Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Late Walk


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

46 degrees here on the mountain, 29.64 on the barometer and windless which I like. Gail just brought Karl the Wonder Dog back from a morning walk during which he offered a not so welcome morning bark to neighbor Michelle's new puppy. Older dogs and younger dogs sometimes need a period of socialization before greetings are amicable.

Returned home yesterday from a long day at the nursery and decided I needed a walk through the gardens here at the house. A machete would have been an appropriate companion as I just cannot find the time to continue to develop a 5 acre nursery and maintain what we had going for twenty years here at the house. Hidden among two years accumulation of weeds that represent my absence from here grow some very nice perennials. I had plans for returning the gardens to their previous glory but have found once again that it's not that easy to hire people who have gardening skills and can work independently. Sometime this summer I still have hope that we can get this mess squared away.

When we moved here in 1989, Gail brought a number of rugosa roses. The single and double pinks are in bloom right now and the fragrance is beautiful. I miss the old William Baffin that lived with us for perhaps 15 years before the red vole population found Baffin roots good winter food. It died over just one winter.

The Siberian irises as well as the tall bearded irises are in bloom. The blue Siberian, Double Delight, has always been popular and Gail has sold off too many to the point that they need to be lined out again. There is no impressive lineage with this one but it is a blue that beckons visitors to walk to it and comment and ask for it. Gail has been known to give a piece to even unknown friends who she liked but it's to the point now where the five gallon pot at the nursery needs a sharp knife and subdivision. I think I planted a few down along the far fence row but they too are hidden in swamp weeds.

The are a bazillion tall bearded iris on the market now and my Facebook page has a couple friends who are excellent iris hybridizers. Our garden contains hand me downs but in their way, each has merit. No ruffles or multiple colors like we see being released to the market now but still quite nice.

I receive lots of comments and questions about iris and even yesterday two customers asked why their tall bearded iris failed. I remind people that soil heavy in organic and water retaining materials is not good for tall bearded iris but often gardeners can't make the distinction between when poor soils are really better. I have a memory of our first house in Vermont that was ringed in a row of blue iris. The soil around the home was about as bad as it gets but my father often took out the shovel and just rooted up a couple shovelfuls for any friend who liked them. Within a year the holes were filled in and with no care they still prospered. If you are interested in iris, try the American Iris Society.



Finally I noticed the lupines and great orange poppies last night. The poppies were just beginning to close as they do each night but the lupines, stood tall and obvious, having self seeded from we don't remember where. Gardeners love lupines but they have an aphid (the lupines, not the gardeners!) specific to themselves and as such lupines are made for planting where you can see their color from afar but not their bug infestations from close up. I have given away lots of lupine seed over the years and like hollyhock seed which now grows in other gardeners beds, I can recognize customer's gardens as I drive around the county. Sometimes even the most common of flowers make people happy!


Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where Gail is stirring madly on a bowl of some (?) coffee cake recipe. She will manage the nursery today while I wait for the oil burner service person to show for our annual furnace cleaning. I see lots and lots of female gardeners but have never met a female oil burner technician. Why?

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm
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8 comments:

Shayla said...

My boss is away in London most of the time and from all accounts before I came here they had the same problem as you in that most gardeners took advantage of the situation or just didn't have a clue how to set out a days work for themselves. It was quite a while before I got them to trust that I was here to garden and not to rip them off as others had done. The sort of person you want to do your garden is someone who doesn't want work! I know that might sound strange but you see when I go out in a morning I'm not going to work but to tend what is effectivly my garden. Even though I don't own it and I do have rules to follow like for instance what plants are grown, the day to day running of the gardens is down to me therefore I take a pride in their appearance. If certain area's aren't up to scratch I think it bothers me more than the boss. If the boss were to take away the daily runing of the gardens from me and gave me a list of jobs to do instead I'm sure I wouldn't be half so enthusiastic simply because the end result was no longer my concern, I would then class what I do as work and so this is why I say you want someone who doesn't want to work but someone who wants to garden. If the boss ever does decide to give me a job instead of a garden to look after I may be sending you my CV!!

joey said...

Thanks for the tour, George ... all so lovely. Had to laugh since I too often use the term 'machete', which I did again yesterday returning from 5 days at the lake. I gasped driving in ... but grabbed my camera for a mid June mini-tour. Soon it will be summer ... wishing you 'the bestest'!

George Africa said...

That's a great perspective, Shayla. Getting someone to act as part of a family is a challenge. The +80 year old lady who I call our Chief of Hydrological Services is an example. She's like family and as she waters she sees thing that need doing, plants that need attention, things that were put back in the wrong place, etc.

George

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John Terry said...




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