Monday, March 22, 2010

Robins and Spring Beepers

Monday, March 22, 2010

38 degrees here on the mountain and the cadence of the rain goes from heavy to light and back to somewhere in between. I missed the weather report tonight but expect that it will be real wet by morning. We still have some snow at the house and more in the woods but spring is certainly here. It makes me smile.

My email contains a reminder that amphibian migrations have started in some parts of Vermont. It will be a while longer here before I leave home at 10 PM to seek out spotted salamanders and all sorts of amphibians leaving the woods for adjacent ponds and swamps. This is an incredible thing to watch and participate in and our thanks go to the North Branch Nature Center for sharing info about the program a couple years ago. Take a look at the North Branch Amphibian Monitoring Program page and you'll see what I mean.

Today was an important day for me as I told everyone at work that I had reached conclusion of the retire/do not retire debate I have had with myself for some time. Unlike a long and drawn out affair, when I reached the verdict I left no time for chit chat. I will be done from my government job next Wednesday, a career in human services that began in 1969 while I was an undergrad at the University of Vermont. Next week I step into gardening full time with Gail as my new full time boss. I cannot wait!

After returning home tonight I loaded up the truck for another part of the seasonal migration from Peacham Pond Road to 2263 US Route 2. No matter how well I plan what I need at each location, there are tools and supplies that have not been duplicated yet. Karl the Wonder Dog was a little upset having to share the front seat of the truck with a power drill, two sets of goggles, a box of protective paint masks and a roll of insulation. Aside from laid back ears and a dog glance heavy on disdain for crowded conditions, Karl was still happy to accompany me.

The snow is gone at the nursery. The grass is brown and packed down and shows no sense of righting itself but tonight's rain will make a difference. As I pulled into the parking area and glanced down over the field, I thought back of last summer when the blue of the ageratums caught visitors attention. It will be some time before they bloom again as they won't even be planted until the end of May.

I unloaded the tools and supplies and Karl and I drove down to the new hosta garden. Not a hosta was in sight but name markers were everywhere. Some stand as straight as I left them last fall but some have difficult crinkles caused earlier by snow drifts and shrinking snow piles. Just the same, my memory is of the start of a beautiful hosta garden that I know will please each of you come June.

I finished walking Karl and then checked an area where I planted several ligularia last year. They were well hidden from view but in my mind the coarse, yellowy-orange flowers stood tall, covered with busy bees. It won't be until August when they bloom again but the thought made me smile.

As I walked around the hosta garden, robins pecked the soil and on occasion pulled up a worm. And then I noticed that the spring beepers had begun. Beepers not peepers. Spring beepers are my friends who pass our nursery and beep sounds of encouragement. They have been beeping at me for four years now--ever since the first fall when I planted 3800 daylilies, a few at a time, each night after work until standing back up became a chore and supper sounded good. Travelers on Route 2 work a variety of shifts and the beepers would and do beep coming from either direction. Beepers make me smile, they make me proud of our accomplishment, they offer necessary encouragement even on rainy days when arthritis calls.

If you pass Route 2, it's ok to be a spring beeper even if I don't know who you are. If you have a couple minutes, stop for a chat. At Vermont Flower Farm we grow hardy plants for hardy Vermonters and their friends. Everyone is welcome!

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where the muddy road offers challenges, maple sap still flows, and deer are out and about.

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm
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beth said...

boy, you sure make me want to take a trip out east to visit your nursery. congrats on your retirement and don't let your new boss work you too hard.


Kate said...

I love the idea of Spring Beepers. It's just another one of those things that make VT so special.

Salix said...

Happy "retirement" George!
You'll probably be working much harder full time now, but also so much happier.

Elizabeth said...

Congratulations, George!! Many, many wishes for a happy retirement!