Monday, June 07, 2010

Much Needed Rain

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Rain continues at Vermont Flower farm. 1.9" has fallen since yesterday and the Winooski River is flowing faster and higher than it has for several weeks. The flower seeds we sowed three and four days ago --zinnias, cosmos and sunflowers--have all germinated and give us encouragement that cut flower sales will be better than last year when repeated rains and frosts rotted many seeds before they even got started.

Color in a garden and what color will sell well is a challenge in any year. Earlier this year we had a beautiful viola--those "little pansies" that appear here and there in the garden for years to come. It was a yellowy orange that made you want to take home an extra pack even if you didn't need one. It was a color that you knew your best friend would like in her garden even if she didn't have any violas or maybe didn't really even care for them. The color was so popular, they sold out in a couple days. Gail found a very nice back up but it wasn't the same and only half have sold in a week.

Today a customer stopped. The lure of another nursery to visit on the way home was greater than the hassle of opening and closing the umbrella again. The lady and her two friends challenged the rain and toured our gardens. The woman's gardening skills were obvious and she raised questions about our selection of hydrangeas, our temperate zone by the river, and our success with a small appearing yellow leaved Ninebark.

Just talking about hydrangeas reminded me of two we had growing at the old farm house back in the 50's. One was the smaller snowball type and one was a massive, unpruned shrub better than 8 feet tall and full of large blossoms that we brought into the house as "cuts" or hung upside down in the "summer kitchen' and dried. I mentioned "Pinkie Winkie", a fairly recent introduction and explained that I had seen several in my travels in northern Vermont but none seemed to live here for a second spring.

Our discussion turned to an astrantia named 'Claret' that Gail likes. I have never been happy with how long it seems to take to get started here but the abundance of blooms when it gets settled in is worth the wait. These are popular plants from English gardening times and hybridizers continue to explore new colors.

As our conversation ended with the sale of daylilies 'Nile Crane' and 'Woodside Ruby' and the customer and her companions drove away, I made a quick tour of the gardens. Rain drop bubbles were everywhere as the rain continued. My friend and personal mechanic, Mike just called to report that my Troy Built Horse rototiller is finished save for the muffler. He is replacing the standard muffler with a quieter type made especially for people who have just signed up for Social Security. He says it's quieter and I'll like it. Stop by later this week and see for yourself!

Writing from the nursery where the only noise is rain on the roof and an occasional car on Route 2. Sales have been surprisingly good today despite the rain. Some gardeners have to buy new plants and get them in the ground on a day like today. Gail has Hosta 'June' on sale for the entire month for $12 from a regular of $16. This is a "must have" hosta! Come see.

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm
On Facebook as Vermont Flower Farm & Gardens and also as just me George Africa
Tweets on Twitter as vtflowerfarm

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