Sunday, March 20, 2011

Garden Up!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

A beautiful morning here on the mountain! 31 degrees with a whisper of a wind and full sun everywhere. Last night's Full Sap Moon was brilliant and as it rose, the temperature dropped to 9 degrees. We were assured today would be beautiful and it is so appropriate as the sap really will flow heavily in another hour. Today is the second day of the Tenth Annual Vermont Maple Open House Weekend at sugar houses all over Vermont and families will be getting out soon to make visits and try sugar on snow and taste fresh-from-the-evaporator-pan maple syrup. You should go too!

This time of year events fill the calendar and many involve farming and gardening. This afternoon Gail and I are going to High Mowing Organic Seeds in Wolcott to learn about tomato plant grafting and the use of high tunnel greenhouses for winter crops. The "show" there starts at 2 and ends tonight with a potluck dinner and a great slide show by owner Tom Stearns. Sandwiched in between is a tour of the seed processing facilities and the opportunity to see how very old equipment packages very new seeds from the hopper to the seed packet.

A couple weeks back I made it to the Vermont Flower Show. I had an expectation that I would see a fair representation of vertical gardens as I have been reading and seeing such gardens in trade and landscape architecture magazines for some time. I saw only one such garden (just below) that was planted with a variety of heucheras. For me, the jury is out on how heucheras will fare in Vermont vertical gardens but for the purpose of this display they were exceptional.

This fall I stopped in Boothbay, Maine to visit my favorite Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. They had a couple vertical gardens there that were categorized by the amount of sun the plants could tolerate. They were all very well planted. I'm sure you would like to see them but I can't find where I saved the images save for this directory describing the "Scratch and Sniff" (full) sun panel and part of the "Flying Carpet" semi shade collection. (Apologies for the dark blob of a photographer, me, showing no respect for the location of the sun.)

My search for vertical gardens continued to the bookstore Thursday and as I approached the gardening section, quite dormant until recent visits, I noted a man and two ladies each reading the very same title and the one I really wanted. Garden Up! by Susan Morrison and Rebecca Sweet. The store had three copies and I waited with dwindling patience for one of the three to either leave with the book or return it to the shelf so I could make a purchase. It didn't happen. I moved to the cooking section and returned to find the three still there. I stood for a few moments looking over the shoulder of one woman until she gave me a stare that needed no accompaniment of words.

This appears to be a great book, not just by the manner in which it handles vertical gardening but other discussions that provide the reader with ideas for resolving gardening challenges. I'm going to give the bookstore one more try tomorrow as I do like to buy local when I can, but if that fails I'll go online. Spring is coming slowly to Vermont and although there is still 3-4 feet of snow here, I know I only have a few more weeks before this Vermont Gardener has to get clicking. Try your luck at the bookstore and go home with Susan and Rebecca's book, Garden Up!

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where we are already past 43 degrees.

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm
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