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Archive for February, 2010

The Moon from the Cosmic Tarot

Basic Meaning

“With Pisces as its ruling sign, the Moon is all about visions and illusions, madness, genius and poetry. This is a card that has to do with sleep, and so with both dreams and nightmares. It is a scary card in that it warns that there might be hidden enemies, tricks and falsehoods. But it should also be remembered that this is a card of great creativity, of powerful magic, primal feelings and intuition.”

Cosmic Happenings;

The sun is in Pisces, there’s a full moon about, it’s raining, seeds are sprouting, birds are nesting in the eaves, our Grandfather Hummingbird has died with a new generation fighting for dominion in the backyard (one looks just like Thuggee)…and my brain is itching and racing a million miles a minute in eighty-four directions with more inspiration than I can process! There are pieces of paper everywhere, covered with frantically scribbled notes of thoughts snatched from the air randomly as they whirl by in a torrent of inspiration. I’m in ADHD heaven ladies and gentlemen. My muse is in high gear and she has no mercy. There are files and files of new photos on my pc, downloaded in the last couple days: pictures of green velvet scarves, plum silk flowers, vintage goodies, plant names, collages, instructions, recipes, poems, bat skeletons, gothic snippits and Victorian poisons. I cannot sit still, I cannot write anything that makes sense to anyone but me…and I don’t care – it’s too good. These moments will not last, I will back to reality soon as the moon begins to wane again. I’ll make sense tomorrow. In the meantime, know that I am happily lost among the verdant dreams of the “Quickening Moon” and I’ll come back to earth when I need to.

What’s happening in the garden:

Figs are bursting forth with wild abandon

Fig


The jasmine is nothing shy of magical

jasmine


The pole peas are joining the party

give peas a chance


Lucie’s favorite ‘bear paw’ succulents are blooming

Lucie's bear paws


There’s a lot more happening out there than that…but if I sit here and write about it, I might miss somethi….

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The Seven Of Pentacles

Under a sky the color of pea soup
she is looking at her work growing away there
actively, thickly like grapevines or pole beans
as things grow in the real world, slowly enough.
If you tend them properly, if you mulch, if you water,
if you provide birds that eat insects a home and winter food,
if the sun shines and you pick off caterpillars,
if the praying mantis comes and the ladybugs and the bees,
then the plants flourish, but at their own internal clock.

Connections are made slowly, sometimes they grow underground.
You cannot tell always by looking what is happening.
More than half the tree is spread out in the soil under your feet.
Penetrate quietly as the earthworm that blows no trumpet.
Fight persistently as the creeper that brings down the tree.
Spread like the squash plant that overruns the garden.
Gnaw in the dark and use the sun to make sugar.

Weave real connections, create real nodes, build real houses.
Live a life you can endure: Make love that is loving.
Keep tangling and interweaving and taking more in,
a thicket and bramble wilderness to the outside but to us
interconnected with rabbit runs and burrows and lairs.

Live as if you liked yourself, and it may happen:
reach out, keep reaching out, keep bringing in.
This is how we are going to live for a long time: not always,
for every gardener knows that after the digging, after
the planting,
after the long season of tending and growth, the harvest comes.

~ Marge Piercy ~

June 2009

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Witch-Wife

She is neither pink nor pale,
And she never will be all mine;
She learned her hands in a fairy-tale,
And her mouth on a valentine.

She has more hair than she needs;
In the sun ’tis a woe to me!
And her voice is a string of colored beads,
Or steps leading into the sea.

She loves me all that she can,
And her ways to my ways resign;
But she was not made for any man,
And she never will be all mine.

~ Edna St. Vincent Millay ~

Seeds planted on 2-17-10

*Cucumber
*Giant Musselburg Leeks
*Honey Rock Cantaloupe
*Black Beauty Eggplant
*Bell Pepper (color mix)
*Cardinal Climber
*Morning Glory – Heavenly Blue

Seeds planted on 2-18-10

*Pole Peas
*Regular Ol’ Peas
*Arugula
*Sweet Basil
*Zucchini
*White Bush Scallop Squash
*Yellow Crookneck Squash
*What The Hell? (what I call seeds that fell out of packets and ended up in the bottom of the jar…I have no idea what’s what so I put it all in one pot called “what the hell” and watered it)

Also I:

*uncovered the pomegranate and artichokes which were buried under grass

*put garden soil under the apple tree where I previously dumped too much fireplace ash

*emptied the soil out of the unused pots to let them rinse in the rain

*transplanted the guara (aka “whirling butterflies”) there were three so I replanted two and separated one into two more. I’ll separate the other two next year. These are among my favorites and I like to put them on the back garden wall where they fly around in the breeze and force you to smile even when you don’t feel like it.

set stepping stones at the entrance of the meditation circle (aka wedding chapel) which is now full of overturned planters waiting for the seeds I just planted to mature

Also, I went to ACE Hardware and used my son’s employee discount to get a fabulous new broom with a red wooden handle, using the old one for my Pole Peas

All of this got done by Thursday night, which was perfect since it started raining last night. Now I can relax for the weekend and get my homework and laundry done while it’s raining. New broom, new seeds, fresh rain – I have a lot to celebrate!

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Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant~Robert Louis Stevenson

My almanac said these last few days were the days to plant leafy vegetables. Since I’m starting from seeds to save money this year, I thought following the almanac would not only be fun, it would provide a workable rhythm to keep me organized.

I used old six-packs I saved from nursery plants – I keep and reuse them, if I don’t return them to the nursery. What got planted yesterday; Swiss Chard, Broccoli Raab, Catnip (just for Miss Peanut):

2-16-10


and today:
Parris Island Romaine Lettuce
Spinach
Endive
Italian Basil
Sweet Basil
Mesclun
Arugula

I picked and ate a bunch of Swiss Chard.

Rainbow Chard


It was tasty, but next time I’ll cook it longer and use more garlic.

Bright Lights


There are a lot of reasons why growing Swiss Chard is great. It requires little maintenance, seem pretty pest and disease resistant, and you can keep cutting leaves off the same plant and it will make more. I usually take from the outside in, but you can also chop them straight across. Just leave a couple inches growth and they’ll rebound. Use it like spinach, just cut off the ribs and cook it a bit longer.

Over the weekend, we used a store-bought head of iceberg lettuce in a salad. As I was washing it, I was appalled at the anemic color of it and Tom said it was the most tasteless lettuce he’d ever eaten: it had no soul. It was so sad, I didn’t even want to sully my compost pile with it. Tom said “I am not eating this” and I agreed. We had already made that agreement with store-bought tomatoes and apples. Determination to grow more of my own vegetables has set in more firmly. No more soulless lettuce. Sheesh! Tonight, I scoured the property and we had a baby lettuce salad with olive oil and lemon juice, and used a bunch of fresh herbs. I was really glad I had tossed a bunch of old lettuce seed down the side of the driveway earlier this winter, or we wouldn’t have had anything.

Also arriving just in time for inspiration was my son’s old chest of drawers. It’s pretty shot and I’ll use the removed drawers and the shell for raised beds. First, I need to figure out when painting that and my wine boxes with linseed oil is the one thing I want to do more than anything else. Well, don’t hold your breath!

I see a planter, don't you?

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Great eaters and great sleepers are incapable of anything else that is great. ~Henry IV of France

Pensive Cupid

Yesterday was a light day in the garden, especially for a Sunday. And a luxurious and warm Sunday too, reaching up to 80 degrees mid-afternoon and fooling me into thinking it was April.

After clearing out a bunch of old leaves from under the lemon tree, I bagged them up tight to make mulch for next year. I also picked a huge basket of lemons. The tree will start blooming soon and I want to have most of the old fruit picked so I don’t knock off all the flowers picking them later. Also, I made a list of seeds leftover so I’ll remember to plant them this week:

Radish – Easter Egg Blend – 1 packet
Beets – Heirloom Gourmet Blend – 1/2 packet
Beets – Red – 1 packet
Zucchini – 1/2 packet
Baby Lima Beans – 1/2 packet
Royal Burgundy Bush Bean – 1 packet
White Bush Scallop Squash – 1/2 packet
Pencil Pod Yellow Bush Beans – 1 packet
Dixie Hybrid Yellow Crookneck Squash – 1/2 packet
Large Ribbed Swiss Chard – 1 packet
Cucumber – 1/2 packet
Giant Musselburg Leeks – 1 packet
Sugar Snap Pole Peas – 1 packet
Broccoli Raab – 1 packet
Catnip – 1/2 packet

and a list of things I need:

a new broom of the wood and straw variety

seeds:
arugula
lettuce – butter and mesclun…etc
morning glories
moon flower
chives
peppers
tomatoes

Also being welcomed into the family are two new orchids, which I have been coveting forever. Thank you Tom!

The Paphiopedilum, or Magic Cherry Black Lady Slipper Orchid. Sexy no? He even got it for less than half the price because of a broken petal.

Paphiopedilum Orchid


and a spider orchid, or Caladenia. Notice this one has a spider web on it, which makes be unbelievably happy!

Lucious Wicked Spider Orchid

After that, then some laundry and cooking, the day fell under a warm golden gooey spell that made everyone stop being busy and celebrate the beauty of the day. We opened a bottle of bubbles

MmmmmmmHmmmmm


then took to our special corners for hypnotic dreamy naps

Summer in February


Somebody said it was a national holiday, but we didn’t really need an excuse.

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“I once had a rose named after me and I was very flattered. But I was not pleased to read the description in the catalogue: no good in a bed, but fine up against a wall.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

It was 70 degrees and absolutely beautiful today, making it really difficult to focus on work. Tom and I always work half a day on Saturdays, but today I had to cut it back to a couple hours. The paperwork will still be there Monday, the New Moon will not! Instead, I pruned the roses in the front yard along the driveway. There are five bushes, all a little different, and they’ve been there since shortly after we moved in six winters ago.

Our landscaper picked them out and put them in. There was no landscaping at the time so I was ok with letting him do it. Now that I am a much more passionate gardener, I would never dream of not picking out and planting my own roses. In fact, shortly after he put them in, I told him never to touch them again.

Before I went out there, I looked up what info I had on properly pruning roses to refresh my brain, figuring I would post the rules here when I was finished. Funny thing about pruning rules in books or online: so much of it is crap and contradictory, or simply over-strict. Yes, there are some basic guidelines that give great results. What they forget to tell you is this: if you’re so busy worrying about getting all the rules perfect, you’ll forget to relax and enjoy it which is the damned point of tending roses in the first place.

So here’s what I know about pruning roses:

* use very sharp tools and clean them between plants if one has a disease.

* cut at angles which keeps moisture from settling on the cut edge and making things rot

* remove all dead or diseased stuff

* Cut one inch above the bud that’s pointing in the direction you want the thing to grow

* roses get rusty moldy and claustrophobic – keep the center empty and don’t let canes touch each other, they need their space. much like people.

* If you break a rule your roses will probably survive

* Know your rose! listen to it and it’ll tell you exactly what it wants. Get down there at eye level and see what’s going on. There are different rules about pruning depending on what type of rose you have, but I have discovered that even each individual bush within a type likes something different. Also shaping its personality; age, placement, what you’ve done to it before, surrounding plants…you get the picture – each rose is it’s own person, and most of them are very forgiving.

Timing in the garden is important to me, so I always prune my roses on the New Moon. Every single month during their growing season, I give them a little haircut. Last winter, Tom and I pruned them gently and left quite a bit of old wood. (we had so much fun that day and it was our best rose year ever) This year was time to prune drastically. This may sound more than mildly insane, but my roses have actually let me know they’d like some time off and I always give it to them.

I really discovered the giddiness of rose-pride one day when Tom and I were at the taco shop down the street. One of our neighbors recognized me and said Hi. I had no idea who she was but she said knew me as the “Rose Lady On Cork Place.” I think that’s pretty awesome, and I’m not going to tell her I sometimes break all the rules.

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So, I finally finished up in the office and headed outdoors to prune the living hell out of everything. For my own uses later, here’s the list:

1) sage – both
2) lavender – Spanish only
3) roses – backyard only
4) passion-fruit vine
5) euryops (daisy bush)
6) Japanese eggplant…will it live?
7) whirling butterfly plant (guara)
9) rosemary – both
10) grape vine
11) Chinese wisteria (vines widdershins – of course)
12) lilac – both (look up info…they’re sad)

The pictures I promised of all the springiness:

The hyacinth I planted a few years ago:

pink hyacinth

The green onions I planted for one of my first blog posts:

Green Onions - update

Lilac bud. I will have to do some research on these little plants. They haven’t done well and it’s time I do something about it.

Lilac buds

grabby little pea shoots

Widdershins Wisteria - Chinese


Fig


Apple


This spectacular bloom is the most exotic looking flower in the garden right now. Can you guess what it is? The common clover: most people pull it out as weeds…people are sooooo silly!

can you guess?

In honor of the season of fertility, I’m sharing a picture of my penis cactus. Six months of the year it does not receive adequate sun. The other six months it does not receive adequate water. I believe both are appropriate and those of you with penises know exactly what I mean. Reality is what it is and I leave these cacti where they stand in honor of that:

I wish you could have smelled this jasmine. In fact, I trimmed the rosemary, lavender and jasmine all at once. The backyard smelled so amazing. Screw the rapture, I made paradise my own damned self!

Jasmine

And now we celebrate a day that is more complete:

Peanut with book

I have much to celebrate this evening..my list, for my own purposes later:

Leda
Sonam
Spider Orchids
Bat guano
Seed Starting Mix
7
Buddha
Voids
Old Sheets with Clouds
Sawdust
Blue Slippers
Weeds
Wings and Nests
Epiphanies
Fire
Time
Tomorrow…

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