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. 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. July 14, 2022: More Squirrel Shennanigans

image courtesy of Alexas Fotos via pixabay.com

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Last Day of the Full Moon in Capricorn, moving into Aquarius

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune Retrograde

Celtic Tree Month of Holly

Cloudy and humid

The squirrels have been a problem. Spiro Squirrel is the worst, going after the tansy all the time. I wonder if there’s something about the root he likes, or he’s just preparing for winter. I wound up taking in the tansy, and hope I can save it. The pot of tansy on the front porch is doing well. It’s a useful natural insect repellant, which is one reason I like to have it.

Bingo and Jingo, the pair that always pulls shenanigans together, are also all over the balcony, poking at this and that. They will be very disappointed when all the pots disappear from the balcony in the winter. Spiro is the one, though, who knocks on the window regularly at lunch time and expects us to pass out a sandwich. Just in case you worried, we do not.

As annoying as they are, the fact that they’re already burying things for winter concerns me. Along with the fact the cats shed their summer coats and are growing in thick winter coats already, and miserable, because the heat and humidity have gone up in the past couple of weeks, and are likely to remain so through the rest of the month (although it’s still much cooler than it was last year at this time). And, I noticed, out back, one of the large shrubs is starting to turn for autumn already.

I am planning accordingly.

The Celtic Tree Month of Holly began last Friday. This is about the immortality of nature, masculine energy, and protection. One of the things I miss from the Cape is the Ashumet Sanctuary in Falmouth, with all the wonderful holly varieties. Holly is one of my favorites.

The Farmers’ Market continues its wonder. The large tomatoes are now available, which is good, because our tomato plants haven’t even blossomed yet! We are getting our little, tiny cucumbers, though. They’re not supposed to grow more than 6” in length; they’re not even an inch yet, but there are a bunch of them. I put the pumpkin plant out back for the bees; once it’s been pollinated, I’ll bring it back in, before the squirrels cause problems. I harvested some spearmint, and it’s hanging to dry. I’ll harvest peppermint as soon as the spearmint is ready to strip and put in a jar.

The sugar snap peas from the market last week were spectacular, as were the new red potatoes. I bought extra lemon basil and put up some lemon basil pesto.

Last weekend, I finally stripped the pine wreath from Yule. It stayed green well into June. I have a jar of small branches to burn at Yule, and then 5 jars of needles to use in various concoctions. Tessa helped; she always loved working with me in the still room.

I bought cut flowers last weekend, a big, mixed bunch, and we have filled vases all over the house. Buying those pretty vases a couple of weeks ago at the thrift store gave me a good excuse to fill them!

I still haven’t replanted the jasmine, and I have to plant more cat grass, because the cats decimated what was there.

This weekend, in and around the work I have to do, I will take the cats out in their playpens onto the back balcony. The front porch has been too hot and humid for any of us to spend much time out there (although the plants enjoy it). The back balcony is cooler. The cats have been little fur puddles all week, although they enjoy the ceiling fans. Too bad their summer fur didn’t hold on for a few more weeks.

I’m ordering the tulip bulbs this weekend. We’re going to plant them in October and let them overwinter on the front porch, when we close it off for the season. It’s far too likely the squirrels will dig them up if we leave them out on the back balcony.

I’m looking forward to the Farmers’ Market again this week. And it’s such a pleasure to have mountain views both from the front and back windows. And so many trees out back! This is considered a “tree city” and trees are cherished.

How’s your garden doing?

Thurs. March 24, 2022: Plants and Seedlings

image courtesy of conger design via pixabay.com

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Third Quarter Waning Moon in Sagittarius

Celtic Tree Month of Alder

Rain/sleet/snow

There’s a lot of garden-related stuff to write about this week! Very exciting.

I replanted more cat grass on the Equinox last Sunday. As of yesterday, it had already germinated, which is a good thing, since Charlotte and Willa are chomping on the second pot of it.

I’m a little worried about the heliotrope and the columbine. I’m not sure the seedlings will survive. The echinacea is growing slowly, but it’s growing. The black-eyed Susan vine is growing steadily, which is very exciting. The lemon balm has only one tiny shoot, not even a half an inch tall. The cherry falls tomato seedlings are doing well, and the mini cucumbers are growing fast! All 10 seeds germinated, and I will need a tomato cage for them by this weekend.

I bought more soil and pots, and even some more seeds, because I hadn’t bought any morning glories or moonflowers, and I love those.

I planted the Watchman hollyhocks, a rose mallow (Lavatera), a batch of mixed colors morning glories, moonflowers, jewel blend nasturtiums, marvel of Peru four o’clocks, heirloom sweet peas, and two pots of tansy seeds.

Yes, the tansy seeds finally arrived, after travelling from Missouri to Massachusetts to Chicago and back.

I also planted some saved seeds: pear, clementine, and some of the pumpkin seeds I saved from my friend’s Halloween pumpkin she carved when she visited.

Once the front porch warms up enough in the morning, we move the seedlings out for their sun. As it cools off in the late afternoon, we move them back into the warmth.

The night-blooming jasmine should arrive in April sometime. We’ll buy some lettuce plants and herbs, and a couple of hanging baskets of flowers later in the season.

It’s all very exciting! This is the first year we’re starting the growing season in the Berkshires, so there’s a lot to learn.

We’re in the Celtic Tree Month of Alder now, which means a focus on expressing hopes and dreams, and forgiving the past.

I focused more on flowers than on vegetables this year. I want to see how these work; if they grow well, I will try a couple of others next year, and so forth and so on. I’m more conscientious about keeping the notes updated in the plant journal, which will be a big help.

I still miss my lilacs so much it causes physical pain, but I will have to figure out what to do about it; keep some small ones in a container? For this season, I will have to buy bunches of cut lilacs.

Even missing the lilacs, I am excited about this year’s planting.

This morning, the weather keeps fluctuating between rain, sleet, and a smattering of snow., coating everything with a white sheen.

How’s your planting going?