Thurs. Nov. 10, 2022: Crisp

(image courtesy of Ulrike Leone via pixabay.com

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Third Quarter Waning Moon in Gemini

Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Celtic Tree Month of Reed

Sunny and cold

Weird weather, all over the place. It was unseasonably warm last weekend. The weather was beautiful on Saturday, so we trekked up into Vermont and over to New York. Being in this upper corner of MA, we can joke about traveling to three states in one day!

Sunday and Monday it rained. Tuesday and yesterday, it was much colder, and pretty windy.

I finally planted more cat grass for the cats (Willa is very disappointed in me). It should be ready by the weekend, and then I’ll plant another pot, so that’s ready by the time they finish this one.

Either Saturday or Sunday, we’ll plant the tulip, hyacinth, and daffodil bulbs, finally. I need to clear some annuals from the front porch, and bring in the last plants from the back, and finally take everything in from the back balcony. I’ve enjoyed having extra sunny and warm days, but it’s time.

Yesterday, a bird came to roost on the rail of the balcony, as soon as it got dark. It was still there when I got up this morning, and I wondered if it was hurt, or if I should take food or water out to it. But once the sun came off, it flew away (leaving a big mess on the balcony that I have to clean up). At first I thought it was a pigeon, but it wasn’t. I have to get out the bird book and figure out what it was.

I can’t believe it’s going to be Thanksgiving soon, and then Christmas. This year went fast!

The wreath we got for the front door (and later kept inside, on the living room door) stayed green until June. We got it from Whitney’s Farm in Cheshire, so you can bet that’s where we’ll get it again this year!

I have the needles I stripped from the wreath in June, and I’ll get an orange and put some cloves in it and make a nice scent for the potpourri dish at the top of the stairs. What we have in there now has faded, and I don’t like the store-bought, overly perfumy stuff.

We have to start thinking about what we want to plant next year, already, so that I can order seeds in January. More herbs, I think, and medicinal plants. And zinnias. I didn’t plant any zinnias this year, and I missed them.

I have to go through the garden journal I kept (not this one, the one where I paste in the seed packets and take notes), to do an assessment. That will factor into the decisions.

The tomato plants are growing like crazy on the porch. Christmas tomatoes this year!

How’s your garden doing?

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Thurs. Nov. 3, 2022: Unseasonably Warm

(image courtesy of Valentin via pixabay.com)

Thursday, November 3, 2022

2nd Quarter Moon Waxing in Pisces

Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Partly cloudy and warm

Celtic Tree Month of Reed

We’re in for an unseasonably warm streak, at least through the weekend. That’s good news for our heating bill, and, I think, for most of the plants still out back and on the porch.

The chrysanthemums are blooming beautifully, and so are some of the marigolds. The tomatoes are thriving. I’m telling you, this will be the year of the Christmas tomatoes.

But I’m not sure what to do about planting the bulbs for spring. If it’s too warm when I plant them, will they behave like forced bulbs and come up early? I’m trying to find out that information, so I can plant them properly. Today and tomorrow are planting days, and then not again until next week.

It’s the Celtic Tree Month of Reed right now. Reed is about adaptability and bending without breaking. Definitely good skills to have during the holiday season, and with Mars retrograde. The plant is also associated with health, music, and learning one’s destiny.

Most of the leaves have turned by now, here I the mountains, and fallen. The evergreens are stoic, waiting for snows to decorate them for the winter months, although who knows when that will happen? Some predictions are that we will have snow the first week of December; others than this will be an unusually mild winter.

All we can do is ride it out.

I’m looking forward to burrowing down in blankets and pillows and not being out and about more than necessary for the winter!

How are things in your area?

Thurs. Sept. 8, 2022: Finally Rain and Too Much Rain

image courtesy of Steve Bussinne via pixabay.com

Thursday, September 8, 2022

2nd Quarter Waxing Moon in Libra

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

Mercury turns Retrograde TOMORROW

Celtic Tree Month of Vine

Cloudy and cooler

I’ve mentioned this before, and I’ll say it again: it feels like we’re in a seasonal limbo. The calendar says September, but it doesn’t feel or smell like it. Although it’s a little cooler, thank goodness, it still doesn’t have that crispness, nor are the leaves turning colors yet. Some of them are turning brown and giving up, but there’s not that wave of color change.

We finally got rain, and then it rained steadily for more than a day. While we needed it, it was a little too much too quickly, and many of the plants and shrubs outside got battered.

Mercury goes retrograde tomorrow, to pile on to all the other retrogrades, so September will be a challenging month on multiple levels.

We’re in the Celtic Tree Month of Vine right now. It’s about harvest and passionate emotions (both good and bad). Pile that on top of the retrogrades and yeah, challenges.

On the garden front, the marigolds out back are starting to bloom and are lovely. The black-eyed Susans and four o’clocks are doing well. The rosemary has had it. I don’t understand why, here in MA, rosemary behaves like an annual. The dahlias, which had died back and regrown, are dying back again. I have friends coming to visit this weekend with lovely gardens, and I am digging up those damn dahlias and giving them away. In spite of all the coddling they got, they were spiteful and didn’t bloom. Outta here!

The annuals are starting to fade, so I will cut them back and pull them out as needed. The lettuce is done and has bolted; some of the basil is bolting, and the rest I’ll turn into pesto in the coming week or so.

We’re in the process of emptying/scrubbing pots and storing them for the winter. Pretty soon, we’ll have to bring the plants inside to overwinter – and decide where to put them! That will be a challenge, at times. But we’ll figure it out.

How’s your garden doing?

Thurs. June 23, 2022: Steady Greening

image courtesy of Manfred Richter via pixabay.com

Thursday, June 23, 2022

4th Quarter Waning Moon in Aries

Pluto & Saturn Retrograde

Partly cloudy and mild

It’s been rather on the cool side lately, and for that I am grateful. The heat is off for the summer, so we’ve piled comforters back on the bed, and are wearing socks again. Last year at this time, during the move, we had to be careful not to collapse in the heat. I much prefer this.

However, the squirrels are already burying the barely grown nuts. Spiro Squirrel dug up the tansy on the back balcony to bury tiny little bits of nuts in the pot. The cats are shedding their summer fur and growing in thick winter coats, which means, once the heat and humidity do hit in a few days or weeks, they will be miserable.

It also indicates the likelihood of early winter.

Plants are doing pretty well on both the front porch and the back balcony. The brown-eyed Susan gave up the ghost completely, which annoys me, since it was so expensive. I have to figure out what to put in the pot. The columbine died, too.

Some of the plants that struggled early on are doing well, such as the Marine Heliotrope, the Echinacea, and the Lemon Balm.

I planted some of the borage seeds, some pepper seeds (saved, from bought vegetables), and nectarine pits. It’s late for borage, and I’ll probably save the rest for next spring.

I’m saving some seeds from the cherry tomatoes bought at the Farmers’ Market, and will plant them next spring.

The bulb catalogs have arrived. I think I might buy some tulip bulbs and plant them in pots this October, then keep them out on the front porch over the winter, to see if they come up in spring. Trying to decide which ones to buy are a lot of fun. It means getting more pots, too.

I’ll also have to repot several things by the end of the summer, because they’re growing so well.

I hope the dahlias bloom soon. They keep growing taller, but no blooms as of yet.

We’re using the chives, basil, and parsley regularly. We need to eat the lettuce, before we lose it, and start using the cilantro. I’m wondering if I can grow the cilantro all year.

How’s your garden doing?

Thurs. May 5, 2022: Spring

image courtesy of dae Jeung kim via pixabay.cm

Thursday, May 5, 2022

First Quarter Moon Waxing in Cancer

Pluto Retrograde

Celtic Tree Month of Willow

Sunny and pleasant

We’ve been able to leave the plants on the front porch for most of the week, although the weekend nights are supposed to dip down into the 30’s again, so we’ll have to take the plants back in. I hope, by next week, we can set up the front porch and the back balcony the way we want to. I want those enchanted garden spaces set up, and then we’ll add/subtract/rearrange over the season.

This is our first season where we start growing things here in the mountains, so there will be a learning curve

The pear, clementine, and mallow have not come up, and I’m giving up on them. I’ve already planted the Norway spruce seedling in the pot where the pear seeds were. Haven’t decided what to plant in the other pots yet. The lavender hasn’t come up, but that’s not a particular surprise. I usually need to buy those as plants.

It looks like I’ll have to buy different morning glory seeds and try those again.

I keep planting cat grass every couple of weeks, alternating the two pots, because Willa and Charlotte love it so much. Tessa has no interest. She likes the herbs – not to eat, but to roll in.

The peace lily is very happy in its new pot, so let’s hope it can stay in it for a few years. Because I don’t know where we’d put a bigger pot to winter.

The dahlias are the big excitement. They are growing beautifully, and are such fun to watch. If they do succeed and bloom, I think they will be gorgeous. My dahlia coach will be proud!

The Tamed Wild box which arrived last week had a small plant kit (could be marigold, mint, or money plant). Today is a planting day (planting and harvesting days are noted on my Llewellyn datebook calendar), so I will plant whatever it is (I hope it’s mint, I have the other two), and I will plant more cat grass.

I’m already excited about Saturday’s Farmer’s Market. I might stop at the Plant Connector that day, too, and see if I can find a small philodendron, a spider plant, and maybe an ivy.

Once the car is fixed and we can go to Whitney’s Farm in Cheshire, I want to get some herbs, geraniums, and maybe begonias. When it gets a little warmer, I want to get a big hanging basket of petunias, and one of cranesbill geranium to hang out on the back porch. At some point, I will buy a few pots of black-eyed Susans.

I hope the night blooming jasmine arrives soon. Although it’s been so chilly, it’s not surprising that it hasn’t shipped yet.

The Rose of Jericho had its week-long rest last week, out of water, and is back in the water, enjoying it. The research I did indicated the water should be changed every day, but this plant prefers water changed every 2-3 days. Tomorrow will be its weekly rest day. Supposedly, it needs to rest one day a week and one day a month out of water.

In the neighborhood, the forsythia is blooming, and so are the tulip trees. Out back, a neighbor has a gorgeous white flowering large shrub. Not sure what it is. I thought it was some kind of azalea, but friends suggested white forsythia or witch hazel. I’m wondering if maybe it’s apple, and is actually a tree or several trees that have been espaliered against the fence? There are quite a few apple trees planted in the various streets which are coming into flower.

It smells wonderful when I run errands on foot!

How are things in your neck of the woods?

Thurs. Oct. 20, 2021: Blooms

photo by Devon Ellington

Thursday, October 21, 2021

3rd Quarter Waning Moon in Taurus

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Celtic Tree Month of Ivy

Cloudy/Sunny and warm

The Thanksgiving/Christmas cacti on the front porch are blooming like crazy! They are beautiful.

The porch gets Southern exposure, so on sunny days, it warms up nicely, and there’s lots of sun.

Still no frost. We have plants out on the back balcony. We figured we’d let them enjoy it as long as possible.

We haven’t hit peak color yet, but it’s beautiful. Last weekend, I took a nature walk with Mass Audubon out at The Spruces. Because it was, at one time, a planned community before it was a community park owned by the town, there’s a mix of native plants and cultivars. The walk was fascinating.

It makes me want a book about local flora and fauna even more!

There’s something rather wonderful about being tucked in the mountains. It feels protected (even though we’ve been warned about the harsh winters). And I don’t miss raking leaves AT ALL.

My downstairs neighbor has cut back her vegetable garden, and prepared it for the winter.

I plan to enjoy the beautiful weather as long as it lasts, although I’ve planned to hunker down from November to March, as advised. If the weather is better than expected, I will take joy in every lovely day.

How’s your weather, where you are?

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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