Sunday, August 27, 2006

Celebrate the Gardens

Almost 5 AM and my mind is already buzzing with a list of things which have to be accomplished today. Finish the deer fence, rototill the lower daylily nursery again, cut back Hemerocallis Susan Elizabeth, Beth Barth and Tetrina's Daughter and get them ready to divide and line out. The list is endless and any day's plan ends when the next gardening day begins. It's 53 degrees out and windy. The air has the feel of rain which has been predicted for three days. It will come today.

There's something about some days when the first few steps seem to lead in the wrong direction. I got half way through my mail this morning and the dog woke up and wanted to go out. We made it to the first shade house where the small hostas grow and a big doe with lone fawn snorted her presence. Karl, the wonder dog, headed back to the house in long leaps, almost jerking my arm out of the shoulder socket. He has a big bark but he fears strange noises and smells. He has great hearing but poor sight and he gets scared when he can't identify what he hears.

Back inside the house I decided today was the day for home fries and eggs. I like mine cooked in butter with a taste of sweet onion and some basil, oregano and thyme. Then I cover them with grated Cabot cheddar and slide them into the microwave for a few seconds. This morning the butter dish was empty and the next pound of butter was in the freezer so things got off to a slow start. Then Karl decided he'd bark at the newspaper delivery lady and wake everyone else up. I no more than turned the potatoes over once and he was at the back door scratching to go out again. Yes, a very slow start to this days events.

The gardens have been beautiful. When people complain about the rain this summer, Gail tells them it's been just beautiful and the flowers in all their glory are living proof. I can see in the eyes of some that they are responding with a "Yeah, right, lady.....", but when they look around they can't refute the color.

Long about the end of August, probably coinciding with all the Vermont fairs, people, garden shows, HGTV all mention "celebrate the gardens". Vermont maintains a firm agricultural presence and I always thought that this "celebrate the garden" thing meant the harvest of crops for man and beast to eat. More recently, I've thought that people should get out and about and celebrate the beautiful late summer flowers including wildflowers which are so abundant now.

The purples of the bull thistle are being replaced by cream, blue and purple wild asters. The dark yellow goldenrod, the tall cultivated hollyhocks and the pale yellow mullein have already passed along but the assortment of rudbeckias, Jerusalem artichokes and the other varieties of helianthus, the tansies, monardas and phlox provide waves of color in various heights and shades. Rain or shine, a walk in the country serves as a reminder to how much color surrounds us now and how much is yet to come.

Yesterday was a slow day with few customers but lots of tourists. It was Alex's 14th birthday so Gail took him and some friends to climb Owl's Head and then swim at Boulder Beach before retuning here for cake and presents. In their quiet absence I lined out more daylilies. I got through Beloved Country, Cedar Waxwing, Green Flutter and Irish Elf before the interuptions got too great.

Our friend, Eric stopped by and I gave him a small bag of clintonia berries. This is the nice little spring wildflower which has drooping yellowy-green bell shaped flowers. It often naturalizes itself in large areas regardless of elevation and it forms round, dark blue berries
by August which look kind fo neat as the leaves begin senescence. If the deer and woodchuck neighbors continue to eat Eric's daylilies and hostas, he'll need more wildflowers to provide the color he enjoys at his camp.

If you have some time today, celebrate all gardens and take a look at what's blooming!

From the mountain above Peacham Pond where a light rain has begun and the crispy home fries are ready,

Gardening wishes,

George Africa

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