Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Heavy Rains, Bright Thoughts

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

This is the July for us to remember. The first July at our new location, the first in many which presented so many challenges, so many expenses and so many new and hidden responsibilities. One by one we have solved the mysteries and moved on to the next. Sometimes you have helpers and sometimes you do not.

This morning the rain started an instant replay of two days ago when over 4 inches fell. I just checked the weather and there's a chance that today and tonight will exceed that amount. It begins to get a little scary when the rains fall out of the sky so hard that the daylilies seem to float on the beds. This is one problem no one can fix. We have become good at predicting the weather but not good at changing it.

I was in Burlington today when the rain crossed Lake Champlain and nailed the city hard. It was not the day to have forgotten an umbrella and a raincoat. I headed back to Waterbury and then went to Morrisville where the rain was equally as strong but the area was cloudier due to elevation and temperature. As I passed farmers fields, I felt badly for them too, as getting off this year's hay crops has been difficult. In many places, large round bales sit in water, fields are furrowed with the deep water tracks of tractors and farm implements, and some machines are buried in mud waiting for a drier day. I stopped along the way and picked up three lemon squares for Gail to sweeten up her day.

As I approached our nursery, the daylilies cheered me up as did one car leaving and one entering. Gardeners are used to heavy rain and some purposefully go out in it on sojourns destined to accumulate more plants to add to their gardens.

Gail was a muddy mess as only she can become. Her boots were caked clay almost to the top and her knees were painted in brown clay and grass. Her light blue-green raincoat was a bit of a disaster and it was obvious where she had wiped her hands. She smiled as I approached, happy to tell of a surprising number of customers. I presented the lemon squares and put on some boots to check things out for myself.

If you cannot get over to our new nursery for a visit, try to enjoy the pictures that accompany this blog and Vermont Gardens. With almost nonexistent exception, the pictures I share are of plants that are available for sale. If you see a flower you like and cannot find it on our Vermont Flower Farm site, drop us an email and we'll confirm availability, price and shipping.

Despite the rains and the squo-woosh, squo-woosh as you walk, the blooms look beautiful and provide a nice show for vehicles passing by on Route 2. There are thousands of blooms and lots of good looking plants. Here are some pictures I took last night before the rain.

This first one is Joylene Nicole, a plant that Leila Cross brought to Gail as a gift way back when. Gail likes it a bunch as it has a special meaning beyond being a gift from Leila. It also has meaning relative to a gardening friend and customer who passed away a couple years back. The scapes are close to the base but the ruffles compensate for anything else you can find that you don't care for.

Tom is a daylily Gail found last year at one of her suppliers. I like the flower size and the tall scape. It can be mixed, odd-even in a row with daylilies of similar stature such as Miss Amelia. It's strong and the straight up scape makes it a good choice for a one-day flower arrangement.

Corky is a favorite of mine. I like the brownish purple scape color and the profusion of small flowers which remind me of the origin of many daylilies. Those who are interested in older daylilies have to have this one in their collection.

Chorus Line is a very nice 3.25" flower. The green throat accents the coral pink and makes it more desirous. In a large mass, it is very special. We have only sold 2-3 but I think over time it will catch on.

Bella Lugosi (below) is a daylily which Alex picked out years ago when he was preparing a stockpile of good plants of hybridize with. He was 8-9-10--somewhere in there--when he began to show interest in hybridizing. That lasted one season and was destroyed when someone pulled off all the protective foil he had placed on his crosses. Just the same, Bella and the other 20 odd he bought have all been excellent sellers for us.

Rooten Tooten Red is an Oakes daylily if I recall. It does better in less sun than we have it planted in. The flowers are nicely rounded and the throats draw your attention. A large group follows in a few years and makes all the difference.

Little Pumpkin Face (below) is one of those daylilies with tall scapes and lots of flowers. This one is sharing the stage now with Little Dandy, Little Women and my favorite, Little Skipper.

It's too difficult to think of over 60,000 registered daylilies on the market. It's great fun though to see as many different daylilies as you can, and begin to incorporate them in your gardens. If you get a chance, drive out to Vermont Flower Farm (or drive up, drive down, drive over...) We'd love to meet you and express how we feel about all the flowers we grow.

Good gardening from the mountain above Peacham Pond.

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Gardens


joey said...

After all your hard work, you must be thrilled, George. Another beautifully written post. What amazes me most is that the gorgeous face of each unique daylily teaches the lesson of life ... to enjoy the God given gift of each day.

George Africa said...

Hello Joey;

Thanks for your comment. Tonight I got to the nursery as early as I could as Gail and Alex were away and this was Michelle's last day for a couple-three weeks. I left the place open for business but began working in the fields dead heading the daylilies and pulling errant weeds.

Each plant, like a person, has individuality which deserves attention. Sometimes I wish I knew more of what the hybridizer was thinking when they doled out the names but it matters not as I can find beauty in all daylilies and in fact have started collecting the species which aren't the prettiest but still have talent.