Sunday, September 27, 2009

Weeping Gardens

Sunday, September 27, 2009

A wet morning here on the mountain--wet enough that Karl the Wonder Dog made a brief journey outside and bolted for the house to shake wet fur dry and get back to bed. The morning is 45 degrees but it feels much colder than that with a 3-4 mph wind. I wouldn't know the mph thing but I just bought myself a little weather station with an anemometer and I hope before I die I can figure out how to program it.

I love technology but I am a slow learner. The clock is the sticking point as it is an atomic clock which needs to be set via satellite. The directions are so-o-o encouraging, ending with a little statement about don't put it by a Low-E window as it won't program through the what have I spent big bucks upgrading to??? low-e windows. It also says to point the unit in the direction of Colorado, thereby assuming you're bright enough to know where Colorado is. I'll tackle it all later today when I am a bit more awake.

Today's rain is a bad reminder to this year's spring that lasted until the end of July and accumulated as 15 inches of rain that month alone. Last week we received 1.4" of rain in one night and that began to remedy the drought that hardened clay soil and made apples fall plunk-plunk-plunk from trees long before they should. I haven't checked the rain gauge today but the rain is supposed to continue all day and is really coming down right now.

When we visited Maine Coastal Botanical Gardens we walked down the Haney Hillside Garden to the ocean. Along the way we stopped at the first backpath and I was pleased to see how well the weeping trees and shrubs had grown since my last visit. I call the area the weeping garden because the hillside is well planted with conifers including many weepers. When we visited, the day was bright and warm, a contrast to today's cold reminder that fall is here and winter is around the corner.

Weeping larches are easy to grow and not very expensive. They are the one confier that annually change color and drop needles like deciduous trees. They are easy to prune and I enjoy the way the branches reach to the ground and grow along the top of the soil as if to reach out for companionship. We have some spruces that do the same and they are very hardy in zone 4a too. The Atlas Blue Cedar I bought this year may not make it but that is another example we saw in the Maine gardens. I'll pound in some rebar and clothe the cedar in burlap this winter and hope for the best. The seacoast climate is so much warmer that it's not a problem there.

Whether I'm weeping about the weeping gardens or the rain today, fact is I have to get going here, Sunday or not. I brought the tractor home yesterday for the winter and today is "bring in the wood day" where we bring next year's wood supply in from the woods to split and stack for next year and the year after. Staying a year or so ahead guarantees that if something unpredicted happens here on the mountain, the home will still be warm all winter. Thursday the new Hearthstone woodstove arrives...and that's another story.

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where one lone blue jay is sitting on the platform feeder begging me to add some seed for his breakfast. Vociferous ravens are at the compost pile checking the menu there. Have to get going.......

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm A garden website with plants for sale, gift certificates for friends and gardening info for all!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Climate Change Day

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The predicted cold is here this morning. One morning star shines brightly in the sky as light pokes up from Peacham Pond. The thermometer reads 30.2 degrees and it will drop some more as the sun rises. It's still too dark to see the grass but I know in time the lower daylily nursery will appear, frosty white and cold. Climate change.

I have avoided discussions and opinions about climate change. Climate change to me is when I look at the wood pile and congratulate myself on this year's well seasoned wood supply, properly stacked and covered or in the cellar for easy access. Climate change is a reminder that next year's wood supply needs to be out of the woods and at least split for stacking. This year I can congratulate myself again. Climate change is when geese fly by, hummingbirds leave or reappear (September 4-5-6 and May 7-8-9) or woodcock appear in the road on a rainy spring night to eat a dinner or breakfast of worms. Climate change.

This summer has been a good example against global warming. The air conditioner, purchased expressly so two tired gardeners could get some sleep when outside temperatures exceed 80 degrees on back-to-back days, remains in the cellar collecting dust. 90 degree days were absent this year and 80 degree days were finger counters and few-to-none here on the mountain.

15 inches of rain in July continued a stretch that began when the last snows of winter were still on the ground. The lawns smelled of too much rain and certain crops either never germinated at all or succumbed to a variety of fungal problems. Right now the Lilium canadense seed pods are still green and unopened and I have time to find some and plant them along the water ways or back swamps. Climate change.

The platform bird feeder remains seed-free for fear of bears which are frequenting more than we like. The feeder is a challenge for me as I love to watch birds but putting out seed now is the wrong thing to do. I may break down before the bears head for slumber around Thanksgiving but it's all a question of temperature. The feeder needs to be washed first with bleach and water anyway. And where are the chickadees? Some say they are moving north to a colder climate but cold is what we have here this morning. Climate change.

We just returned from Maine and saw the best striped bass catches we've seen in 30 years. The ocean temperature is also the warmest it's been in over 100 years. That would be back before 1909. Climate change.

The picture up top is one I took at Maine Coastal Botanical Gardens. Locally they call it "Whale Rock" (see just below) . We love Maine just as we love Vermont--with or without climate change.

Time to head out for a walk with Karl the wonder dog. Karl's internal clock tells him when it's time to head out. As cooler weather approaches, it's more obvious how well he can predict what is going on outside. If we were walking at the botanical gardens, we might be traveling down a walk such as this one of cut granite. Here in Marshfield, we're heading out the woods road. Wish you could be walking with us.

From the mountain above Peacham Pond where the frost is thick on the grass. No more tomatoes, cukes, beans or squash this year. Better start digging the potatoes and see how well they did.

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Sensory Garden In Maine

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A beautiful morning here on the mountain. We're back in Vermont where the morning temperature is just 40 degrees and the heavy dew is dripping from goldenrod that are already turning brown with age. Maine was beautiful and we are already sentimental for the sound of the ocean. The morning chatter of the ravens is a slim replacement but in fact, it's part of Vermont.

The newest garden at the Maine Coastal Botanical Gardens is the Lerner Garden of the Five Senses. I had been following the grand opening of this garden and wanted to attend the official opening in June when I blew the engine in my truck. Life has priorities and my visit had to be postponed. One of the staff at the reception center told me that the day of the celebration was a bit damp with four inches of rain and slim attendance. I wasn't the only one missing.

The sensory garden is a combination of sunken garden, pond, stream, walkways, trees, shrubs, plants, sculpture and a fountain that challenge all the senses. Looking down from above, the stone floor reminds me of the trilobite fossils that prevail in the rocks that line Lake Champlain here in Vermont.

Visitors stop and bare their feet to walk the paths and extend their use of "foot senses", long ago neglected. I watched one child close her eyes and follow the course with giggles and wide smiles.

I often marvel at seeing garden floors such as this one displayed in gardening magazines as if they appear out of no where in your garden. Just collecting stones, let along "planting" them, takes patience and mastery. Few folks even know how to mix cement anymore. The finished product, however, always brings compliments and "how'd you do it's?"

The plantings are special and I found myself spending more time with each planting than I probably had at other places at MCBG. It might have been the newness but I think it was simply that this is a really special place that affords opportunities for everyone, with or without missing senses or hampered accessibility. I really liked it!

Here are a few pictures. They won't replace a visit but they will make you want to go!

The pond and fountain area are visible from the natural bridge or anyplace on the surrounding walkways. Between the sound from the fountain or the streams, a tranquility prevails over the chatter of happy kids. The granite sculpture in the background affords a chance to "touch" the drilled carvings visually and by actual touch. As we design our own gardens, it's good to think about how we intend our visitors to master and absorb our key garden components.

I always enjoy water gardens and lilies draw my attention. Rural Maine has thousands of small ponds and lakes full of water lilies and I'm sure there are some businesses hidden away someplace where lilies are raised commercially. In this pond, I kept looking under the lilies to try to spot a fish but I think the pond is fishless although frogs like it here.

Some plants such as this cardamon are perfect for a sensory garden because they bring so many talents with them. I am not familiar with the plant or its herbal uses but I was struck by the seed heads which form their very own sculpture.

The designers did a super job with colors and textures and I cannot offer enough praise for the product. Gail and I have always been partial to heucheras and apparently we are not alone. Aside from the multitude of ways people pronounce "heuchera" (check out Heucheras & Heucherellas by Dan Heims & Grahame Ware, Timber Press), these examples of 'Caramel' were great as were the Heuchera 'Frosted Violet'.

This next silver sage named 'Hobbit's Foot' also caught our attention. I doubt it will grow well here in zone 4 but it is so appropriate in the Lerner Garden of the Five Senses. I almost wanted to pat it but I held off, rubbing the head of a nearby rabbit sculpture instead. I shouldn't have but there was something beckoning about the smooth head of that stone bunny.

Trees and shrubs abound and this Tiger Eyes Staghorn Sumac is an eye catcher I had only seen on websites before. The color was appropriate for the season and the sumac worked so well with surrounding colors and textures. My mind momentarily went into rewind mode and I recalled the Glory maples in the front parking lot under planted with masses of Hemerocallis 'Patio Parade'--more examples of very good use of a color some folks say they are tiring of. There's no way I could be bored with the opportunity of Tiger Eyes.

There's plenty to experience at the sensory gardens. I'll get back to this soon but for now, it's time to get going on our own gardens. Time is short, the heavy frosts will be here soon, and there's lots of summer clean up to do. If you happen to drive by the nursery and the gate is open, stop by for a garden chat. There's always time to talk gardens, compare notes.

Writing again from the mountain above Peacham Pond where the loons still call as maple leaves turn yellow, orange and red.

Fall gardening wishes,

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener

Still shipping very healthy plants until mid October from Vermont Flower Farm

Monday, September 14, 2009

Parks & People

Monday, September 14, 2009

Sitting by the hotel window looking east as the sunrise spreads bigger and bigger in front of me. High tide is working its way to shore and the mornings' beach walkers are moving closer and closer to the cement beach walls. Men in pick up trucks are parked at the overlook area drinking coffee and telling stories. It looks like another nice day.

When we left Maine Coastal Botanical Gardens the other day, I day plenty of thoughts and pictures to share but for right now I keep thinking of a stop we made in Georgetown, Maine at Reid State Park. This is a park that I took Gail to back in 1989 and we just never made it back again. She really enjoyed the place so I said we'd stop by again. Alex, now 17, was never there so he wondered what Gail was enamored with too.

We parked the car and unloaded our beach chairs, cooler and cameras and headed down the path to the north. There were only a couple cars in the lot but it was early enough in the day to explain that. As we crested the hill, the beach had a strange look to it as if a shipload of settlers landed and began building shelters for the night.

I was taken by the driftwood assemblies and wondered about their origin. I thought it would have been fun to watch whomever it was that appeared and began building them. There was a mystery here that challenged me.

Down the road a ways we had passed Woolrich, Maine, a town that I had misrepresented in my mind for years. When I was a kid growing up, I reached age ten which was the time I was allowed to go deer hunting by myself. That included visiting deer camps and seeing real hunters. Back then, hunters wore woolen clothes either made by Johnson Woolen Mills in Johnson, Vermont, or Woolrich woolen clothes from Woolrich, Maine...I thought. It was only during this trip to Maine that I found out that Woolrich, no less a maker of fine woolen garments, was actually from Pennsylvania although both Woolrich, Maine and Woolrich, Pennsylvania were no doubt named after the same town in England. Whether it be clothes by Johnson or Woolrich, my early deer hunting dreams sought out a .300 magnum rifle and green plaid woolen pants and coat--identities of "real" hunters.

The reason I mention Woolrich is that it's also home to The Shelter Institute, another place on my list of places to visit, things to do. The Shelter Institute offers courses in building small houses and learning post and beam construction. The thought of a course rings louder every year as I really want to build a camp down towards Peacham Pond and post and beam is the way I want to go. The Shelter Institute came to mind immediately as I looked at the Reid State Park beach and saw primitive structures reaching more than half a mile down the shore.The implication is mine alone and I don't want to misrepresent such as fine company with the suggestion that you learn house building by stacking driftwood, but factually, primitive shelters begin that way and these were examples to me.

We set up our chairs and began our relentless reading and relaxing--two pursuits that follow seven days a week in our gardens since Vermont's white stuff stopped falling. Every once in a while I'd look up at the structures and think about who built them....a pointless curiosity but a gnawing thought. As I glanced up from reading the latest copy of Northern Woodlands Magazine (subscribe folks!) I noticed a group of a dozen older looking folks at the top of the beach trail. One by one then slowly inched to the beach and it was clear they were a group of seniors out and about for the day. One man worked his way to the largest, closest structure, and then bent over, picked up a large piece of driftwood and leaned it up against the other wood. He had made his contribution to shelter building. He must have been heading towards 80 years old but the smile on his face showed an enthusiasm similar to his younger years. His companions cheered him for his accomplishment. Although I couldn't get the camera going fast enough to catch the "pick up the wood" part, here's part of the sequence.

By now good gardeners are probably wondering how come I am bunny hopping around with conversation devoid of gardening info. Rightful question but gardeners are people and I'll bet there was a time when this man was a passionate gardener. For this day, just like me, he was enjoying a piece of Maine and a bright sunny day.

Writing from a beach in Maine where the sun is up, the morning is warm, the seagulls are talking in terms I don't understand, and people are all saying the same thing..."Isn't this a wonderful day?"

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm

FYI: If you ever head down the peninsula to Reid State Park, stop at Georgetown Pottery. It has some of the nicest Ikebana vases you'll find. One vase, one late blooming daylily scape, one piece of clematis or hops vine and you'll witness contemplative floristry at its finest! And yes, you can do it yourself!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Botanical Gardens

Saturday. September 12, 2009

Half an hour before high tide here at Wells, Maine. The water is about 50 feet from the seawall right now and is approaching closer with each new wave. Surfers are in their glory with the tides as the water is the warmest it has been in 100 years. Swimmers don't want to leave the water either. The afternoon rain kept many away but just after the dinner hour, people in raincoats, some with umbrellas, many walking dogs, will try to squeeze out a little more of New England summer as we know it.

Our time in Boothbay at the Maine Coastal Botanical Gardens was in full sun and pleasurable. The brightness made taking pictures difficult with my limited skills but the pictures should help those of you who have not visited to gain an appreciation for what has been built. This botanical majesty experienced a sixteen year evolution that culminated in its June 2007 grand opening. 126 acres were purchased in 1996 that included 3600 feet of tidal shore frontage. In 2005, another 120 acres were added as a gift from the Pine Tree Conservation Society. This is a massive project and a great tribute to it originators, its Board of Directors and its benefactors.

The Visitor Center pictured above is 9500 square feet small. It offers a garden cafe, a gift shop, lots of educational space and a library. Currently there is an outstanding art exhibit on display.

As we parked this year, I was instantly reminded of my visit in 2006, when I pulled in by a mass planting of a daylily named Patio Parade planted under a single October Glory maple tree. That year was more dry than this so the tree leaves displayed oranges and bright reds. This year the leaves only show a hint of color. The mass flower planting format is repeated at MCBG and is one I have begun to employ in my own gardens. Large blocks of the same plant bloom with an obvious presence that always begs "What's the name, what's the name?"

As soon as you pay your admission, you're directed out the side doors to the front lawn. This is a spacious lawn surrounded by flowers and paths. To the right is the demonstration vegetable garden outside the cafe end of the facility. A prominent metal sculpture of a feeding elk bends forward near some miscanthus that waves silvery in the sun. Wendy Klemperer is the sculptor here and her "reimagined" work of deer, elk, wolves, foxes and even a quilled porcupine greet you, first on the entrance road and later throughout the gardens.

As you walk the perimeter of the lawn, a fascinating piece of stainless steel floats in the wind. This is named "Wind Orchid" by George Sherwood who calls his work quite appropriately, "kinetic sculpture".

The sculptural work of Klemperer, Sherwood and many others at MCBG is curated by June LaCombe SCULPTURE. It provides thoughtful mystery and enthusiasm to the gardens, and of course, their visitors.

As you look to the right entering the lawn, the horizon suggests the presence of the ocean. As your eyes move closer, ahead and to the left, the flowers become more and more awesome. I had the opportunity to see these gardens in their infancy and this week's viewing left me just speechless.

Stone work is everywhere as walkways, stone art work and hard scape abound. The hardness of the stone softens the gardens through mass, design and texture and each piece beckons the visitor to walk on and see more.

Rudbeckias, eupatoriums, actaeas and many grasses, some as tall as 8-9 feet, draw attention and suggest "You can build like this too!" Every garden makes its own statement and over time the message is more clear.

As Gail and I sat with Alex within the gazebo, surrounded by the fragrance of countless roses, we shared praise for the spectacular gardens we had just started to explore. The Maine Coastal Botanical Gardens is certainly a special place!

I welcome comments about your visits and even this virtual visit which I hope has been successful for you. More gardens and garden thoughts soon!

Writing from Wells, Maine where the tide retreats with a pleasant thunder.

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm

Just Maine

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A few days back I explained that sometimes gardeners get tired and they need a break from gardening. At Vermont Flower Farm we have had a tradition that spans over 25 years. When Labor Day passes, we pack for some time in Maine. This year was no different. Gail and Alex finished the packing Wednesday and then we left for Boothbay Harbor.

Maine has always been dear to me and there are times when I don't know why I never ended up living there. When I was a young sprout, my Dad packed the old Buick on many Fridays and we headed for Maine. Cabins were $5 or $6 a night back then and he'd find us a place and then go looking for fishermen to swap beer and stories for fish. It was an unusual relationship I never understood but I often talk or write about. We were about as poor as you could be but we always made the trip to the ocean my mother loved.

In the mid sixties I considered Bates College and in the late seventies after purchasing my first house and not having a nickel to spare, I found a beautiful piece of property--14 acres on the Damariscottia River for $36,000. The lure for the property got into a mental debate over common sense and financial stability and Vermont is where I stayed. Looking back on it, I think it was more the fact that I had just been drafted into the Army that made staying home more sensible.

This year's rest was scheduled to begin in Boothbay Harbor. Gail and Alex hadn' t been there before but it was the adjacent Maine Coastal Botanical Gardens that I wanted them to see. Six hours time from Vermont (including a few stops to stretch and one 20 mile reroute in Bethel Maine....oops!) and we pulled into Brown's Wharf & Marina. Gail and Alex had done some Internet work and made this choice based on a description of mariner memorabilia in the restaurant portion and fine views from every room. Neither was a disappointment.

The marina as well as the parking lot, had a good representation of visitors from around the US and Canada. Walking the marina was like a historical trip through the evolution of watercraft. Alex and I agreed that perhaps the oldest boat there was the best even though the dishes weren't washed and the maps and charts were a bit crinkled and torn.

Our first morning was a beauty although I have to say that the unfamiliar noise of lobster boats warming up at 3:30-4 AM was unusal for me to sleep through. Alex and Gail have no problem with strange noises but I sat there watching them head out to sea to snag buoys and pull up lobster pots. The retail cost of lobsters this year is the lowest we have seen in years and it makes no sense to us to see prices at $3.99 a pound everywhere. Today's paper even advertises a local lobsterman who sells from his house for $3.49 a pound. If you eat lobster you can relate to these prices but if you are a business person you'll have real trouble trying to figure out how the prices get set like this when diesel fuel is $2.67 a gallon.

Click on this next picture and across the harbor, in the top, middle/left middle of the picture, you'll see a blue roof. The building to the left of that roof is Kaler's Crab and Lobster House. Boothbay Harbor has an abundance of places to eat and many came highly recommended to us. The Tugboat Inn, for example was well recommended to us by a customer of ours back home. "super lobster bisque and Blood Mary's to kill for" but what I look for is a restaurant where the local folks line up on Friday night. We started with roasted calamari with sliced banana peppers and a light garlic butter glaze. Gail had a double on the steamed lobsters, Alex had haddack and I went for whole belly clams. In today's world I'm hate to see things wasted. I have to say that at Kalers there's no shortage as the wait staff bring things to the table.

Boothbay Harbor is like most Maine peninsula towns. Each is surrounded by water and houses, churches, and town buildings; fishing and commercial businesses are always packed around the point and parking is at a premium. You have to plan ahead or be prepared to walk but the walking part is a good idea at the end of the meal anyway.

Gardeners like to visit gardens and nurseries, even when they are on vacation. We are no different. Our trip to Maine Coastal Botanical Gardens coming up next!

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Now writing from Wells, Maine

Vermont Flower Farm: A business taking a couple days off.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Fall Approaches

Monday, September 7, 2009
Labor Day

Today is the last day our nursery is regularly open for the 2009 season. We're heading out on vacation soon and when we return we will be open by chance or appointment until all the fall work is finished. After a busy season, Gail and I figure it's our time to pick the hours we work. Many, many thanks to all who have visited, made purchases, and offered kind comments about our progress. Despite 15" of rain in July, the season has been a tremendous success and we are very thankful for your support.

Today we still have a nice assortment of bare root daylilies available for sale. They are 5 for $15 and Gail is forever tossing in something else to end the year and show appreciation. We always say we are open 9-5 but 99% of the time it's later than that. Today is the real McCoy so come early and plan on the gate closing at 5.

If you do stop by, take a look down at the new hosta garden I am working on. There are some large blocks of 25-35 daylilies, same daylily in each block, in between the maples. Among these is Tetrinas Daughter, now in bloom because they were planted mid summer. This is a very nice daylily, 42" tall, thick scape, lots of flowers, some fragrance. Although they are in the display garden, they are available for sale. The color is about gone from the daylily field because of the hot days for several weeks now but we are still digging some fine plants. Ask for some help with choices and you'll go home with some big plants guaranteed to grow and make you happy you stopped for a visit.

We're heading to Maine as we always do and we'll try to offer some flower updates along the way. The Maine Coastal Botanical Gardens in Boothbay is first on the list so keep in touch.

Good gardening wishes,

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm Where gift certificates and nice plants grow with smiles!

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Good Communication

Sunday, September 6, 2009

A clear morning here on the mountain. The steam is rising gently from the trout pond but fat rainbows and brookies don't use alarm clocks to rise for breakfast. The fog is thick enough that it mutes the whiteness of the adjacent birches as it floats skyward. Life on the mountain is good even though Vermont was summerless in my mind, with 15 inches of rain in July and a spring that lasted until August. The past two weeks have been flawless and writing has taken a backburner to chores and plant sales.

I was at the nursery yesterday afternoon and two aging ladies drove in, parking a grey PT Cruiser by the chip pile. They walked as older ladies sometimes do, with a gait that suggests arthritis that older folks seem to either deny or talk/complain about. Farmer women complain less or not at all and others are split about 50-50. I have bad arthritis too so I can relate to it all. And yes, I complain freely!

The women made it to the shade house where I was standing by the table we use for check out. We are not sophisticated at Vermont Flower Farm and your check out experience is usually a quick "how are the kids" "who went to college", "sorry to hear your mom moved to a care facility", "so sorry to hear about your kitty". One woman looked straight at me and in the same tone my mother in law often used and asked "Is Karl ok? Why ain't you writing much?"

The world of the Internet has always fascinated me and it either does or doesn't fascinate older folks. This lady, clearly in her early 80's, had been snagged by the Internet and it was obviously a part of her communication network. The downside for me was that she apparently read this blog and was expressing her dissatisfaction with me. She didn't imply that I was lazy or busy, just made it clear that if you start something, it should continue and you shouldn't let people down. In a world of disappointment, she did not want to be disappointed.

"Yes, Karl is fine," I said, "but I got lashed out again for feeding him non-traditional dog food." (two little pieces of steak and the end of my maple walnut ice cream) "You did that before." she replied, as if to suggest I am a slow learned at Karl's expense. She was right. I finally managed to squeeze in a "Welcome to Vermont Flower Farm" but for the life of me I couldn't remember ever meeting her before.

I did my quick "where everything is located, what's on sale, let us know if you need help" presentation and as if I couldn't finish fast enough, she mangled the name "cimicifuga" and I lead the way to the lower shade house. Foolishly I tried to explain that in recent years the plant had been properly named "actaea" to which she replied that she couldn't say that name either and where were they.

I was hoping this would be easy while at the same time I was fearful that the price of the James Compton, or Pink Spike, or Hillside Black Beauty would get me into trouble. She volunteered that she and her friend had just returned from Maine and they had seen them in a group planting at the gardens in Boothbay. When I said that I loved Maine Coastal Botanical Gardens, knew the exact planting they had seen, and was actually going there this week, the ice was broken and we were almost best of gardening buddies. Almost. The woman bought an atropurpurea and her friend followed suit as if in garden competition with each other. They didn't seem to care about the price and already had checked out planting instructions before they arrived. I bagged up a different daylily root for each of them as a gift and suggested they compete with each other to verify gardening skills. I think I'll always remember those two as they walked with a little shoulder roll to the Cruiser, laboriously turned it around, and then drove away. I know they are special friends and I hope they return.

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where the sun has made it above the tamaracks and balsams and am I ever behind this morning. The picture up top is of a favorite of mine. A rattlesnake orchid that frequents the maple orchards here. The picture is from a year ago but Karl and I visited a couple patches this morning. See if you can find some where you live.

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm: A website that makes sales for flowers and gift certificates year round. Great bare root sales at the farm for the next two days so if you have a minute, stop by. PT Cruisers accepted in the parking lot, good communication a "must".

Reception Center looking through Actaea atropurpurea
Maine Coastal Botanical Gardens
Boothbay, Maine