Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Cold Ending

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Just in from too long a day that began at 4 AM when the wind was intent upon filling the walkway with snow and the stars were hidden away by clouds and snow flakes. With afternoon passing quickly, the wind continues, and looking out the windows makes me think of little snow globes that kids shake and watch spin no matter what month it is. Today's Burlington Free Press headline read "Year Brought Weird Weather" and went on to say "A tornado. Flash floods that wiped out roads in a matter of minutes. Ninety-mph winds. Snow measured in feet, not inches. Forests decimated under the crushing weight of ice." That was all very, very true in 2008.

Today as we wrap up the year, I can reflect on what we have accomplished and what is left to be done at the new nursery. It's not new any more. It has been challenged by the weather as rain came regularly in inches, so frequently in fact that at times we closed off part of our daylily display gardens. It was easier losing sales than helping shoeless customers and visitors retrieve muddy footwear. The wind challenged our new shade houses and actually flattened one less than an hour after I had tied the final knots to the shade cloth. That one ended in pieces so twisted and gnarled that I dismantled the steel pipe frame and headed the pieces to the scrap recyclers soon after the lightning finally stopped. I'll never forget that storm.

2008 was a great year nonetheless, as we met many new people, learned to be travel directors, and waited patiently for prior customers familiar with our Peacham Pond Road gardens to reorient themselves to Route 2. Every new business has its idiosyncrasies and you can only guess at what they will be.

For 2009, we have to construct a hosta display garden that will provide the same opportunity we offered on the mountain. The site is prepared and when spring arrives we'll begin planting. I carry the plan with me every day but it's not written on paper or electronic media. The day I decide to start planting, I'll convince Gail that we need to do something different. She's accustomed to this with me and with reluctance she'll agree and get people organized. She knows it's important to me. Within a week, the bones will be in place and a new beginning under way.

Here are some pictures from our current garden on Peacham Pond Road. It is small in comparison to what is planned. Come visit next summer to see the new garden grow. Watch our two blogs for pictures as the garden evolves. And for now, be safe, wish family and friends well, and keep commitments to making our world a better place. The best gifts do not have to cost money.

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where eleven blue jays fill themselves with sunflower seeds, as strong winds ruffle their feathers and blow them sideways as they land and take off. First Night for some, but just another blue jay day.

Warm New Year wishes to everyone!

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm
Vermont Gardens


tina said...

Happy New Year to you too George! And best wishes for 2009! P.S. The picks are working:)

Susan Tomlinson said...

Happy new year, George! I hope the upcoming one treats you, your family, and that beautiful nursery well.

I really love how beautiful those hostas look--I wish I could get hem to grow in my garden.

lynn'sgarden said...

Happy New Year, George.
Beautiful photos of your hostas! How do you keep the deer away? My one and only variety is the common "Patriot" and it is planted right off my front door as anywhere else I've tried to plant them..don't survive the critters. Looking forward to seeing your new beds in the coming year.

George Africa said...

Hello all;
Best wishes to each of you and thanks for following The Vermont Gardener. I'm taking a break right now from rebuilding our website Vermont Flower Farm. There is a page there titled Deer Control which might be of interest. It's at

Regarding growing hostas in warmer climates, assuming they will grow and the deer don't get them, take a look at This was written by Tony Avent of Plant Delights Nursery and might be helpful. Avent is a fine nurseryman and grows some very interesting plants.

Happy New Year & happy new gardening!
George Africa

Hostabuff, Zone 6a said...

It was a real treat to visit your blog today and see so many beautiful pictures of hosta. I'm definitely planning a trip to your place this summer. Good luck with the new garden plans and best wishes for the New Year!

Signe said...

I love your hostaphotos.

Happy New Year.