Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Stary Night, Star Shaped Thoughts

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

A nasty day in these parts today, partly because we haven't been accoustomed to winter and partly because it was .....nasty. A week ago it was almost 60 degrees here and this morning the thermometer struggled at 6. Right now it's at 5.2 degrees and as the sky becomes more dotted with twinklers, the temperature slides down another notch. Welcome! Winter in Vermont.

I had to go to Burlington today and I had planned to slip down to Gardener's Supply on the Intervale and see if they had any more amaryllis or paperwhite bulbs. The crumpled cars from Bolton Flats on up to French Hill in Williston was enough to convince me to stick to real business. By late morning the highway crews had things cleaned up and there was enough sun to chase the snow and ice away.

Tonight is a good night to spend by the fire and thumb through garden catalogs with a pad and pencil close by. Years ago I made our first catalog for Vermont Flower Farm on the computer. I was really pleased with the MS Publisher production of two pieces of paper folded to make eight pages, stapled in the middle and on one edge, labeled, stamped and in the mail. As years advanced the catalog grew to 40 pages and was mailed to over 1500 gardeners. That was the threshold that encouraged me to take the step to and there hasn't been any looking back. I read recently where 90% of catalogs never are even opened and for me that's a lot of trees and too much waste.

We receive few catalogs anymore as we have our suppliers narrowed down and we aren't interested in adding to that "do-not-even-open" category. Nonethless there is something special about a well written catalog that a computer just can't provide. If you are new to gardening and need a start, go to which is an extensive list available by plant type. The owner of the list has been working on it since I first broke into computers and last I looked it was quite dependable.

One plant that has really interested me for several years now is epimedium. I can tell it's a plant my Mom would have enjoyed. Around Vermont I don't see it offered that much but once you get some growing, you'll want to add to your collection. I've mentioned before that the best place to begin learning about epimediums is with The Epimedium Page This is Darrell Probst's page and I doubt anyone has knowledge of this plant as he does.

Epimediums are forgiving plants which work well as a ground cover and can handle various soil types. They fare well planted in difficult situations such as under trees and they can handle some shade and acid soil as you can see in our lower hosta garden.

The flower shape, color and foliage have some variation and this gives the gardener something different to work with. Up here they are slower to cover big areas but June flowers and lesser September rebloom makes for an interesting addition.

I didn't check to see if epimedium sources are included in the garden list I cite, but when you do get to see some, you'll know why tonight's stary night and epimediums are on my mind.

From the mountain above Peacham Pond, where moose are shedding antlers and people are adding layers of clothing they didn't need until today.

Gardening thoughts,

George Africa

1 comment:

Ki said...

Great photos of beautiful epimediums. I am on a mini-quest for epis and have bought several different varieties hopefully in time they'll grow to be as nice as the ones in your photos.