Thursday, August 19, 2010

Cool August Morn!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Up at my regular 4:30 today but I'm the one having trouble catching on to the fact that the sun doesn't shine for another hour. Karl the Wonder Dog has the message and he sleeps on later but my circadian rhythm wants me out and about early. I've been through all the email, Facebook for both accounts, and I have a plan for Twitter in a few minutes. I even replaced a pair of boot laces. Still no sun.

From a nurseryman's perspective I greatly dislike the way America marketing equates summer as ending when kids go back to school. When I was in school this happened right after Labor Day but now some schools begin as early as this week and that sends a marketing message that summer is over. In Vermont, August is the chief summer travel month for out of state, out of country visitors but for Vermonters with kids, the end of summer message is promoted in all the media. Sales for kids clothes and school supplies makes people think gardens are finished and everything should be on sale. I blame places like Wally World, Lowes and Home Depot for making it seem that gardens should be put to bed in mid August when in fact some of the nicest colors are just beginning. Obviously part of this is the responsibility of the gardener but I guess my suggestion is that we are tuned to marketing and it's so ever present that we can't step beyond it. Gail's attitude is to continue to work on gardens which display nice color through September and into the first part of October and that's what we do here.

As I walked the nursery gardens last night before leaving for the day, I was surprised by the number of daylilies we have still blooming. It's a real surprise this year because major bloom occurred three weeks early along the east coast and many gardens have been colorless for almost two weeks now. Strawberry Candy up top is blooming with fresh scapes now and Patio Parade, just below, offers beacon-like yellow that's clear from a distance. Jen Melon, renamed Starstruck, has strong bloom that makes visitors ask "what's the name?" not because they haven't seen it before but because it has lots of buds when other daylilies are budless.

Years ago Pardon Me hit the daylily stage and although this brick red, small flowered daylily (just below) has lost some of it's original popularity, it blooms and blooms en mass and works well right now with the notion that fall is approaching. I need to move some later on to the front of the gardens where I can slide in a few pots of mums and work their mutual strengths together for people to see.
Sunday Gloves has been out for two weeks and will continue for a couple more. My picture doesn't do it justice. To me it's a shorter version of my favorite So Lovely which blooms on 3 foot scapes that work so well next to any variety of hydrangea available. Sunday Gloves can be planted in front of hydrangeas with So Lovely to the sides so both pick up the chartreuse-often -changing-to-pink in many hydrangea florets.

Chicago Apache is a "drive George crazy" daylily because it seems more susceptible to climate change than others. Up at our home gardens at 1530 feet, it would typically be just starting to bloom but in the previous two years at the nursery at about 750 feet it would be well under way by now. This year when other daylilies have faded, it blooms on with perhaps another week of bloom left. I'm not pleased with how late spring frosts impacted on its summer appearance but the flower count is commendable.

As daylilies wind down in the field, Gail has many in pots that are growing with glory. August Frost, Ruby Throat, Hush Little Baby, Red Sentinel, Tiger Kittens, Alabama Jubilee, Fire King, Bold Tiger, Leebea Orange Crush on rebloom, Late Pink, --surprisingly the list continues on. The anenomes are beginning to show color and the hydrangeas are providing great contrast.

If you are out and about today, stop by. If you have time, visit a greenhouse or nursery this week and you'll be surprised. Gail visited von Trapp Greenhouse in Waitsfield yesterday and although Sally wasn't there when she stopped by, Gail said she was greeted by the nicest, most helpful employee who knew his plants and found a budded, late blooming daylily she wanted, a nice sedum for my collection and a summer blooming daylily that Gail has been searching for. That was nice. Gail and friends lunched in Warren and went over the mountain for a couple hours at Rocky Dale for an equally pleasant time with Amy and Kathy and a tremendous selection of plant material. Vermont nurseries are all great and we've never found a place where our questions haven't been answered with professionalism and warm smiles.

Have to get going here! Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where Mrs. Doe Deer and one fawn just appeared for breakfast outside my office window. One more cup of coffee and I'm out of here.

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm
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