Saturday, June 16, 2007

Two Friends

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Yesterday was a busy day at Vermont Flower Farm. Gail was here by herself as it was my turn to take Alex to an appointment which would take up more than half the day. Things are busy out and about anyway with high school graduations and parties and weddings and reunions. Everyone is busy and it's best to be cautious wherever you travel as many folks have just too much on their minds.

Gail and I juggle many things this time of year as well as the gardens. I work full time away from here, often in a different part of Vermont every day. That part is fun but traveling different distances makes for an uneven schedule and some days tend to be long ones. Yesterday was fun because I was with Alex, getting through an appointment and then doing something that was special to him. He has a lot of challenges and when we are together I try to devote my attention to everything that he wants to accomplish.

As we returned home there were customers in the gardens, cars parked here and there and Gail was not immediately visible. When I approached the back steps with an armload of groceries, I could see her in the kitchen in front of a tall pile of dishes, plunger in hand working on a clogged sink drain. It didn't look like it had been going that well so I encouraged her to head out to the customers as I unloaded the truck and tried to solve the great plugged drain mystery.

Gail and I are two friends, good friends, friends of over twenty five years. We are married, are parents, share a house, raise a son, run a nursery and care for a 90 year old mother in law up the road. We are good friends, gardening friends, working friends. We share all the good and all the bad as good friends should.

In fairly short order the truck was unloaded, Alex was settled back into his "at home" routine, the drain was unplugged, the customers were smiling and I had a chance to pour a couple iced teas and go out side and get Gail to sit and rest for a minute. It had been a long day but we are good friends and we know these days will come and come again.

The iced tea was refreshing and just not moving for a minute calmed our thoughts. The gardens look great because two gardening friends work hard at making them that way. They aren't meticulously clean and weed-free but they are well built and nicely stocked with fairly common plants of interest to all.

As the glasses of tea emptied, I suggested we walk down to the peony nursery and see what has started to bloom.Walking the gardens is always nicer with a gardening friend as each of us notices and shares other things. Good gardening friends do that.

The peony nursery looks great thanks to Michelle's strong effort the other day. It's easier to walk the rows now and count the buds and see the flowers. P. 'Henry Bockstoce' has just started. It's a deep red that I love to look at. P. 'Dad' is opening in time for Father's Day. We don't have any left to sell and that's a problem but it's a nice peony and it's nice to know it is timed so perfectly. P. 'Crusader' is well flowered and easy to spot. It already has missing stems which have made their way into vases here in the house. The fernleaf P. smouthii is down to two buds but this week's heat slowed them and I doubt they will open this year. It is our first peony to bloom and it was glorious two weeks ago. P. 'Festiva Maxima' is bursting open everywhere with big blooms. P 'Paula Fay' just opened and is a great peony, but don't expect nice fragrance from it. There are thousands of buds on the other peonies and if we receive a little rain in the next couple days, they will be even more glorious.

When we finished with the peonies we walked up through the field. The daylily nursery is overgrown with dandelions and an assortment of other weeds but that will get tackled this week. Gail noticed a bright orangy-yellow daylily, quite prominent even mixed in with the weeds. It was a gift three years ago from our friends Harold and Leila. It didn't come with a name, it just came as an extra early daylily with a pleasing color and a catchy fragrance. I split up the clump and now there are perhaps 15 good plants. I'll have to take some pictures and then consult my A.B. Stout book and figure out the name. Everything has a name or two. Gail and I are "good friends".

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where the hummingbirds make great employees, up early and working industriously while others just think about rising. If you are out and about today and not busy with a big event, stop by Vermont Flower Farm and say hello. Your gardening friends will be here to meet you!

With good garden wishes,

George Africa

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