Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Wild Flowers Among Snow Banks

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A bright morning at Vermont Flower Farm. 23 degrees out which will make the maple sugar producers happy as it brings on a forceful sap flow today. Karl the wonder dog enjoyed his morning walk to the point of irritating me with his unidirectional move towards Peacham Pond when I wanted an about face and another cup of coffee. While I was coaxing and he was tugging he encountered an early morning coyote track and that scared him into redirection and home.

The snowbanks along the road are still three feet high but the snow in the fields in approaching a foot. In the woods the snow depth is another story, but Spring is on the way. Yesterday I saw some more killdeer eating bugs in the grass at our new nursery and flocks of geese headed north by following the Winooski River. Last night I heard the barred owls calling for a mate at about 4:30. That is typical for them now. They were a good half mile off but I am relieved to hear their voices again as I know they had a difficult winter.

April has been good to us this year. The snow plow sits half buried in mud now but it hasn't moved at all this month and that is nice. Last year this time we were fighting 50 mph winds, power losses, downed trees and 3 feet of new snow. There was a dose of depression mixed in there too. This year is different and although the snow is deep, today's 68 degrees will warm us mentally and physically.

It will be some time before our wild flowers are even visible but along the Champlain Valley growth is visible and flowers will be out in another week where the sun has warmed the ground.

This is the time when one of Gail's favorites begins to rise from the leaves. Hepaticas. Her real favorite! They push slowly upward and seem to take some time to form buds. They show impatience that urges daily visits to check their progress and then they burst open about the time hard rains fall and their beauty is dampened by rain drops and maybe a few brown spots from fungus. For that all too brief period of time, they are brilliant!

Hepaticas are easy to grow and they reproduce easily. They also form seed pods without trouble but as with many wild flowers it takes a while from seed. If you do some searches you

will find some variety available. I cannot recommend suppliers but I'm confident you can. The New England Wild Flower Society is an excellent resource and they have an annual sale that will knock your socks off.

Spring is a time when the days are longer but not long enough for us. I'm heading to Newport in a few minutes and that is on Vermont's NE Canadian border. It's 75 miles away. I wish I was heading into the gardens.

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where greedy blue jays toss sunflowers to the ground, looking for perfect seeds and a good breakfast.

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener


Anonymous said...

it's great that the snow is quickly wearing off...

West Bremerton florist

James Golden said...

We visited friends near Crawford's Notch, NH, weekend before last. We had no idea how much snow you guys still have on the ground. Drove back via Vermont (I-91) and got a pretty snow for part of the way. Spring is slow coming down here in NJ, but you really have it hard.

Cabs said...

Those are beautiful wild flowers. Have you been to the wiildflower associations new farm in Whately Mass? See
I went last year and it was great. They are only open for a few weeks in the Spring.