One gardener's observations, discoveries and random thoughts whilst simultaneously worshipping and dallying in a Cape Cod garden. "A garden," said Ralph Waldo Emerson, "is like those pernicious machineries which catch a man's coatskirt or his hand, and draw in his arm, his leg and his whole body to irresistable destruction."

Friday Garden Report

cactus-catgrass-clementinesHere’s that “March-mas” cactus in full bloom.   It’s been putting on quite a nice show this past week.   Next to it, you can see a fresh crop of cat grass…and all the way to the right are those three clementine seedlings, doing quite nicely.  This was actually taken last weekend, when the weather was pretty nice, with lots of sun and some reasonable warmth.  I had intended another post to immediate follow the swan post, but well, that didn’t quite happen, and time has March-ed on.

marchmas-cactus-2

My first instinct is to blame the time change, but that’s only part of the picture.   I have been using the later sunset as encouragement to walk to the bay more often after work.   It’s about two miles, round trip and I find that the walk gets a little easier each day, which is kind of cool.

Not that it had ever been a real difficult walk, but I have noticed recently the walk can take less time lately, unless I stop constantly to take pictures of everything.  That’s exactly what happened last Sunday evening, after my swan adventure.  Perhaps I knew that there was another chilly week ahead and I’d want to hang onto the warm memories of that evening.   Whatever it was, everything looked beautiful in the late day sun and I ended up taking more photos than I could consider sharing.   But here’s a few:

tree-sky-1

tree-sky-2

tree-sky-3

path-to-the-bay

swan-cloud1

swan-profile

With my afternoon wildlife encounter still fresh in my mind, it’s probably no surprise that this cloud formation made me think of a swan, and the way he’d flapped his wings as he made the somewhat awkward transition from water to land.  You can see the moon there in the center of the picture.

This time around was the Full Worm Moon, a native American tip of the hat to the idea that spring is beginning, that the worms are down below the surface, churning up the soil, getting things ready for the growing season ahead.   I’m pretty sure the January full moon was called the Snow Moon, but I don’t remember hearing what the February name is.  I’m gonna go out on a limb and suggest it’s called the Pretty Freaking Cold Moon, although honestly, that could’ve applied to this week’s moon, as well.

moon-cloudsThe very idea of the Worm Moon encouraged me, though, as did other gardeners talking of starting seeds for the season ahead.  With only eight full weeks or so until the last anticipated frost, it’s really not too soon to start thinking about it.   It’s a widely held belief that seeds which are planted prior to a full moon are more successful than those planted in the days just after and so, over the course of the weekend, I made ready…purchasing some new seedling greenhouses with peat pellets, as well as selecting some seeds.

peat-pellets-dry

I may have gotten in over my head, since I focused primarily on climbing, twining vines, which hopefully won’t grow too fast and strangle me and the kitty before they can be planted outdoors.  There are two kinds of sweetpeas, two kinds of morning glories and a few old moonflower seeds I found which I planted as sort of an exercise in faith.  Because all three varieties come in a fairly hard shell, soaking overnight is recommended and so I did that on Saturday.

peat-pellets-wet

Which meant that Sunday evening would be my time to plant, no matter how long and full a day it was.  Of course, it was also fun, watching those little coin sized dry peat disks swelling with water added to become little planting cells.  They were still on the small side, even once they’d grown with moisture, and as I poked holes and dropped seed into each one, I thought about how quickly I might need to transplant these…and just where would I keep them?

I’m sure there’ll be time to figure that out as the season races toward me.  With the morning glories, at least, I can do subsequent plantings outdoors once the weather allows and and I know I’ll have a whole second wave of blooming later in the season.  There’s always the chance that some of this first planting either won’t germinate or may not survive ’til warmer days outside.

houseplants-and-seed-greenh I really like the size of these seedling greenhouses.  They fit perfectly on the south-facing windowsills of the library slash storage slash conservatory room of the  Nest, with a little room for another small pot beside it.   Larger plants do just fine a little further back from the window.   Hanging above is that fuschia plant I promised to feature in a new photo.  I guess this is the best I”ll do just now.

It has been a pretty full week.   As a result of the time change…and the additional walking that has inspired, I’ve found myself falling into bed a little earlier than I had been in the dead of winter.  This is not at all a bad thing, since I do tend to stay up entirely too late, more often than not.

In addition to the usual workshifts, I had a great coffee date with a former customer-turned-friend, which was an awful lot of fun.   In another surprise to come out of last weekend’s delightful weather, I also received a boon from another friend in the form of some surplus oysters, dug fresh from the sands of Wellfleet on Sunday.

This gave me the exciting (well, for me, anyway…) opportunity to shuck my own oysters for the first time.  It seems that since my Changes last summer, I’m doing a bunch of things I’ve never had the opportunity to do before.  This one sort of tickled me because its very much a uniquely Cape Cod sort of thing.

Perhaps next time I’ll seek out a recipe for roasting or baking them, but I was quite content this time to dab them with a bit of cocktail sauce and horseradish and slurp ’em down raw.  I can assure you, it was the highlight of my cold and rainy laundry night.

fresh-wellfleets

notebooks-and-catAmongst everything else, it was also an exciting week for me, as I finally had the chance to dive into some old notebooks of mine, in search of a story I started writing way too long ago.  Having rediscovered it recently, I think it’s an interesting story and one I’d like to know the ending to, and so I’m putting pen to paper once more to see what might come of that.

Perhaps some of it will find its way into the Midnight Garden.  We’ll see.

Meanwhile, I also had the chance to test a theory about a cluttered table deterring those of the feline persuasion from jumping up onto said table.  It’s a load of bunk.   A cluttered table is only more of an encouragement, it seems.  Having a cat added to the fray only makes things more untidy, as well, since the temptation of clambering on tentatively balanced piles is apparently too great to resist!

Towards the end of the week, our temperatures took a bit of a dive and we’ve seen a return to the 20s.    Brrr.   There were even snow flurries in the air this afternoon.   So now it’s the temperature as much as anything that makes the walks to the bay more brisk.

to-the-bayJust this evening, I realize that I may indeed have bitten off more than I can chew:   in just a few short days, easily half of the morning glories have already sprouted, suggesting a pretty healthy rate of germination.   The sweetpeas seem to be taking a little longer and there’s yet no sign of the moonflowers.   But the morning glories will probably keep me busy enough.

morning-glory-seedlingsThe two varieties I’ve selected are the giant, long vined Heavenly Blue and a shorter vined, purple and red flowered variety named Star of Yelta.  If they overrun the apartment, at least it will be a beautiful death.

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Comments on: "Friday Garden Report" (7)

  1. Your closing sentence is wonderful! That path alongside the fence surely beckons me. I’d be walking it, too. Here in suburbia it’s all sidewalks and streets, hardly the lure to be outside. I need to go find a park.

    Birdie, I hope you find a lovely park for walking – there’s sure nothing compares with being outdoors, surrounded by trees and the sounds of birdsong!

  2. Yup, that would be a hell of a way to go. Right now I feel like I’m drowning in aloe plants, which is not quite as much fun.

    No, death by aloe doesn’t sound quite so pleasant. Maybe your over-abundance means you can spend more time in the sun this year!

    Or perhaps we should just arrange an exchange when the glories have grown a little more.

  3. Beautiful shots!!! What camera are you using?

    Hey Chris! Thanks. My cam is an Olympus FE-310, I believe. It’s a great little camera, really does a lot for me, as you can see!

  4. That is the most beautiful Christmas cactus I have seen. Stunning!

    It IS kind of beautiful, isn’t it? I think even moreso because I never expected it’d bloom for me this time of year!

  5. Nice post. Yeah, those morning glories are going to run you out of your house I’m afraid. I won’t plant my vine seeds until mid-April.
    Your “March-mas” cactus looks nice. I wish mine did better.

    Victoria, I do plan on some of these being container-ed vines, so I might be able to get them a good start in a sunny window until it’s warm enough out on the deck. Others (fair warning to family and friends) might find themselves done up as Easter/Spring gifts. Heh heh. I should’ve waited, perhaps, and planted some other, slower growing things. Live and learn. But won’t I be amused if I have morning glories blooming for Memorial Day weekend!? : )

  6. LOL @ beautiful death from morning glory vines! Do you remember how much I enjoyed seeing your morning glories last summer? I look forward to your morning glories this year. Perhaps I’ll even be inspired to plant a few myself. I’ve got a seed packet around here somewhere…

    I love the little peat pellets. I use them myself when I do any seed-starting. They are amazingly fun to hydrate.

    Those little pellets *were* fun to hydrate. I do indeed recall your delight with, and our many conversations about, my morning glories last summer. It’s possible that I’ve started these too soon, but then again, perhaps not. Anyway, succeed or fail, I’m happy to do so as an example for the rest of you! And it WOULD be a pretty sweet way to go, at that.

  7. I remember an elementary school sweet potato growing experiment where the plant got absolutely HUGE. And you’re about to be living with a flat full of plants with that much life force! I wish you luck. Will you be planting them out, or will you be growing them in pots?

    The cloud formation, now that you mention it, does look a little swan-ee doesn’t it? I know morning glory seeds have a certain reputation. Maybe sharing the atmosphere with the plants also makes you see things?

    James, I’ll put some in the ground, when the weather allows…but I do hope to grow some of the morning glories on the deck, in larger containers, as well. Either way, I’m sure they’ll have to live inside in pots until its safe for planting out here in, as you point out, Zone Negative 11. : )

    As for the cloud, it reminded me of the swan WAY before I got around to drinking the water the morning glories had been soaking in!

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