Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Fall Hollyhocks

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Already 9 PM and the rain is finally quieting after a couple hours of pounding like a heavy fist on the standing seam roof. The weather people predicted more than an inch of rain and I won't be surprised if we surpass that amount. It is such a contrast to California and the South where serious problems continue. We are lucky here at Vermont Flower Farm to have several excellent supplies of water. It's not just any water, it's the best tasting water I have ever tasted.

Fall 2007 has been interesting. The weather yesterday was like a July day but without the higher humidity. After work, I rode the tractor making a 10 foot by 200 foot long garden at the new property. It will serve as a buffer between the parking area and the sales building and will have a split rail fence the entire length save for the opening for delivery trucks and entering/exiting customers. I misread the amount of clay I would have to remove and backfill with good soil, compost and manure and I had to order up another 25 yards of soil tonight. The garden will be the first thing a customer sees as they park their vehicle so I want it to be well prepared and good looking.

This morning I had to head south for the day down towards Brattleboro. First I had to get the truck back to a tire place on the Montpelier side of the Barre-Montpelier Road because they sold me a defective radial tire last week. They did a weird trial and error thing until they figured out what to do with it and that left me less than pleased. Today was my third visit and now I'm driving on $600 worth of tires that track straight. I left them with my message in economics: If I tell ten friends of the problem and they don't buy $600 in tires, that's a $6000 loss. If they tell 10 friends each, that becomes $60,000 in potentially lost sales. Customers are not always right but when they are, they need to be treated appropriately.

When I returned tonight I needed a good walk to stretch out some arthritic joints. For some reason, hollyhocks caught my attention. The first picture above shows some plants from this summer when hollyhocks were in their glory. Now singles are opening and although the masses are not there, the individual flowers are noteworthy. The flower bees are slowing down their visits but the bumble bees and a neighbor's honey bees keep working every available flower.

Many visitors ask us to dig up hollyhocks but we won't. This is a plant that is best seeded into your garden space and this is the time of year to do it. Our garden seed production was not that good this year but this is a plant which produces more than I want to deal with from year to year. It was a nice surprise today to see so many in bloom. There are still some trollius showing color, several campanulas, the last of the monardas and one last Hemerocallis 'So Lovely'. Looking back on our gardens this past summer, I can reiterate, "They really were so lovely."

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where sunsets come too early, daylight is too brief.

Best garden wishes,

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener



Jeff C said...

Hi George. My wife and I made a quick trip up to Lake Willoughby a week and a half ago and we saw your new place on Route 2 outside Marshfield. It looks like you have done a lot of work over the summer. I'm looking forward to seeing it in bloom next year. Thanks for all your blog entries and photos - I always look forward to them.

Jeff Connor, Duxbury VT
Vermont Travel Notes

Connie said...

Beautiful hollyhocks....just beautiful! They are one of my favorites.