Thursday, June 24, 2010

Thursday Walkabout

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The day has ended here. Gail and I both left the nursery about 5:30 as late afternoon rain poured from the sky. It is much needed and although we received much less than we hoped for, the plants look refreshed.

Each morning as we arrive and each evening just before we leave, we take a quick walk around the nursery to see what we have forgotten to pick up or never accomplished as planned. We relocate plants that customers had second thoughts about and we pick up our own trash, weeds pulled but not picked up, wind cast plant tags, miscellaneous pieces of paper that escape from customers pockets as they scrounge for something to write an idea, a plant name, an addition to the grocery list on.

Here are some examples from today's walk. Come walk with us.

This year we purchased some Japanese lilacs for resale. We have enjoyed these for years on the sharp corner entering Plainfield and Goddard College from East Montpelier. These are hardy lilacs that can reach 30 feet if not pruned. The example I cite has 30 footers hanging over Route 2 where they offer a fragrance as a greeting to the small town and college. This is a later blooming lilac which comes after our James Macfarlane or even Miss Kim lilacs. Its fragrance lures a variety of insects and its near-white blooms provide attention getters from a distance. The one pictured up top was purchased when Hillcrest Nursery went out of business two years ago. I intend to keep this one pruned to hold at about 15 feet.

There are some nice Speedwells (just below) out there and this one is named 'Aztec Gold'. It has a nice little flower and it maintains low height. Yesterday Gail planned a very nice walkway combination for a customer from Danville. She included 'Aztec Gold', some tiarellas, and Hosta venusta placed in rows, 1-2-3, 1-2-3. The tiarellas will bloom first and the flowers of the other two will compliment each other.

Gail's friend, Mark from Claussens Greenhouses, Colchester, suggested we try Scaevola aemula, Fanflower, this year in hanging baskets. Word was that this plant accepts neglect by the "I forgot to water you" crowd and that description is right on. These turned out to be big hangers with lots of color and we are happy we tried them.

This morning I noticed Scabiosa columbaria 'Butterfly Blue' beginning to flower. Nice silver dollar sized flowers with plenty of detail at catch a butterfly's attention. They will be fun to look at in another year as they increase in flower scape numbers.

Daylilies continue to bloom. Today there were 10 in bloom including 'Celebrity Elite' pictured here. A similar red, 'Red Rum' also bloomed today and made quite a contrast against a backdrop of Jersey Spider and Spellbinder orange.

Siberian irises are coming to an end--not in the world of Siberian iris or in Vermont but at our nursery. There are hundreds and hundreds on the market but this one, 'Blue Moon' has lots of potential with contrasting flower colors. They all clump well and although they do best in damp soil, they will survive and prosper in the regular garden.

As I ended my tour and made it to the front, one of my favorite hostas, Hosta 'Alex Summers' caught my attention. Mr. Summers was the founder of the American Hosta Society and every time I see this hosta I express a silent gratitude for the great plant that hosta is. Gail took one of our old watering cans and slid it into a grouping of 'Alex Summer' hostas, Dicentra 'Gold Heart', a tatting fern and a few 'Celebrity Elite'. It is a nice little display which some contrasting textures and colors that are sure to please. Do you like it?

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where Karl the Wonder Dog has finally gone to sleep after barking at every fishing boat that pulled its way up the hill from the pond. Thanks for "walking" with us. If you can find a few minutes tomorrow to stop by, we can walk together in person. I'd like that!

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm & Gardens where Hosta Days continues with some great sales
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