Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Moving Daylilies

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A nice morning here on the mountain. 22.6°, windless, quiet down the road at the log landing, noisy at the bird feeders. My friends are coming in for their newly placed breakfast buffet of sunflower, cracked corn and mixed seed treats. I'll get back later today with some peanuts for the blue jays but I want to get the cameras set up first to get some better pictures of the gluttons that jays are.

It's been four full years that we have been at our nursery on Route 2 in the village and one might think that by now all the plants from here at the house would be moved. It just doesn't work that way when you have a two person business. As we enter year five, we shake our heads in disbelief but that's nothing compared to the fact that Gail and I started gardening together in Shelburne in 1983. Our first joint task was planting a hundred eggplant in early June on a day that turned so cold it was spitting snow instead of welcoming summer. Looking back, I guess that should have been a harbinger to what was to come.

So here we are, thinking seriously about spring planting and scared about what is going to happen with sales. As I ever so slowly finish up income taxes it's a sad reminder to what we didn't sell last year. Those floods in May and then Hurricane Irene really kept customers away and sales were off by numbers that startle. No wonder we are still tired as there was a lot of rebuilding that is yet to be completed and deposits to the bank were few and far between at the beginning and at the end of the season. Sales were off by almost 30% for the year but factually customers can't get to a place without a road and Vermont suffered some of the greatest devastation in America.

But despite the sadness, farmers are built to rebound. They have to. I used to say that farmers had great confidence but now I describe them as resolute because I think it's a stronger statement of bucking up to adversity and moving along.

I haven't counted but I know that here at the house there are over 200 different daylilies left to move and 2012 is the year for this. This picture shows one of the gardens that needs to be dug and moved and when worker bee Michael gets out of college in May, this will be one of his early chores. We'll dig the clumps, divide them and then plant some in pots for resale and we'll line the rest out in the gardens to grow along for future sales. These are big old clumps so I'll probably help with the tractor getting them out of the ground.

Over near the peony display garden there are about 50 daylilies including 25 that Alex picked out back when he was nine and just interested in hybridizing. Almost every daylily he picked from catalogs to grow along has become a good seller and that shows the good eye he has for color and vitality. I also have +20 late bloomers I purchased from Olallies in Newfane Vt. These are very nice daylilies from an old and very nice nursery that faced the same flood challenges we did as their road was washed away too. Southern Vermont really took it heavy and there are still places that need attention down there.

So if you happen to stop by come May and don't have anything planned for the day, I'll be happy to exchange labor for daylilies as we move along, Maybe I will be surprised and things will be more positive but yesterday after I started to write this I went to Montpelier and in one day the gas prices went to $3.69.9 and I saw people on ladders changing prices ever higher. My research a month ago said $4.50 in Vermont by Memorial Day and more than $5 a gallon by July 4th. It isn't necessary but it's a reality.

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where I can hear a beagle barking across the balsams chasing a rabbit. I don't know who is hunting here today. My sport will be installing a new dishwasher for Gail.

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm

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