Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fall Cleanup Finds

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A noisy, rainy night but things have calmed this morning. Now 42° with a 4 mph wind that is fairly constant. Already 6:15 but morning light will be slow in coming this morning. Even Karl the Wonder Dog wants no part of this morning after listening to the rain all night.

This is clean up time at the flower farm and Steve spent the day working with me. He finished the last of the fence taken out by Hurricane Irene and once again I said that if I have to replace the fence again, a For Sale sign will be standing by Route 2. Some people laugh at me but those who know me well know I don't waste a lot of words when I am serious. When the state river engineer finally showed up and said to call again when I had lost "significant" land I knew that "we are green in Vermont" is just not true. The government comment that Vermont is business friendly is just not true too because friends of business and real conservationists don't make comments like this. Take a look at aerial pictures of the new delta at the mouth of the Winooski River in Lake Champlain and you'll see why I think we need to do a better job curbing the flow of pollutants into the lake. Think this through and share some comments with me as maybe there's something I am missing besides fence, plants, soil, sleep and money. (Senator Leahy's 20 million dollar earmark to study the impact of Irene on the lake is an interesting use of money, but as you should now know, I am very disappointed with how we spend our tax money.)

Steve started planting a sedum garden for us and it should set in good between now and hard freeze. There are about 15 different sedums from the taller Autumn Joy, Matrona and Purple Emperor types down to Angelica, Voodoo and the lower types. We have a nice start on a collection of sempervivums too and I intend to expand that this spring. Come take a look next spring/early summer. If you're bored this winter, join the North American Rock Garden Society and learn what sempervivens and sedums are gaining popularity as rock gardens return to favor in New England.

As Steve and Gail worked along, I cleaned up old sunflowers and other annual plants. During the process I came upon this wriggling pupa of a tomato hornworm moth. Although we don't grow vegetables, visitors always ask for advice and there was a lot of discussion this year about the giant green tomato hornworms that most people just don't like. I don't know the cycle that insects go through as populations explode or are minimal but I know we had quite a crop on the few tomatoes we grew this year for the first time. At some time I'll have to study these some more to determine what other crops such as tomatoes they seek out.

As I looked over the pupa I wondered if Steven Spielberg and the Dreamworks Studios folks ever used one of these as a model. Check the head area. They also go by the names hawk moth and hummingbird moth as they mature and sport wings again.

As you complete cleanup at your place, keep an eye out for signs of insects. If you find an especially good website or book to help identify your finds, let us all know.

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where Karl just suggested we go for a walk. I'm ready!

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

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