Thurs. Oct. 8, 2020: Dreaming of Tulips

image courtesy of Clemens Lettinck via pixabay.com

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Second Quarter Moon in Gemini

Neptune, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Celtic Tree Month of Ivy

Stormy weather

Now you have an ear worm of that old standard, don’t you?

Not much to say, garden-wise. I haven’t been doing much to put the garden to bed, but I’ll need to start raking leaves soon.

I’ve put up some of the outdoor decorations. I’m waiting to put up the lights until closer to the holiday.

The new furnace works, and we’re not cold all the time, which is nice.

I’m not planting bulbs for spring, because too much is up in the air about spring. But I’m looking at the catalogues and dreaming of what I can plant NEXT autumn for the following spring. Tulips and daffodils have become favorites, and I hope, next autumn, I can plant a lot of them, so that Spring 2022 will be beautiful.

Tulips have such a tumultuous history, tied in with the history of the Netherlands. There was a time when their value was like that of gold. There’s an interesting article on History.com about how the stories coming down about that time are inaccurate and overblown, and there were indicators of a coming crash that were ignored. So the tulip is not at fault!

What are you doing to put your garden to bed?

Wed. Febr. 26, 2014: Some make it, some don’t

Wednesday, February 26, 2014
4th Quarter Waning Moon in Capricorn
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Stormy and cold

The pear shoots all died. I’m sad. The apples are doing okay. Both types of eggplant have come up, the leeks and garlic are growing like gangbusters. The radishes shot up, but now aren’t doing well, and I’m not sure what the carrots are doing.

None of the herbs have come up. I think it’s still too cold to start the tomatoes, so I’m waiting.

The potted tulips started coming up in the garage, so we moved them into the house. I have a feeling they will bloom in mid-March, which should be pretty.

Outside, the crocuses are up, and the daffodils just starting to poke up. Very exciting! The lilacs all have huge buds this year — I hope it will be a good year for lilacs, which are my favorite.

I have a lot of clean up to do in the yard, once the storms stop pounding us every few days. We have another one coming in today, and then another one on Monday. Getting a little tired of it, and I usually like winter!

Devon

Wed. Feb. 19, 2014: Positives and Negatives with Seedlings

Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Third Quarter Waning Moon in Libra
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Well, my poor little pear plants aren’t doing well. Two of the three died, and the third isn’t looking so healthy. I’m trying to nurse it as best I can, but I’m discouraged.

The carrots are coming up. The garlic doubles in height nearly every day. The radish tops are falling over, but I’m not sure what’s happening down below the soil line. The Black Beauty eggplants are coming up, but not the Nadias. Only the oregano has sprouted, of all the herbs.

However, three pots of tulips in the garage were coming up like gangbusters, so I moved them inside, and the little apple plants seem to be doing well.

The citrus has recovered — I’m watching it like a hawk.

Some of the Christmas cacti and the kalachoe have also started blooming.

I am certainly ready for spring — we’re getting storm after storm after storm. I did the best I could for the trees and bushes in the last one, with the heavy snow and ice, but a big limb in my lovely Maple in the back and one in the Dogwood in the front have suffered.

The coyotes are coming awfully close to the house, too. They’ve been singing under the windows the past two nights around three a.m.

Guess we’ll have to batten down the hatches for a few more weeks.

Devon

Lilacs and Ants


one of the pouffy rhodies

Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Waning Moon 4th Quarter Pisces
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Rainy and cool

The Lilacs are absolutely intoxicating this year. Sometimes, when there’s a breeze, I have to stop whatever I’m doing and just inhale. Or, I sit on the deck in the afternoon, lean back, close my eyes, and enjoy. Lilacs are out for such a short time, so every moment is savored.

The big old lilac bush in the ground here, with both purple and lavender lilacs, is gorgeous. My little Boomerang Lilac, on the deck, from White Flower Farm, is blooming beautifully this year. It, too, has a gorgeous fragrance. The small lilac from Arbor Day Foundation is growing well, as are the two from Miller Farms — the Miss Kim and the Edith Cavell. None of them will bloom this year, but I have high hopes for next year.

The Stewartsonian Azalea is in full bloom, and is gorgeous. The pink, pouffy rhodies are starting, and they’re gorgeous. The tulips are just about done. The little vegetables are doing well, and can be transplanted next week.

I put in the peas, spinach, bok choy and radishes on Monday, I’m preparing a small, circular bed for herbs/medicinal plants in a rather barren patch, and EVERYTHING is mowed. Although, by tomorrow, I’ll have to start again in the front!

The ants, however, are back, and in force, in the front. I hate putting down poison, but I have no other choice. I clear one section — they pop up in the next. I’m getting very, very frustrated.

I’m enjoying every moment in the garden, even the wet ones! If I could just convince the ants to stay down by the road instead of coming towards the house and messing up the whole front lawn, we’d be perfect!

Azaleas and Lilacs and an Owl

Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Moon first quarter in Gemini
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and cold

My Stewartsonian Azalea is getting ready to pop — I can’t wait! I got this bush on sale last year at Mahoney’s for $9.50. It was gorgeous then, and I think it will be even more spectacular now.

Last Friday, a friend gave me some violets and some holly cuttings from her garden. The violets are doing well in a lovely stone pot, and the holly cuttings are sitting in a bucket of water.

I think my two Foster’s hollies from the Arbor Day Foundation have had it; however, hollies usually look a bit sad in April/May, so I’ll wait a few more weeks before making a decision on them.

I got the mower going, and managed to do the terraced back area last week; looks nice. Yesterday, I got most of the front done, except for the strip leading into No Man’s Land. That’s on my agenda for today, and then, probably Friday, I’ll start on the back meadow. Looks much better, but I still have to get out there with the clippers and trim up edges around the trees, the urn, etc. I’m wondering if I should invest in an edger this year.

Not sure how the grass seed is doing, since that’s all new to me, but I’m diligently watering it twice a day as instructed (except when it rains).

The tulips are gorgeous. All 125 I planted came up. ALL of them. Talk about beginner’s luck! The white ones (set to bloom early) are almost done, so I’ll have to do some dead-heading per the instruction book, and then let the leaves wither so the bulbs have fuel for next year. The Carmen Rios are on the cusp of fading. The reds have a few more days left. The Gavottes (yellow and maroon) are at full strength now, and the Queen of the Night are just starting. I got them from Colorblends, and I’m very, very happy with the results.

I planted a bunch of seeds on the 17th (planting day, by the Almanac). All three kinds of tomatoes have come up, some of the cucumbers, the basil, calendula, marigold, All the seedlings go out in the sun on the deck when it’s warm enough, and come back in at night (it still gets down to the thirties). Some of the tree twiglets from Arbor Day Foundation are starting to leaf, as are two of the three raspberries. The new strawberry plants arrived yesterday from Johnny’s (the Fed Ex guy found my sprawled on the grass after mowing the lawn — I think he was afraid he had to call the paramedics, but then I popped up and I nearly had to call the paramedics for HIM).

I think several of the twiglets are going to die; the Niko hydrangea sprig which looked okay when I got it looks miserable now, and the sea holly — I don’t know what it’s supposed to look like, but I doubt a dead stub is it.

The lilacs, however, have me in euphoria. The photo is of the lilac that’s in the ground here. This year’s blossoms are a deep red-violet –quite different from last year’s lavender blooms followed by white ones. It’s nice to see that the places I pruned last year after blossoming (which including falling over the fence into the neighbor’s yard when I leaned over too far, standing on a kitchen chair) are blooming even more this year than last year.

My small Boomerang Lilac from White Flower Farm has small blooms, and looks lovely. The Fragrant Lilac from Arbor Day probably won’t bloom this year, but it’s got healthy growth. Both the Miss Kim and the Edith Cavell from Miller Nurseries are doing well in their tubs, but I think only the Miss KIm will bloom this year.

I’ve been training Tessa on leash and harness, so she can come out with me on the deck. She loves it, but, of course, wants to go further and further. I think she started to realize the danger this morning. We were on the deck, (me) having coffee, when the birds had a fit and Tessa started to shake. I looked up — there was our owl, even though it was early morning, making a statement about territory. Wish I had the camera!

I knew we had an owl from the calls and the pellets and the other traces, and I saw the nest in the neighbor’s large pine. I was too far to get a really good look, but I’m pretty sure it’s a Great Horned — especially from the attitude (and the call and the wingspan). Tessa’s too big at this point to be snatched, but neither she nor the owl know that yet. She’s not allowed out on her own anyway; maybe now she has a better idea why.

I’m in lust with a Scotch broom and a poufy yellow azalea at the garden center, but don’t know if this year’s budget will stretch for them. As I’m offered or price freelance gigs lately, I’ve been calculating how much over bill-pay I’ll have left to use for the garden!

I love sitting out every morning with the first cup of coffee, looking to the garden and listening to it, deciding what it needs. I love sitting out in the late afternoon/early evening, with a glass of wine and a book. This is why I live here, and not somewhere else.

Devon

Tulips!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Waning Moon Aries (4th Quarter)
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and cool

I am so thrilled with my tulips! I only bought 125 bulbs last fall — to me, that was a lot, but one of my friends planted 2500 last fall! Anyway, I’d never planted tulips before (never had the chance). So, I bought some creamy white, some red, some red-and-yellows (called Carmen del Rio), some yellow-and-maroon, and some maroon (Queen of the Night), scheduled to come up in succession.

And that’s what they’re doing!

The red and the Carmen Del Rios are at the bottom of the driveway, and a row of them were planted where we tried and failed to do a strip of wildflowers last year. The whites are up against the house (I think they look gorgeous), and the maroon are just starting to come up. I mixed in all kinds in the border. I’m very, very happy with the result.


I still have to get the mower working — before we melt into “Vacant lot syndrome” — the front looks fine, but the back needs some attention.

The baby trees and the bushes all seem happy, and I started the vegetables in pots yesterday (more on that to follow).

The radishes — which never came up last year — seem to have reseeded themselves, as did the mixed greens. The chives came back full force. Something else is blooming in the vegetable bed, but damned if I know what it is! That’s fine, it’s pretty, I’ll leave it. I just won’t eat it! 😉

The bugleweed is blooming — I like it! It’s grown a good bit since the 4″ pot I put in the ground last year, and it’s just lovely.

It will look even better when I get it all mulched in the next week or two!

Amazing what a few clumps of tulips can do for the morale!

Devon

Garden Dreaming — And Scheming!


What February should look like – -but doesn’t. This is from our storm a few weeks ago — which was all melted by the next afternoon!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Waxing Moon Second Quarter in Taurus/Gemini
Mars Retrograde
Celtic Tree Month of Rowan
Cloudy and mild

The weather’s been totally wacky this year; way too warm. While my bank account is grateful, in terms of the heating bill, I’m worried about my plants. Was it cold enough for the tulips, or will all 125 that I planted (on time, for once) last fall — my very first attempt at tulip-ing — rot? The barrel of heather is blooming beautifully — will it wear itself out before spring? The forsythia and lilac have buds — but my witch hazel hasn’t popped yet.

I’d hoped, since the weather is mild, that it would also be sunny today and I could get outside and do some more yard clean-up. The front’s in good shape, but the back needs work. So far, though, it’s drizzling, which means there’s not a whole lot I can do. I figure if I do a little bit every nice day, by the time it’s warm enough to really plant and tackle things, I’ll be in good shape.

I’m going through the garden books and magazines and the designs, dreaming big dreams. Then, I have to scale them down so they make sense in my life!

I have a lot of seeds, so I’m okay in the seed department. I’ll buy a lot of the herbs in 4” pots to start, instead of doing them from seed. I’ve got some repotting to do today, and, in the spirit of it being Imbolc Eve, I’m planting some lemon seeds from a zested, juiced lemon. I’ve got a lovely tangerine plant started the same way.

This year, I’m going to start the moonflowers and morning glories inside first, then transplant them up the big wagon wheel at the side of the house. Last year, I put them directly into the ground — not realizing there were hostas there, who popped up and didn’t give them enough sunlight! Plus, I think my seeds were too old. This year, fresh seeds, start indoors — in March, I will probably set up the grow light and a seed table in the back room to get things started.

The Elsa Memorial Orchid has two new shoots! I’m very excited. As long as I leave that plant alone, it’s happy. I get the hint. For those of you new to the blog, the Elsa Memorial Orchid was sent to me by a group of friends when my beloved Elsa died shortly before the move to the Cape. It blooms beautifully at least once a year, sometimes twice, and the agreement is that it will keep blooming as long as I don’t try to “help” too much. Message received.

I’m looking forward to a deck and an expanded back area full of plants this summer, especially more medicinal herbs. I’m thinking about getting some clematis or American wisteria to grow up the sides of the deck, like a natural privacy screen. But I don’t want the deck to feel closed in. The roof is so wonderful, it’s nice to have the breeze coming through. The big lilac in the ground and my neighbor’s hydrangeas work well on that side. It’s just on the other side that we need a bit more coverage.

Devon

Planning: Sometimes the Best Part


Amaryllis. It reached its full glory on the night of the Twelfth Night Party

Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Waning Moon Fourth Quarter in Scorpio
No Retrogrades
Celtic Tree Month of Birch

I ran into an acquaintance-on-the-road-to-becoming-a-friend a few weeks ago at a music event. She asked why I stopped writing the blog, because she enjoyed reading it! So, here I am!

My heather’s blooming, out front, in the barrel. It looks lovely, but

Learning how to maintain a garden was a little overwhelming for me last year. All in all, although I won’t win any prizes, I learned a lot, I had a LOT of fun, and there were great times. The Black King eggplant (who lived in the house until a spider mite kerflamma) grew to be nearly six feet tall and spat eggplants at us until nearly Thanksgiving; the tomatoes were put in late, so it was nearly Thanksgiving before we got any, but I’d pulled them in and put them under a grow light in the back bedroom — so we had tomatoes. It was too wet for the pumpkins, and they died, which was disappointing. The cucumbers would have been great, but the squirrels hollowed them out and left the rinds; the green peppers were good. The salad greens were amazing.

Supposedly, anyone on the planet can grow a radish. Not me.

Win some, lose some.

While I’m glad I don’t have to live through the winter on the harvest, it wasn’t bad for a first time out.

The culinary herbs did well, and I need to add some more medicinals in this year. The lavender was kind of hit and miss. I’d been told lavender is easy, but I must not have given it what it needs. Some of the plants are dormant now, cut back, so we’ll see what happens in spring. In fact, I have a whole section of the garage with dormant, cut-back perennials.

I bought a witch hazel tree from Country Gardens. I absolutely adore it. It was beautiful all summer, it turned lovely colors in fall. It wants to bud, but hasn’t yet.

My Blue Prince and Princess hollies are doing very well. I also dug up another holly from a difficult place in the yard and stuck it in a pot. It’s doing well, too. From this past Holly Walk at Ashumet, where we get to take branches, I took some of the Goldie berries and planted them — hoping something will come up. I’d love to have a holly that can trace back its lineage to Ashumet, which is one of my favorite places on the planet.

The Boomerang Lilac is still on the back deck, along with the hollies and the witch hazel. I pulled them back, to protect them from the harshest weather, but they’re out there on the deck and seem happy. It looks like the Boomerang will have some nice buds in spring.

The strawberries gave us a small harvest over the summer, but a second, much larger one in fall. We had strawberries for breakfast for weeks up until late October. And they were delicious. They’re cut back and resting, so hopefully they will be even more productive and delicious this year. The kitten (Tessa) doesn’t each much people food, but she does like to pick her own strawberries from the plants and eat them.

The plants from Territorial Seed Company did not do well, other than Black King eggplant (which was magnificent). The Peppermint Ice Hellebore (the most expensive) was unhappy (it’s struggling, but unhappy), the Huckleberry is struggling, and everything else died. Well, the Lemon Verbena arrived nearly dead, but that was simply ignored. I may buy the Black King from them again, but . . .moving on.

Eden Brothers seeds did pretty well, and the locally bought seeds were fine, too. Johnny’s, as usual, worked the best for me. The bulk of my purchases this year will either be from Johnny’s or from the local shops.

I’m sitting down and planning for planting season. I want (and need) more herbs. It makes more sense to buy them as small plants locally than start them from seed. I hope the rosemary comes back, and some of the others. I want more different varieties of thymes and basils. The Feverfew did well — this year I have to harvest it, instead of just oohing and aahing about how pretty it is. The Echinacea did NOT do well, so I’ll give that another go. I want to add chamomile and dill to the mix, and I need tansy, rue, and pennyroyal. I’d like to expand to coltsfood and horehound, but don’t know if I can this year. I use both herbs a lot in cough and cold mixtures.

Vegetable-wise, I’ll put some things in the bed as last year, and others in pots that will line up on the ground below the terraced area in the back. It gets a lot of sun. I need to grown the Asian vegetables I like to use in cooking, and have a hard time finding.

I’m going to start tomatoes earlier, and go with locally-started plants instead of trying to do everything from seed. There will also be more marigolds, and they’ll be EVERYWHERE. Cucumbers, eggplants, zucchini, peppers — hey, a girl’s gotta have enough for ratatouille, right? And cucumber sandwiches. I want to try some lettuces, cabbages, spinach, and peas. I like the IDEA of corn and beans, but don’t know if I’m actually ready to deal with them. I will try pumpkins again.

My questions for planning the season are:

–what do I use most in cooking, and like best?
–can it grow here?
–what herbs do I use and need most?
–can it grow in a pot?

And then, it’s just trial and error.

I wasn’t as dedicated to good note-keeping last year as I should have been. I kept buying plants and not making up sheets for them or noting when they were replanted or died. I have to be better about that this year.

I am an azalea and rhodie convert, and I even fell for the hostas, once they were up. When we first moved here, I did not understand the love of hosta — to me they looked icky and wilted when I cut them back. Then, they came up in spring and summer and were gorgeous. I can’t wait for the Stewartsonian Azalea I bought last year to start blooming again. It seems very happy in its barrel.

I want more pansies this year, and more petunias. The petunias looked lovely with the coleus and the dusty miller in the urns out front. The mums were a little disappointing — the orange, which I loved, where the quickest to fade. Some of the deep reds and the yellows stayed much longer. We will see if they are annuals or perennials. I was told if I got them into the ground quickly, they’d be perennials. Some went into the border in the front, some stayed in pots, so we’ll see. The cosmos looked lovely, so hopefully they’ll come up well this year (I’ll plant more), and I plan to put the poppies in early enough so they can actually come up.

I planted 125 tulips in the fall — a true red, a white, a red-and-yellow (Carmen Del Rio), a yellow and maroon, and a maroon (Queen of the Night). I’m concerned, with the temperate weather, that they’ll get confused and come up before it’s time.

The Arbor Day Foundation is sending me ten trees and two flowering shrubs, so getting those situated (in pots — this is a rental) will take up some time.

The peace lily which was bought for last year’s Twelfth Night party is huge and gorgeous. The small roses are struggling — I think the spider mite plague was more than they could survive. Last year’s primrose is doing well. I bought three more small ones for this year’s party — they’re not as happy. I’m not sure if they need replanting, or were just forced too early or what. We’ll see how they fare.

I want to schedule my time better. Now that I know the garden needs more time, I want to schedule my writing day so that the writing and the garden both get what they need.

Really, this is the best time of year, garden-wise, because anything is possible!

Devon