Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Floating Snow Flakes

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A quiet morning here on the mountain. Last night's bright moon turned into this morning's cloud cover, as 19 degrees in temperature and floating snow flakes greeted us. The cold is supposed to continue for several days so anything involving the soil will soon end here.

Gail and I have worked very hard for the past couple years making the move to our new nursery. It is not easy for a couple people to quickly recreate what they spent 20 years building but we are making good progress. Being able to look back at where we were and where we are going is rewarding for sure.

These first three pictures (top down) start with the getting the land surveyed and then mapping out what will become a new shade garden and pond. We cleared the land and then began scraping off the top growth and rototilling it. From a mess of weeds and vines and alders we have the basis of a good shade garden.

You don't count hours when you make gardens like this. They are too big and take a long time. You strive for the vision you have and work until you come close to that. As we end our first full season, here are some pictures of what will become our new shade garden.

The soil is stone free, alluvial soil in need of organic matter but fundamentally good for hostas and the companions we will plant here with them. The vision includes clumps of every hosta we sell so once again visitors can get an accurate measure of the mature size of the hosta they think they are interested in. A series of paths will meander through the plain and swaths of 25's, 50's and 100's of certain hosta will create a depth. Our hope it that in time this garden will be visible from Route 2; and from the top of the main sales area it will lure folks down a set of wide stone steps to a place of tranquility. It's all workable, bearing time for the gardener, and for the plants to mature. Part of our vision is the entrance to our shade garden here on the mountain. There's nothing like the structure of hostas such as Elegans, On Stage, Ryan's Big One, Sunpower, Yellow River, August Moon, Jimmy Crack Corn, Tall Boy, Super Nova, Sea Fire, Revolution, and Birchwood Parky's Gold to motion a gardener down for a look-see. We bet it will work!

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where today's chores include repairing the bear damaged platform feeder outside my window and getting it set up again. Bird feeding time here does not start until Thanksgiving Day, a day when we expect the bears have begun hibernation. "Expect" sometimes results in unexpected problems. We hope not!

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Gardens
Vermont Flower Farm An old but good website from which to obtain good gardening ideas and information on purchasing a gift certificate for a gardener you know. Support agriculture this year and help us keep things green!


Susan Tomlinson said...

That shade garden shows your hard work! It will look lovely; I can't wait to see how it turns out.

Good luck on the bears/feeder filling. Around here, all I have to worry about are the pesky squirrels, and even they aren't so bad...

Liisa said...

I am looking forward to visiting your new nursery in the spring!! I was glad to hear of your success with Conca d'Or, and I will begin considering that chain saw. : ) The four seasons are a treat, but I find myself dreaming of spring already. Sigh.

George Africa said...

Hello Susan;

We have had several very cold nights around ten degrees so my guess is that except for very few big bruins, most of the black bear population is snoozing. I did find one apple tree the other day that had a branch completely broken to the ground suggesting that some bear(s) had grown tired of waiting for the last apples to drop.

I have to say I am concerned about the number of voles I am seeing. These guys do not hibernate and they eat constantly. I was splitting wood at dusk the other night and they were highly visible coming out of the grass bordering the garden. One of their favorites here is painted ferns.

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener