Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Brilliant Reds From Africa

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

5:30 AM and quiet. Karl the Wonder Dog is sitting by the office door, quietly waiting to go for a walk. I am procrastinating as long as possible because the morning fog and the slow-to-rise sun have maintained a darkness I want to disappear first. It's a warm morning and is supposed to be another beautiful day.

I wanted to mention crocosmia earlier this summer as they are a really neat plant with origins in the South African grasslands. They started appearing in catalogs about 7 years ago and we bought our first about 5 years back. This one is 'Lucifer' and to my knowledge and experience it is the only one that is consistently hardy in zone 4. A couple visitors bragged about being able to grow all of them but I cannot confirm that as I never met the folks before. The white, yellow and pink varieties are not as strong but the red seems to grow quickly here.

Crocosmia are members of the iris family as are gladiolus which they resemble. The leaves and corms could easily be confused but they are hardy perennials here and unlike glads do not need to be dug each fall, dried and cured. In four years time, a couple corms will become a 3-4 foot tall grouping, 2-3 feet wide.

This plant is not fussy about rich soil and it is a magnet for hummingbirds which adds to its use. The tiny flowers actually resemble a little glad as they flower up the scape to the stem tip. They make great cut flowers too and are inexpensive to get going.

Gail has them planted here on the hill in a variety of settings and along the long fence at our Route 2 location. I intentionally planted some this year in a wet area and want to see what happens with them. Right now they are glorious but spring 2009 is a long way off.

I have to get going here on the first day of my vacation. Stan, our electrician, arrives sometime this morning to make the temporary entrance a substantial affair inside our building. I have roughed out the interior wiring and the outlets have been installed and wired in all summer. The convenience of a finished product was not worth the interruption to us while we advanced our new business but now that things have drawn to a close, projects like this need to be finished. It will probably take longer than I think but by the end of the day a line will be drawn through yet another item on my list of things to finish before warm weather turns to snowflakes.

Still some great looking daylilies in bloom and some specials on a few other items. We are essentially closed for the season now but never turn away an interested gardener or a question that seeks an answer.

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where our barred owl friend stopped talking as daybreak approached.

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm
Vermont Gardens


Nicole said...

That is a beautiful, rich red, against the green. Its actually does look like the saturated colors we get here in the tropics.

joey said...

Stunning red, George. Lovely photos and, as always, informative. Sighing at your mention of snow ... evening temps here are dipping low and the smell of autumn is in the air. Enjoy your well-deserved vacation ;)