Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Primrose Majesty!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

3 mph wind on the mountain and 54°. A ten degree contrast to Burlington at 64° but with mutual promise for the seventies today. There's also chance for another t-storm to add excitement to my long list of chores. I'm excited that tonight I pick up my first-ever honey bees and commence what I hope will be a successful journey. Gail is less than optimistic about what she sees as my latest expense but there aren't a lot of things I fail at so we'll see. She is optimistic about my bulldozer purchase and I expect over time this endeavor will receive smiles too. This is a mutual project with friends Mike and Michelle who have helped get things ready. More on that tomorrow.

Last night Gail and "the girls", Tracey, Diana, and Elizabeth visited primrose heaven in East Montpelier, Vermont. I couldn't make it. Arlene Perkins and her husband live at the top of a mountain off Gould Hill Road and they grow a magnificent garden of primroses as well as many, many interesting perennials and also peonies. Gail and I went last year and I am still telling people about it. This is a picture up top of one of the gardens at the Perkins residence that is situated at the top of the Winooski River Valley above the North Branch Nature Center.

This is the kind of garden that you walk around and around, each time seeing things you missed before. You can't avoid questions and comments and many, many "I can't believe how beautiful this is" statements. It really is breathtaking.

Arlene is a hybridizer and a collector and I doubt you will find a garden or a host and hostess like you'll experience at the Perkins. If you aren't interested in primulas yet, you will be before you leave. This is "the" flower for May in Vermont because of abundant and diverse bloom just when you really need to a jump start to forget about winter and mud season.

The mixed varieties are like a painter's palette and they go on and on. Last year I walked the little paths 3-4-5 times, each time seeing things I missed before. The mixed flowers are treasures to find and from the unusual trilliums to the pink bloodroot to the miniature 1.5" primrose, you will be well entertained.

There is something about the beauty of these gardens that makes it difficult to leave. Kind of like going to a great party when you know it's time to leave but you're in such great company you cannot make yourself say goodbye. The primroses hold you tight and make you want to stay.
Their enthusiasm makes you want to start a collection of your own but you already know you can never create what you are standing in the middle of and enjoying!

Couple things to consider. Purchases and spring in Vermont. Arlene always has some primroses and other plants potted for sale. Like many collectors, sales help purchase new flowers and expand the collection you get to see in future years. The opportunities are not something you'll see at other nurseries in Vermont so don't miss the potted plants. Secondly, remember it's spring in Vermont and the insidious black flies sometimes prevail and at other times they overlook the invitation. Be prepared for them just in case. And if you get to meet Arlene, tell her George recommended her gardens. Like any visit to a private collection, call first and make an appointment. 802-223-6245. Show consideration for the gardens and the gardeners and you'll take away memories like I did!

Writing from "our" mountain above Peacham Pond where just now the sun is poking through the clouds. I have to get busy. Be well!

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm
On Facebook as Vermont Flower Farm and Gardens and on my personal page, George Africa
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At Vermont Flower Farm we'll help you grow your green thumb!

1 comment:

ourgalsal said...

Visiting Arlene and Henry's gardens is on my to-do list for next May. I can't wait to see all those beautiful Primroses in bloom, and to visit with the Perkins....special friends of ours!