Friday, May 29, 2009

Not All Yellow

Friday, May 29, 2009

Almost 8:30 PM here on the mountain and the darkness is closing in quickly. The sky remains gray and a thick fog is dropping like a curtain. At least the rain has stopped for the first time today. The only bright spot that remains is formed by the white apple blossoms on an unknown native apple at the edge of the old daylily nursery. It's been a long, wet day!

The local evening news mentioned that the rain amounts varied from 3.4" to 1.7" over night and this is obvious by the thunderous power of the Winooski River as it passes our nursery. As sick as I have been with this cold virus, I've been down twice today to check the level of the river. Each visit saw Gail and Austin get muddier and muddier as they transplanted annuals and lined out perennials. The news later advised that if garden seeds don't germinate in a week, replant them as they are probably too soggy now. The weather lady's advice only bothered me more as Austin planted all our seeds yesterday. Maybe tomorrow's sun will bring enough warmth to start some positive growth!

Despite the wetness of the week, gardens abound with yellow and for some reason I find that Vermonters like to see yellow in the spring. This first picture is a nice hosta from years back by Mildred Seaver. It's called Sea Fire and I love it because of the light bulb it turns on in the garden each spring. I bought my first plant probably 8 years ago from a Vermont grower and subsequently bought some tissue culture plugs that were iffy at best. Those that remain are looking good and should finally be ready for sale if we don't receive a third frost while they are tender. This one is surrounded by jewelweed, wild impatien, the cure for posion ivy rash.

When I first got relocated to Vermont from New York in the early fifties, our new found neighbors, two farm ladies at the Century Farm, Church Hill Road, Woodstock, took my sister and me to gather marsh marigold, Caltha palustris, from area swamps. This was Cowslips to them and also a spring green favored as much as dandelion greens from the field. To be honest, I don't even remember spinach played a part back then but the cowslips were a "had to have" meal.

Then there's spurge, euphorbia, a neat yellow with flowers that are really bracts like poinsettias. This plant greeted us in Marshfield when spring came in 1990 and it's been here ever since although in more places. It seeds easily and has a sap that can irritate some gardeners as bad as poison ivy. Although the ivy gets me from three miles out, this stuff doesn't bother. As it blooms out in about a month, the stems lay prostrate but if clipped off will come again and hold itself upright for more of the summer. I'm not interested in selling it but there's always someone who asks "Why not?"

Other yellow hostas abound and some are only good with their spring colors. Chinese Sunrise comes out strong but then fades to a mustard green. For now it's a boost to visual senses!

Celebration (below) is a small hosta which looks really nice early on but if you saw it later when it ranks up there on the "slugs-like-it" list, you'd pass it by. To keep it looking good I should have started surrounding it with coffee grounds about two weeks ago but I fear I'm already too late as a see a couple holes. Night walks right about now would confirm the presence of slugs and would tell me how many prevail.

The yellows go on and on and I really do enjoy them. I started planting the new hosta garden at the nursery yesterday and I started with the yellows along the walkway. They should be really nice next year but will be worth a look in a week or two.

As I journeyed up the hill to the house tonight, I noticed a lone peony, in bloom, early, nameless, alone in the garden. It came to us mixed in by mistake with some other roots and it stood out from the rest as different so it got planted where it could be watched. It's still small but very nice. The yellow center draws my attention and makes me wonder what is its name? For right now it will remain nameless. It's not yellow and I like it. I'm tired and sleep sounds more interesting.

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where peepers peep and Karl the Wonder Dog just said he wants out one last time.

Fine gardening wishes!

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Gardens
Vermont Flower Farm: A nice web site that almost begs you to buy a few flowers

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