Sunday, August 12, 2007

Sunday Sunshine

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The sun is rising above the pond and the thick fog is already beginning to burn off enough to be able to see the bright colors of the daylilies in the lower nursery. I enjoy this view from my office window and this year's display has been special. It's 61 degrees now and although there is an abundance of red in the morning light, the day promises to be bright and warm.

I was up early this morning as I had to return the tractor to the new property after completing some work here. Finally having a real tractor and a real rototiller and a real mower allows me to work on the back pasture and woods roads and get things back in shape. Yesterday's project was mowing and tilling a spot for some food plots for deer. The rototilling was a tough job as it's very rocky out there but it's finished and ready for lime, fertilizer and seeding which will take place later this week.

I was heading down the road before 5 this morning with the flashers flashing and the tractor chugging by houses with unlit windows. It is summer and people don't always rise as early as they do during other times of the year. As the sun provided more light, I was able to spot a lone loon crossing overhead to Peacham Pond from the reservoir, Mrs. Deer and two fawns, one errant ping pong paddle (?) and a Tupperware container full of potato salad which had obviously not made it home from a picnic the day before. The trip takes a little more than 45 minutes at a top speed of 6 mph and that's slow enough for me to spot the changes to the roadway since my last trip. I'm in hopes of buying a trailer to eliminate these morning cruises but trailers are in the $2500-$3300 range so I'm not ready to buy one yet.

Daylily Days continues at Vermont Flower Farm and if you haven't stopped by yet, do give it a try soon. The spring rains and cooler July temperatures encouraged some of the best daylily growth we have seen in recent years. The plants in the gardens are exceptional and those which we have potted up for sale are full, heavily rooted and in various stages of flower display.

The display gardens are full of color this year and visitors have paid fine compliments on a daily basis. Probably the only problem is that they contain plants which we either don't grow any more or have already sold out of and this brings disappointment to gardeners who have finally found that "perfect" or "long lost" plant and find out that again it's slipped their grasp.

Time is moving too quickly this morning and I have to get going. I try to deadhead the daylilies in the morning before I start any other chores. I worked on this last night until 8:30 when my hands were stained the blue-black-purples of Strutter's Ball, Night Beacon, Bella Lugosi, Houdini, Starling, and others. A couple ounces of generic lemon juice returns your hands to normal if you have experienced the "stained look" and panicked.

Have to go. Enjoy the day and stop for a visit if you are out and about.

From the mountain above Peacham Pond where hummingbirds are already fighting over ownership of the tall red and purple bee balm.

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener


Pittsgrove Farms said...

The display gardens look stunning. Last year my parents started growing and selling irises at their home. They got out of the garden center business so they could sell what they were interested in selling: irises, peonies and daylilies. Unfortunately, everyone would see their gardens and want to buy the "other" plants too. We are making display gardens but it is really hard not to incorporate the plants that we don't intend to sell. Irises look great alone but when complimented with other perennials they really come alive. I think it is going to continue to be a struggle for us next year. I worry that eventually we will end up selling far more varieties of plants than we ever intended.

Enjoy reading your blog.

Jeremy Gulish

George Africa said...

Hello Jeremy;

When Gail and I moved here from the Burlington, Vermont area, we said we would only grow 4-5 plant varieties but offer a large number of each. That's exactly where we are at today...however...gardeners are collectors and there was just no way we could not add other plants to our display gardens.

Now, after 15 years of serious gardening and retail/wholesale here on the Peacham Pond Road, we are moving our nursery down to Route 2 at the edge of Marshfield village. Gail is adamant that if we don't sell it, we won't plant it there but already the discussion has fallen apart and we haven't even planted a single flower.

Check back with us in another year. My guess is that the display gardens will contian lots of items which we do not and probably will not have for sale. Gardeners and just plain visitors enjoy seeing plant combinations and mixed display gardens are worth more than any advertising dollar you want to spend.

Thanks for writing!