Nov. 18, 2021: Bare Trees

image courtesy of Chanita Sykes via pexels.com

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Second Quarter Waxing Moon in Taurus

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and cold

We’re moving steadily toward winter. The foliage colors have peaked, and there are many bare trees now. The wind has picked up most days, so the leaves still hanging on dance around once they let go. There are a lot of evergreen varieties, so the contrast between the evergreens and the deciduous trees is interesting. And the scent of pine is beautiful.

We had a few snow flurries on Tuesday morning, but nothing stuck. The frost on the car windows is thick enough to need scraping off in the mornings. The heat kicks on earlier and stays on longer.

We’re moving plants into the apartment from the front porch, because it’s getting to cold to leave them out there, even though the windows are closed. The porch isn’t insulated. My lemon plant, in particular, was shivering. I put it in the reading corner of my office, where there’s a lot of natural light and it’s near the heater.

Thanksgiving is next Thursday. I can hardly believe it. I’m looking forward to tucking in for the winter. And planning a small container garden for next spring.

How are things where you’re going?

Aug. 12, 2021: Making Friends With My New Area’s Nature

photo by Devon Ellington

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Waxing Moon First Quarter in Libra

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron Retrograde

Celtic Tree Month of Hazel

Heat wave: hot, humid, hazy

It’s been a few months since I posted. The photo above is the enchanted garden we’ve set up on the back balcony at the new home in the Berkshires.

We also have a screened in front porch, where we have our Adirondack chairs, the blue wicker chair, more plants (especially herbs, because of the Southern exposure), and more of our outdoor décor.

It was painful to say goodbye to Che Guevara Chipmunk, the murder of crows, the Gemini Oaks in the front lawn, the lovely Maple in the back. The covered back deck.

We couldn’t take many of our large potted plants with us, such as the Roses of Sharon, various lilacs, forsythia, etc. We gave them to neighbors who love to garden, and will either plant them in their own garden, or find them good homes. We gave away a lot of pots, and a lot of garden tools, including rakes, hoes, spades, the lot.

For a decade, we’ve loved that third of an acre, even when things like the mowing were difficult. We had a close relationship with the plants and wildlife. I’d done a lot of rooting work, psychologically, and it was difficult to disengage.

We’ve moved from the ocean – where, due to the increased tourism and the local attitude that ONLY tourists matter, not residents, so the pollution increases as habitat is destroyed – to the mountains.

Technically, we live in a city. Yet there are so many trees all around us. And grass. And plants. We are tucked into the Berkshire mountains, with mountain views out the front and the back. The buildings here have porches or balconies, up and down. Most residents create their little patches of garden enchantment.

It’s very different than on Cape, and each region is beautiful in its own way.

The air is quite different, lacking the salt from the ocean. Also, even though we’re in a city rather than a village, there’s less pollution. The oily residue that’s taken over the air, the dirt, and even the fog on Cape isn’t in everything here.

The soil quality is different. While Cape Cod is known for mounds of gorgeous blue hydrangeas, the hydrangeas here tend to be white or pink and white. Black-eyed Susans (one of my favorite flowers) are popular here, as are sunflowers, and mounds and mounds of petunias, spilling out of baskets on porches and along public streets.

I have to learn the native plants, and figure out what we can grow next year. This year was too late to start much; we bought some pots of herbs, and some flowers, but next year, I will try to start more from seed.

I’ve visited the nearby lake, and I’m looking forward to visiting the Botanical Garden, and some private gardens, and the community gardens that are so popular here, and learning about the gardens and plants that thrive here in the mountains.

While I miss the space and the variety in my Cape garden, even though so much was in containers, I don’t miss the mowing, or the constant pressure for the property to look more landscaped and not be a habitat for the local wildlife.

Our back balcony is habitat – we have two birdhouses and a nest that were already occupied when we moved in (the landlord takes delight in them, too). They are bratty little birds, but an awful lot of fun to watch.

A pair of crows has found me, and visit every morning, when I write on the front porch. They’ve started to stop by and tell me the news. I enjoy my time with them.

I’m excited to see the beauties of autumn, winter, and spring here.

Light and Weather


This isn’t my yard (unfortunately) ;). It’s a shot of Long Pasture Sanctuary, near by

Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Full Moon in Cancer
Rainy and cold

I’ve stood at the windows a lot during the past few weeks and watched the light change over the yard, both front and back. Ellen Dugan suggests this in her wonderful book GARDEN WITCH’S HERBAL. I haven’t yet made drawings, but that will come in February, when the light’s around longer.

I need to figure out where the different growing areas are in regards to light. The slightly raised vegetable bed created by the previous owner still gets sun almost all day, sometimes direct, sometimes less so, even with the trees that have grown in the 20+ years since the owner lived here. Light streams all morning into my writing room, at the front of the house, and it’s still very bright in the afternoon, even when the sun is more indirect. The lilacs and roses and forsythia will be happy about that.

Most of what I’ll do is container gardening, but there are in-ground bushes and plants already there which I’d prefer to steward than kill, so I have to learn about them and what they need. It seems the previous owner didn’t pay any attention; most of the plants were on their own and seemed to do pretty well, so I don’t want to fuss at them too much.

Part of the back is terraced. The rest is both rather pizza pie-shaped (as opposed to, say, apple pie-shaped) and what would be the crust edge slopes past the terraced area. There’s a line of trees at the far end of the property, and a blotch of what wants to be a wood at the point of the pie, sort of between the line of trees and the neighbor’s curved back of his property (yeah, I don’t quite get it, either).

I’m also learning just how dependent I am on the weather. In New York, the weather would be awful. The producers didn’t want to lose ticket sales or have to refund money, so we had to trudge through blizzards so “the show could go on.” Trust me, it’s not noble, it’s all about the money. People look at the weather report, add another scarf, hope the waterproofing on the boots holds up, go out in it, get stuck in it for hours or days, and can’t get to where they were supposed to be anyway.

It’s not that people are intimidated by weather on the Cape. But they respect it, which is a hugely different attitude than back in New York. In New York, weather is an obstacle; here, it’s a partner, and it’s the dominant partner in your life. You have to adjust what you do and how you do it according to the weather.

When a foot of snow is dumped on the area, people stay home (unless they’re in emergency response positions or plow drivers), schools are closed, and they let those responsible for clearing the streets and keeping things safe do so — without interference. When a bad weather report comes on, there’s no mad dash to the grocery store — people stock up throughout. There’s no sense of panic. They hope the power stays on, but have enough batteries, or maybe even a generator, just in case. They have electronics, but there are a stack of books on the table and those old games they inherited from their parents that usually only come out to entertain guests in the summer when it rains.

They get on with it, but don’t necessarily force their way through it.

It’s much healthier, all the way around.

I have to make another round trip to CT in the next few days. The reports of the next snowstorm change every few hours. Soon, I have to make a decision on how to avoid it, where the window will be that will let me slip through in the best conditions, so I’m not one of the morons who ignored the report and “didn’t think it would be that bad.”

I’m learning how to partner with the weather.

What I learn now will help me steward the property and my garden in the coming months.

Devon