Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Snow Buntings and Lily Thoughts

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Another beautiful day in Vermont with bright sun, light wind, and temperatures into the 30s for a change. Now at about 9:30 PM the temperature is dropping and 10.3 dgerees seems a long way from the warmth of mid afternoon. I was up early and on the road towards southern Vermont even before the day sorted out what it would present. As I headed down Route 232, the clouds were stacking high and I wondered if the weather folks had erred. By the time I crested the hill on Interstate 91 where you can look southwest and see Lake Fairlee, it was apparent I was in a new world of sunshine.

On both ends of my trip today I saw flocks of snow buntings along and in the road. Oddly, the weather lady on Channel 3 News featured them tonight too so I guess I wasn't the only one to notice them lately. They are flighty little arctic loving birds that seem to scare easily and as a flock they rise and return to the ground endlessly. By the interstate they seemed to be gathering weed seeds but I can't be sure. In two places close to home this afternoon I saw wild turkeys eating burdock seeds. They can't eat enough of those in my book.

Although the land remains endless in its whiteness right now, I thought of lilies again as I drove south and then north. Lilies have been a flower I have grown since the early 80s. As I drive down Route 5 from Wells River towards White River in the summer, I can see houses with plantings of lilies which I know came from Vermont Flower Farm. In recent years lilies are more readily available in the box stores and of course people access more garden catalogs and magazines now and buy from them. The thing is that Gail and I bought so many different lilies over the years that we were always ahead of the curve and had varieties you just didn't find.

With the white landscape, the colors stick out clearly in my memory but there's always a little worry attached, not knowing how the weather has already influenced the bulbs and how many critters have found them to be the living sugar candy that causes me to come up short on favorites very year. Voles have apparently attended a lily school and have always aced the math finals because they are one animal that only goes for the expensive bulbs. Give them a hundred Asiatic lilies and they'll go for that one Smokey Mountain that was just looking really good.

If you have lily thoughts like I have lately, take a look at the North American Lily Society site or the Pacific Northwest Lily Society site. These are excellent places of learn a great deal about lilies and can help track down sources. The PNWLS site has a picture of the Conca d'Or I mentioned recently. When you see it, you just might understand why Gail cut one out of the front garden so she didn't have to explain why it wasn't for sale.

Time is moving by tonight like a snow bunting heading back to Canada. I have to get going too.

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where no one hears the temperature drop.

George Africa

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