Thursday, July 10, 2008

Candles of the Fields: Lilium canadense

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A beautiful morning here on the hill. The night time temp of 52 is already up to 71 but the air is fresh and clear after several days of high humidity. Now we have a day's respite before things revert to the high 80s. Karl the wonder dog is barking at a neighbor's cat but that's the only disruption to a beautiful day.

I'm heading out to Barton and St Johnsbury in a few minutes and Gail will head to the nursery and prepare for another day. If you get a chance, stop by and say hello. Each day more and more new customers appear and established customers find us and return. Yesterday three ladies from the Lyndonville-St Johnsbury area made their twice annual summertime visit. They have a list of stops at small nurseries and ours is always on the tour. They have lunch at some point at Rainbow Sweets in the village and always arrive with stories of where they have been and what has transpired. They are excellent gardeners and the combinations of their purchases support how fine their work must look. Too bad we couldn't take pictures of all Vermont's fine gardens and publish a book for those who can't travel to see such fine displays.

Before I shove off here I want to suggest you cast your eyes to the fields adjacent to Vermont's open fields that border streams, rivers and swamps. The native Lilium canadense are in bloom now and they are a special lily. I have taken thousands of pictures over the years and admire the variation. There was a time when I grew a few from seed I collected in late summer. The canadense are easy to grow but patience is a must. I may give some a try again this fall as they need to freeze-thaw-freeze-thaw to germinate well. The first leaves that emerge make you wonder if you'll ever seee a flower but by the fourth year you're well under way to a beautiful flower. Absolutely no picking or digging from the wild please!

If you live in this section of Vermont along the Winooski River, you'll find the canadense among the various ferns that grow in the moist soils. Always use care when walking along the rivers as the accumulation of debris from various floods lays unseen traps that can find the flower hunter belly up, looking skyward and checking for broken body parts. I know, as I have been there!

On a final note, keep your eyes open to the variations of the canadense. Here's a picture of a red that I hunted for years for. The spotting is also with great variation and makes for an interesting assignment. Don't confuse the spots on the lily flower with the spots of the Checkerspot Butterfly, a small butterfly that is a perfect example of camouflage as it frequents the canadense.

Guess I better get going here. I'm already dragging and the day has barely started. Operating a nursery and working a real job takes its toll.

From the mountain above Peacham Pond where a pileated woodpecker pounds bugs out of the yield sign by the mailboxes and Karl is already snoring his way to slumberland.

Warm garden wishes,

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener

1 comment:

marco said...