Thurs. Sept. 15, 2022: Harvests and Marigolds

image courtesy of yganeshbabu via pixabay.com

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Third Quarter Waning Moon in Taurus

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

Celtic Tree Month of Vine

Sunny and cooler

The morning glories finally bloomed, just before my friends arrived for their visit. Finally! Really pretty, too.

The marigolds are blooming – well, the ones where the squirrels didn’t eat the blooms.

The night blooming jasmine is starting to bloom, too!

We’ve used the last of the lettuce. That did well.

I’m giving up on the tomatoes and yanking them out. The plants never grew beyond shoots. It’s time to harvest the rest of the basil and make pesto. The chives are just about done. The rosemary gave up (I’m so tired of it acting like an annual). The parsley still has some life in it, thank goodness.

Slowly, we are putting plants to bed, and we’ll start bringing in some of the ones that need more warmth as things cool down.

While this season was disappointing, I learned a lot, and hopefully, I can apply it well next year.

I want the hummingbirds to be happy next year, so I’m going to grow flowers out on the back balcony that they’ll like. I’m even thinking about growing some Angel’s Trumpet (datura). Since the balcony is up on the second level, random people won’t mess with it to get poisoned, and the flowers are so pretty. We’ll see.

I need to update this season’s garden journal and then do an assessment. That way, I can plan for next year. I need to get a bigger binder. The plan is to keep that season’s notes in the smaller binder, and put the previous season’s notes in the big binder, with yearly dividers, so I can go back and see what worked and what didn’t.

Now that we have to factor climate change into every evaluation, too, that will also make a difference.

How’s your harvest coming?

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 7, 2022: Slow Growing

image courtesy of SLF via pixabay.com

Thursday, July 7, 2022

Second Quarter Moon Waxing in Libra

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune Retrograde

Celtic Tree Month of Oak

Partly cloudy and pleasant

We’ve been so lucky with the weather lately. It hasn’t bee too humid (except on the rainy days). The temperatures have been in the 70s and 80s. Pleasant. Blankets needed at night; the occasional cardigan early in the day. I’d much rather have this weather than in the 90s with high humidity.

But growth has slowed down. I feel like things should be farther along than they are, especially the tomatoes. They haven’t grown much at all for weeks. I mean, they’re supposed to be small and good for containers, but they haven’t grown large enough to blossom, and therefore, actually have tomatoes.

The cucumbers are blooming and are out back, until the bees pollinate, the cucumbers start forming, and I bring the pot back to the front porch, away from the squirrels, who have been a pain in the butt. They dug up my Blue Spruce seedling and that’s been moved to the front porch, too. (The front porch is enclosed, an extra room. The back balcony is open, but with a roof).

The pumpkin is about to flower; I will then put it out back for a few days to get pollinated, and return it to the porch. The dahlias are about 5 feet tall, but haven’t yet bloomed.

The borage is doing well, but the columbine and the cilantro didn’t make it. The night-blooming jasmine is quickly outgrowing its pot.

I have to harvest some spearmint and dry it, because that plant is going like gangbusters. It’s getting leggy, and I want to cut it back so it’s more bushy than leggy.

We’re eating our lettuce regularly, which is always fun.

We’re doing some seed saving, from produce bought at the farmer’s market, which we will try to plant next year.

The downstairs neighbors have their in-ground garden growing. The one neighbor, who had a garden last summer, has her plants all set, and they’re growing (although her tomatoes haven’t blossomed, either). The two guys that rent rooms from the other downstairs neighbor marked off a small patch. They are growing corn and watermelon, and they are so excited! It’s so funny to watch them croon over their seedlings. I love it.

All three cats now demand to go out on the back balcony regularly. Each has her own playpen, so we put the cat in, carry it out, set it up, and everybody gets a half hour or so outside after lunch, weather permitting. They are all very good, but it wouldn’t be safe for them not to be in the playpen. I tried only taking one per day out, but the carrying on and the Kitty Drama was too much.

The rest of the time, they have windows in which to sit, and the front porch, which they all love.

I’m hoping, in the next week or so, to get some black-eyed Susan plants and get those set up. I will not spend what I did on the brown-eyed Susan (Monrovia) plant, which gave it up after a couple of weeks. Live and learn, right?

How’s your garden growing?

Thurs. June 30, 2022: Squirrel Visitors

image courtesy of Joe Breuer via pixabay.com

Thursday, June 30, 2022

First Quarter Moon Waxing in Cancer

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune Retrograde

Celtic Tree Month of Oak

Sunny and pleasant

I am thoroughly enjoying the growing season here, even though there’s a good bit of pollen flying around. On the Cape, the pine pollen dumped down like yellow snow early in the season, leaving a thick coating on everything and had to be scrubbed off. That’s not as prevalent here. But there is a lighter, steadier pollen. When I spend enough time outside, I scrape it off every few hours. And after I shower it off, I have to run vinegar down the drain.

But everything looks gorgeous. The cucumbers finally have blossoms, so I put that pot out on the back balcony, so the bees can visit and pollinate. The pumpkin should bloom soon; hopefully the tomatoes will, too.

The borage planted last week is already coming up. Borage is one of my favorite plants. I love the blue flowers. When I planted strawberries, I would keep borage nearby to protect the strawberries from pests.

The Farmers’ Market gets more and more exciting every week, too. Last Saturday, I got the most beautiful fennel I’ve ever seen. I spend a lot of time with Deborah Madison’s book LOCAL FLAVORS to get ideas.

The squirrels are being difficult. It’s not just Spiro Squirrel, who’s bad enough on his own. There’s another pair of squirrels running around. They are always together, and they have a fairly wide range of four or five properties on this block and across the street. They are always scampering around together. Well, now they come on the deck and turn over pots, bury things, and chomp on the peppermint. They are so fresh I can walk right up to them and scold them before they scamper off, jump into the tree, and watch from a safe distance. I haven’t named those two little rapscallions yet, but I will.

I guess the work we’ve done on the back balcony to transform it into a garden space has worked!

Because we have so many trees and tree-like shrubs around, the back is lovely and shady in the hottest part of the afternoon, while getting strong doses of sun in the morning and the late afternoon. It’s great to sit out there after lunch for a bit, with a book.

Of course, the cats don’t want to be left inside. Willa and Charlotte have always been good in their playpens. Willa tends to get restless after about twenty minutes or so. Charlotte looks around for a bit, then goes to sleep. It’s too difficult to take them out at the same time, but whomever is left inside gets very upset. When I water in the mornings, Willa wants to come out. She knows the playpens are stored up, folded, in the laundry room when not in use, and tries to drag hers out. Yes, she knows which one is hers.

Tessa hates her playpen. Before Willa and Charlotte came to live with us, Tessa was allowed out on the deck without restraints. She never left or ran away. She loved lounging on the deck and checking out the plants. But it’s too dangerous here. We are on the second floor and the railings are wide enough that the cats could slip through. Also, with dogs in the building and squirrels in the trees, it’s safer for them to be in their playpens. We used the playpens when the movers loaded and unloaded, again, to protect the cats.

Tessa hated it. She struggled when she was picked up to go in, and complained the entire time.

But, she decided that if the other two go out on the back balcony, she wants to go out, too. When I take them out, she sits on a kitchen chair by the window and complains.

The other day, I told her I would take her out, but she had to be in the playpen, like the others. I brought out her playpen and set it up. She sat quietly. She let me pick her up and put her in it. She didn’t like the voyage out to the balcony, but once I had her set up, she had a wonderful time. She was interested in the birds and the squirrels and the neighbors, and everything.

So now all three have to take turns coming out! But I’m glad she enjoys it.

We have a lot of birds, with all the tress and shrubs. I have to look up the ones I don’t know in the bird book. There’s one, who looks like some sort of a jay, but he’s gray with a black crest and mask. I’m not sure if he’s a young blue jay, or if he’s some other sort of bird. I haven’t had a chance to look him up yet, but every time he pops by to visit, I’m reminded that I need to.

The crows still come and visit. The scout and Tessa have a serious conversation every morning. Charlotte was in the window instead of Tessa this morning, and the scout gave her such a lecture. She was shocked. Tessa popped up then, and things went back to normal.

I’m looking at tulip bulbs in the catalogs. I might order some and plant them in pots this autumn, then leave them to overwinter out on the front porch when we close it for the season.

How’s your garden growing?

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?

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!

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