlia coach will be proud!

The Tamed Wild box which arrived last week had a small plant kit (could be marigold, mint, or money plant). Today is a planting day (planting and harvesting days are noted on my Llewellyn datebook calendar), so I will plant whatever it is (I hope it’s mint, I have the other two), and I will plant more cat grass.

I’m already excited about Saturday’s Farmer’s Market. I might stop at the Plant Connector that day, too, and see if I can find a small philodendron, a spider plant, and maybe an ivy.

Once the car is fixed and we can go to Whitney’s Farm in Cheshire, I want to get some herbs, geraniums, and maybe begonias. When it gets a little warmer, I want to get a big hanging basket of petunias, and one of cranesbill geranium to hang out on the back porch. At some point, I will buy a few pots of black-eyed Susans.

I hope the night blooming jasmine arrives soon. Although it’s been so chilly, it’s not surprising that it hasn’t shipped yet.

The Rose of Jericho had its week-long rest last week, out of water, and is back in the water, enjoying it. The research I did indicated the water should be changed every day, but this plant prefers water changed every 2-3 days. Tomorrow will be its weekly rest day. Supposedly, it needs to rest one day a week and one day a month out of water.

In the neighborhood, the forsythia is blooming, and so are the tulip trees. Out back, a neighbor has a gorgeous white flowering large shrub. Not sure what it is. I thought it was some kind of azalea, but friends suggested white forsythia or witch hazel. I’m wondering if maybe it’s apple, and is actually a tree or several trees that have been espaliered against the fence? There are quite a few apple trees planted in the various streets which are coming into flower.

It smells wonderful when I run errands on foot!

How are things in your neck of the woods?

Thurs. April 7, 2022: Things Are Growing!

Peace lily. Photo by Devon Ellington

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Waxing Moon First Quarter in Gemini

Rainy and cool

Celtic Tree Month of Alder

The plants are growing like crazy! Last weekend, I made another trip to buy more pots, soil, and a couple of tomato cages for the tomatoes and the cucumbers. I also repotted the peace lily. When we bought the plant, for the very first party at the Cape house, it was in a 4” pot. I just repotted it into a 14” pot.

The night-blooming jasmine should ship soon. I asked the grower what size pot it should go in, and they said a 16” pot. Um? That’s considerably larger than I expected!

The snapdragon and marigold seeds were supposed to be here last Monday, but are still circling around various depots in the Midwest.

On sunny days, as soon as the porch is warm enough, the seedlings are moved out. In the evening, as it cools down, they come back in. It’s worth it, since most of the seedlings are thriving.

I planted a lot of annuals this year, and I’m not sure that was the best choice. I guess I’ll find out. But I wanted flowers this year, and I’ll slowly experiment with small-sized vegetables and herbs to see what grows well. I’m diligent about keeping up the plant journal, which helps.

When I did the big grocery shop on Tuesday, I also bought a large pot of pansies and a bunch of lavender tulips. Pansies always make me smile. They’re such a cheerful flower, and I love having them around. I think, however, I will use petunias in the hanging baskets I eventually want for the back balcony.

I’m a little worried that the mallow won’t come up, and I’m getting ready to give up on the pear and the clementine, and use those pots for herbs instead. They must have been GMO fruits, rather than heirloom, even if they were grown in “organic” conditions.

I followed instructions and took the Rose of Jericho out of the water to “rest” for a day on Monday. According to my research, I have to change the water every day, and let it dry rest one day a week, and then one day a month. It browned and curled up again during the rest, but, although it’s unfurling again, it’s not turning green again. So I’m a little worried.

I planted more cat grass. Charlotte and Willa love their cat grass, and when they can chomp on that, they leave everything else alone.

How are things growing where you are? Grace, how are your blueberries and azaleas doing? Pat, how are the herbs doing? I love hearing about the plants!

Wed. March 17, 2022: More planting, more seedlings

image courtesy of pexels.com

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Second Quarter Moon Waxing in Scorpio

Cloudy and mild

Celtic Tree Month of Ash

After a beautiful day last Friday, we had yet another snowstorm on Saturday, which dumped heavy, wet snow on the area. And then the temperature has rocketed up again. It was 61 degrees F yesterday afternoon. Most of the snow is melted; there are some small patches, in places that were plowed into mounds.

I’d picked up more pots and more potting soil, and used them quickly, for the cherry tomatoes and mini cucumbers. I need to get some more pots and potting soil for the rest of the plants. I don’t know when we’ll get back to storage to get the pots we’ve still got there (and there may not be enough). I didn’t want to buy too many, but too few doesn’t work, either. And I always, always underestimate how much soil I need.

Charlotte and Willa have nearly decimated the first pot of cat grass, so I planted a second pot. I will alternate the two, so they always have cat grass (which means I need to buy more seeds). The second pot has already started to grow.

The lemon balm hasn’t yet sprouted, but a few shoots of the black-eyed Susan vine are cautiously putting their heads out. The echinacea is doing well. The heliotrope and columbine remain tiny shoots.

I’m still waiting for the tansy seeds, which should have arrived on Tuesday, but seem to be going around in circles between Springfield and here. Usually, once something hits Springfield, it gets here fast.

The sweet pea and mallow seeds arrived much more quickly than I expected; I hope to get more pots and soil soon, and then I can plant them.

The peace lily is, once again, outgrowing her pot. This plant is a bit of a drama queen anyway, but is getting crowded. To think, I bought it for $3.98 in a 4-inch pot back in January of 2011! And it’s spilling out of an 11 ½ inch pot now.

Some of the Christmas cacti are blooming. They’re always a bit confused, and tend to bloom year-round, taking turns.

The birds are very busy on the back balcony, sorting out who will live in which house, and on the nest under an eave. There was a cardinal in one of the trees the other morning, and the crows living in the tall evergreen out back are very busy, morning and night. The scout crows check in every morning, and when I run errands on foot, I generally have a running commentary from the crows as I head there and back. They have an absolute fit if I step off a curb and there’s a car within 100 feet of me, as though I’m not bright enough to avoid getting hit. I do appreciate the warnings, though.

Because the screened-in front porch faces south, it generally warms up quickly when there’s sun, so we put out the seedlings in the late morning, and then take them back in before supper.

I hope this is the last of the snow. Much as I love living in a place with seasons, I’m ready for the snow to be over. Granted, that means we’re in for mud season, but that’s what boots are for. And I love the way it smells as the seasons change.

The time change, as usual, has thrown me off. I’m great when we fall back; I’m disoriented for a few weeks when we spring forward.

A new combination of plant center and art gallery will open on Main Street soon, within walking distance. I’m very excited to spend time there. I’m sure I’ll learn a lot. And buy too many plants!

It’s lovely to watch the mountains, out back and out front, change with the seasons.

What’s changing in your neck of the woods?

Thurs. Jan. 14, 2021: Finally Winter Maybe?

image by JackieLou DL via pixabay.com

Thursday, January 14, 2021

First Quarter Moon Waxing in Aquarius

Uranus Direct

Celtic Tree Month of Birch

Cloudy and cold

According to the weather, we’ll finally get some cold for the next two weeks. The past few weeks have been unseasonably warm, most of the time. In fact, the grass has been growing, and I wondered if I would need to call the guy who mows the lawn in, say, February, to have him start up again.

It’s good for the grass to grow out at times (though, probably not in the middle of winter in the Northeast). It’s healthy for the roots. Too many people in this neighborhood mow every other day in the spring, summer, and fall, keeping their grass very short. Of course, they are also the ones who use chemicals, so that the lawn looks like astro-turf.

We replanted some cuttings. Well, they were less “cuttings” than “fell of the plant.” Bits of the Christmas cactus or the big geranium or the philodendrons fall off. We rescue them and root them in water until they grow roots. We plant them in a fresh pot. And our plants multiply.

I have to make seed decisions in the next couple of weeks, and I just don’t know, since I don’t know where we will move. And yet, I don’t want the whole season to go by and not plant anything. Perhaps I will pick one kind of tomato (a small one), and one or two other things.

I have to sit down with the seed catalogs this weekend. I’m looking forward to trying seeds from Kitchen Garden this year, and I’ll buy a few things from Johnny’s, which has been my old reliable most of my gardening life. I’m skipping Botanical Interests this year, since they were a disappointment the past couple of years, especially last year.

I also have to decide what seeds I want to start on Imbolc (February 2). Traditionally, I start seeds on something meaningful to me on that day, and nurture the plant for the entire growing season.

Remember those organic lemon seeds I planted a few months back, nothing came up, and I was so disappointed? One little shoot finally came up!

When we put away the holiday decorations, we moved the gigantic peace lily from its temporary abode in my bedroom back down to the living room. When I first bought it, in January 2011, it was in a 4” pot. Now it’s in a 15” pot and is about 4’ tall and 2’ wide.

It’s on a side table next to one of the wingback chairs and actually helps form an entryway. This house doesn’t have a vestibule – the front door opens into the living room. We’ve sort of created an entry way with furniture placement. We put the peace lily on that table because it was the only place with enough room for it at the moment, but it works well as an entry definer. Plus, it’s good feng shui.

That’s really all that’s going on right now. Today and tomorrow, I’ll break up the time spent working on a book proposal and an article, and make seed decisions!

How do you connect to the garden in January? Do you live in a place where you can garden year-round?