Saturday, October 01, 2011

Cleome Continues

Saturday, October 1, 2011

It's already after 5 PM and daylight is dimming. The afternoon is windless, 41°, and the rain pours out of the sky, heavy at first, then lighter, then heavy again. Gail and I were just talking about the Groton Chicken Pie Supper. The first seating is probably lined up right now and I expect there is an abundance of colored umbrellas offering obvious contrast to the fall foliage that surrounds the town.

During the last few days of September and first week of October, Vermont towns often offer foliage dinners, Many of these are booked a year in advance and the Groton event is no doubt sold out. Vendors and local folk set up along Route 302 selling homemade goods and foods, the historical society is open for tours and local businesses like an excellent little forge and a mead producer are open for demonstrations and sales.

This is the time of year when we should expect a killing frost. Some years we have already had a frost but so far things have been mild. That is supposed to change soon. Two annual flowers that I enjoy right up until frost are nicotiana and cleome. For some reason we never planted any nicotiana this year but the cleomes have been special.

Many visitors to Vermont Flower Farm ask for help identifying cleomes and are surprised they are annuals. Some people try to convince us to dig a up a few and although they have a shallow root system, we always decline the request despite the pleading.

The seed industry has done an excellent job offering cleome in heights from a little less than a foot to 5-6 feet tall. They have become a popular show flower and smaller varieties have been bred for use in containers and window boxes.

This summer I saw a very nice planting of a smaller flowered cleome named Inncleosr. It's pictured just below here planted with a backdrop of very tall ironweed. The surrounding garden included several colors of perennial asters and rudbeckias too. The combination was striking and I could visualize a beautiful vase on the sideboard at home.

As our outside gardening season draws to a close, it's a good idea to make some permanent notes someplace of flowers, shrubs and trees you want to add next year. If you haven't yet, consider cleomes.

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where the only noise is the rain on the roof.

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm
On Facebook as Vermont Flower Farm and Gardens and also as George Africa.
On Twitter as vtflowerfarm

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