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?

Thurs. Aug. 13, 2020: Bean Harvest

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image by matthiasboeckel via pixabay.com

Thursday, August 13, 2020
4th Quarter Waning Moon in Gemini
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Celtic Tree Month of Hazel
Humid and cloudy

I think I’ll be able to do my first harvest of green beans today. They’re ready to be picked, steamed, and enjoyed with butter.

We’re getting more cucumbers, and the tomatoes are starting to form. The tomatoes are late this year, even though they were planted pretty early.

The tiger lilies are faded and the chlorophyll is draining back into the bulbs. Some of the hosta blooms have faded, so I’ll have to cut back the stems.

I feel like I do nothing but battle kudzu.

It’s still terribly dry. I was out watering the lawn by moonlight this morning at 5 AM, because sunrise is later and later. I’m having trouble getting the lawn food I want. I thought I saw a coyote take off down the street when I turned the hose on.

There were a pair of bunnies out in the meadow eating breakfast while I was out watering (I made sure not to get them wet). And a bigger bunny later on the terraced area. He comes right up to the steps. He’s used to us.

The morning glories start the day a deep purple, and fade back to a red violet in the afternoon. I thought I had a multi-colored pack – I didn’t realize the blossoms themselves changed color.

The leaves are already falling. They’re not turning pretty colors. They’re drying up and brown, giving up and letting go of the branches.

Sort of on point for 2020.

Charlotte and Willa take turns coming out on the deck in the playpen. They both like it. Tessa hates the playpen and won’t have anything to do with it. She doesn’t even want to come out any more, which is a shame, because she always loved her time on the deck.

I’m trying to spend some time out on the deck every evening, when it gets cool enough. And early in the morning, after I water, with my first cup of coffee, for my first writing session.

How’s your garden doing?

Thurs. Aug. 6, 2020: Noticing the Changes

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image courtesy of skeeze via pixabay.com

Thursday, August 6, 2020
Third Quarter Waning Moon in Pisces
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Celtic Tree Month of Hazel
Partly cloudy and cooler

We’re going to have a nice crop of beans this year. I wonder if any of them will make it into the kitchen, or if I will gobble them up as soon as I pick them?

The morning glories are finally blooming. The vines are stretching everywhere, but they are lovely. The zinnias and nasturtiums are still going strong, too.

The tomatoes have blossoms, but the blossoms aren’t turning into tomatoes.

We are getting more cucumbers, though. We ate the one that already grew. It was delicious. It never ceases to amaze me how much better garden vegetables taste than anything I can get from the store.

I’ve been watering the yard early in the morning, front and back, and the back sometimes in the evening. I can feel the difference – it’s not crunchy when I walk on it. It’s still not very green, but it looks and feels healthier.

I don’t have an irrigation system; it’s using the hose, so the yard gets a drink not saturation. Anyone who gives me guff about it can go stick their illegal fireworks right up their asses. When the nightly illegal fireworks stop, I’ll stop watering the lawn and hosing down the roof.

The bunnies eat their breakfast and dinner in the yard. One of them comes pretty close to the deck, while I sit there in the mornings, writing. He thinks it’s interesting to watch me as he eats. I’m very quiet, and do my best not to startle or frighten him.

I change the water in the dish two to three times a day, depending how hot it is. I didn’t put out the birdbath this year because of the mosquito-based disease and it’s 2020. But in the heat, I want to make sure the critters have water. So I have a large dog dish out there, and change it frequently. Haven’t seen any mosquitos around it, but the bunnies, Che Guevara Chipmunk, and the birds appreciate it.

The cardinals are more vocal lately than usual, too. They’re spending much more time in the large pink hibiscus (which is in bloom) now that I got most of the kudzu out of it.

The Tiger Lilies have mostly faded, and the leaves and stems are already losing their green. I’ll have to clear them out/cut them back early this year. Usually they’re dancing around well into September. The storm, earlier this week, blew off a lot of the faded blooms, so I don’t have to deadhead until the weekend.

Some of the neighbors are annoying, between nightly illegal fireworks, constant leaf blowing, and cutting down anything natural to put up bare ground or gravel. Just ick.

When we first moved here from New York, I was amazed, when I washed my face at night, how clean things were. Now, when I give it a good scrub, the washcloth is just as dirty as it was when I lived on 42nd St. in NYC. A big difference in pollution levels in a decade.

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image courtesy of Bergader via pixabay.com

But I am grateful to have my little patch of lovely in this chaotic time. A trio of trees has grown over the past decade we’ve lived here, and now I have a small enchanted forest in the back – a little forest glade where I can retreat and enjoy some peace. It’s not as large or elaborate as the photo above, but it gives me the same sense of peace.

It makes a difference.

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.

 

Thurs. Oct. 3, 2019: Slow Move into Autumn

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image courtesy of pixabay.com

Not much to report. Don’t even have the usual astrological information — except that Pluto turns direct today, thank goodness.

We’re coaxing along the rest of the tomatoes. We’re cutting back other plants. We’re making some decisions about other plants.

We have so many acorns! What a harvest. The squirrels and chipmunks are very happy.

I’m hoping for a quiet, productive weekend.

It’s been unseasonably warm here so far, but it’s cooling down. We’ve had a few days of wind and dreary drizzle. When it lets up, I’ll start the exterior decorating.

Autumn is my favorite season!

Thurs. Sept. 26, 2019: The Chance of More Tomatoes

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image courtesy of kie-ker via pixabay.com

Thursday, September 26, 2019
Waning Moon 4th Quarter in Leo
Celtic Tree Month of Vine
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny, humid, moving towards rain

We’re having a warm, sunny September, which is nice. The days are lovely, the nights are cool enough to sleep.

I have more tomatoes forming on my plants. I hope these will have the chance to mature, so we can actually eat them!

I haven’t started raking yet, although I will soon. Once again, a lot of acorns are falling. That makes the squirrels and the chipmunks happy.

Our yard is a rest stop for migrating birds. Since we are the yard on the street that doesn’t use chemicals, they stop, have a rest and a snack, and then move on. It’s so interesting to watch them interact.

We still don’t know who or what comes onto the deck every other night. I hoped it was the little black cat, but haven’t seen her lately.

Once the yard is mowed (I think, at some point this week), I’m going to put down lawn food one more time for the season. I’ve been cutting back, although I’m waiting for first frost to cut back the roses (that’s what the rose book I read suggested).

I know I have to take down the large bittersweet, but it provides such wonderful habitat for wildlife.

I’m longing for a place that I own, so I can plant and do exactly what I want. We’ve had a lot of latitude here, and I’m grateful, but that’s still different from truly being able to build a garden over years, and not worry each season if that will be the last.

Still, autumn is my favorite season. Even, now that we’ve passed the Equinox, it gets darker early.

Think happy growing thoughts for the tomatoes!

 

Thurs. Sept. 19, 2019: Autumn Equinox in a Few Days

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image courtesy of pixel2013 via pixabay.com

Thursday, September 19, 2019
Third Quarter Waning Moon in Taurus
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Celtic Tree Month of Vine
Partly cloudy and cool

Not much to say. I’m starting to put the garden to bed for the season. Cutting back. I’ll prune the roses after the first frost. I’m pulling up the tiger lily stalks as soon as the bulbs pull down the chlorophyll. I’ll cut back shrubs and branches and cut down dying vegetation.

By next week, I’ll start raking.

We’re still not sure what’s eating the food I leave on the deck at night. Not sure if it’s the stray cat or something else. I’d like to know.

Some more tomatoes have formed. Let’s hope these actually get to make it to maturity and we can eat them.

We had a few sugar snap peas to harvest, and they were yummy. I’m going to start them earlier next year, and hope for a better harvest.

The morning glories choked the beans, so we didn’t have any.

The zucchini keep blooming, but not forming any zucchini. We have some blossoms on the eggplants, but I think it’s too late for them.

Well, one learns as much from what doesn’t work as what does, I guess.

Monday is the Equinox, and then night begins to win until mid-December.

 

Thurs. Sept. 5, 2019: Unpredictable Gardens

Thursday, September 5, 2019
Waxing Moon First Quarter in Sagittarius
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Celtic Tree Month of Vine
Humid/Tropical Cyclone/Tropical Storm Watch

So, the last two weeks, I’ve been limited in what I can do because of the hand injury.

We also had the heartbreak of coming out on the deck one morning to find that all 120 tomato plants had been stripped of the tomatoes growing on them. No debris anywhere, or signs that they were eaten. Just all gone. I’m very disappointed. I grew most of those tomatoes from seed and had plans for them.

The Rose of Sharon has bloomed beautifully, and the Hibiscus in the back of the yard is finally blooming. The hydrangea on the deck is already done — usually it blooms until the first frost. The Tiger Lilies have come and gone, and most of the chlorophyll is drained back. Early this year.

I pruned the two forsythia bushes in front of the garage. They were out of control. I pruned another bush that was growing quite large in the front bed. I’m waiting until the first frost to cut back the roses. I watered the lawn, and fed it, trying to get it green again (organically).

We saw the little black cat again — she was hiding in the roses. I left food out for her on the back deck, but I’m not sure if she’s eating it, or if it’s someone else. If she’s lost, I want to help her find her way home. If she’s a stray, then she’s welcome to stay, if she wants.

I pulled out the tired pansies in the front and replaced them with yellow large marigolds and yellow chrysanthemums in the front baskets, and red chrysanthemums in the barrel in the front yard. They look nice and cheerful when you drive up. I also replaced the tired old front door mat (which was growing moss — literally) with a cheerful harvest mat. That, and the horn of plenty I have hanging on the front door, and we’re joyfully celebrating the change of season.

Red sky this morning — shepherd’s warning. It’s an eerie light. I think we’ll be spanked by Hurricane Dorian harder than they’ve said.

We may have to bring in all the plants and most of the furniture from the deck. And then decide if it’s worth putting any back out for the last few weeks.

Thank goodness I hired someone to mow, or I’d be even more overwhelmed.

Trudging on, not sure what to do next.

 

Thurs. Aug. 8, 2019: Joy of Red Geraniums

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Thursday, August 8, 2019
Waxing Moon Second Quarter in Scorpio
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny, hot, humid

Our red geraniums are going like gangbusters. To think, the second or third year we lived here, I bought them as small 3-for-$10 plants!

The tomatoes are growing, too. We lost some of them to rot, and some others are starting to get color. Hopefully, we can start enjoying them soon. The cucumbers are growing like wildfire — hopefully we’ll get some cucumbers. The eggplants and peppers look good, but haven’t yet bloomed.

The morning glories are acting like an invasive this year.

Haven’t seen the fisher lately. I worried he’d eaten the bunnies and Che Guevara Chipmunk, but saw both of them a couple of days ago, so they’re safe. I’m letting Tessa out with me on the deck in the mid-afternoon, but not early in the morning or at dusk.

It’s hot and humid, but leaves are starting to turn and fall. The hosta blooms have come and gone (I’ll have to cut them back soon). The basil is huge. The lettuce is almost done.

I have to figure out what to do with the kale soon. Maybe make a ham, white bean, and kale soup and then freeze it for winter?

How is your garden growing?

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Thurs. May 23, 2019: Trying to Catch Up in the Garden

Thursday, May 23, 2019
Third Quarter Waning Moon in Capricorn
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Celtic Tree Month of Hawthorn
Don’t know the weather — this is scheduled to post

This was a week of rolling up my sleeves to dig in the dirt.

I’m behind on the mowing, as usual, although I don’t hate it as much with the push mower as I did with the gas mower. I really need to see if I can sell the gas mower for a few bucks. I just want it gone.

I did the first treatment for ticks on the deck and I’ll do another one this weekend.

I started transplanting the tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers. I have more tomatoes to repot this week, but I wanted the seedlings to get a little stronger before I moved them. Repotted some herbs (parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme, lemon balm, chocolate mint). Did some trimming with the clippers, and cut back some stuff in pots that I hope comes back. The clematis looks good.

The lilac is blooming, and scents every breeze, which is a delight.

I planted some nasturtium seeds, all my morning glory and moonflower seeds, and about a third of my kale, mesculun, and spinach.

The chipmunk family under the bush is gearing up for the season. One little guy scampers onto the deck and gives little chipmunk speeches.

I was reading on the deck last weekend, recovering from the day’s work, and heard a noise. I looked up to see three young wild turkeys taking a stroll through the yard. Not in the least worried that I was on the deck. They took their time. Stopped for a snack here and there. It was pretty funny.

A young woodpecker got caught under the skylights of the covered deck. I managed to coax him out. Our bratty bluejay stopped by to give me the neighborhood gossip.

My murder of crows hasn’t been around much lately (I miss them). I saw a pair of bunnies down the street, but none yet in our yard. The coyotes have been quiet lately. I hope they weren’t shot. I actually feel safer when they’re around.

I’m hoping the weather will be warm enough these coming days to finish transplanting the tomatoes, and to start the cucumbers, beans, and peas. Maybe even the zinnias and the monarda.

I’ve been taking the plants out for the day and bringing them back in at night. I don’t want to lose any more.

I’ve never lived anywhere before where so much is dependent on the weather. Living in New York, weather was just another obstacle. Here, it dictates the rhythm of the day and the week.

Have a terrific Memorial Day weekend. I intend to spend as much time as possible in the garden. The rest, reading and writing. Online as little as possible.

 

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