Thurs. Sept. 22, 2022: Equinox Rains

image courtesy of Markus Spiske via Pixabay.com

Thursday, September 22, 2022

4th Quarter Moon Waning in Leo

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus, Mercury Retrograde

Celtic Tree Month of Vine

Autumn Equinox

Rainy and mild

Plants are waning, although the morning glories are blooming nicely. Of course, Spiro Squirrel eats all the blossoms he can reach, that little troublemaker.

The black-eyed Susans and black-eyed Susan vine are still blooming well, too. I think I will plant more black-eyed Susan vine next spring, maybe in different colors.

I think we’ll have to take the Thanksgiving/Christmas cacti in soon; the nights are getting cooler. Pretty soon, we’ll have to figure out where to put the plants that need to be inside all winter, and which plants can stay on the front porch when we close it off for the winter.

I wonder when the tulip bulbs will arrive.

It’s been gray and rainy for days now, but I guess that’s better than snow!

Today is the Autumn Equinox. It only gets darker from here.

How are you winding things up in the garden?

Thurs. Aug. 4, 2022: Squirrel Squalor

image by Robbi Hoy courtesy of pixabay.com

Thursday, August 4, 2022

First Quarter Moon Waxing in Libra

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter Retrograde

Sunny, hot, humid

Celtic Tree Month of Holly

Well, this has been a frustrating week on the garden front.

Some excellent things: my friend in New York gave me a potted lilac, mugwort, and tansy from her garden. They are all doing well.

The black-eyed Susan vine has finally started to bloom. I hope that means the morning glories and moonflowers will start, too. The night blooming jasmine is growing like crazy, and I finally put it in a larger pot.

However, the squirrel not only destroyed the pumpkin on the balcony, but ripped a hole in the kitchen screen. Willa scared him off. So now I have a screen to repair. And we have to close the kitchen window during the night, so he can’t get to it, which makes it harder to cool down the place.

Some sort of insect that makes webs infected the cucumber, the impatiens, and one of the marine heliotrope plants. I hope I’ve saved the marine heliotrope, but the cucumber is beyond help, and I think the impatiens are too (I cut back the impatiens, but I don’t think they’ll recover. I overwatered the borage and that’s gone, but I’ll plant them properly next year.

The dahlias are a loss. I stripped the dead leaves off. The blossom gave up, on the bigger of the two. The smaller one is now showing new growth.

I am DONE with dahlias. I was reluctant to try them because they are such high maintenance plants. Done with those drama queens. They’ve been fussed over and coddled since they were planted. The least they can do is bloom.

When my friend with the beautiful garden comes to visit, I will dig up the bulbs and give them to her. She can use them or the groundhogs in her yard can get them. I don’t care.

I’m not sure why the marigolds on the back balcony are doing so well, but the ones on the front porch are not.

The tomato plants just sit there. They don’t grow. They just stay the same.

I think, in this place, growing vegetables is not a good choice, and I’ll rely on the Farmers’ Market. I’ll stick with flowers and herbs, especially cooking herbs and medicinal herbs. I didn’t grow zinnias this year, but they are on my list for next year.

The lemon balm and the mints are doing very well.

The lettuce is still going, which surprises me, since lettuce usually gives it up when it gets hot.

Anyway, this season has been frustrating. But there’s usually a steep learning curve when moving to a new place.

The peace lily is delighted to be out on the back balcony this year, and is not being the drama queen she was last year. The geraniums are doing well, too. And the Christmas Cacti just bloom all year round.

So there’s plenty that’s working. But I’m still frustrated.

Hope your garden is doing better than mine.

Thurs. June 16, 2022: Garden Visit

Fountain at Berkshire Botanical Garden. Phobo by Devon Ellington

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Waning Moon Third Quarter in Capricorn

Pluto & Saturn Retrograde

Cloudy and humid

There’s quite a bit to write about this week.

The hanging geranium basket slipped from my hands when I tried to put it back on its hanger last week, after a storm. It crashed the two stories below and broke on the asphalt. Fortunately, no one was out there (I make sure no one is under the balcony when I go out to work on plants).

I went down, rescued what was left of the plant, and cleaned up the mess. I repotted the geranium in the pot I was going to use for the night-blooming jasmine, so I will have to get another pot for that. It seems to be recovering, and it’s on a mosaic tiled plant stand out on the balcony. A couple of stems broke off. I have them in a vase. If they grow roots, I will pot them.

The Farmers’ Market on Saturday was lots of fun. I’ve set a budget for every weekend, and I’m sticking to it, seeing what’s fresh and wonderful, and then, going to the grocery store nearby to build the rest of the week’s meals around what’s fresh from the Farmers’ Market. It’s healthy and it forces variety. It’s too easy to get into the rut of one’s go-to dishes.

The Farmers’ Market isn’t cheap, but with the grocery prices going up in the stores (especially the chain stores), the prices are competitive with the grocery stores and the food co-op. The quality is always high, and I get to support individuals instead of corporate entities.

We replanted the cutting of the last Cape Cod Geranium (so now we have two Cape Cod Geraniums). I planted the nectarine pits and some saved pepper seeds, and more cat grass.

The columbine got overwatered, and is not doing well. The nasturtiums are unhappy. Next year, I think I will buy a small plant instead of starting it from seed and seeing if there’s a difference. The pumpkin is growing like crazy. The brown-eyed Susan is dead and gone. That’s frustrating, because it was one of the most expensive plants I bought this year.

The heliotrope, echinacea, and lemon balm are starting to do well. The spearmint is growing so fast, I think I might harvest some stems and start them drying.

Spiro Squirrel is a little brat. When we have sandwiches for lunch in the kitchen, he dashes up on the back balcony, climbs up on the bistro table and knocks on the kitchen window with his little paw, as though he thinks we’re going to hand him the sandwich through the window.

Tessa, our big black cat who is part Maine Coon, has a serious conversation with the scout crow every morning. He stops on the lamp post outside the living room window. She puts her front paws up on the back of the sofa, and they chat through the window. It’s completely different than when she’s contemplating trying to take down a bird. It’s a real conversation. It’s very funny.

The scout brought by a younger crow the other morning to say hello.

On Tuesday, we went down to Stockbridge to visit the Berkshire Botanical Garden. It was  a lovely day, and the garden is absolutely beautiful. There are various designs in different areas: an herb garden, a rose garden, a garden designed by Martha Stewart, a garden with joyful topiaries called Lucy’s Garden, a daylily walk. It’s just lovely. The photo at the top of this post is of the fountain. There’s a children’s garden and an educational center. There’s an exhibition gallery and research library. The garden is 24 acres, and was first opened in 1934. The New York Botanical garden donated some of the original daylilies when this garden formed, and other botanical gardens also sent gifts, which I think is kind of wonderful. But then, gardeners tend to be generous about sharing plants.

The current art exhibit is called “Symbiosis” and consists of various types of art in different mediums both in the gallery and installed in parts of the garden. It’s really wonderful. My favorite piece was a mosaic done on stone of two owls by Peter D. Gerakaris.

I want to return in other seasons and see how the garden changes over them. I’d also like to spend a full day there one day, with a notebook, and write a series of flash fiction pieces in the different areas of the garden. Some day when it’s not too hot! I’d also like to use the library, maybe spend time with their herbals.

I bought borage seeds in the store, and I will plant them today. It’s late in the season to start borage. I will plant about half the packet, and save the rest for next year. I wanted borage this year, and hadn’t gotten the seeds yet, so it was a delight to buy it at the garden.

The weather is much pleasanter than it was at this time last year, and I have every intention of enjoying it!

How Does My Garden Grow? Not sure, but it’s Growing!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011
New Moon in Gemini
Solar Eclipse at 5:16 PM
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Celtic Tree Month of Hawthorn
Sunny and pleasant

What a busy time! First, Spring dragged its feet getting here; now, everything needs to be done at once!

I can’t keep up deadheading the rhododendron; there are too many, and it’s too time-intensive. I just do as much as I can each day that I can, and that will have to do.

I still have not found my mowing Zen, although I’m getting better at the physical aspects of it. And wrestling with that heavy mower means no jiggly arms — they are toned for summer tank tops! Look for the bright side, right?

The back meadow looks awesome when it’s mown!

The irises are starting to bloom! Iris is my favorite flower — heck, I even have a cat named Iris! However, the Very Expensive Iris I bought from White Flower Farm — the Moonsilk, black, and SuperEgo — not much happening there. The black iris vanished, the Moonsilk is dying, and the SuperEgo — not sure what’s going on there. Disappointing.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned this year — get everything locally. The local growers have to deal with you because we live and work alongside each other, so they are going to make sure they sell you something that won’t keel over in ten minutes!

The herbs I bought as plants and repotted are doing well. The lobelia is not coming up in the urn, so I will get some flowers, such as petunias or geraniums (the pelagorums, probably, not the cranesbill) and fill the urn with that. An empty urn out front just looks sad.

The yarrow and echinacea are starting to sprout, so there’s hope. I think I have a pair of male hollies, rather than a male and a female, as they were sold. We’ll find out — if Princess has berries, I’ve got the mixed set; otherwise . . .

I’m madly in love with my witch hazel plant, and need to repot the small lilac. The big limb that broke off my in-ground lilac, which the nursery said would quickly die, is thriving in its bucket of water, so I plan to enjoy it for as long as possible.

Most of the vegetables are in the veggie bed — I hope they survive and thrive. The tomatoes still need to grow a bit stronger before I plant them, but the pots are already prepared, with marigolds and basil.

The strawberries are blossoming like crazy, so maybe we will have some strawberries, even if they’re late.

I love going out every early morning, tending the garden, and then sitting with my morning coffee. The squirrel still races next door, takes two leaves of something, and comes back. He’s checked out my veggie bed, but left it alone. He came right up to the deck yesterday, while I ate lunch, and I tossed him a blueberry. He caught it and dashed off.

I named the woodpecker Carlos, and we have a little morning and evening ritual, where he’s at work, I call to him, he comes and stares at me, then goes back to work. The seven crows in the front leave the owl in the back alone, but they mobbed a hawk that tried to invade the territory the other day. They also tell me when the mailman’s here. Gossipy little things, aren’t they?

I’m in a battle with ants, who’ve pockmarked the front lawn to an alarming extent. I was told I could get rid of them by pouring boiling water down the holes, which seems cruel, but I don’t know what else to do. However, it also kills the grass. I have to call the owner and have him deal with it — that’s why I’m a renter!

The poppies and the morning glories didn’t come up — I waited too long to plant them. I should have started them inside — I’ll know for next year.

I love to sit on the deck in the evenings, with a glass of wine, reading a book, or just sitting there, listening. There’s a lot to which to listen.

Devon