Sunday, February 21, 2010

Another Hosta Garden

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Quiet and 17 degrees here on the mountain. A 3 mph wind blows and 95% humidity has frosted up the golden rods and raspberry bushes. Gray clouds are releasing snowflakes that are blowing horizontal to my office window at varying speeds as if someone is adjusting a rheostat. First the flakes are heavy and fast, then slow, then they reverse. Not much accumulation can be expected with this performance.

We are hosta growers at Vermont Flower Farm. As best we can recall, we bought some from
Leo Berbee, a wholesaler from Ohio by way of Europe, way back in the early 90's and there was no looking back from then on. We bought the common ones back then which Gail reminds me were probably Halcyon, Elegans, August Moon, Francee. Those are dependable hostas and they will stay with us forever. Fancy and expensive are hard to find with us even though we have hundreds of excellent hostas in our collection and retail offering now.

During 2008, our first year at the new nursery, I was possessed be have a place to remind people that the hosta garden at our house (see February 6, 10, 12 blogs) was not forgotten and would be duplicated as a viable display garden. I had a vision to begin a hosta walkway at the end of our shade houses at the top of the Winooski River. I figured it would meander down the valley and fill up between the box alders down below.

Austin dug up some mature specimens for me and we began the process of replanting twenty five hostas along the still unfinished deer fence. I was happy that I had someone to dig the holes as the clay soil at the top of our land is a potter's paradise. In a couple days we had everything shaped up and it actually looked nice for being so new.

I was pleased with this phase of the new garden but it was only a start. My real plan was for another 3000 square foot garden that visitors could see when they entered our business. I wasn't sure about the soil, the water retention or how long it would take to prepare for planting. All I had was a vision.

Click on this last picture and you'll get a sense of what I started with. Over the next couple days I'll show how this wasted weed bed is becoming a shade garden. It hasn't been easy and the next couple years will be a test, keeping it weed free and finishing the planting. Having a vision makes "another hosta garden" an easier pursuit. Keep following.

Writing on Sunday morning from the mountain above Peacham Pond where ice fishermen drill hundreds of holes in hopes of catching record brown trout but more often than not have to be satisfied with a meal of perch or smelt.

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm
On Twitter as vtflowerfarm
On Facebook as George Africa

And now--drum roll please--on Facebook as Vermont Flower Farm & Gardens. Go find us!


Teza said...

Oh, to have the space to design and create such gardens, I am green with envy! This current project looks like it will afford many of your wonderful photos and anecdotes. Let the games begin!

George Africa said...

Thanks Teza;

I need encouragement to keep going as this is a big project to balance with the everyday life of operating a nursery, being a good steward of 70 acres at the house and helping to care for my son's special needs. As I finish the next couple profiles on what I have already started, I think everyone will see the direction this garden is heading in. Only thing I may omit is a small, 20 ft in diameter pond I originally thought might be an attention getter. Rethinking this as a physical liability to visitors with small kids.