Thurs. Feb. 6, 2020: Rain. More Rain

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image courtesy of ChristopherPluta via pixabay.com

Thursday, February 6, 2020
Waxing Moon 2nd Quarter in Cancer
Celtic Tree Month of Rowan
Rainy and mild for February

It’s raining. Again. I don’t mind the rain; I quite like listening to it tapping on the roof, provided I’m curled up with a good book inside.

But we need a prolonged cold snap. Otherwise, the growing season will be thrown off, and the bugs will be a nightmare.

A client of mine went to her garden club meeting, where an etymologist told them not to use anything organic to fight ticks; instead, use dangerous pesticides. How much you want to bet he’s getting a kickback from a pesticide company?

In any event, I hope to get some indoor planting done today and tomorrow, which are planting days. Some cuttings are showing roots, and need to be put into pots. I want to start some lettuce seeds.

Fingers crossed!

Thurs. Jan. 30, 2020: Dilemma

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image courtesy of NadineDoerle via pixabay.com

Thursday, January 30, 2020
Waxing Moon
Sunny and cold

Last year at this point, I’d ordered my seeds and was ready to begin planting on Imbolc.

This year, I have no idea what I want to start planting, or how much I should plant. The theft of my tomatoes last year really discouraged me. I shouldn’t let it get me down, but I did.

I should just pick myself up, dust myself off, and GO PLANT.

With the weird weather and the lack of true cold, the bugs will be out of control this year.

So I’m asking myself, Is it worth it?

What are you doing about the garden this year?

Thurs. Dec. 12, 2019: Weather

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image courtesy of Sonyuser via pixabay.com

Thursday, December 12, 2019
Full Moon in Gemini
Uranus Retrograde
Cold and clear

Not much to report on the garden front. The weather has been difficult for most of the week, either raining or snowing. I should have gone out to rake more leaves last Sunday, but I wrote holiday cards instead.

I figure, any dry day when the snow’s melted, I’ll do some raking. By spring, it will be done.

In the meantime, I can dream about the garden I want for next year.

In addition, I’m designing a large, complex island garden for a novel I’m writing. It’s one of my favorite parts of writing books — designing the houses and gardens!

The exterior decorations are up. However, even though I tested all the lights before I put them up and they worked, the strand of lights in the middle of each section isn’t working. So I have to replace them. Frustrating.

Hope all is well with you!

 

Thurs. Nov. 21, 2019: The Weather Is Not Cooperating

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Thursday, November 21, 2019
Waning Moon, 4th quarter in Virgo
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Celtic Tree Month of Reed
Partly sunny and cold

The weather is not cooperating.

We took 10 30-gallon bags of leaves to the dump late last week. We’ve only filled about 3 or 4 more, mostly because it’s either been too windy to rake, or it’s been raining. That cold, damp, chilling rain that stings when it hits your skin and makes you cold to the bone.

I managed to scrub down the inside of the deck over the weekend. There is no mold. It was all dirt from being blown around in the yard, or from the plants. I dry brushed, then used Murphy’s oil soap. It downright gleams now.

Some boards in the deck do need replacement, as do the stairs, but they don’t have to do the whole thing.

The guy who was supposed to come and look at the deck and the back of the house (which was never painted eight years ago when the front of the house was done) never showed up on Monday. I’m sure it was because of the rain, but still, someone should have let us know. I rearranged my work day so I’d be here.

I’m tired of losing billable hours due to unreliable workmen.

It’s rained all week so far. This is the first day it’s drying out.

As soon as it’s dry enough, I’ll be raking again. We’re supposed to get snow at some point this weekend. I’m just going to rake any day it’s dry enough so to do. Every day a bit, and eventually, it all gets done.

Because the front is what’s most seen, that’s what gets the most attention, but, eventually, I’ll get the side, the back, and the meadow done as well.

Much of it depends on how soon the snow comes in, how much it is, and how long it covers the ground.

The beds are tucked in with leaves, so they will have a good winter. It’s always good to use leaves on the beds. They mulch down nicely, and then the soil is in good shape in the spring. Clean-up’s a bit messy, but the plants like it, and it’s worth it in the long run.

I can’t believe next week is Thanksgiving. Which means, shortly thereafter, that the Winter Holiday decorating begins. I decorate outside as well as in, so I’m sure there will be something to say.

The Thanksgiving cacti are in bloom, and look beautiful. The photos at the top and bottom of this post are those plants.

I won’t post on Thanksgiving, but I’ll be back the following week to talk about how I’m doing with my holiday greens!

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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 2, 2019: Unhappy Lettuce

Thursday, May 2, 2019
4th Quarter Moon in Aries
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Celtic Tree Month of Willow
Cloudy and cold

The weather is not cooperating. Rain and chill means that I can’t go much yard work. There’s a lot to do. Dry stretches aren’t coordinating with times I have off to do the work.

Most of the lettuce and the parsley isn’t doing well after being transplanted from the flats in which they came. This is the first time we’ve had trouble with lettuce or parsley transplants. The Romaine is holding its own, at least so far.

This weekend, I have to transplant a lot of tomatoes. I have a feeling I’ll be doing a run to the garden center for more pots and more dirt. But it’s still much too cold to put them outside. I’m worried about the lack of sunlight, too, stunting their growth.

Hopefully, we’ll have a bit of spring in May, and not just move directly into summer!

Thurs. April 18, 2019: The Weather Works Against Me

Thursday, April 18, 2019
Day Before Full Moon
2nd Quarter Moon in Libra
Jupiter Retrograde
Celtic Tree Month of Willow
Rainy and cool

I’m trying to remember what got done since last Thursday. The days I’ve been free to do yard work have not coincided with the weather, unfortunately. What were supposed to be a string of sunny days weren’t.

I started work on the side yard, and I got the front beds raked out. Cut back a lot of invasives. Got one load of yard debris to the dump, and am accumulating another.

Bought six-packs of Romaine lettuce (grow your own; avoid e-coli), Buttercrunch, and Boston lettuces. Got a six-pack of parsley. They are all happy in their new pots. Got the pansies into the hanging baskets out front, and in the barrel.

Yesterday, finally started replanting the Cherokee Purple tomatoes in big posts. Got some of them in; will get in more today, and then start replanting the Romas and the Eggplants.

Then I can move forward some of the other tomatoes, in smaller pots, closer to the windows.

The lettuce and parsley go out on the deck during the day on good days, and come in at night, because it’s still cold. The tomatoes are still too fragile to go out.

The forsythia and white Rose of Sharon are out on the deck; the hydrangea, lilac, and large Rose of Sharon will go out soon.

I need to put teak oil on the wooden furniture as it goes out on the deck, repaint the white plant stand, and decide if I want more pansies in the little teacup planters.

Again, I don’t know how much I’ll get done this weekend because of rain.

I’m posting most of the in-process photos on Instagram, where you can find me @devonellingtonwork.

Hope you’re having fun with your gardens, too! Drop a line or a photo or an Instagram link. I’d love to see how it’s going.

 

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

Wet and Rainy April

Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Waning Moon 4th quarter in Aquarius
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Celtic Tree Month of Willow
Rainy and cool

No photos today; sorry. I’ve got to take some more and upload some more.

Things are blooming in the terraced border — not quite sure what they are, but they’re pretty. The magenta azalea continues to bloom, the daffodils and hyacinths are gorgeous. My neighbor’s tulips are lovely.

Much to my surprise, the strawberry plants are doing well. They like being out on the deck.

The hollies need to be replanted, though; that mucky earth is hurting them, not supporting them. That’s a task for me to do this weekend.

The Black King Eggplant is huge; the others have yet to germinate. The pumpkins are doing well, and the zucchini are just starting to come up.

I hope, within the next week, to finish prepping the vegetable bed, and maybe, next week, starting some mixed greens and some radishes directly in the bed. I’m still trying to figure out if I should buy marigolds already up or grow them from seed. Probably the former — they’ll offer more protection.

There are certain places on the property where I’m just going to sprinkle some annuals and see what happens. Yeah, I know, I’m supposed to use graph paper and do all this intricate planning. But I’m learning what’s already here, and filling in as I go. There’s only so much I can learn from other people. The rest has to be trail and error.

I’ve got to call the Master Gardener Hotline — the previous tenants didn’t prune the lilac last year, so there are dead patches on it. I need to know if I can prune it now, or if I have to wait for the first bloom to prune all of it.

My boomerang lilac shipped yesterday, and the huckleberry bush is on its way, so I’ve got arrivals to look forward to!

With any luck, the weather will clear up and bit and I can get more work done on the back bed. My neighbors are out every minute it’s not actually raining. I’ve got to finish my contracted work first, and then I can go out and putter in the garden!

Devon

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