Friday, July 28, 2006

Wild Bunchberries, Wild Blueberries

I was up by 4 this morning to try to get better organized for Daylily Days here at Vermont Flower Farm. It didn't cool off much last night and sleeping with the windows open did little to cool the house down. There's a fair sized black bear in the neighborhood and although I haven't seen him in a month, the thought of him checking out the house in the middle of the night is an uncomfortable thought. He has a reputation for walking on neighbors porches and peering in through kitchen doors. He was here one night and stood outside the bedroom window talking to himself. I'm not good at bear talk yet but I made a few comments of my own after he woke the dog and us up.

There's lots to do every morning just to prepare for the days business. Just picking up pots which have ben knocked over in the night can be a chore. Moose travel through often and although they don't eat anything, they don't seem to care where they walk. The bear and the deer make obvious where they have walked as pots are tipped over in wandering paths. Little harm is ever done to the plants but they have to be righted again and that takes time.

I got outside as the sun pondered rising today. I already miss the month of June when 4:15 in the morning makes you feel like you're getting the best possible gardening time. I took a walk out back to stretch a bit and inspect my new deer fence. If you've read the section of our website named Deer Control
you have read about the evolution of patience in dealing with deer. I have reached the pinnacle of tolerance and save for breaking out the deer rifle, fencing seemed the logical but expensive next step.

Searching for a good price on the Internet proves that you're not the only one with deer problems. Prices for rolls of this 7.5 foot by 330 foot extruded plastic fence vary by over a hundred dollars a roll. When you tack on the freight, the order is best placed while sitting down. The fence is only part of the solution as you need something to hold the fence up such as posts and you need wire similar to electric fence wire top and bottom to keep the fence tight. These items sound easy but you need some mounting hardware too. When you're finished, it's best not to share the total price with loved ones.

As I walked the perimeter of the unfinished fence I was pleased to see that it had at least slowed the nightly forays into the lower daylily garden. With a little luck I'll have two rolls up and a third roll layed out by tomorrow. Farming, even flower farming, is tough work.

I walked out along the red pines. A couple turkeys scurried for cover, one much slower than the other. They had been scuffling through a leaf pile looking for insects and worms and seemed a bit bothered by the distruption. I couldn't tell where the other family members were as they are usually in a small flock morning and late afternoon.

My eye caught the red of the wild bunchberries. They bloomed during the heavy spring rains this year and I feared that lacking any oppotunity for bee pollination, the berries would be non existent. Not so. They were growing nicely and stood out from a distance.

The wild blueberries was a different affair. Bumble bees are the chief pollinator and they obvioulsy found spring work difficult as the berries are sparse this year. Cultivated berries are a different matter so we'll have plenty for blueberry coffee cake, just none of the tiny wild ones with the great flavor and more firmness. I bent over and picked a couple handfulls, moving slowly from bush to bush. "Low Bush" they are and my back began reminding me that this was not the way to start the day. I enjoyed my morning walk but it was time to get to work. Maybe there's still time this morning to convince Gail that a blueberry coffee cake would be a good start to a busy day. Maybe.

From the mountain above Peacham Pond were the temperature is already 77 , the air is thick and the daylilies are glorious.

Gardening wishes,

George Africa

Miss Tinkerbell pictured above.

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