Friday, July 31, 2009

Bountiful Blossoms

Friday, July 31, 2009

The clock read 4:03 AM when Karl the Wonder Dog's thunderous commands brought me to attention. I neither understood his message nor really wanted to hear it. Yesterday's arthritic leftovers made thoughts of an early morning walk less than desirable.

I layed there for a minute waiting for the noise to stop and then between barks I heard the calling of a cat. The voice was different than any of the neighbors cats and I assumed that it was a "left-over", a cat that was brought on vacation to Peacham Pond and then left behind as it wandered while the family packed and left. Not all cats are good at adapting and this one is on that list.

With reluctance I got up, started the coffee and headed out with Karl. 57 degrees, still and overcast as if more rain is predicted. The previous night the rain gauge measured 2.75" here and exceeded 5 inches in southern Vermont. The wet summer that is not a summer continues.

I have to say the gardens are lush with all the rain and the daylilies are especially thick and full of blossoms. Morning walks here at the house are best for me because the absence of foot and car traffic allows me to hide from the embarrassment of gardens in shambles around the house. This is the second year we are trying to get the new nursery organized and priorities require that sacrifices be made. The wild impatiens is 4 feet tall with the rain and even some of the grand hostas in the lower garden are almost out of sight because of the rain and weed growth.

Up top is a picture of the Lilium superbum which came out yesterday. It's a poor picture but I'll get back to some better ones tonight if the weather comes around. These are tall lilies, sometimes reaching ten feet here. The bulbs are actually in the shape of a dog bone. They are easy to scale and start anew but even the simplicity of that reproductive process is something I couldn't find time for last fall or this spring. I have lost a few to voles and other critters and it's about time to get with some restoration.

Bee balm, monarda, Oswego tea, that mint family herb that does make a tea if you are into that stuff is in full bloom. I should dig and bag some and sell it but it's just another thing on the "to do" list that makes sense but I don't get to doing. I promised some more to Leslie down at the pond and I'll have to give her a call and tell her where the shovel is.

Again, my photography skills show the bad side of working in haste but this daylily picture is of a daylily known as the best coral colored daylily on the market. It's not new but it surely is nice. It's named South Seas. If you see it in our gardens, you'll think there's something wrong with the photo or the photographer and both are a little off. The daylily is a beauty!

Lilium that did not succumb to the lily leaf beetles are in bloom and doing well. An assortment that Brent and Becky's Bulbs sent me a couple years back to trial are in bloom now and most are longiflorum-asiatic crosses. These tend to be taller lilies with thicker stems and larger flowers. Some have faint fragrance, others almost none.

Some Asistic lilies have been with us since the 80's. Tags get lost, memories get foggy and yet some still return despite thick weed competition and the beetle. I forget the name of this 5 foot tall Asiatic over by the compost pile but it returns each year even though I dig away a few each season for customers who bug me for a chance to add a strong bulb to their collections. Some days when I am tired I give in because it's easier than repeating "No, not this year".

Gail is in the garden now making notes of things she wants Austin to dig and bring down to the nursery today. Some of the plants will require lots of digging as they are older, established plants. I sure wish Austin would find my 6 foot pry bar. I don't need it today but he will.

I'm heading to the nursery in a few minutes. Gail will have breakfast at Maple Valley mid morning with some friends from the autism community. Autism is an important reality in our lives and with a couple of the ladies attending this morning. They have sons, ages 25 and 43, who have presented them with lots of challenges. At some point in most gardeners lives, autism appears as a family member, friend or community acquaintance and things look a bunch different. Among the many things Gail juggles in life is how to make a better world for those on the spectrum. Her knowledge gets applied first right here at home. She is quick to answer gardening questions but speaks authoritatively about many aspects of autism too. If you have a question, feel comfortable asking her. We have a list of resources on our website

Got to scoot. If you some time, stop by and see us at the nursery.

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where ravens and "raucous' are made for each other.

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener

Gardening at Vermont Flower Farm where we grow hardy plants for hardy Vermonters and their friends. Come visit!


lynn'sgarden said...

Great post, George! Love South Seas and the almost identical shade of the asiatic lily. My hat is off to you and Gail...what hard workers and dedicated parents...where you get the energy...! I'll be in NH next week and will try my darndest to come by for a visit :) Wild impatiens?

George Africa said...

Hi Lynn;

Wild impatiens? Yes? They are everywhere. I'll send some pictures soon but there is one posted on the 7/31 posting at Green Mansions

They are an interesting plant as the seed pods spring open when you touch them and shoot the seeds some distance. Also known as jewelweed, the juice squeezed from the stem is used as a cure for a case of poison ivy. Seems odd but it does work although the latest commercial treatments are better and cleaner.....but if you are in the middle of nowhere camping, hiking, etc, it does work over time. I keep a few sealed pouches of the modern day poison ivy treatment you rub over an area that possibly came in contact with p.i. as soon as you are aware of a potential problem. Really works good, and this coming from a guy who gets very, very sick from a plant that covers the streambanks of good trout streams around here.


Anonymous said...

They are an interesting plant as the seed pods spring open when you touch them and shoot the seeds some distance.
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